The New York State Department of Education currently has a curriculum designed to teach the fundamentals of government to high school students. The curriculum gives suggestions of what teachers should teach, but it allows the individual teachers/ schools to decide which aspects of the curriculum the y would like to emphasize in the classrooms. There are three basic teaching methods the DOE suggests:

  1. Issue-Based Approach
  2. Community-Based Approach
  3. Knowledge for Effective Citizenship Approach

The Issue-Based Approach focuses on research and problem analysis. Students identify an issue, research its background and history and the current scope of the issue then compare solutions for dealing with the specific public need. Ultimately, the students select the most feasible solution or combination of solutions.

The Community-Based Approach focuses on introducing real-world politics into the everyday lives of students. In this approach, the students may visit government offices, interview political figures and learn about the resources provided to them in their communities by government agencies. This approach includes:

  • Getting to know multiple communities.
  • Acquiring habits of participation.
  • Meeting role models.
  • Acquiring research skills.
  • Appreciating different perspectives.
  • Acquiring skills of negotiation.
  • Learning how to interact with people in public settings.
  • Reflecting on what counts.
  • Learning the ethics of research.

The Knowledge of Effective Citizenship Approach focuses on equipping students to be “Informed and Involved” citizens. Students work to answer questions concerning:

  • How to register to vote
  • How to vote
  • How to serve on a jury
  • When to pay taxes
  • When to register with the Selective Services System
  • How to protect one’s rights and exercise one’s responsibilities
  • How to learn more about issues facing the local and global communities

In my opinion, the government curriculum is designed to work the same way as our year-long Teagle Program. During the summer, we focused on theories, ideas and issues in politics. We discussed why certain ideas and theories would be conducive or detrimental to the efficacy of a community. Our program included all of the teaching approaches. We visited City Hall (city politics), the United Nations (global politics) and the Dwyer Cultural Center (local politics). These trips allowed us to observe and experience the everyday effects of these institutions. Through our project, we learned about the positions that politicians can be elected for as well as the importance of active citizenship. We also learned how to effectively communicate with public officials. In my opinion, the Teagle curriculum is the quintessential government curriculum.

Authored by Lorraine Njoki


We’ve posted the U.S. Naturalization Test that Donahue found! You can find the link in our “Survey” page, or simply click here.

This chart called ‘The Voters Of The City Of New York Boroughs Of The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens And Staten Island’ is designed to show the public the structure of local politics. It is a very complex chart to read since there are branches after branches and positions I have never heard of before. Since this chart is so complex, I decided to break it up to find some way of explaining  it. Although the Mayor is the big and main picture when it comes to local politics, the position collaborates with other departments such as Borough Presidents, Comptroller, Public Advocate, The Council All The District Attorneys and Independent Budget Office. Continue Reading »

Left to right: Shaun Abreu, Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Donahue Hemmings.

We began this project in the hopes of educating and engaging the public in New York local politics. Our goal was to eventually build a program that could be integrated into the city-wide high school Social Studies curriculum.

We researched the existing city curriculum, we researched alternative curriculums, we met with curriculum writers and representatives from the New York City Department of Education.

But last week we were thrown a curve ball.  New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced that the Department of Teaching and Learning within the city Department of Education, the division responsible for the oversight of curriculum development and teacher training, would be dissolved.

What does it mean for Teagle? It means everything. Continue Reading »

The Power of the CORE!

The Surreal Circle

Picture a table surrounded with four prudent scholars effortlessly sparking concepts and translating, ideas and perceptions of worldly affairs. A meeting as the summit, of politicians speaking of grievances, concerns and of course solutions. These are the individuals who lead our nation; they speak, they understand and they solve. There is an invisible connection in these meetings and the electrical currents their minds emmit is not ceased because they are prudent, intelligent and most importantly well rounded individuals. Continue Reading »

Harold Ford Jr.

There have been days where I have sat down in retrospect as my friends and acquaintances quarreled over a government policy they objected. So I wondered why they complained of it now when months ago they had the power of vote, the power of a first amendment to speak freely. A time, that when hurt, they can be heard and scream, while in some countries individuals are barely let to breathe. What is the point of a democracy if we have choice but seal our voice? What is the point of capitalism where we are left to thrive, but individuals rather choose to cheat and lie. Sometimes I wonder, what is the point of being graced to live in America? Continue Reading »

After 10 days in my maternal homeland of the Dominican Republic and on an airplane to the United States, I found myself drowned in thoughts of sadness and desires to be with my family. Especially knowing that when I arrive in the United States I will be confronted with schoolwork and little time to dream of this paradise. However when I spoke to many of my extended family members in a town called Villa Tapia, during my stay, many of them spoke to me of how I should feel happy to return to a land of opportunities, where I am able to accomplish any goal that I desire. I rebuked their response with tears. My closing remarks to my rebuttal was “El costo de la vida sube otra vez.” This Spanish phrase means the cost of living rises again.

Nothing in life is free. Continue Reading »