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Dear APPLe Student:
Welcome! Your Freshman year in high school is almost over, and we at APPLe are very excited about all the fun and educational activities we will share next year. Please enjoy your summer; to make your summer an educationally positive experience, we have one important summer assignment for you to complete.
As you know, the name of our academy is an acronym for Academy for Public Policy and Leadership, and we all know what leadership is (and we'll be learning more about leadership during the next three years), but what is Public Policy? If we look at a textbook (American Government by Sabato and O'Connor), the term is defined thus:
Public policy is an intentional course of action followed by government in dealing with some problem or matter of concern. Public policies are thus governmental policies, based on law; they are authoritative and binding on people. Individuals, groups, and even government agencies that do not comply with policies can be penalized through fines, loss of benefits, or even jail terms.
To put it into simple terms, public policy is any action of any government that seeks to deal with some issue in some way. When legislative bodies (city council, state legislature, Congress) pass laws, they are taking a public policy position; when an executive (mayor, governor, president) takes an action, he/she is taking a public policy position; when the courts rule on laws made by legislatures or actions taken by executives, they are taking a public policy position; and when bureaucracies (governmental agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Environmental Protection Agency) take an action to implement a law made by a legislature, they are taking a public policy position.
Your assignment for the summer is to regularly read a news source and create a scrapbook of articles regarding government taking public policy positions.
Here are the ground rules:
Please plan on being available for an academy meeting on Friday, August 25, 2006, the last weekday before school starts. We will meet for a large portion of this day to discuss our scrapbooks, and we will also be giving more details on what you can expect in your first year as APPLe scholars!
- We are only concerned about government in the United States of America at this time; government in other countries is interesting, but for now our focus is on the U.S.A.
- You will need to find at least one article per week for the summer. Our summer starts next week, so we will expect one article to be dated during the week June 18-24 and at least one article for each following week of the summer.
- Your sources can be printed newspapers or newspapers on the Internet. If your family subscribes to a daily newspaper, you have it made. Just read your paper and clip out the article. Or, if more convenient, Xerox the article. Paste your article on a piece of paper, and on the back briefly tell us why you chose this article. Why is it important? Why did you choose it?
- On the Internet you can read such newspapers as the New York Times (www.nytimes.com), Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com) and Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) for free! You can even subscribe to their free Internet service where they will email you their newspaper every day! You can easily print news articles from the above three newspapers. If you do so, please staple the pages together and on the back answer the questions found in number 3, above.
- Although we all love crime stories, you may not fulfill this assignment by including stories about crimes. You can, however, submit articles about decisions made to create new crimes, lengthen prison sentences, and related public policy issues, but you cannot report on crimes, criminal proceedings, and the like.
- You may follow any of the various levels of government we have in the U.S.: local (city and county), state and federal. You may want to stick with one level of government, or mix them up over the course of the summer.
- You may also try to follow one storyline involving public policy over the course of the summer. Congress will be in session for the first part of the summer and you may want to follow a public policy issue they are addressing and see what happens over the course of the summer.
- If you cannot locate a newspaper in either of the ways referred to above, you can exercise ingenuity in locating newspapers. For example, the SB News Press might be willing to let you have day-old copies of their newspaper if you go to their office on De La Guerra Plaza. Also, most coffee shops (and we have many Starbuck's in town), if you go in the afternoon, don't care if you take their newspapers because everyone has already read them. If you go to the public library, you can access the Internet there and print articles for a small fee (it'd probably be cheaper just to buy the newspaper).
- The article you cut out/Xerox/print from the Internet must have the date of publication. That way, we can be sure you looked for articles throughout the whole summer and didn't just wait for the last week to throw something together. You need at least one article per week for the summer!
- Your scrapbook, with your written responses, will be turned in Tuesday, August 22, 2006. There will be a collection box outside of Room 61 on the Quad for that purpose. We will use the scrapbooks as a way to begin our discussion of public policy.
If you have any questions, or encounter any problems this summer with this assignment, please feel free to contact me (us) at: [email protected]