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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Civics

A lot of questions about our system of government have come up as a result of 2016 being a presidential election year. Half a century ago, most people would have learned the basics of our government in a high school course called "civics." With contemporary education focusing on STEM subjects [science, technology, engineering, math] and reading, civics has been incorporated into "social studies," and is often neglected in favor of history and geography.

Of course, the public library is a great place to catch up on, or refresh, your civics knowledge. A good place to start is with the Constitution. Books about the Constitution, its amendments, and the Bill of Rights are found in the adult and children's sections under the number 342.73. Teens and adults should also look for this video: Our Constitution: A Conversation [DVD 342.73 OUR].
United States Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students and discuss why we have and need a constitution, what federalism is, how implicit and explicit rights are defined and how separation of powers ensures that no one branch of government obtains too much power.

With one presidential candidate winning the popular vote, and the other the Electoral College vote (scheduled to take place in December), a lot of questions have arisen about the Electoral College. A brief summary of what the Electoral College is may be found at the House of Representatives website. Kids can be directed to The Electoral College by Suzanne LeVert [J 324.63 LEV].

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