Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we have a special class starter to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. What is the main point Dr. King is making in this quote?

  2. Do you agree with Dr. King?

  3. What is an example of injustice in your world today?

  4. How does that injustice affect you?

  5. Do you agree that we are all tied together and interconnected?

  6. Describe any example you can think of where we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality:

  7. Do you know why Dr. King was in the Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963?

  8. Do you think you would go to jail to fight a modern injustice?

  9. What would Dr. King think about our world today?

  10. What do you think Dr. King's greatest legacy is?

  11. How are you celebrating today's King Holiday?


Learning Extension

One of the most important and moving letters in American history is Dr. King's brilliant and inspiring Letter from a Birmingham Jail. You can read it in a twenty minute sitting. We also have a great lesson on Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.


Action Extension

On social media or in person, share Dr. King’s quote and explain what it means to you.

Trump's "A Team" Turnover

How much turnover has there been on Trump’s “ A-Team” also known as the Executive Office of the President?

The chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president.

The chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president.

To provide the President with the support needed to govern effectively, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was created in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The EOP has responsibility for tasks ranging from communicating the President’s message to the American people to promoting our trade interests abroad. Overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, the EOP has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisors.

  1. How amazingly accurate was your prediction?

  2. How does turnover in Trump’s Executive Office of the President (EOP) compare to that of recent presidents?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of so much turnover at the top of Trump’s organization?

  5. What exactly is the Executive Office of the President??

  6. Is there anything setting up or laying out the powers of the executive office of the President in the U.S. Constitution?

  7. Is there anything setting up or laying out the powers of the cabinet in the U.S. Constitution?

  8. What are the different offices within the Executive Office of the President?

  9. Compare the EOP and the Cabinet in terms of their confirmation process and duties?

  10. What has the turnover rate been like for the Trump cabinet?*

  11. In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Freaking Hamilton writes about the executive freaking branch. Hamilton writes that, “A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.” What do you think Hamilton would say about whether the Constitution would allow an Executive Office of the President?

  12. Considering Hamilton’s Federalist No. 70, and the high level of turnover in the Trump Executive Office of the President and Cabinet. Make a claim about whether Hamilton would consider the Trump administration enfeebled.

  13. Do the members of the EOP and the Cabinet get paid during a shutdown?

  14. My wife owns a bakery. She likes turnovers!* Do you personally think turnover in the federal government is a good thing?

Visual Extension*

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Overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, the EOP has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisors.

The following entities exist within the Executive Office of the President:

Learning Extension

You can find out the salary of every member of the Executive Office of the President - such as John Bolton - right here in the 2018 Report!

Action Extension

Contact any member of the Executive Office of the President and ask them what they think about the high level of turnover in the Trump Administration.

EOP Salary Extension

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Blame Game

The current government shutdown is the longest in American history. Who do Americans most blame for the current government shutdown?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story do the data tell?

  3. Why do you think Americans blame Trump more than Democrats for the government shutdown?

  4. What will be one consequence of the data from the chart above?

  5. Who do you blame for the government shutdown? (Take our survey below)*

  6. Describe what you need to know about how the polling data was collected to determine its reliability.

  7. Do you think that polls like the one above are more likely to reflect opinion or to shape public opinion?

  8. Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51, that in order to avoid a tyranny, “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” Explain whether you think our system of government has countered ambition too much.

  9. Let’s say that a politician read the data above and thought, “wow, my constituents are really mad at me, I better change my position to end the shutdown.” Explain whether that politician’s perspective is more reflective of a trustee or a delegate.

  10. Explain any connection between the government shutdown and divided government.

  11. The Quinnipiac University poll** (below) has slightly different data from the CBS poll (above). What is the most likely reason for that difference?

  12. According to The Quinnipiac University poll**, How do demographics impact public opinion on the shutdown?

  13. What questions do you have about the data or this topic?

  14. How much do you think the fact that The Majority of Americans do not want a border wall will impact the government shutdown?**


Take Our Survey*

Create your own user feedback survey

Visual Extension**

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Learning Extension

Take part in the Government Shutdown CONVO.

Action Extension

Contact officials from your federal government and let them know what you think about the government shutdown.

Separated at Birth Extension

Popular Amendments

Since 1999, what has been the most common subject of proposed Constitutional amendments?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Based on the table above, what category of proposal is the most common?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. Do the types of proposals listed above tend to expand or diminish individual rights?

  5. WHICH OF THE AMENDMENT PROPOSALS ABOVE WOULD YOU PERSONALLY VOTE FOR?

  6. Which of the amendment proposals above were ACTUALLY passed by Congress and then ratified by the states, becoming part of the U.S. Constitution?

  7. Explain Why so many Amendments are proposed, when they are very unlikely to be passed and ratified?

  8. Describe the connection between federalism and the Amendment process.

  9. How do you think the frequency of Amendment proposals varies by political party?*

  10. Why are Conservatives more likely to try to Amend the ConstituTion than Democrats?

  11. The U.S. Constitution is famously difficult to amend: It takes a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, then ratification by three-quarters of the states. Of the roughly 12,000 amendments proposed since the Constitutional Convention, only 33 have gone to the states for ratification, and just 27 have made it all the way into the Constitution. EXPLAIN WHETHER THE DIFFICULTY OF THE AMENDMENT PROCESS MEANS THAT THE FRAMERS WERE MORE INTERESTED IN A PLURALIST SYSTEM OR AN ELITE SYSTEM.

  12. Take ten seconds and draw the process of Amending the Constitution. I know, I know: you aren’t an artist, this isn’t AP Studio Art, You’re hangry. I get it. But really, this will really, Really, Really help you remember the The process of Amending the Constitution - I promise. Take ten seconds and draw The Amending the Constitution. Don’t worry, I’m not going to take this up for a grade, Tweet it to all your Enemies. Just draw: It can be stick figures, blocks and shapes, or total abstraction - it doesn’t matter. Once you complete your drawing, take a second and look at your masterpiece. That’s it. Really. Now you’ve got The The Amendment process in Your long term memory - right where we ant it! Thank you for playing.

Learning ExtenSion

Read the Pew report on recent attempts to Amend the Constitution.

Action Extension

Your classroom is the U.S. Congress - whoot. Take the proposed Amendment above that you think is most likely to be passed by Congress and vote on it in your class. If it passes Congress (2/3), then your class becomes the states - whoot! Vote again and see if the proposed Amendment IS ratified by the states (3/5).

Visual Extension

Politicians separated at Birth Extension

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LOCAL POLITICIAN GONE WILD (VIRGINIA FOXX, NC DISTRICT 5)

LOCAL POLITICIAN GONE WILD (VIRGINIA FOXX, NC DISTRICT 5)

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Graduating from Electoral College

What portion of Democrats say we should amend the Constitution so the candidate who receives the most votes wins?

  1. Identify one trend in the data.

  2. What is the most important cause of that trend?

  3. Describe how party identification impacts opinion on abolishing the electoral college:

  4. What is the best explanation for that difference?

  5. Describe how residency in a battleground state (swing state) impacts opinion on abolishing the electoral college:*

  6. What is the best explanation for that difference?

  7. If Congress votes to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College what portion of U.S. states would have to ratify the Amendment for it to pass?

  8. A majority of Americans want to abolish the electoral college. Considering the data from the chart and the difficulties of the Amendment process, do you think it is likely that the U.S. will amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College?

  9. In what way does the Amendment process reflect federalism?

  10. Hypothetically, could we amend the Constitution to abolish the Constitution?

  11. The 2000 election and the 2016 election were won by the candidate who got the least popular votes. Did that impact the results of the poll?

  12. Would you prefer to amend the Constitution so the candidate who receives the most votes wins, or do you prefer to keep the current system so the candidate who wins the Electoral College vote wins?

  13. Based on the data above and what you know about the American political system. In a scenario where Democrats gain a supermajority in the House and the Senate. Describe what Republicans could do to lessen the likelihood of an Amendment to abolish the Electoral College?

  14. The Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Make a claim about whether the Framers of the Constitution were more interested in a participatory or a elite democracy.

  15. Take ten seconds and draw the electoral college. I know, I know: you aren’t an artist, this isn’t AP Studio Art, You’re hangry. I get it. But really, this will really, Really, Really help you remember the concept of The Electoral College - I promise. Take ten seconds and draw The Electoral College. I’m not going to take this up for a grade, Tweet it to all your friends. Just draw. It can be stick figures, or big blocks and shapes, or totally abstract-it doesn’t matter. Now that you’ve drawn, take a second and look at your masterpiece. That’s it. Really. Now you’ve got The Electoral College in Your long term memory - right where we want it! Thank you for playing.

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Action Extension

Contact your U.S. House Representative, let them know what you think about the Electoral College, and tell them what you’d like them to do about it?

Separated at Birth Politician Extension (Disney Style)


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