POLS 321—Democracy & Citizenship

POLS 322—Public Achievement

Term:  Fall & Spring, 2008-09

Instructor: Tony Filipovitch, 106d Morris Hall, (507) 389-5035, 388-2264 (home)

Office Hours: My office hours are posted here



1. Motivation: Students should develop an increased sense of civic responsibility and want to be more involved in public activity.

2. Empowerment: Students should feel more powerful and effective. They should become more optimistic about their potential to influence public events.

3.  Skill: Students should improve their political skills and be more able to influence public affairs.

4. Understanding: Students should better understand and appreciate democracy and related concepts.



Erlanson, Bridget and Robert Hildreth. 1998. Building Worlds, Transforming Lives, 

     Making History: A Coaches Guide to Public Achievement. (The “Green Book”). Center for Democracy

     and Citizenship.

Dahl, Robert A. 1998. On Democracy. Yale University Press. (Fall Semester)

Bishop, Bill.  2008.  The Big Sort:  Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.  Houghton-Mifflin Co.  (Fall Semester)

Gertson, Larry N. 2002. Public Policymaking in a Democratic Society: A Guide to Civic Engagement. M.E. Sharpe Publishers. (Spring Semester)



You will receive a separate grade for POLS 381 and for POLS 382.

Grades will likely follow these percentages of the total points.

            A = 130-117 B = 116-104 C = 103-91 D = 90-78 F = below 78



Pols 381

Democracy & Citizenship



Pols 382

Public Achievement



Class Attendance & Participation

  15  classes to attend (1 points each)

  12 classes to participate (max 2.5 point per)

20 min

40 max

PA Coaching Practice (includes attending Saturday workshop)


9 Reading Summaries in Journal (one reading dropped)


Issues Report




10 PA Reports in Journal




Email Paragraph on team







                                                        RELEVANT TO BOTH COURSES



You cannot take Pols 381 without simultaneously taking Pols 382. Students must also register for these courses spring semester.



Each course requires writing assignments which you are to combine in a journal.

We will divide the class into two groups with different due dates for the first collection.


Required Details:

·       All writing assignments should be typed/word processed.

·       Write your name clearly on the front cover. If you use a dark color binder your name must be easily legible.

·       Only the type of journal binder shown by the professor will be accepted.

·       Pages must be bound together. No loose pages accepted.

·       Reading Summaries and PA Reports should be separated by a divider.

·       Each piece of writing should be labeled  following these examples.

September 2  Reading Summary #1 Dahl, chs. 1 ­ 3

September 4  PA Report #2  React to Green Book

October 9  PA Report #7 Reaction to Team Meeting #1

  • Length: Write a minimum of 600 words (one page single spaced, two pages double spaced) for each Reading Summary and PA Report.
  • Include the Journal Cover Sheet as the first page of your journal.


Scoring of Journals

  • You will lose points if you do not complete each writing assignment on time; On Wednesdays your student-colleagues will check and sign off on the Journal Cover Sheet. If you have not completed the previous Friday’s PA report and that Wednesday’s Reading Summary you will lose 5 points. (3 points penalty for reading summaries 2 point penalty for PA reports.)
  • The Professor will collect your journal twice. For the first collection the class will be divided into two groups due on different days. If you complete a piece of writing that you did not have completed when colleagues checked you can earn 7 points for reading summaries 3 point for PA reports. 
  • Over the whole semester you may ³SKIP² one reading summary and one PA Report (except #s 1, 2, 3 or 8 which you must do).


Pols 381 Democracy & Citizenship



Class discussions will allow assessment, sharing and enhancement of your learning and that of the professor and class.  Sometimes these may be whole class discussions. Sometimes these may be simultaneous small groups, Sometimes these may be small groups taking turns before the rest of the class. All students should come to class and try to join in discussion. I will keep a record noting 1 points for attendance and up to 2.5 points for informed discussion. Informed discussion of the readings in class will be particularly noted.



Write a review of each of the reading assignments relative to our course objectives. Each review should have two parts.

1. Summarize what the author thinks is most important in the reading and tell why it is supposed to be important. (about 3/4)

2. Evaluate or critique the information or ideas in the reading assignment. Do not say it was boring or too long or too wordy. Relate it to Public Achievement or other contemporary experiences or news about democracy. (about 1/4)

The summaries are worth 10 points each if completed when checked in class; 7 points if completed by the time the professor collects them.


Pols 382 Public Achievement



You must attend and participate in the Public Achievement Site Orientation, Student Orientation, Issues Assembly, and all PA Meetings, unless excused. You must be on time and prepared for your PA meetings. You must let the professor know as soon as possible if you must be absent. Absences happen only very rarely if at all. Your PA students will be depending on you and the professor and mentors may not be able to effectively arrange for a substitution.



Without a background check you will not be allowed to be a PA coach. You need to go to Lori Bird (COE Clinical & Field Experience Office) in AH 119



You are required to attend at least our Saturday Orientation workshop on September 6. You also may participate in other workshops if sponsored by Minnesota Public Achievement.



On most Fridays we will go to Dakota Meadows Middle School for PA.

First shift/8th grade: team meetings 1:20-2:05 pm, coaches’ meeting  2:10 to about 2:40

Second shift/7th grade:  team meetings 2:09-2:54 pm, coaches’ meeting 3:00 to about 3:30



The professor and your mentor will visit your team meetings nearly every week. We will be trying to discuss what we observe with you in order to be helpful. We presume that if you meet with your team and give your best effort you will get the points for good coaching practice.

·       Your grade does NOT depend on the success of your PA team in accomplishing any particular goals. We recognize that your efforts are important, but are only part of the equation.

  • Conduct yourself in a professional manner. Observe all school rules. Act like the adult authority in the group. Beware of trying to be a friend. Do not tolerate flirting, teasing, inappropriate language.
  • You must be reliable, prepared, active and show initiative.
  • You must follow directions and respond to feedback.
  • Your team should write in the weekly log reports.



PA Team Reports

Your writing should address all of these four areas in identified sections.

1)     Experiences /Descriptions
What did you (and/or your team) experience? What happened? What did you do?

2)     Reflections /Evaluations
What is the meaning of the experiences? Evaluate: What's going well?  What needs improvement? How do you (and/or your team) feel?

3)     Connections/Generalizations
What are you/your team thinking and learning about democratic citizenship? Use core concepts. Mention your reading for PA or the more academic reading for Democracy and Citizenship.

4)     Applications/Experiments/Strategies
What are your plans and strategies? What skills are you and your team developing?


PA Issue Research Paper 

You will have MEA  week (October 17) to do advance research on your teamıs issue or problem and think about possible projects or actions. Effective PA coaches must learn about the issue and possible resources in the community. You canıt just wait for middle school students to discover this themselves.

1. Describe the issue or problem.

2. Predict how the issue or problem might be either broadened ³up² from the particular concerns of your team to connect to some larger concern (Think globally). Also, imagine ways to make a broad problem or issue more focused, immediate and actionable by youth (Act Locally). (1 ­2 paragraphs)

3. Research and Learn about the issue. 

Provide a list of community groups/individuals who have expertise and interest in the issue.  Learn what has been done previously on this, or related issues. Find on-line and/or printed sources to help you learn about the issue. Brainstorm some actions or projects.


EMAIL PARAGRAPHS FOR PA NEWS AND WEBSITE  (due date to be announced)

By a date to be announced submit a short update on your PA team. You may write this or have your team write it with your supervision. These should be well written paragraphs of 150 -250 words. These should tell a public audience about the mission and activities of the team. These will be posted on our PA website and send home in the school newsletter to families. You may write these or help your team to do so. We are keeping the number (one or two) and the dates open, until we learn the deadlines for the DMMS newsletters. 


FINAL REPORT  (Spring Semester)

The final report is intended to help you integrate and record your learning from both POLS 381 and 382 from both semesters. The report should be typed, double-spaced, 10 or 12 point font, one inch margins, five pages in length. Think about the course objectives, the four types of writing you did for the journals and the Social Studies standards relevant to your portfolio. In writing discuss and evaluate both

a. What you experienced and learned and how you were changed.

b. What your Public Achievement team experienced, learned, attempted and accomplished.

c. What went well/not so well? What you might do differently.

Also include a one page letter addressed to an MSU,M student who will be a PA coach next year. Tell them what should they expect from these courses and PA in particular. What advice do you have?

The professor is here to help students learn. All students are encouraged to visit with the professor if they need help. Students with disabilities are particularly invited to meet with the professor to discuss any special instructional needs they may have, or to contact the office of Disability Services.




POLS 321 at MSU


POLS 322 at Middle School


August 27

Course Introduction

PA Website

MSU PA Website

PA Coach’s Toolbox

August 29         

Intro to Public Achievement

Read: Green Book chaps. 1-6

PA Report #1 Write on:

 Kunkel, Johnson et al. Collaboration, Action, Civic Education



September 3

Democracy: What & Why?

Reading Summary #1

Dahl, On Democracy chs. 1 - 3


September 5            

Orientation to DMMS

PA Report #2 

Read & React to Green Book,  All

September  6
PA Orientation at DMMS 9:00-3:00

September 10

Ideal Democracy

Reading Summary #2

Dahl, On Democracy chs. 4-7

September 12

PA Student Orientation to PA

(Temporary shift assignments)

PA Report #3

Reaction to Student Orientation 



September 17

Actual Democracy

Reading Summary #3

Dahl, chs. 8-11


September 19

PA Issues Assemblies

(Temporary shift assignments)

PA Report #4

Reaction to Issue Assembly


September 24

Conditions for Democracy

Reading Summary #4

Dahl, chs. 12-14

September 26

PA Students Issue Voting

PA Report #5

Reaction to Issue Voting



October 1

Choose PA Teams & Shifts

Team Builders & Ice Breakers In-Service

October 3   No class/No PA

·         Begin research Your Team’s Issue



October 8

Populism as a form of democracy

Reading Summary #5

Harry C. Boyte, “Civic Populism

October 10

PA Team Meeting #1

PA Report #6

 Reaction to Team Meeting #1


October 15

Researching Issues

Better Brainstorming

Creative Thinking Principles

Bull’s Eye Lesson

Seeing All Sides Lesson

Journals due

October 17   MEA Days-- no PA

  • Research Your Team’s Issue



October 22

The Strength of Diversity
Reading Summary #6
The Big Sort:  Power of Place chs. 1-3


October 24

MSU Holiday—no PA

Issue Paper Report



October 29

Reading Summary #7

The Big Sort: Silent Revolution, chs. 4-6

October 31

PA Team Meeting #2

 PA Report #7

 Reaction to Team Meeting #2


November 5

Election Results:  What Have We Done?

David Mamet, “Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal

November 7

DMMS Teachers’ Day—no PA



November 12

Reading Summary #8

The Big Sort:  Way We Live, chs. 7-9

Letter to Parents

November 14
PA Team Meeting #3

PA Report #8

 Reaction to Team Meeting #3


November 19

Weakness of Democracy:  Tragedy of the Commons; The Melian Debate

Reading Summary #9

The Big Sort:  Politics of People Like Us, chs. 10-12

November 21

PA Team Meeting #4

PA Report #9

 Reaction to Team Meeting #4


November 26

The Miniapple Game

November 28
No Classes - Give Thanks


December 3

Course Evaluation

Final journals due

Reading Summary #10

David Mamet or Melian Debate


December 5  

PA Team Meeting #5

Paragraph describing Team due

PA Report #10

 Reaction to Team Meeting #5






Second Semester CALENDAR



January 14

Introduction & Regrouping


January 16

PA Team Meeting  #6

 January 21


Jan 23

PA Team Meeting  #7

January 28


January 30            

PA Team Meeting  #8

February 4


February 6

PA Team Meeting  #9

February 11


February 13

PA Team Meeting  #10

February 18


February 20

PA Team Meeting #11

February 25

February 27

PA Team Meeting  #12

March 4


March 6             

PA Team Meeting  #13

March 11

No Class MSU Spring Break

March 13 

No PA - MSU Spring Break

March 18


March 20

PA Team Meeting  #14

March 25


March 27         

PA Team Meeting  #15

April 1


April 3

PA Team Meeting #16

April 8


April 10   

No PA—DMMS Spring Break

April 15


April 17

PA Team Meeting  #17

April 22


April 24                     

PA Team Meeting #18

April 29


May 1                                

PA Assemblies

Paragraph Describing Team due

May 6   Finals Week

Debriefing:  Where Have We Come?




İ 2008 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 13 August 08