Course Understandings


Course Name: Current Issues & Comparative Political & Economic    Course Number: 917
                           Systems (ISMS)                                                                                                                      
Revision Date: August 30, 2017                                                               Grade/level: 10 - 12
Course Length: 1Credit/Semester (90 minutes)

Course Description (Mission Linked):
This is a semester course that will focus on current issues as they relate to both the domestic and foreign policies of the United States. The course will bring both a historical and contemporary perspective to the most important issues facing our nation as well as America’s role as a world power on the global stage. This will include, but is not limited to the ongoing war against ISIS, the Syrian civil war, U.S. - Russian relations, threats from North Korea, immigration, the future of healthcare, and analysis of the Trump Presidency.  The course analyzes the political and economic systems of Socialism, Capitalism/Democracy, Communism, and Fascism. Intense knowledge base, critical thinking and media research are emphasized. Various performance tasks within both cooperative and individualized areas are used to compare, contrast, and evaluate these ideologies which have and continue to impact states and societies.


Suggested Instructional Strategies:
Instructional strategies will include at least five subcomponents: summary and note taking, questions, reflection, discussion, and cooperative learning. Students will experience both primary and secondary source readings, documentaries and film, Media Center research, class lecture, writing of statement/position papers, and guest speakers. Current periodicals, newspapers and news programs will also serve as sources of knowledge and discovery for the course.

Course Essential Understanding: Students will understand that…

Skills:
  • Analysis, judgements, and arguments on political and historical events must be supported by relevant and sufficient evidence drawn from literary or information texts and data bases.
  • Research involves discovery of new information and the use of credible sources and access to the views of legitimate authorities on the topic. 
Knowledge:  
  • The interests of the United States in the Middle East and our relationship with the countries of the region are strategic, fluid and complex; including addressing a civil war in Syria, managing a nuclear deal with Iran, maintaining our close relations with Israel, and combating the presence of the Islamic State (ISIS) 
  • The proliferation of nuclear powers, including North Korea poses a serious threat to America's global interests and necessitates a careful and calculated response from our government.


  • The road to democracy is difficult with many sharp turns and barriers to overcome in order to achieve the ideals of self-government and to balance the protection of individual liberties with collective welfare and equality for all.

  • Capitalism’s focus on the rights of the individual and private ownership contrasts with socialism’s emphasis on the greater good of the community through government regulation and control.

  • Fascist regimes are able to come to power when more traditional forms of government become unstable and a sense of hopelessness permeates all aspects of society.

  • The rise and spread communism included both ideological and nationalist elements, however both were viewed as a threat by the United States and resulted in the Cold War that lasted from 1945 and 1991.

                                               
Essential
Important
Familiar with 
Analyze the emergence of democratic states across the world by applying the criteria and standards necessary to sustain the principles of democracy in a given state.
Evaluate the characteristics of democracy such as, but not limited to:
  • Rule of Law
  • Free and Fair Elections
  • Protection of Civil Rights
  • Balance between individual liberties and the collective good
  • Civilian authority over the military
  • Competition between political parties
Identify emergent and/or struggling democracies:
  • Chile
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • Nigeria
  • Liberia
  • Kenya
  • Myanmar


Compare and contrast the economic systems of socialism and capitalism, in areas such as, but not limited to; private ownership, working conditions, social programs, education, healthcare, and individual responsibilities.



Assess the economic and political agenda of neo-conservatives as they apply to domestic and foreign policy.

Examine the goals of social democrats to reduce the unfair distribution of wealth.


Analyze the strengths and weaknesses as well as the stresses and strains of capitalism.
Identify fascist dictators and assess the historical factors that led to the establishment of fascist regimes in 20th century Europe.
Benito Mussolini – Italy
Adolf Hitler – Germany
Francisco Franco – Spain

List five (5) basic elements of fascism and apply to the fascist state.
Examine the political, social and economic goals of fascism in the first half of the 20th century.
Identify 4 areas of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War such as, but not limited to, spheres of influence in Europe, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Afghanistan.

List and explain factors and events that led to the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the nations of Eastern Europe.
Identify specific programs and treaties associated with the easing of tensions between the USSR and the US known as détente.
                         



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