Academic standards list

United States Government and Civics — Social Studies (2014-2019)

Introduction

Students will study the purposes, principles, and practices of American government as established by the Constitution. Students are expected to understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens and how to exercise these rights and responsibilities in local, state, and national government. Students will learn the structure and processes of the government of the state of Tennessee and various local governments. The reading of primary source documents is a key feature of United States Government and Civics standards.
 

Content Strands: Many academic standards for social studies courses are categorized into content strands as indicated by letter codes. (C=Culture, E=Economics, G=Geography, H=History, P=Politics/Government, TN=Tennessee)

Principles of United States Government

Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values of the American government as expressed in the Constitution and other essential documents of American federalism.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the Magna Carta; Mayflower Compact; English Bill of Rights; excerpts from Two Treatises of Civil Government, John Locke; Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson; excerpts from The Federalist Papers - 1, 9, 10, 39, 51, 78; excerpts from the Constitution; excerpts from Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville; excerpts from "The Social Contract" by Jean Jacques Rousseau

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: excerpts from "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr.; "The Ballot or the Bullet" speech, Malcolm X; Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, 1786

Academic Standards
Cite textual evidence and evaluate multiple points of view to analyze the influence of ancient Greek, Roman, and leading European political thinkers such as John Locke,
 
 
Determine the central ideas in passages from Democracy in America to examine the character of American society, including its religious, political, and economic
H,P
 
Describe the purposes and functions of government as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution and demonstrate an understanding of current application of those
P
Explain how the Constitution reflects a balance between the promotion of the public good and the protection of individual rights.
H,P
 
Summarize (CC) with supporting evidence why the Founding Fathers established a constitutional system that limited the power of government.
H,P
 
Describe the systems of enumerated and shared powers, the role of organized interests (Federalist Number 10), checks and balances (Federalist Number 51), the importance
P
Analyze how the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government and state governments.
P
Assess the claims, reasoning, and evidence of various authors to analyze the tensions within our Republic and the importance of maintaining a balance between the

H,P

 

Branches of Government

Students analyze the unique roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government as established by the Constitution.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the Constitution; the Bill of Rights

Academic Standards
Analyze Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and lengths of terms of representatives and senators;
P
 
Describe in order the steps of the process through which the Constitution can be amended.
P
 
Identify current representatives from Tennessee in the legislative branch of the national government.
P,TN
 
Analyze Article II of the Constitution as it relates to the executive branch, including eligibility for office and length of term, election to and removal from office,
P
 
Analyze Article III of the Constitution as it relates to judicial power, including the length of terms of judges and the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.
P
 
Explain the processes of selection and confirmation of Supreme Court justices.
P
 

The Supreme Court and the Constitution

Students summarize landmark United States Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the United States Supreme Court cases listed in the standards

Academic Standards
Evaluate various interpretations and determine which explanations best accord with textual evidence to understand the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights

H,P

 
Analyze judicial activism and judicial restraint and the effects of each policy over time (e.g., the Warren and Rehnquist courts).
H,P
 
Assess and cite textual evidence to evaluate the effects of the United States Supreme Court's interpretations of the Constitution in Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch
H,P
 
Explain the controversies that have resulted over evolving interpretations of civil rights, including those in:

H,P

 
Write an opinion piece with supporting details that argues whether to interpret the U.S. Constitution as a "living document" or to determine the "original intent" of
H
 

Federal Power

Students analyze the scope and function of federal power.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the Constitution of the United States; informational and primary source text related to the events in GC.23

Academic Standards
Explain how conflicts between levels of government and branches of government are resolved (supremacy clause, checks and balances).
P
 
Analyze the processes of lawmaking, including the role of lobbying and the media.
P
 
Identify the organization and jurisdiction of federal, state, and local courts and the interrelationships among them.
P
 
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events through textual evidence to analyze the scope of presidential power and decision-making related to significant
H,P
 
Identify and explain powers that the Constitution gives to the President and Congress in the area of foreign affairs.
P
 

Elections and the Political Process

Students evaluate issues regarding campaigns for national, state, and local elective offices.

 
Academic Standards
Analyze the origin, development, and role of political parties.
H,P
 
Explain the history of the nomination process for presidential candidates and the increasing importance of and difference between primaries, caucuses and general elections.
H,P
 
Analyze appropriate textual evidence to evaluate the roles of polls and campaign advertising, and examine the controversies over campaign funding.
P
 
Describe the means that citizens use to participate in the political process (e.g., voting, campaigning, lobbying, filing a legal challenge, demonstrating, petitioning,
P
Explain the features of direct democracy in numerous states (e.g., the process of initiatives, referendums, and recall elections).
P
 
Examine information in diverse formats and media to analyze trends in voter turnout and the causes and effects of reapportionment and redistricting.
P
 
Analyze the function of the Electoral College.
H,P
 

Influence of Media

Students evaluate the influence of the media on American political life.

 
Academic Standards
Cite textual evidence to defend a point of view about the meaning and importance of a free and responsible press.
P
 
Describe the roles of broadcast, print, and electronic media, including the Internet, as means of communication in American politics.
P
Explain how public officials use the media to communicate with the citizenry and to shape public opinion.
P
 

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens

Students evaluate the scope and limits of rights and obligations as democratic citizens, the relationships among them, and how they are secured.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the Constitution; the Bill of Rights

Academic Standards
Analyze the meaning and importance of each of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and how each is secured (e.g., freedom of religion, speech, press,
P
 
Explain how economic rights are secured and their importance to the individual and to society, including the right to acquire, use, transfer, and dispose of property;
P
 
Describe the individual's legal obligations to obey the law, serve as a juror, and pay taxes.
P
 
Connect insights gained from appropriate informational text to describe the obligations of civic-mindedness, including voting, being informed on civic issues,
P
Describe the reciprocity between rights and obligations, that is enjoying rights means fulfilling certain obligations and respecting the rights of others.
P
 
Explain how one becomes a citizen of the United States, including the process of naturalization.
P
 

Fundamentals of a Free Society

Students evaluate the fundamental values and principles of civil society, their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principles for a free society.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: The Declaration of Independence, 1776; Gettysburg Address, 1863; "Four Freedoms" speech, Franklin Roosevelt; Inaugural Address 1961, John Kennedy; "A Time for Choosing," 1964 speech, Ronald Reagan.

Academic Standards
Summarize the central ideas of iconic primary documents to identify the fundamental values and principles of a free society and evaluate their meaning and importance,
 
 
Explain how civil society provides opportunities for individuals to associate for social, cultural, religious, economic, and political purposes.
C,P
 
Explain how civil society makes it possible for people, individually or in association with others, to bring their influence to bear on government in ways other than
C,P
 
Examine the historical role of religion and religious diversity and their impact on society.
C,H,P
 
Compare and contrast the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies to the relationship of government and civil society in authoritarian
H,P
 

Civil Rights

Students analyze the development and evolution of civil rights for women and minorities and how these advances were made possible by expanding rights under the Constitution.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: excerpts from Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolution 1848; "I Have a Dream" speech, and Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Academic Standards
Describe the Civil Rights Movement and analyze resulting legislation and legal precedents.
C,H,P
 
Describe the women's rights movement and analyze resulting legislation and legal precedents.
C,H,P
 
Identify legislation and legal precedents that established rights for the disabled, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, and other minority groups, including the
C,H,P

Federal Government and the Economy

Students analyze the influence of the federal government on the American economy.

 
Academic Standards
Explain how the role of government in a mixed economy includes providing for national defense, addressing environmental concerns, defining and enforcing property
E,P
 
Explain the aims of government fiscal policies (taxation, borrowing, and spending) and their influence on production, employment, and price levels.
E,P
 
Describe how the government responds to perceived social needs by providing public goods and services.
E,P
 
Explain major revenue and expenditure categories and their respective proportions in the budgets of the federal government.
E,P
 
Describe how federal tax and spending policies affect the national budget and the national debt.
E,P
 

Tennessee State and Local Government

Students identify and explain the structure and functions of government at the state and local levels in Tennessee.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: The Tennessee Constitution

Academic Standards
Identify and describe the provisions of the Tennessee Constitution that define and distribute powers and authority of the state government.
P,TN
Provide examples of the principles of federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and popular sovereignty in the government of the state of Tennessee and the
P,TN
 
Explain the hierarchy and functions of the Tennessee court system, including the distinction between Chancery and circuit courts and identify the current chief justice
P,TN
 
Summarize the functions of departments or agencies of the executive branch in the state of Tennessee.
P,TN
Compare and contrast the legal, fiscal, and operational relationship between state and local governments in Tennessee.
E,P,TN
Explain the differences among the types of local governments in Tennessee, including county government, city government, and metro government.
P,TN
Describe how citizens can monitor and influence local and state government as individuals and members of interest groups.
P,TN
Write an opinion piece with supporting details regarding the specific ways individuals can best serve their communities and participate responsibly in civil society and
C,P,TN
Identify current representatives (per the student's respective district) in the Tennessee General Assembly and research their past and current proposed legislation
P,TN
Identify the current governor of Tennessee and examine his/her platform for improving the quality of life in Tennessee.
P,TN
 
Working with other students, identify a significant public policy issue in your community, gather information about that issue, fairly evaluate the various points of
C,P,TN
 
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