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Exploring Core Democratic Values

Looking at Current Issues in the News

Lesson plan:
1. Spend time introducing the Core Democratic Values and Principles.
2. Once the class is familiar with and can define/discuss CDVs, introduce the concept in the Basic Beliefs
collection of news articles or bring in articles from local papers or online news sources that demonstrate
that CDVs are in play today, every day in our current events/issues.
3. Define public policy and differentiate from Service Learning.
4. Give each group of four students one article to read and discuss. Most of the articles have focus
questions to facilitate a discussion in Part I of the Activity. Be ready to present (summarize, dont read)
the article to the rest of the class and tell why it is representative of the CDV at the top of the article.
Assignment: Find an article in any local newspaper or online news source (MLive, WSJ, NYT, etc.) that
presents a local, state, or national public policy issue. Print out for class and attach to this rubric.
Summarize the article. Identify the CDV that is being debated. Identify the level of government that would
have jurisdiction in this issue. (local, state, national) AND the branch of government that addresses this issue
Give the rationale for choosing the CDV you identified and why you said that. Develop 2-3 focus questions
that would help another student discuss the issue. Be ready to present your article to a small group and turn in.

Exploring CDVs in the News Rubric (USE TEMPLATE)

On time

3 points
Assignment is on time
and available for class
Article is identified using
APA citation format

(Use Template)
Article print
and include with
Article Summary

(5Ws and H)
(Use Template)
CDV identified

(Use Template)
Rationale for
each CDV

(Use Template)
Level of

(Use Template)
Branch of

(Use Template)
Focus questions

(Use Template)

Included article
highlights a U.S.
community, state, or
national public policy
0-1 mistakes in grammar,
spelling and/or
Article is summarized
clearly and succinctly
including all important
CDV(s) identified
Rationale for each
identified CDV clearly
Correctly identifies the
U.S. level of government
with jurisdiction
Correctly identifies the
branch(es) of U.S.
government involved
2-3 focus questions that
will facilitate discussion
of the issue

1 point
Work is posted on time,
but not brought to class
for discussion
Article is identified by
the Title, Date, News
Included article is about
something other than a
U.S. public policy issue
(service learning, etc.)

0 points
Assignment is late.

2 -3 mistakes in grammar,
spelling and/or
punctuation dont affect
Article is summarized.
Important info may be
missing or summary
includes too much info.
Unclear choice; not really
the focus of this article

Any amount of
mistakes in writing
Article summary is

Rationale for identified

CDV described, but may
be unclear
Unclear choice or reason;
not really the focus of this
Unclear choice or reason;
not really the focus of this
1 focus question that will
facilitate discussion

Article is
misidentified or
not identified
No copy of the
article turned in
with assignment

CDV identified
incorrectly or not
Rationale for
identified CDV
not described
Level of U.S.
Branch(es) of U.S.
govt involved
No focus questions

Total points possible: 30; What do you think? ________ Total points earned: __________

CDVs in the News Use this template to complete this assignment. Student work is inserted in right-hand
column below for each section
Name and SST309 Section
SST 306 Section 2
Kelly Gaule
Indiana Governor Signs Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill At Private
Title of Article and APA

Terkel, A. (n.d.). Indiana Governor Signs Anti-Gay 'Religious

Freedom' Bill At Private Ceremony. Retrieved March 28, 2015,
Complete summary of Article
(5Ws and H) (Who, What,
When, Where, Why, and How?)

Core Democratic Value(s)

Rationale for each of the CDVs

(Why does the CDV you chose
fit this issue?)

On March 26th Illinois Governor signed the Illinois Religious Freedom

Restoration Act. This piece of legislature allows the illionis citizens to cite
their religious beliefs as a defense when being sued by a private party. This
is causing a lot of controversy because this act could lead to discrimination,
particularly against homosexual and transgender people because of peoples
religious beliefs against them. Some companies have already began to leave
Illinois because of this bill.
1.Freedom of religion
2. Individual rights
3.Common Good
4. Justice
5. Pursuit of Happiness
6. Equality
1. This is allowing people to express their own religions and use their beliefs
in court to justify their actions.
2. Every person has their individual right to religion and what they do with
their beliefs, freedom of speech of those beliefs.
3. It is good to allow people to express their religion but it is for the common
good if people because of their religions, are discriminating against other
people. For example is someone refuses service to a gay person because of
their religion that would take away the good for the gay person. They would
not be able to sue because of that.
4. Justice is concerned with this Act because it may not be just to
discriminate against someone because of your religion. It is not fair to them
to be hurt by your religion.
5. This could impede the pursuit of happiness for people who are
discriminated against for other peoples religion. This could also create
happiness for someone who is trying to express their religion to other people.
6. If someones religion discriminates against a certain group of people then
it is not equality towards those people if it is brought up in court.

Branch of Government
The legislative branch is directly indicated in this issue. It was the Illinois
indicated in this issue AND how legislature that created this bill and the governor signed it. The judicial
do you know?
branch is also included because the act is about allowing people to use their
religion for a defense in court.
Level of Government with
The state government has jurisdiction with this piece of news. The Governor
jurisdiction AND how do you and the Illinois Legislature passed the bill.
2-3 Focus questions how
1. How do you think this would affect everyone s right of equality?

would you lead a substantive

discussion on this article as it
relates to the Core Democratic

2. How could this affect the pursuit of happiness for someone who is
using this as a defense for court?
3. Imagine a situation where someone did something wrong to you
because their religion tells you to. How would this affect your
individual rights and pursuit of happiness?