Political Science | Rethinking Political Parties
Y401 | 26425 | Hershey

Reserved for Social Studies Education Majors.  Obtain on-line
authorization from Dorothy Slota, Education 1064 (856-8528)
It's challenging to teach about American politics -- and political
parties in particular -- in the public schools.  Many teachers wonder
how it's possible to discuss parties without seeming partisan.
Others hold the view that there's no real difference between the
Democrats and the Republicans.  (Hello?)  It's always easier to limit
teaching to the history and "rules" of government, such as the
American revolution and the Constitution.  But that means leaving out
many of the fun parts of American politics.

In this course we're going to explore one of the fun parts.
Political parties are the forces that have made government work,
almost since the beginning.  They are indeed very different from one
another in terms of what they'd like us to do, and different as well
from the amazing variety of minor parties that also offer
candidates.  They open up discussions of the major issues of our
time: war, taxes, Social Security, gay marriage, and all the other
things that engage students in American politics.

Students in Y401 will be doing three things.  First, you'll be
learning a lot about political parties.  Second, you'll be forming a
hypothesis (i.e., a prediction) about some aspect of party politics
and finding some data to test it, just as I hope you'll help your own
students to do.  And third, you'll be coming up with a set of
teaching plans on how to involve your students in the study of
political parties.