New York Learning Standard 5 — Civics, Citizenship, and Government

New York Learning Standard 5 — Civics, Citizenship, and Government


Lesson 1: A Different Kind of Government Course introduces students to CAP. First, students learn that one of the main purposes of public education is to prepare future citizens to participate in our democracy. Then they are given an overview of CAP. Finally, they brainstorm the attributes of an effective citizen.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Explain what citizenship means in a democratic society, how citizenship is defined in the Constitution and other laws of the land, and how the definition of citizenship has changed in the United States and New York State over time; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Understand how citizenship includes the exercise of certain personal responsibilities, including voting, considering the rights and interests of others, behaving in a civil manner, and accepting responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.


Lesson 2: Introduction to Public Policy introduces the link between policy and problems. First, students read and discuss a short article defining policy. Then they discuss policy and its connection to problems. Next, in small groups, they do a newspaper search to find examples of public policy.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels…; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.


Lesson 3: Problems, Policy, and Civic Actions gives students further background in problems, policy, and civic action to prepare them for CAP. First, students analyze problems in terms of causes and effects. Next, they explore how policy can be linked to problems. Finally, they list possible civic actions that can be taken to when working on a problem.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Explain what citizenship means in a democratic society, how citizenship is defined in the Constitution and other laws of the land, and how the definition of citizenship has changed in the United States and New York State over time; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem.


Lesson 4: Introducing Policy Analysis helps students develop a deeper understanding of public policy and the interaction between government and citizens in making policy. They look at case studies and are introduced to policy analysis.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen's rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 5: Policymaking in the Three Branches of Government introduces students to executive, legislative, and judicial policymaking and to policy evaluation. First, students discuss how policy can be made by each of the branches. Then they read about and discuss how the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to suppress gang activity and how each branch of government was involved in the policy. Finally, students are introduced to a policy-analysis rubric (GRADE) and apply it to the Chicago gang ordinance.

Standard 5.1
— The study of civics, citizenship, and government involves learning about political systems; the purposes of government and civic life; and the differing assumptions held by people across time and place regarding power, authority, governance, and law.

Intermediate 5–8: Analyze the sources of a nation’s values as embodied in its constitution, statutes, and important court cases.

Standard 5.2 — The state and federal governments established by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York embody basic civic values (such as justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others, and property), principles, and practices and establish a system of shared and limited government.

Intermediate 5–8: Define federalism and describe the powers granted to the national and state governments by the United States Constitution; value the principles, ideals, and core values of the American democratic system based upon the premises of human dignity, liberty, justice, and equality; understand how the United States…[Constitution] support[s] majority rule but also protect[s] the rights of the minority.

Commencement 9–12: Identify, respect, and model those core civic values inherent in our founding documents that have been forces for unity in American society; understand the dynamic relationship between federalism and states’ rights.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world; explain how Americans are citizens of their states and of the United States.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 6: Analyzing Anti-Gang Policies provides students with practice in analyzing policy. First, as a whole group, they evaluate an anti-gang policy using GRADE. Then in small groups, they are given policies that address gang violence and they evaluate each.
Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view.


Lesson 7: Policymaking at the Local Level gets students to examine an instance of policymaking at a school board, one of the most common institutions at the local level. First, students read about and discuss a common local (and national) problem, the dropout rate. Then they role play subcommittees of a hypothetical school board, examine documents about the dropout problem, and craft a policy to address the dropout problem. Finally, they exchange policies with other groups and evaluate one another’s policies using the GRADE rubric.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
Intermediate 5–8: Understand that the American legal and political systems guarantee and protect the rights of citizens and assume that citizens will hold and exercise certain civic values and fulfill certain civic responsibilities; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Evaluate, take, and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of American political life are and their importance to the maintenance of constitutional democracy; take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 8: Law & Policy informs students about how existing law can influence public policy and policymaking. First, students read about and discuss how existing law can influence public policy. Then in small groups, they role play members of a public policy law firm and decide whether a policy of evicting renters violates existing law and whether a new law is needed to protect renters.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Understand that the American legal and political systems guarantee and protect the rights of citizens and assume that citizens will hold and exercise certain civic values and fulfill certain civic responsibilities; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Analyze issues at the local, state, and national levels and prescribe responses that promote the public interest or general welfare, such as planning and carrying out a voter registration campaign; describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Evaluate, take, and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of American political life are and their importance to the maintenance of constitutional democracy; take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 9: Persuading introduces students to the art of persuasion. First, they read about and discuss the three types of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos. Then students prepare two-minute persuasive talks on why the issue that they have chosen to address in CAP is important. Finally, in pairs, students present and critique one another’s talks.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Intermediate 5–8: Respect the rights of others in discussions and classroom debates regardless of whether or not one agrees with their viewpoint; explain the role that civility plays in promoting effective citizenship and in preserving democracy.

Commencement 9–12: Evaluate, take, and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of American political life are and their importance to the maintenance of constitutional democracy; take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 10: Building Constituencies introduces students to the importance of building a constituency to support or oppose public policies. First, students read and discuss about how a historically significant movement gained support in the community. Then in small groups, students brainstorm how they can get support for their CAP issue.

Standard 5.2
— The state and federal governments established by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York embody basic civic values (such as justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others, and property), principles, and practices and establish a system of shared and limited government.

Intermediate 5–8: Define federalism and describe the powers granted to the national and state governments by the United States Constitution; value the principles, ideals, and core values of the American democratic system based upon the premises of human dignity, liberty, justice, and equality; understand how the United States…[Constitution] support[s] majority rule but also protect[s] the rights of the minority.

Commencement 9–12: Identify, respect, and model those core civic values inherent in our founding documents that have been forces for unity in American society; understand the dynamic relationship between federalism and states’ rights.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Understand that the American legal and political systems guarantee and protect the rights of citizens and assume that citizens will hold and exercise certain civic values and fulfill certain civic responsibilities; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Describe how citizenship is defined by the Constitution and important laws; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Evaluate, take, and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of American political life are and their importance to the maintenance of constitutional democracy; take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 11: Setting the Public Agenda introduces students to the public agenda and its importance to policy. First, students read about and discuss the public agenda and ways that citizens can influence it. Then in small groups, students are given different situations and they develop strategic plans for getting their issues or solutions to issues on the public agenda.

Standard 5.3
— Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.



Lesson 12: Using the Media helps students learn about the importance of the media in setting the public agenda. First, they read about and discuss how the media help set the public agenda and how citizens can influence the media and even create their own media to help change the public agenda. Then they develop a plan to do one action to use or affect the media. Finally, they begin to implement their plan. As homework, they complete their action.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
Intermediate 5–8: Discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 13: Persuading Policymakers informs students that legislative and executive bodies often hold public hearing and how students can make effective presentations at these hearings. First, students read about public hearings and techniques for making presentations at these hearings. Then students role play a city council and people appearing before it attempting to persuade policymakers on hypothetical issues.

Standard 5.2 — The state and federal governments established by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York embody basic civic values (such as justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others, and property), principles, and practices and establish a system of shared and limited government.

Intermediate 5–8: Value the principles, ideals, and core values of the American democratic system based upon the premises of human dignity, liberty, justice, and equality.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
Intermediate 5–8: Understand that the American legal and political systems guarantee and protect the rights of citizens and assume that citizens will hold and exercise certain civic values and fulfill certain civic responsibilities; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; consider the need to respect the rights of others, to respect others’ points of view; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.


Lesson 14: Creating Change Through the Electoral Process focuses on electoral politics and how it deeply influences policymaking. First, students read about and discuss the role that electoral politics plays in policymaking. Then in small groups, students role play campaign workers and create strategies to attract young people to participate in an election campaign.

Standard 5.2
— The state and federal governments established by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New York embody basic civic values (such as justice, honesty, self-discipline, due process, equality, majority rule with respect for minority rights, and respect for self, others, and property), principles, and practices and establish a system of shared and limited government.

Intermediate 5–8: Understand how civic values reflected in the United States and New York State Constitutions have been implemented through laws and practices; value the principles, ideals, and core values of the American democratic system based upon the premises of human dignity, liberty, justice, and equality.

Standard 5.3 — Central to civics and citizenship is an understanding of the roles of the citizen within American constitutional democracy and the scope of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.

Intermediate 5–8: Understand that the American legal and political systems guarantee and protect the rights of citizens and assume that citizens will hold and exercise certain civic values and fulfill certain civic responsibilities; discuss the role of an informed citizen in today’s changing world.

Commencement 9–12: Understand how citizenship includes the exercise of certain personal responsibilities, including voting…; explore how citizens influence public policy in a representative democracy.

Standard 5.4 — The study of civics and citizenship requires the ability to probe ideas and assumptions, ask and answer analytical questions, take a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, evaluate evidence, formulate rational conclusions, and develop and refine participatory skills.

Commencement 9–12: Participate as informed citizens in the political justice system and processes of the United States, including voting; take, defend, and evaluate positions about attitudes that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs; participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on an issue or problem; prepare a plan of action that defines an issue or problem, suggests alternative solutions or courses of action, evaluates the consequences for each alternative solution, prioritizes the solutions on the basis of established criteria, and proposes an action plan to address the issue or to resolve the problem.

Last modified: Monday, 29 June 2015, 2:38 PM