Legalized Discrimination

How many states have LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in K-12 schools?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What word came to your mind when you first read and understood this map?

  3. What story does this map tell?

  4. What patterns do you see in this map?

  5. Why do you think that pattern exists?

  6. If you overlaid the map above with a map showing the political party affiliation by state how would Democratic majority states compare to the states with nondiscrimination policy?

  7. Does your state protect LGBTQ students from discrimination?

  8. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why children should be protected from discrimination?

  9. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why children should NOT be protected from discrimination?

  10. In 1964 the U.S. Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act which outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and, notably, sex. Why didn’t Congress outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1964?

  11. Why doesn’t the federal legislature outlaw LGBTQ discrimination today?

  12. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, has said the 1964 Civil Rights Act does guarantee protections against sexual orientation discrimination. Do federal agencies have discretion to make decisions about how to enforce laws?

  13. The Trump administration has taken the opposite position from the EEOC, saying that the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and, notably, sex, cannot fairly be read to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status. What power does the Trump administration have over the EEOC and what can they do if they don’t like the EEOC’s enforcement decisions?

  14. The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees protections from workplace discrimination to gay and transgender people, agreeing to hear a case from New York, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, along with one from Georgia that came to the opposite conclusion, Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618.. Based on what you know about the Supreme Court, why has the court taken on this issue?

  15. How do you think the Supreme Court will rule?

  16. Did you know that the New York case, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had voiced concerns about being tightly strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.” He was fired. Mr. Zarda sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and lost the initial rounds. He died in a 2014 skydiving accident, and his estate pursued his case which they won in a recent appeals court ruling.

  17. If you were on the Court (you aren’t) explain how you would rule on this issue?

  18. Explain whether you would make a distinction in your ruling between protection for LGB people and Trans people.

  19. Do you think that the Court’s ruling on these cases will be landmark cases that will be studied by AP U.S. Government students in the future?

  20. What are some groups that might file Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) Briefs in this case?

  21. Why do groups file Amicus Curiae briefs in cases, anyway?

  22. How would a judicial conservative and a judicial activist differ in their approach to this case?

  23. How does this issue illustrate checks and balances?

  24. How does this issue illustrate federalism?

  25. Would you like to live in a world without hypotheticals?

  26. The map below* illustrates laws limiting workplace discrimination by state. How different is this map from the map above?

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read the Vox article, The Supreme Court just took up a set of very big cases on LGBTQ rights, about LGBTQ discrimination in America/

Action Extension

Contact a member of your state legislature and ask them to explain their position on protections for LGBTQ students.

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Federal Aid

AP Government and Politics

Which U.S. state relies the most on federal aid?

  1. It's Monday! How accurate was your insanely amazing prediction?

  2. It's still Monday. What surprised you most about this data?

  3. Describe any geographical patterns or trends you see in this data.

  4. How do you explain these patterns?

  5. How much does Mississippi get from the federal government each year as a percent of it's state revenue?

  6. Wow! Are you serious?

  7. States receive money from the federal government to build roads, for example. What is another example of programs for which states receive money from the federal government?

  8. What would you say to the people of Mississippi about this data?

  9. Did you know that it's the first day of the school week? Do you think most people in Mississippi are aware of the data from this chart?

  10. Explain why it is that Mississippi gets almost half of its state revenue from the government.

  11. Block grants and categorical grants are different ways U.S. federal government money flows to the states. Describe how these two types of grants are different.

  12. Explain which type of grant is a better way to allocated money.

  13. Which state gets the lowest percentage of its revenue from the federal government?

  14. Upon seeing this map, a student commented, "Dang, Mr. Milner! I'm moving to Mississippi to get all the government money! Oh, and Happy Monday!!!!" Let's call this student "Ricky Bobby" What would you like to say to Ricky Bobby about whether it would be a good idea to move to a state that gets a lot of federal support, before you punch him in the face.

  15. There is a paradox - for now I'll call it the Talladega paradox - that people from states who hate the government the most rely on it the most. What should we call this paradox? Leave the name for it in the comments section below and we'll send whoever came up with the winning paradox name an official GoPo certificate of appreciation and an underwhelming prize!

  16. What emoji would best sum up the feelings of a person in Mississippi towards the federal government?

  17. What on earth does any of this have to do with federalism? Pro-tip: think about it.

  18. What wise, incisive, and all around smart comment do you think either a conservative or a liberal would make about this map?

  19. Besides, glad to be alive, how does this map make you feel?

  20. How does party affiliation and voting results in the 2016 election relate to this map? (see below)*

  21. How different do you think this map was 100 years ago? 1 trillion years ago?

  22. Why do you think that people who get the most from the government hate the government the most?

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read the Tax Foundation article about federal money and the states. Then check out this updated Wallet Hub website chock full of great charts and graphs about this topic - more than you ever thought existed on this topic. But before you delete the Wallet hub link and delete your facebook account, just think about how amazing this information is and what a fascinating topic of conversation this could be at the prom!

Action Extension

Contact the Honorable Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi and tell him to chill with taking all our money and then hating’ on us.

Our World in Data Extension

GoPoPro Loves Data!

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Hipster Bear

Hipster Bear

Democracy Minus

What percent of Americans say that democracy is working very well in the U.S. today?

  1. How accurate was your splendid prediction?

  2. What story does this data tell about how Americans feel about democracy?

  3. Why do you think Americans feel that way about democracy?

  4. What is a consequence of this?

  5. How different are Democratic and Republican views of American democracy?

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. I am wondering if the political party of the president has an impact on how partisans feel about democracy at that time. How different do you think Democratic and Republican views on American democracy were during the Obama presidency?

  8. Explain how well you think democracy is working in the U.S.

  9. Describe one aspect of American politics which leads you to that conclusion.

  10. What percent of Americans think that significant changes are needed in the fundamental design and structure of American government?

  11. The Declaration of Independence asserts that “men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Does the fact that 61% of Americans believe the government needs fundamental and structural changes mean that the government has lost the consent of the governed and, if so, does that give us the right to alter or abolish our government?

  12. The Declaration of Independence listed the specific gripes the colonists had against the stupid British King. More than two thirds of Democrats think significant changes need to be made in the fundamental design and structure of American government. Describe some specific gripes and changes you think the typical Democrat would advocate today.

  13. Thinking about the fundamental design and structure of American government explain whether you believe that the significant changes are needed?

  14. If so, list three changes to the fundamental design and structure of American government that you would support.

  15. Do you believe that significant changes to the fundamental design and structure of American government are likely to occur?

  16. Describe the method by which Americans could undertake significant changes to the fundamental design and structure of American government.

  17. Was the Constitutional Convention that the Framers convened in Philadelphia in 1787 legal under the Articles of Confederation?

Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report Democracy and government, the U.S. political system, elected officials and governmental institutions

Action Extension

Even if you think that Democracy is working in general, you still must have at least one gripe with American democracy. Write a 28th Amendment describing a way to fix one problem with American democracy.

Our World in Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

National Emergency Declarations

How many times have presidents declared a national emergency since the National Emergencies Act was passed in 1976?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Since 1976, what type of national emergency declaration was the most common?

  3. the National Emergencies Act, passed in 1976, giving the president power to declare emergency, was passed by what branch?

  4. In your opinion, did that branch give away too much of their power to another branch, thus upsetting the careful balance of powers created by the U.S. Constitution?

  5. If that branch “unpassed” that law, How would they go about it?

  6. Explain whether any other branch could “unpass” the National Emergencies Act.

  7. How many military actions resulted from declarations of national emergency?

  8. Based on this list of every single National emergency declaration since 1976, Were Democratic or Republican Presidents more likely to declare emergency?

  9. Since 1976, the other military action as part of a national emergency was George W. Bush’s declaration of a national emergency on September 14, 2001, in response to the terror attacks of September 11, which ordered troops of the military reserve to assist in national security. Explain whether the terror attacks of September 11 and the current “national emergency” at the border are equivalent emergency threats to national security?

  10. Trump’s Presidential Proclamation of the National Emergency begins with the following line, “The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency." Does that seem like an accurate description of the situation at the southern border to you?

  11. Trump’s proclamation goes on to say, “In particular, recent years have seen sharp increases in the number of family units entering and seeking entry to the United States,” Does a border wall seem like the best solution to this problem?

  12. If there is a security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security why doesn’t the Congress act on this?

  13. Considering that 16 states are already suing the government over the national declaration of emergency. Describe the argument an anti-federalism might make about the president Proclaiming a federal declaration of emergency and taking funds to build a wall?

  14. 32 of the national emergency declarations are still active. Explain whether there Should be a sunset clause to these declarations (a mechanism to automatically end the emergency declaration after a certain time)?


  16. If you were president (I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!!!) Explain whether you would have declared a national emergency at the border.

Learning Extension

Read Trump’s actual Presidential Proclamation of the National Emergency.

Action Extension

Contact your member of Congress and let them know what you think about Trump’s Declaration.

Our World In Data Extension


National Emergency

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of Americans approve of Donald J. Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to build a wall?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Describe public opinion of the Trump Emergency Declaration?

  3. How do you think public opinion on the emergency declaration varies by party affiliation?*

  4. Why do you think the public feels that way about Trump’s national emergency Declaration funding a border wall?

  5. Who does the U.S. Constitution empower to fund things such as interstate highways, n.A.S.A., and border walls?

  6. Does Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution give the president the power to go against the Congress’ wishes and fund a border wall?

  7. President Trump’s power to declare a national emergency and build a wall comes from 33 U.S. Code § 2293 - Reprogramming during national emergencies and 10 U.S. Code § 2808 - Construction authority in the event of a declaration of war or national emergency. Based on your reading of these two short section of the U.S. Code, does Trump’s declaration of an emergency fall within the meaning of that code?

  8. You just made a claim about Trump’s power to declare a national emergency. What institution gets to make a claim about this which carries the rule of law?

  9. There are a number of things Congress could do to stop Trump. What is the most likely thing the Senate and House could do about Trump‘s declaration of a national emergency?

  10. The power of the purse (funding) is a Congressional power laid out in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. COnstitution. The Congress has repeatedly refused to fund a wall. By declaring a national emergency and funding a border wall, president Trump is taking away the funding from congress and giving it to himself. What does this action do to checks and balances?

  11. According to James Madison in Federalist No. 51, Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. Whose ambition is currently counteracting trump’s ambition?

  12. List the top three national emergencies that America faces:

  13. If you had to rank the border, in terms of national emergencies, how high would it rank?

  14. When Americans are asked to name the top national emergencies how high does the border wall rank?*

  15. Explain whether there is a connection between Trump taking such unpopular positions as declaring the border an emergency and his low public approval ratings?

  16. clearly, the president is taking a highly unpopular action. In your opinion, Explain whether this means that Trump is a strong or a weak leader.

  17. explain whether taking such a highly unpopular position makes Trump more of a trustee, delegate, or Politico.

  18. During two years of a Republican controlled Congress, POTUS Trump was not able to convince the legislature to fund his wall, Nor was he able to convince the public of the importance of the wall. Why do you think that is?

  19. President Trump is very good at convincing people of things they already believe in. He has been less successful at convincing people who don’t already agree with him. Explain whether successful presidents (or politicians) are able to convince people to change their minds. Support your argument with examples from american political history.

  20. The House and Senate have rejected the president’s requests for spending for the wall. Many Senators from his own party have publicaly opposed his national emergency declaration. Explain whether you believe the Congress will stop him?

  21. There are already a number of legal challenges to the national emergency Declaration (hear the list below). Where will these challenges ultimately end up and how do you think the SCOTUS will rule on this issue?

VISUAL Extension*


Action Extension

Contact your member of Congress and let them know what you think about Trump’s Declaration.

Our World In Data Extension