A New Course: AP Government

by Alex Berkman

Next year, the social studies department is introducing a new AP Government course into the curriculum. For the first time, a civics course will be offered to the students and can be used to replace the standard economic credit for graduating seniors. I sat down with Mr. Thomas Andriello, who in addition to teaching Global 1 and Global 2, running the debate team, and leading the mentor program, will be teaching AP Government this coming year.

About The Course

This full-year elective also incorporates an economic piece to it, and therefore, fulfills the economics credit required for graduation. The class will serve as a momentous addition to the department as it will introduce a new aspect of social studies that students in the past have not had access to. As Mr. Andriello explained, this new course is “an opportunity for kids to engage in civics… something that we have not had at the school before.”

On the most basic level, “the premise of the course is to give students the ability to learn and understand US government and politics.” By introducing this new course into the curriculum, the social studies department hopes to offer students a greater understanding of government functionality. Specifically, AP Government will focus on the central ideas of United States government including elections, laws, the interaction between the different branches, separation of government, and democracy. Although the class neither serves as neither a history nor current events course, students will dive into analyzing historical documents including The Constitution and The Federalist Papers.

Why is the course being added to the curriculum?

Sometimes students often ask themselves, “How will this class help me in the real world?” Well, AP Government is being introduced for just that reason… to help students be more prepared for when they reach the “real world.” The intent of the class is to help prepare graduating seniors to make decisions that will shape their government by increasing their knowledge of civic understanding and responsibility. In a nation where the students’ voices are heard, by introducing this course, Ms. Laden, the chair of the social studies department, saw an opportunity to help students understand their roles as citizens in a democracy. As Mr. Andriello described it, “This is an opportunity to bring in another AP to give seniors more access to APs while also making them better citizens.”

All American citizens over the age of 18 can vote in government elections. This means that the graduating class of 2019-20 will have the ability to vote in the 2020 primaries and the presidential election, giving them the opportunity to utilize their voice to shape their government. The hope is that AP Government will help these young adults exercise their voice wisely.