Top Paid Public Jobs By State

What is the top paid public job in your state?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this map?

  3. What story does this map tell?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is a consequence of this?

  6. Is this good news or bad?

  7. What is the difference between a public and a private job?

  8. In your opinion, what is the most important public job in your state?

  9. Why do you think we pay sports coaches so much more than we pay firefighters, teachers, police chiefs, or even governors?

  10. Who decides the salary of the top paid public job in your state?

  11. What portion of these highest paid public employees do you imagine are women?

  12. Based on the information in the map write a question that you would like your state legislature to answer:


Learning Extension

Read the list of the name, position, and salary of the best paid public employee in each state.


Action Extension

Do some research to determine the name of the best paid public worker in your state, and the best paid private worker in your state. Share your information with ten friends and with your class.

Presidential Rankings

AP US Government and Politics

C-SPAN just released their 2017 Presidential Poll. According to their survey, who were the top 5 best presidents in American history?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Which president's ranking were you most incorrect about (you can get the whole list here)?

  3. What most surprised you about this list?

  4. Which president's rankings changed the most over the past 17 years?

  5. What leadership characteristics do you think the top five presidents share?

  6. What characteristics do you think the five bottom ranked most ratchet presidents share (you can get the whole list here)?

  7. What characteristics do you think C-SPAN used in ranking the presidents?

  8. What kind of people do you think C-SPAN asked to participate in ranking the presidents?

  9. Explain how different this list would have been if instead of asking experts to rank the presidents, C-SPAN asked random Americans to offer their rankings.

  10. How many presidents do you think the average American can even name?

  11. Okay, how many can you name, hot-shot?

  12. How surprised are you that Obama was ranked the twelfth best president?

  13. What was one event or presidential action responsible for Obama's high ranking?

  14. Do you imagine Obama's ranking will rise or fall over the next 17 years?

  15. Based on his first few months in office, how do you think Donald Trump will be judged by history?

  16. Explain whether there is a connection between approval ratings and presidential rankings.

  17. James Madison was the father of the Constitution and one heck of a lady's man, but he was only ranked as the 17th best president ever. What characteristics that could make someone an elegant thinker and writer might not help them be a good president?


Learning Extension

You can jump all around C-SPAN's rad-badadical interactive presidential ranking page and learn a ton about the presidents!


Action Extension

Rank your top ten most lit presidents and share your rankings in class or online. Be prepared to explain why you ranked these individuals at the tip top.

There are no bonus charts so get on with your life.

Religious States of Being

AP US Government and Politics

What percent of adults in your state are "highly religious"?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. When people say they are "Highly religious" what religion do you think most of them are talking about?

  3. What is the big story that this map tells?

  4. What's the biggest surprise in this map?

  5. How would this map have been different 100 years ago?

  6. How do you predict this map will be different when you are 50 years old?

  7. What is one trend you see in the map?

  8. What explains that trend?

  9. What is one consequence of that trend?

  10. MC Hammer famously said/sang/danced, "You got to pray just to make it each day." What do you think he would say about this map?

  11. If you had to give the US an overall religiosity score what would it be?

  12. How do you think US religiosity compares to other countries around the world?

  13. What is the impact of this map on the US political system in general?

  14. How did this map impact last year's presidential elections?

  15. Based on the map, explain the connection between religiosity and party affiliation.

  16. In the comments section, describe how you feel about the religiosity of your state and the United States in general:


Action Extension

Survey ten of your friends and family members about whether they consider themselves "highly religious." Compare your survey results to the rest of your state and share your results in class and on social media. If you think the US is not religious enough, go to church more. If you think the US is too religious, go to church less.


Learning Extension

Use the Pew Religion Calculator to find out how religious your state is, and check out the list of the top ten most religious states (mine is #10!)

Bonus Information*

Racing for Votes

AP US Government and Politics

When an area is over 85% White, how does that affect support for Trump?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. Why is that?

  4. What is a consequence of this.

  5. How much did race impact the 2016 election?

  6. This chart comes from a New York Times article by Thomas Edsall. Here is a quote from the article: Dravosburg, Pa. is a small — population 1,746 — working-class suburb that lies along the Monongahela River 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. If we want to understand what actually propelled Donald Trump to victory last November, presidential voting patterns there provide a vital clue. In 2012, Dravosburg backed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 441 to 312, or 53.4 percent to 44.8 percent. Four years later, the men and women of Dravosburg abandoned their Democratic loyalties and backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, 56.3 to 41.1. In that light, look more closely at Dravosburg. In 2000, according to the United States Census Bureau, 1,989 out of 2,015 residents — 98.7 percent — were white; 10 were black; and 12 were Hispanic. By 2016, the census reported, the total population had fallen to 1,746 — 95.4 percent of them white. The number of blacks and Hispanics, still tiny, had grown rapidly, however, to 39 (a 290 percent increase), and to 25 (a 108 percent increase). What does this excerpt of the story mean to you?

  7. And how did this demographic change impact the election in Davosborg and other White super-majority enclaves?

  8. There have been studies showing that Americans who live in close proximity to diverse America (immigrants, refugees,  Muslims, etc.) have little fear of these groups, whereas people who live farther away from these groups feared them the most. Here;s a quote from Thomas Edsall, the author of the article this data comes from. "Put another way, anger, fear and animosity toward immigrants and minorities was most politically potent in the communities most insulated from these supposed threats." Why do you think that is?

  9. How much do you think fear drives politics?

  10. Had Donald Trump not been specifically racist and anti-immigrant do you think he would have won white enclaves like Dravosborg in the 2016 election?

  11. What specific rhetoric from the Trump campaign would the people of Dravosborg been especially excited about?

  12. What specific policy promises from the Trump campaign would the people of Dravosborg been especially excited about?

  13. How do you think residents of places like Dravosborg currently evaluate the success of President Trump in enacting the rhetoric or policy promises from the campaign?

  14. Explain whether many people in Dravosborg and Elks County have read this article by Thomas Edsall or regualrly read the New York Times?

  15. Do you think the folks from Dravosborg and Elks County will vote for Trump again in 2020?

  16. In 2012, Dravosburg backed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 441 to 312, or 53.4 percent to 44.8 percent. Why do you think the residents of Dravosburg voted for Obama? And why did they like Trump more than Romney?

  17. Did you know that Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President in 2012 got more votes than Trump got in 2016? I did. Here's how many more votes he got: Trump won 45.93 percent of the total vote last year, 1.2 percentage points less than Romney’s 47.1 percent in 2012. How could Trump have done worse than Romney and also won the election?

  18. If all these super-white enclaves were in super-Republican states like Idaho it would not have mattered as much. What do you think happened in super-White enclaves in swing states?*

  19. Given the racism and xenophobia of places like Dravosborg, explain whether you believe Democrats could possibly defeat Trump in 2020?

  20. Edsall writes, "The core of Trump’s support lies in counties and municipalities like Dravosburg and Elk County, many of which are losing population. They are, in effect, the last gasp of white hegemony." Do you think he's right or will white hegemony continue in America?

Learning Extension

Read Edsall's White-On-White Voting story.

Action Extension

Do one of the following.

Try to make a connection to someone who lives in a place like Dravosburg or Elk County, mostly separate from the growing diversification of America, and explain to them how diversity has impacted your life.

Have you ever integrated a 85% plus white area? Share your story in class or online.

Make a comment on the comments section of the Thomas Edsall article. Share your comment in class or online.

Bonus Chart*

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Bonus Caption Contest

Look at the photograph below. Imagine a thought bubble above the baby in Trump's arms. What's the baby thinking? "Goodnight White Hegemony!" "I see White People!" or something like that. Or get super creative and make the thought bubble coming out of President Trump's head. Share your comment in the comments section below. The best comment will win a certificate of commendation and widespread praise on this website!

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Tweeter-in-Chief

AP US Government and Politics

Who has more Twitter followers: LeBron James, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or The New York Times?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. How much has Trump's Twitter following increased over the past 2 years?

  5. Do you think anyone in the universe has more Twitter followers than Donald Trump?*

  6. Did more people vote for Trump in 2016 or follow Trump on Twitter?**

  7. Do you think that Twitter has been overall good or bad for America?

  8. What impact does the Trump Twitter account have on US and global politics? 

  9. What overall impact does social media have on US politics?

  10. Jimmy Carter once said that as president he preferred the power of the bully pulpit to the power of the veto. Do you think he was right to say this?

  11. Do you think Trump would agree with Carter?

  12. What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution say about the president's power and the use of Twitter?

  13. If the Framers rewrote the U.S. Constitution (don't worry, they aren't planning to) do you think they might trade in the mandatory State-of-the-Union Address for mandatory Tweeting?

  14. Counterfactual time. Imagine the Trump candidacy or presidency without Twitter. How do things change?

  15. The kinds of things that Donald Trump regularly tweets out would doom almost any other politician. Explain how he gets away with his Tweets:

  16. Marshall McLuhan, the late-great media thinker wrote that, "the medium is the message." What do you think he meant by that and how does that relate to the Twitter account of @realDonaldTrump?

  17. Who do you think is @thefakedonaldtrump ?

  18. Facebook and Twitter have banned users for racist and inflammatory comments. Do you believe Twitter should ban @realDonaldTrump ?

  19. Barack Obama has even more Twitter followers than Trump. If those two men ran against each other for president (they can't - 22nd Amendment!) who do you think would win?

  20. If Abraham Lincoln had a Twitter account what would his handle be?

  21. Rewrite the U.S. Constitution as a Tweet:

*Learning Extension

Check out the list of the people with the most Twitter followers and also Article II of the U.S. Constitution below.

Action Extension

Tweet @realDonaldTrump and ask him if he would prefer the power of the veto or the power of Twitter? Share your experience in class or online.

**2016 presidential vote total

Clinton 65,853,516

Trump 62,984,825

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