Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 100 Days...

What Do They Mean?

This Tuesday is an historic day that few Americans will forget. The nation has elected the first African American as President; a benchmark that can only help to forge unity in a nation marked by factions. Inauguration Day will be eventful with "the speech", the balls, parades, and the gathering of who's who in America. It is an event I hope your students are encouraged to view and savor. It is history, and one of America's finest moments. The busy schedule for the next couple of days will keep most of us with one eye on the Internet and television.

For our troubled nation, however, the really important days are the next 100 which will follow Tuesday's pomp and ceremony. Since the fabled First 100 Days of Franklin Roosevelt's administration, the first three months of every president's administration becomes a measuring stick by which much of the next four years is to be judged. This year I believe that the first 100 days is more important than any in recent history. The economy, the war in Iraq, the crisis in Gaza, Iran, China, and the list of issues, problems, and confrontations facing Mr. Obama is endless. All of which offers AP Government and Politics teachers a plethora of teaching moments.

Here are a list of issues facing the nation that I will focus my classes on during the remainder of this semester of school. Using current events discussions, news readings, and class discussions, I will want to make sure the students are aware of the ramifications of these points:
  1. The economic stimulation package and its effect on the budget and debt
  2. The early days of the White House (watching for organization and management style)
  3. The handling of Iraq and Afghanistan and the role of Commander and Chief
  4. The confirmation of the Cabinet and other vital appointments
  5. Approval Ratings (it might be fun to graph them on a chart in the room)
  6. Interaction with Congress (especially the House leadership) in vital economic legislation packages
  7. Interaction with the Bureaucracy (and the Cabinet of "rivals")
  8. The Media and the President...their relationship and how Mr. Obama deals with press issues
These topic will offer the student great discussion points on possible AP Free Response Questions and give the kids a better understanding of the government in general. I am sure your classes are excited (as mine are) with the changing of the guard. Mr. Obama has ignited a new generation of youth who may prove to be more active and participatory than any previous generation. What a fantastic age to be an AP Government teacher!!! Until next time...

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