Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Boundless Government Textbook

I just discovered Boundless which has twenty-four different textbooks and is not married to the concept of pages (thankfully).  One of the subjects is government (they call it political science, but they have labeled it incorrectly).  It is a great "book" on the subject and even has several multiple choice questions on each topic.  If you sign up you can even get free PowerPoints. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Blog in the Family

Ever since I started teaching Economics and Personal Finance last summer I have been asked to start a new economics' blog, but not wanting to do it entirely myself I have resisted until recently. But colleague Rich Hoppock has promised to be a contributor and I have another person in mind as well so I am going to give it a go especially since I am adding AP Econ to my classes next year and it will force me to do more preparation for my students.  I already have up four posts which you can see if you go to the new blog which is here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Koch Brothers: Bad and Good!

The Koch brothers are taking multiple hits from the Democrats today.  As you can see from the Fix's video above, the Senate was open seven minutes before Reid (D-NV) attached them today.  If you live in the DC area you know that the Smithsonian is closing its dinosaur which I loved as a kid and have taken my own children too as adults.  Interestingly enough it is the same "evil Kochs" who are completely funding the new $35 million exhibit which will take five years to build.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kahn Academy Micro and Macroeconomics' Videos

If you like the videos made by Sal Kahn then here are all of his videos for micro and macro economics.  Above is one example of his work on price elasticity.

For my money Andrew Foos' videos on Microeconomics are better, though.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sample Size of 1000

Thanks to Rich Hoppock for finding this NYTimes article.  It looks at the fairly standard sample size and tells us why it is a great indicator of 310 million Americans feelings.  It is nice and short and good background for the topic in your class.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Will the Senate Turn?

Here is a nice NTTimes page that shows where the US Senate is going.  They, for what it is worth, say it is a toss up.  There are also a lot of links to other polls.  

Quizlet Review for AP Comparative

Thanks to Rebecca Small for finding this set of Quizlet cards for AP Comparative

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Resources

The Supreme Court just ruled that Michigan (and therefore other states) can get rid of affirmative action in college admittance in Schuette c. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Resources.  If you want to know more about this Scotus Blog has a great set of resources as well as the steps taken to get to the Supreme Court and what  they did there.  

Welker's Economics

You might have noticed that there has been a number of posts on economics this spring as I am teaching an economics course this year and going to add on AP Micro/Macro next year.  One site I will be following is Welker's Economics' site which has a blog, flipped learning lectures, flashcards and more.  Above is a video explaining it. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is America an Oligarchy?

Is America an oligarchy? That’s what two Princeton researchers concluded after conducting a scientific study.  The authors, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, examined data from policy initiatives from the 80’s until 2002.

They conclude that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."  Gilens and Page argue that these decisions are made by lobbying and business groups and by people in the 90th percentile of income. And the gap between the ultra wealthy and everyone else, as the two graphs show, continue to increase.

According to this story in  Policy Mic "Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call "democracy" — systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed."

Vox also has a good story about the study as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

AP Comparative Study Aids

So my students will finish Iran this coming Monday and take their quiz for part of the class on Wednesday.  But then we will begin our review for both AP US and AP Comparative.  You have already seen the review for AP US below, but here are some of the sites we will use for AP Comparative review:

  • Rebecca Small's "Conceptual Terms" which my students all have learned and will review
  • Scribd's AP Comparisons.  This is a great site if you want a quick review of major topics such as type of government, corruption, elections, ethnic conflict, social cleavages, and more.  If you look at the right side of the page you will see summaries for each country.  Russia, Iran, China (but not updated for Xi), Nigeria (Mexico and GB not there and EU is really weak)
  • Andrew Conneen's students' overview of each country (this is really good, but now two years old so Russia has some changes as does Iran). 
  • Ethel Woods' overview of each country (again be warned that this is a few years old)
  • Hauss's multiple choice questions from his previous edition
  • Quizlet also has some great flashcards.  The best way to search them is to write "AP Comparative Name of country" into the Quizlet search engine.  The top search items is usually quite good. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Texting Small Groups of Students in Remind101

I should have written about this a month ago, but if you have three or more students you want to reach, but do not want to connect with your entire class, then you can text that group only using Remind101. To do it go to the "To" box and start printing in the name of each student.  It will autofill and you can even add names from multiple classes.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Rates on 538

The 538 Blog has a few great charts which look at how our corporate taxes compare to other countries (above) as well as the percentage of our individual and corporate taxes as a percentage of the GDP and more.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Google Goes to Washington

This article is a great one to share with your students.  First off it is about Google, something we all know.  Secondly it discusses how Google has gone from being an outlier to politics in Washington, D.C. to one of the biggest presences in the city.  It discusses how it courts both sides of the aisle, as well as the libertarians, gives to think tanks, looks for future leaders to work for it and donates to a multitude of campaigns.  

If yo go to Open Secrets, you can see who and how much Google has donated to groups

Thursday, April 10, 2014

CSPAN Review for AP Government

Dan Larsen and Andrew Conneen do a great CSPAN AP US Government review each year a few days before the AP exam.  Larsen is a question leader at AP Government.  Above is their 2013 review and here are the other past ones.  I will get back to you shortly on the date of this year's live review when your students can call in and get questions answered.

You can watch this year's edition on Saturday May 10th from 9:15 to 10 AM EST on CSPAN.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Reformated Long Version for Government Review

Thanks to @BillyShulman for reformatting the long review guide below into 200+ questions that will definitely cover everything you want to review.  Go to "file" and "make a copy" and you can delete the questions you don't want.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review Packet for Government

My new colleague Doug Zywiol found this great AP Government review guide online (he can't remember where and if you know, please tell me so I can give credit where it is due).  It is imposing as it is very lengthy.  But you can tailor it to your liking  For example, we just gave our last test (courts, civil liberties and rights) so after taking it off, cutting some of it off and then formatting it, our own review is only twelve pages.  If you teach regular government you also might want to look at the documents as they should be help to you as well.  They are both done thematically and have boxes for easy answers.

While I am on reviewing for the AP exam, a few weeks ago the College Board put out word that they needed AP readers so if you are interested apply right away here.  I know their website had issues all fall so they actually were short just recently. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oral Argument in McCutcheon v. FEC

Who is Shaun McCutcheon (v. FEC)

McCutcheon v. FEC

I'll probably have several posts on today's McCutcheon v. FEC ruling.  Here is a great graphic showing the before and after.  Here are all of the steps the decision took in the US Supreme Court.  There are lots of good terms here such as amicus curiae, writ of certiorari as well as ScotusBlog (the best place to find out about current court cases) coverage of the case.