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Political Science-Civic Literacy

Political science is the study of power and authority through the examination of political processes, governmental institutions, and human behavior in a civil society. In this context the study of civics is understood to include the form and function of government. Civic literacy encompasses civics but also addresses the individual’s social and political participation.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and demonstrate the value of lifelong civic action.

  • Understand rights, roles, and status of the individual in relation to the general welfare.
  • Understand that constitutional democracy requires the participation of an attentive, knowledgeable, and competent citizenry.
  • Understand personal, political, and economic rights are secured by constitutional government, the rule of law, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, and a vigilant citizenry.
  • Understand ways citizens participate in the political process at local, state, and national levels.
  • Understand the importance of becoming knowledgeable about public affairs.
  • Understand the importance of voluntarism as a characteristic of American society.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand how the government established by the Constitution embodies the enduring values and principles of democracy and republicanism.

  • Understand the central ideas of American constitutional government and how this form of government has shaped the character of American society.
  • Understand the role of government in major areas of domestic and foreign policy.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the purpose and function of each of the three branches of government established by the Constitution.

  • Understand the purpose of government and how its powers are acquired, used and justified.
  • Understand the necessity of politics and government.
  • Understand the purposes, organization, and functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and the independent regulatory agencies.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the differences among the complex levels of local, state and national government and their inherent, expressed, and implied powers.

  • Understand the design and features of the Constitution prevent the abuse of power by aggregating power at the national, state, and local levels and using a system of checks and balances.
  • Understand provisions of the Constitution and principles of the constitutional system help to insure a government that will not exceed its limits.
  • Understand the limits the United States Constitution places on the powers of the states and on the powers of the national government over state governments.
  • Understand the policies of state and local governments provide citizens with ways to monitor and influence the actions of members of government and hold them responsible for their actions.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand strategies for effective political action that impact local, state, and national governance.

  • Understand participation in civic and political life can help citizens attain individual and public goals.
  • Understand the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand how law and public policy are established at the local, state, and national levels of government.

  • Understand the purposes and functions of law.
  • Understand the processes by which public policy concerning a local, state, or national issue is formed and carried out.
  • Understand issues concerning the relationship between state and local governments and the national government.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand how various political systems throughout the world define the rights and responsibilities of the individual.

  • Understand ideologies, structures, institutions, processes and political cultures of different political systems in the world.
  • Understand the essential characteristics of limited and unlimited governments.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the role of the United States in current world affairs.

  • Understand conditions, actions and motivations that contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among nations.
  • Understand the significance of foreign policies and events in the United States' relations with the world.
  • Understand the idea of national interest and how it is used as a criterion for shaping American foreign policy.
  • Understand the effects that significant world political developments have on the United States.
  • Understands the influence that American ideas about rights have had abroad and how other peoples’ ideas about rights have influenced Americans.