Welcome! As the title of the course suggests, we are studying two subjects together this year. In the first semester, we will continue your study of United States history from last year. In the 3rd quarter, we will explore the foundations of economics and learn how this discipline can help you better understand both your own financial decisions and events around the world. Let’s take a closer look at each semester separately.
First Semester This course completes the United States history curriculum begun during your junior year. Together, we will try to make sense of today’s world by examining the key events, developments, and movements in the United States since 1945. The end of World War II brought a profound changes in our world and these changes impacted the United States. As was the case last year, we will focus on some core essential question with every unit we study.
Essential US History Questions
- Why study United States history?
- What is the story of American history? diversity – division – progress?
- What are the turning points in United States history?
- To what extent has America lived up to its principles?
- Who is making or has made American history?
- How have the concepts of justice and human rights changed over the course of American history?
Units In order to focus on particular themes and time periods, we break up the year into units. Below is are the units we will study and a sample of one essential question from each unit (there are more!).
- The Cold War, 1945-1960: How did nuclear weapons affect the United States’ international relations?
- American Society, 1945-1960: What explains the McCarthy witch hunts?
- The Civil Rights Movement, Part I: How important was Martin Luther King to the success of the civil rights movement?
- The Sixties (1960-1975): How did the protest movement change the United States?
- From Ford to Reagan (1975-1989): What were the consequences of the United States defeat in Vietnam?
- Bush I to Today: How did the September 11 attacks change the United States?
Second Semester The objectives of the Economics course are to develop a basic understanding of how different economies function, with a special focus on the United States economy. We will study important economic theories and concepts, with the goal of applying these to real world issues. We will examine different economic problems, conflicts, debates and government actions. Ultimately, students should be able to grasp, evaluate, and make decisions about the economic questions they will encounter in the future.
1. Introduction: Problems of economics; basic terms for foundation
2. Theories and Concepts: Historical context and important theorists
3. Government and the Economy: The Federal Reserve System, the budget, taxation, the deficit, the welfare state, regulation
4. Labor and the Economy: Labor vs. capital
5. Consumption: Advertising, types of demand, role of the consumer
6. Globalization: The global economy, IMF, NAFTA, and the EU, etc.
7. Personal Finance: How to make informed personal finance decisions
Grades The grading policy will remain consistent for quarters 1 and 2. Adjustments will be made quarter 3 (no essays, etc). Late homework will only be accepted during 9th period the day it is due or at the start of class the following day for up to half credit. For all long term assignments, ten points will be deducted for each day it is handed in past the due date. I use a “total points” system. Each assignment will be worth a certain number of points to be specified at the time the assignment is given. Generally, homeworks are worth 5-10 points with tests and essays will be worth about 50- 100 points. Your letter grade can be determined by dividing the total number of possible points for that assignment by the actual number of points you received.
Supplies Your textbook can remain at home for the entire year. Please come to class ready to participate. While it is up to you to decide your method of organization, please be aware that there will be numerous supplemental readings and handouts that must be kept organized throughout the school year. Therefore I highly recommend using a 3-ring binder. It is essential that you come to class with a pen or pencil, highlighter and paper and all current course material. A separate one and a half inch three ring binder will be necessary when we begin economics.
Academic Integrity Students are expected to do their own work. Attempting to pass off the work of another as one’s own is plagiarism. Evidence of plagiarism will lead to a zero for the assignment. Other violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, copying homework and gaining prior knowledge of exam questions and content. Consult the student handbook for a more detailed discussion of violations and consequences. Additionally, cell phone use in the classroom will not be tolerated. Any use of a cell phone will be considered an element of cheating and be handled by administration as such.
I am looking forward to sharing the rest of the year with all of you!