May 8

posted May 8, 2012, 4:16 AM by Peter Knowles   [ updated May 9, 2012, 3:20 AM ]
LAST FRIDAY your Civil Rights Assessment was due. Many students did not turn them in. If you didn't, your score will be zero (0) until it does come in. Progress report grades are due Wednesday morning and that zero will be reflected on your grade. Come in for help if you're struggling, or turn it in tonight for credit before progress reports are due. 

Today, we begin with a survey about your senior project. Please complete it with honest responses so we can improve the experience for students in the future. 

After the survey, we'll begin looking at something that's been going on across the country for the last few years and that will have an impact on elections and government for years to come: Redistricting.

NOTE: This is a multi-day assignment, to be finished by Thursday.

Follow this link to a slideshow that we'll go through as a class when everyone's ready. We'll finish by seeing how difficult it can be to create districts that meet all the rules. 

The following links will take you to The Redistricting Game, where you can see how difficult it can be to create voting districts that meet a number of different requirements. Work through them in order (they do get harder as you move through the missions!)

Mission 1 -- Where you'll need to create voting districts that are equal in population (Pretty Easy)

Mission 2 -- Where you'll try to manage the district boundaries in a way that benefits YOUR political party (A little tougher)

 Mission 3 -- Where you'll try to create district boundaries to create "safe" seats for both parties (Challenging)

Before moving on to the next mission, read the article from the Seattle Times entitled "Activists propose 'majority minority' congressional district for Washington"

Mission 4 -- Where you'll try to create a brand new district, and make it one that enforces the Voting Rights Act by creating a 'majority minority' district (Good luck!)

Before taking on the final mission, read about how Washington State recently performed this task by reading through information on the Washington State Redistricting Commission Website, on the FAQs page, and on the final plan that was adopted on January 1, 2012.

Mission 5 -- Where you'll use a non-partisan redistricting panel, like we have in Washington, to create a balanced plan.


When you finish reading the article, working with the FAQs, and playing a number of the games, you're ready to explain what you've learned. 

Read one more article from the Seattle Times called "Vancouver activist asks court to toss state redistricting plan" then write a brief description of your experiences and your thoughts, making sure you answer the following questions (either one by one, or as part of a brief essay):

  1. Why is redistricting necessary?
  2. Which of the game missions was the most difficult to win? Why?
  3. In your opinion, is it a good idea to create a majority-minority district when possible (see Mission 4 or Seattle Times article)? Why?
  4. How important is redistricting in terms of changing or preserving the types of people and groups that have power in government? Explain.
Share your answers/essay by placing a link in the Class DropBox.