US AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS Edexcel A Level Politics Sarra Jenkins 2017 Specification Structural changes In brief: More content across 2 years, but a reduction in content in the USA Addition of Rational, Cultural, Structural political theory (12 marks only) Addition of US/UK comparison (12 marks only) Retention of long answer questions for US only topics (30 marks, 2 of 3 questions) A Level = 3 x 2hr papers US and Comparative is Paper 3, out of 84 marks. 2/3rds of the paper should be familiar in terms of content and Edexcel - http:// skills qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/politics-2017.html DfE document - https:// www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/504014/Polit ics_A_level_content.pdf 2017 Specification Structural changes
Teaching time A Level marked out of 252 marks Ideologies = 48 marks USA = 84 marks UK = 120 marks Theoretically ideologies = 1/3rd of Year 2 (approx. 10-12 weeks) USA = 2/3rd of Year 2 (approx. 20-24 weeks)* Lots of supporting material on website mapping documents, glossaries, SAMs, etc. N.B. Second set of SAMs is well hidden. Getting Started Guide is helpful. * Weeks based on a school year (and realism!) rather than DfE 360 Guided 2017 Specification Content changes No historical knowledge pre-1787 required References to congressional committees and leadership removed and reduced Federal bureaucracy removed EXOP limited to just three branches No reference in spec to Vice President No explanation of procedures of selecting and hearing a Supreme Court case Inclusion of rights in the Supreme Court section, and limited to race rights Limits on examples and dates 2017 Specification Content changes Democracy and Participation Topic
Unit 3 compressed into this one unit No focus on referendums and initiatives Congressional elections included in Congress topic Less historiography of parties No focus on third parties Limitation on number/type of pressure groups to be studied No focus on pressure group classification CRUCIAL topics are not of equal size, but this must be taught in a reduced manner to the old specification! Planning a US Scheme of Work Constitution approx. 10-15 hours Presidency approx. 10-15 hours Supreme Court and Civil Rights approx. 15-20 hours Congress approx. 10-15 hours Democracy and Participation approx. 20-25 hours Comparative approx. 20-30 hours Biggest change from previous specification = Democracy and participation Essentially old Unit 3 compressed down into one topic Your teaching must reflect this! Example Planning Scheme of Work Key advice This is a whole new course plan it as such!
Obviously any old resources your have might be useful, but dont use them as your starting point Start with the Spec., Getting Started document and all the support online Pay close attention to what is, and is not, in the specification. It represents the entirety of what you are expected to teach Decide before you begin how/when youll teach comparative at the end or as you go? Strategies for delivery Comparative as you go Coherence of the specification Constant revision of UK specification Removes some of the fear of the new theoretical language Comparative at the end Acts as a revision for the whole of the A Level in advance of study leave Comparative is worth only a limited amount marks in the exam Easily student-led Youre likely drawing on their UK knowledge as you go anyway Resources On the market Maybe of interest Lynch/Fairclough/Cooper UK Government and Politics
Noting sheets McNaughton UK Government and Politics Structure Strips for 30 markers Bennett US Government and Politics Essay templates on Edexcel website New Hodder Textbook due 2019 Prep planner Political Ideas for A-Level Edexcel GCE Politics AS and A Level Online Student Revision Guides Twitter! My Revision Notes Dont underestimate Amazon Marketplace. e.g. Success in Politics (McNaughton) or US Government and Politics (Storey) Resources
Online Pew Research Center Brookings Institute Congressional Research Service (especially the annual Congressional membership document by Jennifer Manning) Lowi and Ginsburg study space http://wwnorton.com/college/polisci/american-government12/ Media The Atlantic, Politico, Economist, Washington Post, New York Times School run LGS Politics Blog, Earlham Sociology Pages, Twitter GovTrack Political Studies Association membership is 44 for teachers. Political Insight is superb and the articles can be used for students. Rational, Cultural, Structural - Assessment Q1a & 1b straight comparative, pick one NO theories necessary (12 marks) Q2 comparative including at least one theory, no choice (12 marks) Must compare two countries to get beyond L1 Must include at least one theory to get beyond L3 Students would spend about 15 minutes on each Q approx. 3-4 paragraphs Rational, Cultural, Structural Health warnings Should be woven throughout the comparative teaching of US and UK The focus should first be comparison and then apply theories A comparative theory should be used to explain differences or similarities between systems rather than within one system Worth very few marks so dont get hung up on it. Cannot advance beyond L3 means it is only going to affect the 3 marks in Level 4
Comparative theories have lots of explanation in Specification ensure you adhere to this as we had to interpret the meaning of these theories to make them work for A Level. Beware Hague & Harrop, Lichbach & Zuckerberg Not every theory applies with equal ease to Rational, Cultural, Structural For teachers Timothy Lim: Rational we are all rational actors, so we dont act in a random, unpredictable or destructive manner. We act out of self-interest rather than the interest of others. We look to achieve our own goals but respond to changing circumstances and constraints Cultural shared values, beliefs, ideas and attitudes. Culture is to a large extent what we think. Despite being intangible, it has power and compels people to act in certain ways Structural behaviour is determined by structures in which we find ourselves and over which we have limited or no control. Actions can be determined by positions within (and created by) these structures https://slideplayer.com/slide/4521765/ Rational, Cultural, Structural For example: Voting patterns of elected representatives in the UK (MPs) & USA (Congressmen) could be determined by: rational theory - a desire to keep their job by pleasing their constituents cultural theory - voting in line with a party, usually due to a shared ideology
structural theory - voting determined by party discipline structures e.g. whips or primaries Each one of these might be a different paragraph in the essay, supported by examples. Assessment Objectives 12 marks A01 - knowledge and understanding of political institutions, processes, concepts, theories and issues, some of which are selected appropriately in order to underpin analysis and evaluation. i.e. what is the difference/similarity between the two systems? A02 - comparative analysis of aspects of politics with some focused logical chains of reasoning, referring to similarities and/or differences within aspects of politics, which make some relevant connections between ideas and concepts. i.e. why does this difference/similarity exist or what impact does it have? Useful comparative resources..? Timothy Lim Comparative Politics Hague, Harrop and McCormick 10th Edition Comparative Government and Politics The rational, cultural, structural theory seems to have been taken from one book only (and I wouldnt recommend it!) Lichbach and Zuckerman A useful (but tough!) background article for teachers
reading around Rational, Cultural, Structural theory http://commons.lib.niu.edu/bitstream/handle/10843/13307 /SwedlowIntro.pdf?sequence=1 Understanding Rational, Cultural, Structural Student speak Political meaning Rational Focus on individuals within a political system Assumption that they will evaluate choices they have and rationally pick based on outcome Usually expects individuals to be selfinterested People are selfish and will act in a way which achieves the best outcome for them Cultural Structural Cultural norms and
The system or expectations have the organisation is power to influence both more important in the individual and the determining system behaviour and The compelling of an outcome than the action due to cultural individual expectations Individuals have Ideas, beliefs, values limited or no and identities within a control over these system Explaining actions of Some outcomes individuals as a shared are determined by belief the institutions and processes of political systems Rational, Cultural, Structural Task 1
Suggested task for your class Case study: Analyse the relative neutrality of the US Supreme Court and the UK Supreme Court. GROUPS (Cultural) Why might the actions of self-interested individuals support or undermine the neutrality? Why might ideology/groups support or undermine the neutrality? INSTITUTIONS (Structural) UK USA INDIVIDUALS (Rational) Why might structures surrounding the Courts support or undermine the
neutrality? Rational, Cultural, Structural Task 1 Suggested task: A case study (teacher or student identified) and the table below Case study: Analyse the relative neutrality of the US Supreme Court and the UK Supreme Court. Justices can often be divided into ideological camps undermining neutrality INSTITUTIONS (Structural) USA GROUPS (Cultural) Self-interested politicians appointing judges of a particular ideology undermine neutrality UK INDIVIDUALS (Rational)
Constitutionally, once a justice is on SC, very difficult to remove upholding neutrality Self-interested justices may The principle of the rule of SC set up by sovereign recognise their lack of law is accepted and Parliament and power power and rule with govt. therefore rulings are therefore rests entirely on to avoid looking weak almost always adhered to that basis undermining Not all of these arguments are as strong as each other and students upholding neutrality neutrality would have to identify which they wanted to use in an essay Rational, Cultural, Structural Task 2 Suggested comparative task: Case study: Powers of the Executives UK: in 2017/18, Theresa May battled to get Brexit through Commons, ultimately losing very few votes on suggested amendments. USA: in 2017, Donald Trump failed to get support for his repeal and replace healthcare legislation How can these two different outcomes be explained Rationally? Culturally?
Structurally? Rational, Cultural, Structural Task 3 Case study: executive power Rationally Congressmen & primaries v party selection Culturally Party ideology Trump in the US divides Republicans v Conservatives in the UK Structurally Separation of powers v fused power Obviously some of these overlap? Comparative Politics Being analytical/evaluative When discussing differences, encourage students to go beyond the descriptions of the differences. For example: Is the difference an advantage or disadvantage to either country? Does it make the process of governing more or less effective? Is the process easier or harder in either country? What are the impacts (theoretically or in reality) of this difference/similarity? Why do these differences/similarities exist? Certainly the harder of these two is similarities for students reasonably easy to explain (A01) but more difficult for them to analyse (A02) so this will take Comparing Constitutions Nature and sources
UK USA Uncodified Codified Unentrenched Entrenched (protected by law) 5 key sources of UK Constitution The document + amendments + JR Some possible questions: - Flexibility v rigidity - Overall, more different/similar - Advantages/ disadvantages of each - Extent/support of democracy in each
- Status of each constitution in the political system Comparing Constitutions Principles and Provisions UK USA Separation of powers (esp. post 2005) Separation of Powers Checks and balances (esp. post 2005) Checks and balances Devolution Federalism Single party dominance Bipartisanship Unitary state (monarchy)
Limited Government (Republic) Flexibility Amendment Process Rights Rights Some possible questions: - Amending constitutions process, formal and informal - Extent of SoP/C&B - Resulting party systems - Distribution of power Comparing Constitutions Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances Theory UK Examples USA Examples
Fused v Separated powers House of Lords Act 1999 Judicial Review Constitutional Reform Act 2005 Government shutdown 2018 Extent and effectiveness of checks and balances Fixed Term Parl. Act 2011 Wright Committee Reforms Obama 330 commutations 19th Jan 2017 Tyranny?
Gordon Brown and war Immigration (Boehner) Obamas approval ratings (Gallup) Obama v Trump Syria airstrikes Change over time Review the changing nature of a system over time, especially when evaluating things like effectiveness of SoP/C&B Comparing Constitutions Similarities between US federalism and UK devolution UK USA Unitary power - Brexit Federal power - Obamacare
Dispersal of power Organ donation Dispersal of power Gun control Regionalism London Mayor Regionalism Marijuana, Sanctuary Cities De facto and de jure One key way of evaluating similarities and differences may be those which exist in reality and/or in theory Some possible Dilution of sovereignty EU? Dilution of sovereignty questions: - Which is more SC? Differences between US federalism and UK devolution federal UK USA - Quasi-federalism of Sovereignty of
Sovereignty and shared both? Parliament sovereignty - Similarities/ differences Constitutionality Constitutionality Texas v US - More different or IndyRef similar Local politics PCC Local politics 2014 governors 28- Both now unitary turnout 15% 2012 59% - Comparing Legislatures Powers of each House Commons Representatives Money Osbourne and Statutory Instruments Elect President in deadlocked Electoral College Passing legislation
Power of the Purse Shutdowns & budgets War Impeachment Lords Senate Revising chamber Filibuster Parliament Acts 1911/1949 Unanimous consent Initiate legislation e.g. HoL Bill 16 Approval of treaties/appointments Try impeachment In reviewing powers, especially in the USA, many students forget to look for equality between the two houses legislation, war, impeachment, etc.
Some possible questions: - Which upper/lower chamber is more/less powerful - Roles and powers (legislation, representation & scrutiny) - Relationship between the two Houses in either country Common error Parliament vs Government in the UK Comparing Legislatures Strengths and weakness of each House Commons Representatives Size Size Government dominance
Speaker dominance Party structure Parties and bipartisanship Backbench power Nature of parties in US Theatre Short election cycle Lords Senate Unelected Longer election cycle Limited powers Unlimited debate More bellicose since 1999 Proportionality of representation
Unattached to geographical Representation of whole Whilst can be areas these strengths and weaknesses states explained in isolation, they are best understood as a strength or weakness whilst evaluating a role Some possible questions: - Which upper/lower chamber is more/less in need of reform and why - Nature of bicameralism and effectiveness - Control over executive - It may be that the two houses are taken together i.e. Congress v Parliament in terms of functions - Nature of the party system within legislature
- Law making ability/process Comparing Legislatures The extent to which each of the Houses are equal This could be taken by a Principal Examiner as equal to each other (i.e. Commons and Representatives) or overall (Congress v Parliament) It still needs to be viewed through the lens of functions and over time Equal Unequal Legislation/legislation process Control of government US SoP Money bills Legislation - Veto Nature bicameral, party systems, etc Federalism Scrutiny of executive Sovereignty Some possible questions: - Rise or decline of power of
legislatures - Extent of separation of powers in either country (executive and legislature) - Control over policy/policy areas (e.g. control over domestic or foreign policy) - Relationship with executive Comparing Executives Roles of US President and UK Prime Minister Key roles US President: Head of state (military, judicial, diplomatic) Head of government (legislative, military, executive) Key roles of UK Prime Minister: Head of government Royal Prerogative (linked to Head of State in a de facto sense) Basic similarities Basic differences Representative of nation Collective responsibility vs one man
Head of governing party Commander in chief role Chief policy makers Sovereignty and mandate Deference Separation of powers Some possible questions: - Who is more/less powerful - Collective/unitary power - Role of the cabinet - Role similarity/differenc es (both Head of State and Government) - Imperialism - Changing nature of power - Gained authority
vs reality (charisma, Comparing Executives Powers of US President and UK Prime Minister US UK Commander in Chief Commander in chief Veto (& threat) Chairing cabinet Budget Leader of winning party in Parliament Executive orders Mandate Appointments Appointments to cabinet/govt
Treaties Peerages Some possible questions: - Formal vs informal powers (who had more/less) - Role/importance of the cabinet and the executive within it It would be a useful exercise for students to: Delineate between formal and informal powers Conduct a case study in the US the specification specifies since 1992, and in the UK they should have studied at least two elections. Comparing Executives Extent of accountability to legislature US Veto override Treaty ratification Appointment ratification Divided government Appointments Treaties Budget Persuasion
UK Committees select, backbench, public bill PMQs (and MQT) Backbench rebellions House of Lords Patronage Payroll vote Urgent questions Factors that affect this: - Strength of mandate from the voters - Party unity/factions - Size of majority in legislature - National circumstances Some possible questions: - Extent of scrutiny/control - Where mandate for this accountability lies in each system - Constraints on each executive (formal/informal) Comparing Supreme Court & Rights
Basis for their power This is one of few questions that has a tendency to lead students into A01 dominated answers. USA - Article III of the Constitution says little - Marbury v Madison and Fletcher v Peck - Restraint and Activism UK - Constitutional Reform Act 2005 - Rule of Law To move beyond this A01 dominance, they must look at the acceptance of this as a basis for their power today (i.e. cultural?) Some possible questions: - Which has more power (useful always to consider how much power they should have) - Power exercised formally/informall y Comparing Supreme Court & Rights Extent of their power As both judiciaries effectively only have one power, judicial review, the discussion needs really to centre around how effectively this is used in each country.
USA - Effective Citizens United/Obergefell - Ineffective Hamdi/Hamden/Boumediene UK - Effective Brexit - Ineffective ECHR/ECJ re: prisoners voting Some possible questions: - Which is more/less powerful - Does their power extend effectively to law making - How accountable are they Accountability: - US = Impeachable but de facto sovereign? - UK = permanent but ignorable? Comparing Supreme Court & Rights Relative independence UK USA Life Tenure (age)
Life Tenure (behaviour) JAC President/Senate appoint Separation of Powers (from CRA) Separation of Powers (Constitution) Consolidated fund Constitutionally guaranteed Effectiveness of Rights Protection This could be salary messy! Some possible questions: - Which is more/less independent - Do these arguments effectively make the courts imperial in each country
- Do courts protect rights effectively - Relationship with elected branches With the US Supreme Court having the Constitutional Amendments to guide their rights protection, this argument is often clear cut for a US-based essay. With the UK courts being beholden to Parliamentary sovereignty, asdisability well as thebenefit, ECJ and junior doctors, Good UK examples Bedroom tax, ECHR, it is often lesstime obvious. legal aid, term holidays, joint enterprise, Hillsborough. Good US examples Snyder v Phelps, Obergefell, Texas v US, Fisher v Texas, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
Comparing Supreme Court & Rights Effectiveness of Rights Protection This could be messy! With the US Supreme Court having the Constitutional Amendments to guide their rights protection, this argument is often clear cut for a US-based essay. With the UK courts being beholden to Parliamentary sovereignty, as well as the ECJ and ECHR, it is often less obvious. Good UK examples Bedroom tax, disability benefit, junior doctors, legal aid, term time holidays, joint enterprise, Hillsborough. Good US examples Snyder v Phelps, Obergefell, Texas v US, Fisher v Texas Some possible questions: - Which is more/less independent - Do these arguments effectively make the courts imperial in each country
- Do courts protect rights effectively - Relationship with elected branches Comparing Supreme Court & Rights Some possible Effectiveness of Interest Groups IN PROTECTING RIGHTS questions: - Which is more/less independent USA UK - Do these ACLU Public Law Project arguments effectively make NFIB Junior doctors/BMA the courts Citizens United Potentially Christian Groups* imperial in each Amicus briefs Gina Miller & Crowdfunding country - Which country has *Depending on the Q. If it does not
more access specify UK courts, then cases such as points for pressure Nadia Eweida or Ashers Bakery could groups to protect be used to show power of Christian rights groups in court - Which countrys Pitfall! pressure groups Students need to ensure this is focussing on RIGHTS and not pressure group action alone are more effective Comparing Democracy and Participation Different nature of the party system KEY Party system = the number of parties who have a REALISTIC chance of forming government Types of party system One party Two party Two-and-a-half party Multihere partyshould be fairly clear cut so students The US answer must know WHY The UK answer is far more blurry and students should have a much broader discussion about UK party systems
Some possible questions: - Which party system is most accurate to describe each country - Why does each country have the party system that it does - Why do two parties dominate in both the UK and USA* *n.b. US Comparing Democracy and Participation Some possible questions: - Comparison of party unity Labour Conservativ Democrats Republicans e between UK/US - Comparison of Momentum
1922 Blue Dogs RINOs party unity Committee between similar Labour for the One nation Moderates Fiscal/Social parties in either Common conservatives country Good - Extent to which where near or agreed Compass Thatcherites *no Internet Left exhaustive Christian factors determine upon! Right party unity - Extent to which Demonstrate the IMPACT of factions i.e. degree of unity is Progress
Euro-sceptics party unity is not just determined by belonging to a faction but actually by actually a factor in acting upon it everyday political life (e.g. voting) - Role and Degree of internal unity* Comparing Democracy and Participation Party profiles Policy area Labour Conserva tive Democrats Republica ns Social and Private moral schools issues Grammar
Schools Obama & Trump & immigration Abortion Economic issues Austerity 2010 Tax cuts National Investment Bank Trump & Tax Social NHS funding Universal Obamacare Trump & Students seem to struggle annually
with parties in welfare credit Obamacare both countries and rely on the same old theory e.g. Tories like low tax US: Govtrack.us UK: Theyworkforyou.com Some possible questions: - Comparison of party policies between UK/US - Comparison of party policies between similar parties in either country - Extent to which external factors determine party policy - Extent to which party unity is actually a factor in everyday political
life (e.g. voting) Comparing Democracy and Participation Campaign Finance and Party Funding USA - McCain-Feingold 2002 - McConnell 2003 - Citizens United 2010 - McCutcheon 2014 UK - Short money - Donations and fund raising - http:// www.independent.co.uk/ne ws/uk/politics/generalelecti on/general-election-2015-e xplained-who-finances-theparties-who-gets-the-mostand-how-much-does-the-1 0186008.html Some possible questions: - Which is a more effective/democra tic way of funding parties - Which country is in greater need of reform - Ways in which funding could be
reformed - Obstacles to reform of funding - The case for/against state funding in either country Comparing Democracy and Participation Some possible questions: Power, methods and influence of pressure groups Methods are broadly the same direct action, mobilising the public, lobbying and legal action. Key = identify how the difference in the way that government operates has an impact on pressure groups. In this sense influence and power are often determined by a range of factors, including: - Size Money Organisation Access points Ideology - Which country is more open to pressure groups - Why do pressure act
differently in the UK and USA - In what ways do pressure groups act differently in the UK and USA - Does the nature of government (federal v devolved) affect pressure group action - In which country are the more significant - Role and importance of lobbying - Is the role of PGs democratic Assessment 12 marks Q1a & 1b General Advice - 3-4 paragraphs/factors Explanation of why this factor came about or the impact it has Inclusion of examples where possible Most students probably writing between 1-2 sides of A4 An introduction and conclusion seems unnecessary, particularly as A03 is not being assessed Use of examples Often used examples poorlyin that they dont use them. Commonly tacked on to
the end of a paragraph as proof of their point rather than show analytically why it is relevant. Examples are best placed in the middle of a paragraph with students then explaining what this example shows and how it is relevant both to their paragraph and their Assessment 12 marks Q2 General Advice - As for Q1a and 1b - but students MUST reference some of the Rational, Culture, Structural theories. Only one is required but I would have thought two would be better - Cultural is probably the harder of the theories so weaker students may steer clear of this - Dont miss it in the paper it is at the head of a sheet of lined paper! Make sure your students are well drilled! Assessment 30 marks Q3, 4 & 5 pick two General Advice - For most of you these are probably not too daunting. They are similar to old 45 mark questions but with a different mark scheme. Therefore 60/84 marks should be somewhat reassuring to you! - Students are likely to spend about 40-45 minutes on each questions - Standard essay structure is needed introduction, arguments, conclusion - No individual marks for each A0 simply level 1-5 with 6 marks available in each level and each A0 making up a component of each level.
Assessment 30 marks Q3, 4 & 5 pick two SYNOPTICISM! - This is crucial students must show that they understand the course as a whole and not simply one topic - Almost impossible to avoid for the USA given the dominance of the US Constitution but ensure nonetheless that students are aware of this Assessment 30 marks Q3, 4 & 5 pick two General Advice Question CFL Command, Focus, Limitations General Advice Introductions 3Ds Define, Discuss, Direction General Advice Main essay Balance Examples ANALYSIS! General Advice Conclusion Answer the question! General advice to teachers Dont assume your students know how to write an essay properly.
Rarely formally taught what should be in each bit of an essay and why. Spend a lot of time doing exam technique, A0s, timed practice, and so on with students Any questions? [email protected] Twitter - @LGS_politics Blog www.lgspolitics.wordpress.com
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