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.

Our World in Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Ranking our Rights

AP US Government and Politics

Of the following rights, which do Americans think is the least important: freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to privacy, freedom of religion, the right to own guns?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What most surprised you about this information?

  5. What is one consequence of Americans' enduring love of freedom of speech?

  6. The right to own guns is relatively unessential Americans' sense of freedom. How do you think that impacts the recent national debate about gun reform?

  7. According to this poll, which Constitutional Amendments are deemed as essential?

  8. WHat other Amendments (not listed above) would you personally describe as indispensable to your sense of freedom?

  9. How would you personally rank these five freedoms on a scale of most to least essential to your freedom?

  10. Explain how differently you think the average American Republican and Democrat would rank these five freedoms:

  11. If you were an autocratic government, determined to take away citizens' rights (think Putin) explain which of those five rights would you first take away.* This is hypothetical - don't actually do this!!!!!

  12. What's wrong with Americans that we no longer consider our Third Amendment Freedom from having to quarter soldiers as essential to our freedom????

  13. That Third Amendment right, which seemed essential in 1787 is more or less obsolete today. The Framers also were concerned about an overreaching national government and thus protected the right of states to form militias (2nd Amendment). Do you think that this idea is equally obsolete?

  14. Imagine Americans wanted to abolish the 2nd and 3rd Amendment (we've abolished amendments before) What steps could Americans take to do this?

Learning Extension

Read the Pew research Report on The Five Freedoms.

Action Extension

Share the following ranking with any ten people. Share the results in class or online.

Create your own user feedback survey

AP Pugament and Pugatics

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Drag Extension

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Lov Gov

AP U.S. Government and Politics

What federal government agency or department is viewed most favorably by the U.S. public?

Pew Research Center    AP U.S. Government and Politics

Pew Research Center

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story the data tell about American opinion on the federal government?

  3. Why do you think Americans have those views?

  4. What is one consequence of Americans having such favorable opinions of these departments and agencies?

  5. Is this good news?

  6. Are you surprised?

  7. Why do you think the Post Office won the most favorable rating of any agency or department?

  8. Which of the agencies and departments listed above do you have daily contact with?

  9. How would you answer the same questionnaire?

  10. What do you think would be the agency or department that the public views least favorably?

  11. What are three things Congress can do to control these agencies and departments?

  12. What can are three things the POTUS can do to control these agencies and departments?

  13. Why do you think that 42% of people have an unfavorable opinion of the department of education?

  14. How different do you think Democrats and Republicans view these agencies and departments?*

  15. Democrats and Republicans have exactly the same opinion of the Federal Reserve, yet they have very different opinions of the FBI. Why do you think that is?

  16. Do you think that most Americans even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  17. Do you even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  18. If you asked most Americans if they trust the government, only 18% say, yes. However, these same Americans have a very favorable view of much of the actual government. How do you explain this dissonance?

  19. Do you think the Trump administration is having an impact on Americans' views of the federal government?

  20. How different were Americans' views of these same agencies in 2013* (See below) compared to now?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

This cool new Pew report on American attitudes towards the government is about to be made into a movie by Disney. Check it out now!!!!!

Action Extension

Next time you have contact with the federal government (it could be your mail carrier bringing you mail or an F.B.I. agent arresting you) thank them for their work for the federal government and ask them what people's attitudes are towards them. Share your thoughts about this interaction in class or online. Or, ask ten of your schoolmates their attitudes towards these agencies and departments and compare those results with the views expressed in the data.

T-Rextension

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Our World In Data Extension

Animal in Clothes Extension

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Active Youth

Were young Americans (age 18-24) more politically active in 2016 or in 2018?

  1. How accurate was your crazy prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this change?

  5. Explain whether Donald Trump would have won election in 2016 if youth had been as politically active in 2016 as they were in 2018.

  6. Whether you are 18-24 or not, would you say that the chart accurately describes your experience regarding young Americans and their political participation?

  7. How much of the jump in political engagment is a reaction to Donald Trump?

  8. Based on the data in the chart, how would you describe overall youth political activism?

  9. Explain whether the data from the chart is good or bad news.

  10. List one question you have about this data:

  11. Describe a specific policy change that might come about because of this change between 2016 and 2018?

  12. Explain whether you think young people will be even more politically active in 2020.

  13. What are some policies and politicians that are especially popular with today’s engaged youth?

  14. Imagine you were a political operative trying to increase youth political engagement. What step would most likely increase youth political activism?

  15. Imagine you were a political operative trying to decrease youth political engagement. What step would most likely decrease youth political activism?

  16. Explain whether the data from the chart is good news for the Republican Party.

  17. Describe the role political socialization plays in the results from the chart.

  18. Federal law requires that you must be 18 to vote in national elections. What is the age requirements for each of the political activities listed in the chart above?

  19. How many of the actions listed on the chart have you done?

  20. Describe how political party affiliation impacts youth political engagement.*

Learning Extension

Check out this CIRCLE report on the politics of people like you (give or take a few years).

Action Extension

Engage in one of the political activities listed in the chart, and share your experience in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Zoo Animals In Clothes Extension

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David Bowie Extension

The Center Cannot Hold

AP US Government and Politics

How much ideological overlap is there between U.S. House Democrats and Republicans?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What political ideology is most associated with each of the parties?

  3. What is one trend you see in the data?

  4. What are two causes of this trend?

  5. What is one consequence of this trend?

  6. Is this good news for the average American?

  7. What question do you have about this chart?

  8. In 2012 there were only 11 members of the House of Representatives who had overlapping ideology. What part of the country or type of district do you think these crossover House members are from?

  9. How does ideological overlap in the U.S. Senate compare to the overlap in the U.S. House?

  10. How does ideological overlap in the U.S. Congress compare to the overlap in the U.S. population?

  11. Explain how the trend from the chart above affects the ability of the president to govern.

  12. Imagine that the Supreme Court declares gerrymandering unconstitutional and forces state legislatures to appoint independent panels to redraw all districts without gerrymandering. Explain how the data in the chart would change in the next ungerrymandered congress?

  13. Gerrymandering was named after Elbridge Gerry. Four decades from now, when political scientists use the term Trumping what will it mean? Submit your answer in the comments section below!

  14. How will the Trump administration impact the level of polarization in the future?

  15. If you extrapolate from the data, how many crossover votes do you imagine there will be in 2020?

  16. In the comments section, explain the connection between the data and the fact that less than 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing:

Take Our Survey
Take Our Survey
I approve of the job Congress is doing.

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read this Pew Research Center report on political polarization. Or watch this BBC video about polarization.

Action Extension

Take the Pew Political Typology Quiz and then compare your results to your Congressional Representative's ideology scorecard.

Our World In Data Extension

Animals in Clothes Extension

The ________ Branches of Government

AP Government and Politics

What portion of Americans can correctly identify the three branches of government?

  1. How wildly inaccurate was your prediction?

  2. How sad is that information, tho?

  3. If you knew a person who could not name the three branches of government would you let them still be your friend? And what would you think of them?

  4. 1/3 of all the Americans surveyed could not name a single branch. WHAT THE WHAT?

  5. Can you name all three branches?

  6. Can you name all four? (j/k)

  7. If you had to list the top reasons for the results of this survey what would you list as the top three:

  8. What is a consequence of this level of knowledge of the U.S. Government?

  9. If the average Democrat and Republican were shown the information above and asked to comment on it, how different would their responses be?

  10. Is there any connection between this information and the 2016 election? Share your answer to this question in the comments section below!

  11. Do you imagine that Americans were any better at naming the three branches back in the 18th century when George Washington was president?

  12. Is it actually important to know the kind of information that you could look up on any smart phone in about 5 seconds?

  13. How different do you think the results of this survey will be in 20 years?

  14. Who do you think would do better at identifying the three branches of government, Justin Bieber (Canadian), the actor who plays Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) in the Harry Potter Movies (English), PewDiePie (Swedish), or the average 10th grader (American) at your school? Explain your answer.

  15. Why do you think that 1% of the people who took this survey “refused” to answer? were they insulted by how easy the survey was? What does “refused” even mean?

  16. Are you depressed about this? I am. Let's talk. Tell me how you feel:

  17. What are some other important facts about our government that you imagine would also be unknown to many Americans?

  18. Any foreign born American who wants to become a citizen will have to pass a citizenship test where they will have to know the answer to this kind of question. Do you think that this kind of questions should be required for citizenship?

  19. Claim: in order to vote any American citizen should have to prove that they can name the three branches of government and answer other important questions about the U.S. Government. Respond to this claim.

  20. List one consequence of requiring a citizenship style test before people are allowed to vote.

  21. Congratulations, you get to title this chart. What would you name it?

  22. Which of the charts below* is the most depressing?

  23. What percent of statistics are made up on the spot?

Learning Extension

Read the Annenberg Public Policy report on this survey and weep.

Action Extension (do one of the following)

1-Take a mini-practice citizenship test online and share your results in class or online.

2-Ask ten people to name the three branches of government and share your results in class or online.

* Bonus Smarts Charts

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Okay, Mr. 3% who can name Freedom to petition! Happy now?

Okay, Mr. 3% who can name Freedom to petition! Happy now?

 

 

Who are You?

Of the following characteristics, which did Americans say was the most important in describing themselves?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about the data?

  3. What is one question you have about the data?

  4. What is the big story this data tells?

  5. Why do you think that is?

  6. What is one consequence of this?

  7. We hear all the time about how politically divided the United States is, however in the data, political party ranked near the bottom of the list. How do you explain this?

  8. Is it easy to separate your political party from your occupation or social class?

  9. How different do you think this chart would have looked in 1950?

  10. American political culture is made up of all kinds of identities. According to the data in the chart above, Americans claim that family status is the most important identity in describing themselves. Do you think that is true,, and if so how do you think this impacts American politics?

  11. And if it is not true, what do you think is truly the most important American identity?

  12. Some people claim that when we talk about identity or group membership (race, class, gender), it divides and separates us. They would claim that we are all Americans and that is all that matters. Explain whether you agree or disagree with that claim.

Learning Extension

Read the NYTimes analysis of the data.

Action Extension

Take the NYTimes interactive identification sorter and share how your results compare to the nation, in class or online.

Visual Extension

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It's A Toss-Up!

AP US Government and Politics

In the 2018 midterm elections, of America's 435 congressional districts, how many are toss-ups, that is: too close to call and winnable by either party (yellow)?

Yellow = Toss-Up   AP US Government and Politics Lesson Plans

Yellow = Toss-Up

AP US Government and Politics Lesson Plans

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How do you think the average American would answer this question?

  3. What most surprises you about this map?

  4. How many states are solidly one color?

  5. How many Americans live in toss-up districts?*

  6. What is the big story this map tells?

  7. Why are there so few toss-up districts?

  8. What is a consequence of the low number of toss-up districts on the U.S. political system?

  9. Is this good news?

  10. Is this good for democracy?

  11. Is your district a toss-up? Use Roll Call's Super-Duper Interactive Congress Map and find out whether your district is a toss-up. If it is, that's great. If it isn't, contact your representative and ask them to step down.

  12. Who draws these district lines anyway?

  13. If every district were a toss-up would that be good for the U.S. political system?

  14. If you were the incumbent representative in any but the 8 toss-up districts, what would you think about this map?

  15. How do you think this information impacts political parties and campaigns?

  16. What is the connection between the low number of toss-ups and bipartisanship and compromise?

  17. How different do you think this map was 50 years ago?

  18. What is one positive thing about toss-up districts?

  19. Why are there less toss-up districts (yellow) every year?

  20. Do you think there will eventually be zero toss-up districts?

  21. Approximately 300,000,000 Americans live in non-toss-up districts, does that mean that in the House races, at least, their votes don't really matter?

  22. What does this map tell us about federalism?

  23. What does this map tell us about the US election system?

  24. Voters are supposed to chose their representatives, but in most cases, the representatives are choosing their voters. Would it be fair to say that the system is rigged?

  25. That's a lot of questions! What question do you have about all this?

Bonus Chart*

Learning Extension

Read the WAPO article about toss up districts!

Action Extension

Politics is supposed to be about competition, but as you look at America's congressional districts, you'll see there's really not much competition going on! Now here's the hard part. Your state legislature decides how to draw the U.S. Congressional district lines. In many cases, these lines could be drawn so that many, if not all, of the districts in most states were much more competitive. Contact your state legislature and ask them to make their districts more competitive! If you feel strongly about this, pressure you legislature until they make districts more competitive. Share your results in class or online.

Adorable Baby Animal wearing glasses and reading a book Extension

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

Supreme Court Press

AP US Government and Politics

How liberal is the Supreme Court?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. List one question you have about this chart:

  4. Whoa!!!! Did you know that William O. Douglas is the longest-serving United States Supreme Court Justice by time in office (13,358 days)!? But who exactly was this thrice-married, second-youngest-ever Justice William O. Douglas guy, what did he believe in, and what kind of rulings did he issue that made him so very extremely liberal?

  5. What story does this chart tell about the ideological leanings of the median justice?

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. What is the main consequence of this story of judicial moderation?

  8. Explain whether this moderation is generally good or bad news.

  9. Identify one of the main principles of a judicial conservative:

  10. Identify one of the main principles of a judicial liberal:

  11. How does this chart reflect the ideas of checks and balances?

  12. If instead of our system of presidential appointments and senatorial approval, we simply voted for our Supreme Court Justices, how different do you think this chart would look?

  13. On the current court, who is the most liberal and who is the most conservative?

  14. Since this chart was produced, Justice Scalia has been replaced by Justice Gorsuch, not dramatically altering the ideological balance of the court. Now Justice Kennedy (often the swing vote) will possibly be replaced by Brett Kavanaugh, after which POTUS Trump will probably have one or two more Supreme Court picks before his second term of office ends on January 20, 2025. How do you imagine that will reshape the ideological balance of the court?

  15. Big question: Why do we even have a Supreme Court anyway? I mean, it's not very (little d) democratic!

  16. Based on this chart, about how long does the average Supreme Court Justice serve?

  17. Over time, do Supreme Court Justices tend to get more liberal or more conservative?

  18. Why do you think that is?

  19. What is a consequence of this tendency?

  20. What specific Justice most deviated from this trend during their time on the bench (Supreme Court)?

  21. If you were to be placed on the Supreme Court (don't get too excited yet. This is just hypothetical!) Where would you fall on the ideological spectrum?

Learning Extension

Don't forget, we're just talking about the Supreme Court here. POTUS Trump also gets to fill vacancies on the federal district and federal appeals courts. Here's what vacancies in those areas look like and how they compare to years past.

Action Extension

Ask your favorite Supreme Court Justice to write you a letter describing their judicial philosophy. The Supreme Court doesn't really do email but you can call or write them at

General Contact Information:

U.S. Mail:
Supreme Court of the United States
 1 First Street, NE
 Washington, DC 20543

Telephone: 202-479-3000
TTY: 202-479-3472
 (Available M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern)

Share their response in class or online.

 

Animal Extension

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