AP United States Government

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AP United States Government Mr. Stallard – Room 126

eastalla@smsd.org @smeapgov

913-993-6671 (school)

This is a political science course, not a history course. Some of the information you learned in U.S. History last year will apply; however, knowing all 44 presidents in order and

understanding the significance of Jacksonian Democracy is not what AP US Government & Politics is about. You will be learning how to analyze information as a political scientist during the year.


! Robert L. Lineberry, Government In America, 16th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012

! James Q. Wilson and John J. Dilulio, American Government, 10th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

! Steffen Schmidt, Mark Shelley, and Barbara Bardes. American Government and Politics Today, 2003-2004 ed. Thompson/Wadsworth, 2003.

! These readings will be supplemented with classroom handouts throughout the year. ! Various AP prep books are available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and other

booksellers. The quality of the sample exams and review material varies greatly. Requirements

1. Appropriate Classroom Behavior

! You made the choice to enroll in AP Government. This sends the message that you want to be here and are ready to work hard so you can pass the AP exam. Students who distract others from meeting this goal will be asked to withdrawal from the class.

2. Ask Questions

! Too often, students in AP courses are afraid to ask questions because they think they are the only one who doesn’t get it. Our goal is to learn...so be brave, raise your hand, get your answer, and help out the others who are also seeking clarification. Research shows that when students are active learners, they retain more.

3. Portfolio

! Students are required to buy a three-ring-binder to create a study portfolio. It should be divided into the following sections:

a) Underpinnings

b) Parties, Groups, and Media c) Beliefs and Behaviors

d) Institutions e) Public Policy

f) Civil Liberties & Civil Rights ! You should include class notes, personal notes over readings (highly recommended since we cannot begin to cover everything in class), essays, exams, and all other class materials in this binder. Your portfolio will be an indispensable study tool as you review and prepare for the AP examination during the course of the year.

4. Expect to arrive to each class session ready to work from bell to bell. We have an incredible amount of information to cover in a very short amount of time. I expect the highest levels of scholasticism on days when I am present and those that I am absent.


5. AP graders tend to be impressed when students can connect textbook concepts to real-world events that occurred during the year. Therefore, maintaining an awareness of current events, especially those from inside the beltway should be considered a daily assignment.

6. Because of the reading demands, you should plan on reading portions of your textbooks and portfolio daily.


1. Unit Assignments

! At the beginning of each unit, you will receive an assignment sheet that details the reading assignments and all other homework that will be due before the unit exam. ! The textbook readings will constitute most of your homework for each unit,

however, each unit has additional assignments (such as essays, papers, projects, quizzes and exams).

! Students are tested on their understanding of quantitative and visually presented information (maps and graphs) at regular intervals in the quiz assignments.

! Over the past five years students who read the textbook get the highest scores. To ensure you get the 4 or 5 that many colleges require you must read.

! Most unit exams will consist of 60 multiple-choice questions and at least one free-response question. All exams will be timed.

2. Current Events

! All students should watch a Sunday morning political talk show weekly. If this is church time for you, I recommend you DVR one of the shows listed below:

! Reliable Sources – Sunday morning 9:00-10:00 on CNN ! Meet the Press – Sunday morning 9:00-10:00 on NBC

! This Week with George Stephanopoulos– Sunday morning 9:30-10:30 on ABC ! Watching the national nightly news at 5:30 p.m. is highly recommended. CNN is

another good choice.

! Reading the paper is encouraged. I recommend reading the Washington Post or The New York Times (both have on-line versions). The Kansas City Star does not cover national politics to the degree required for an AP Government course but it’s better than nothing.

! You are encouraged to set one of the presets on your car stereo to FM 89.3 (Kansas City) or 91.5 (Lawrence). On your way to school, listen to Morning Edition, which is a National Public Radio news program and has some of the best news coverage in the country.

! We will have periodic current events quizzes. The intent of these quizzes is to see if you can analyze current situations and apply your findings to concepts discussed in the curriculum.



We have approximately 110 days to make it through the material. The College Board recommends that students focus their attention upon the following topics:

1. Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (12 days) ! Federalism

! Separation of powers

! Considerations that influenced the formulation and adoption of the Constitution ! Compare and contrast the founding fathers philosophy to today’s political climate

Readings for Unit 1 - Lineberry Ch. 1-3

- Wilson Ch. 1-4 / Schmidt Ch. 1-3 - Federalist #10, Federalist #51

2. Political Beliefs and Behaviors of Individuals (18 days)

! Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and its leaders ! Processes by which citizens learn about politics

! The nature, sources, and consequences of public opinion

! Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and behaviors

! Gather and analyze poll data regarding perceived political influence of the citizenry Readings for Unit 2

- Lineberry Ch. 6-7

- Wilson Ch. 4, 7, 8 / Schmidt Ch. 7

3. Political parties, Interest groups, and Mass Media (22 days) ! Political parties and elections

! Interest groups and PACs

! How the media influences American politics ! Analyze election poll data

Readings for Unit 3 - Lineberry Ch. 8-10

- Wilson Ch. 9, 10, 11, 12 / Schmidt Ch. 8-11

4. The Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (36 days) The major formal and informal institutional arrangements of powers

! Relationships among these four institutions

! Links between these institutions and political parties, interest groups, the media, sub-national governments, and public opinion

Readings for Unit 4 - Lineberry Ch. 11-15

- Wilson Ch. 13-16 / Schmidt Ch. 12-15 - Federalist #78


5. Public Policy (12 days)

! Policy processes and outputs ! Policy making in a federal system

! Compare actual expenditures in the current year fiscal budget with poll data on what citizens claim is important in American society.

Readings for Unit 5 - Lineberry Ch. 16-18

- Wilson Ch. 17-21 / Schmidt Ch. 16-17 6. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (10 days)

The development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation, including, for example:

! First Amendment freedoms ! The rights of the accused

! Minority-group and women's rights ! Incorporation of the 14th Amendment

! Research current civil liberties cases before the Supreme Court and predict their outcome based on historical precedent

Reading for Unit 6 - Lineberry Ch. 4-5

- Wilson Ch. 5-6 / Schmidt Ch. 4-6 AP Examination

! The exam will be held in early-May before commencement ! The examination is 2 hours and 25 minutes long

a) Students have 45 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice questions (50% of score)

b) Students have 100 minutes to complete 4 free-response questions (50% of score) ! All students are expected to take the AP Examination.


! The long-term goal of this course is to prepare you for the AP exam. I believe that if you are challenged in class you will be well prepared on the day of the AP exam. If you are uncomfortable with taking a difficult course or are concerned primarily about maintaining your GPA...enroll in a different course.

! Your course grade will be determined as outlined in the student agenda:

a) Daily work and tests – 80%.

b) Final Exam – Mock AP Examination (20% of grade) ! Assignments are due at the beginning of the hour. Late and

incomplete assignments will receive 1/2 credit upon being

completed satisfactorily. Assignments more than two days late receive a zero. We do not put many points in the grade book therefore late assignments can be disastrous to

A 90-100% B 80-89% C 70-79% D 60-69% F 59-0%



General Classroom Rules

! No food or drink (except water) is allowed in the classroom. This includes products purchased from the coffee shop and vending machines.

! Given the nature of the class, there will be philosophical disagreements between students. Discussion and debate are encouraged. However, make sure to attack the idea, not the person. ! No one leaves the classroom the first or last ten minutes of class. Do your business during

passing period. You can talk to your friends later. With proper planning, you can stop by a bathroom and a water fountain and still get anywhere in the building in the time allotted. ! The school policy on tardies will be followed. After three you will be assigned a detention with

me (usually in the morning since I coach). The fourth is an office referral usually resulting in a Friday school. The fifth usually results in an ISS (yeah, I know, this one makes no sense to me either). Be here, ready to learn, when the bell rings and you won’t have to worry about it. ! Ethical behavior. Over the past several years, technologies in the form of smart phones and

computers have become an extension of most teenagers’ arms. Unfortunately, this technology has also been used by some to cheat on assignments and exams. Therefore, if I see any

electronic device out during an exam, in class assignment, or other time so designated, I will assume that cheating is occurring and the student will receive a zero. After an exam or assignment is completed, the official school policy regarding technology will continue to be enforced. If there is ever a question as to whether technology can be used in class or not, please ask.

! Assignment reminders and certain current events will be tweeted out to all that follow me. Therefore, there should be no reason to “forget” an assignment. Follow me @smeapgov.

Advanced Placement Government Contract

We understand the prerequisites and the work ethic expectations that apply to this class. The decision to enroll in this course is an academic one, based on current skills and motivation; it is not a social decision or one motivated by the additional grade point. We are committed to tackling the challenge of an advanced placement college curriculum at an accelerated pace. We feel this is a wise decision and are committed to fulfilling the requirements of the course.

I acknowledge that I have read and understand the syllabus and the classroom rules and agree to abide by them.

Student’s Name (printed):________________________________________________________________

Student’s Signature:_____________________________________________________________________ Parent’s Name (printed):_________________________________________________________________ Parent’s Signature:______________________________________________________________________ Parent’s email (optional) _________________________________________________________________





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