For Teachers

For Teachers

From the Department of Education:

Pennsylvania Academic Standards

The State Board approved the final Chapter 4 regulations on September 12, 2013. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the final regulation on November 21, 2013. With publication of Chapter 4 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the new regulations took effect on March 1, 2014.

As part of the new regulations, Pennsylvania’s Core Standards offer a set of rigorous, high-quality academic expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics that all students should master by the end of each grade level. The PA Core Standards are robust and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills our young people need to succeed in life after high school, in both post-secondary education and a globally competitive workforce.

Overall, Pennsylvania Academic Standards continue to be the foundation upon which to build a locally designed curriculum. The Standards Aligned System offers educators a wealth of resources to support the Pennsylvania Core Standards.

This document includes Academic Standards for Civics and Government that describe what students should know and be able to do in four areas:

  • 5.1. Principles and Documents of Government
  • 5.2. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
  • 5.3. How Government Works
  • 5.4. How International Relationships Function

The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790 was the basis for the Free Public School Act of 1834 that is the underpinning of today's system of schools operating throughout the Commonwealth. These schools were created to educate children to be useful citizens, loyal to the principles upon which our Republic was founded, and aware of their duties as citizens to maintain those ideals.

The Academic Standards for Civics and Government are based on the Public School Code of 1949 which directs "… teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the American republican representative form of government as portrayed and experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights. . .". The intent of the Code is that such instruction "shall have for its purpose also instilling into every boy and girl who comes out of public, private and parochial schools their solemn duty and obligation to exercise intelligently their voting privilege and to understand the advantages of the American republican representative form of government as compared with various other forms of governments”.

The academic standards for Civics and Government consist of four standard categories (designated as 5.1., 5.2., 5.3., and 5.4.). Each category has a number of standards statements designated by a capital letter. Some standard statements have bulleted items known as standard descriptors. The standard descriptors are items within the document to illustrate and enhance the standard statement. The categories, statements and descriptors are regulations. The descriptors may be followed by an “e.g.”. The “e.g.’s” are examples to clarify what type of information could be taught. These are suggestions and the choice of specific content is a local decision as is the method of instruction.

A glossary is included to assist the reader in clarifying terminology contained in the standards.

Subject Area – 5: Civics and Government

Standard Area – 5.1: Principles and Documents of Government

 GRADE 8GRADE 9GRADE 12CIVICS & GOVERNMENT
Rule of Law 5.1.8.A:
Identify the sources of the rule of law.
5.1.9.A:
Apply examples of the rule of law as related to individual rights and the common good.
5.1.12.A:
Analyze the sources, purposes, functions of law, and how the rule of law protects individual rights and promotes the common good.
5.1.C.A:
Analyze the sources, purposes, functions of law, and how the rule of law protects individual rights and promotes the common good.
Laws and Government 5.1.8.B:
Outline how different systems of government function.
5.1.9.B:
Analyze the major arguments advanced for different systems of government.

5.1.12.B:
Employ historical examples and political philosophy to evaluate the major arguments advanced for the necessity of government.

5.1.C.B:
Employ historical examples and political philosophy to evaluate the major arguments advanced for the necessity of government.
Principles and Ideals that Shape Government 5.1.8.C:
Analyze the principles and ideas that shaped local, Pennsylvania, and national governments.
  • Liberty / Freedom
  • Democracy
  • Justice
  • Equality
5.1.9.C:
Analyze the principles and ideals that shape United States government.
  • Liberty / Freedom
  • Democracy
  • Justice
  • Equality
5.1.12.C:
Evaluate the application of the principles and ideals in contemporary civic life.
  • Liberty / Freedom
  • Democracy
  • Justice
  • Equality
5.1.C.C:
Evaluate the application of the principles and ideals in contemporary civic life.
  • Liberty / Freedom
  • Democracy
  • Justice
  • Equality
Documents and Ideals that Shape Pennsylvania and US Government

5.1.8.D:
Summarize the basic principles and ideals within documents and the roles played by the framers as found in significant documents:

  • Declaration of Independence
  • United States Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Pennsylvania Constitution
5.1.9.D:
Compare and contrast the basic principles and ideals found in significant documents:
  • Declaration of Independence
  • United States Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Pennsylvania Constitution
5.1.12.D:
Evaluate stateand federal powers based on significant documents and other critical sources.
  • Declaration of Independence
  • United States Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Pennsylvania Constitution
5.1.C.D:
Evaluate stateand federal powers based on significant documents and other critical sources.
  • Declaration of Independence
  • United States Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Pennsylvania Constitution
Individual Rights 5.1.8.E:
Compare and contrast the individual rights guaranteed by the PA Constitution versus the U.S. Constitution.
5.1.9.E:
Demonstrate an understanding of how the PA Constitution and the US Constitution co-exist.
5.1.12.E:
Analyze and assess the rights of people as written in the PA Constitution and the US Constitution.
5.1.C.E:
Analyze and assess the rights of people as written in the PA Constitution and the US Constitution.
Symbols 5.1.8.F:
Analyze how political symbols are used by the media and leaders to influence public opinion.
5.1.9.F:
Analyze the role political symbols play in civil disobedience and patriotic activities.
5.1.12.F:
Evaluate the role of nationalism in uniting and dividing citizens.
5.1.C.F:
Analyze the role political symbols play in civil disobedience and patriotic activities.

Standard Area – 5.2: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Standard Area – 5.2: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
 GRADE 8GRADE 9GRADE 12CIVICS & GOVERNMENT
Civics Rights and Responsibilities 5.2.8.A:
Summarize the role of citizens in terms of right and responsibilities in different government systems.
5.2.9.A:
Contrast the rights and responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy with a citizen in an authoritarian system.
5.2.12.A:
Evaluate an individual's civil rights, responsibilities and obligations in various contemporary governments.
5.2.C.A:
Contrast the rights and responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy with a citizen in an authoritarian system.
Conflict and Resolution 5.2.8.B:
Describe how citizens resolve conflicts in society and government.
5.2.9.B:
Analyze strategies used to resolve conflicts in society and government.
5.2.12.B:
Examine the causes of conflicts in society and evaluate techniques to address those conflicts.
5.2.C.B:
Analyze strategies used to resolve conflicts in society and government.
Leadership and Public Service 5.2.8.C:
Describe the role of political leadership and public service.
5.2.9.C:
Examine political leadership and public service in a republican form of government.
5.2.12.C:
Evaluate political leadership and public service in a republican form of government.
5.2.C.C:
Evaluate political leadership and public service in a republican form of government.
Competent and Responsible Citizens 5.2.8.D:
Describe the citizen’s role in the political process.
5.2.9.D:
Analyze citizens' roles in the political process toward the attainment of goals for individual and public good.
5.2.12.D:
Evaluate and demonstrate what makes competent and responsible citizens.
5.2.C.D:
Evaluate and demonstrate what makes competent and responsible citizens.

Standard Area - 5.3: How Government Works

Standard Area - 5.3: How Government Works
 GRADE 8GRADE 9GRADE 12CIVICS & GOVERNMENT
Branches of Government 5.3.8.A:
Compare and contrast the responsibilities and powers of the three branches of government between Pennsylvania and the Federal government.
5.3.9.A:
Examine the process of checks and balances among the three branches of government, including the creation of law.
5.3.12.A:
Analyze the changes in power and authority among the three branches of government over time.
5.3.C.A:
Examine the process of checks and balances among the three branches of government, including the creation of law.
Structure, Organization and Operation of Government 5.3.8.B:
Compare and contrast the policy-making process between Pennsylvania and the federal government.
5.3.9.B:
Analyze the roles of local, state, and national governments in policy-making.
5.3.12.B:
Compare and contrast policy-making in various contemporary world governments.
5.3.C.B:
Analyze the roles of local, state, and national governments in policy-making.
Government Services 5.3.8.C:
Describe how local, state, and national governments provide services.
5.3.9.C:
Explain how government agencies create, amend and enforce policies in local, state, and national governments.
5.3.12.C:
Evaluate how government agencies create, amend, and enforce regulations.
5.3.C.C:
Explain how government agencies create, amend, and enforce policies in local, state, and national governments.
Leadership and Political Elections 5.3.8.D:
Identify leadership positions and the role of political party affiliation at the local, state, and national levels.
5.3.9.D:
Explain how citizens participate in choosing their leaders through political parties, campaigns, and elections.
5.3.12.D:
Evaluate the roles of political parties, interest groups, and mass media in politics and public policy.
5.3.C.D:
Evaluate the roles of political parties, interest groups, and mass media in politics and public policy.
Elements of the Election Process 5.3.8.E:
Describe the closed primary voting process in Pennsylvania.
5.3.9.E:
Compare and contrast the different election processes for local, state, and national offices.
5.3.12.E:
Evaluate the fairness and effectiveness of the United States electoral processes, including the electoral college.
5.3.C.E:
Compare and contrast the different election processes for local, state, and national offices.
Conflict and the Court System 5.3.8.F:
Explain the various judicial levels of the
5.3.9.F:
Explain the Supreme Court’s role in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
  • Individual rights
  • States’ rights
  • Civil rights
5.3.12.F:
Analyze landmark United States Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its Amendments.
5.3.C.F:
Explain the Supreme Court’s role in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
  • Individual rights
  • States’ rights
  • Civil rights
Interest Groups 5.3.8.G:
Explain the role of interest groups in the federal government process.
5.3.9.G:
Analyze the influence of interest groups in the political process.
5.3.12.G:
Evaluate the impact of interest groups in developing public policy.
5.3.C.G:
Analyze the influence of interest groups in the political process.
Media Influences 5.3.8.H:
Describe the influence of mass media on government.
5.3.9.H:
Evaluate the importance of freedom of the press and the political influence of mass media.
5.3.12.H:
Evaluate the role of mass media in setting public agenda and influencing political life.
5.3.C.H:
Evaluate the role of mass media in setting public agenda and influencing political life.
Taxes 5.3.8.I:
Describe various types of projects and services provided through local, state, and national taxes.
5.3.9.I:
Explain various types of taxes and their purposes.
5.3.12.I:Evaluate tax policies of various states and countries. 5.3.C.I:
Explain various types of taxes and their purposes.
Systems of Government 5.3.8.J:
Compare democracy to totalitarianism.
5.3.9.J:
Compare and contrast various systems of government.
5.3.12.J:
Evaluate critical issues in various contemporary governments.
5.3.C.J:
Intentionally Blank

Standard Area – 5.4: How International Relationships Function

Standard Area – 5.4: How International Relationships Function
 GRADE 8GRADE 9GRADE 12CIVICS & GOVERNMENT
Countries and Conflicts 5.4.8.A:
Describe how national interests lead to agreements and conflicts between and among countries.
5.4.9.A:
Explain how United States foreign policy is developed.
5.4.12.A:
Examine foreign policy perspectives, including realism, idealism, and liberalism.
5.4.C.A:
Explain how United States foreign policy is developed.
Tools of Foreign Policy 5.4.8.B:
Describe the foreign policy tools of diplomacy, economic aid, military aid, sanctions, and treaties.
5.4.9.B:
Explain why and how different foreign policy tools are used to advance a nation’s self interest (e.g., diplomacy, economic aid, military aid, sanctions, treaties).
5.4.12.B:
Evaluate the effectiveness of foreign policy tools in various current issues confronting the United States (e.g., diplomacy, economic aid, military aid, sanctions, treaties).
5.4.C.B:
Explain why and how different foreign policy tools are used to advance a nation’s self interest (e.g., diplomacy, economic aid, military aid, sanctions, treaties).
International Organizations 5.4.8.C:
Explain how common problems (e.g., natural disasters, ethnic conflict, environmental concerns) are addressed by organizations and governments.
5.4.9.C:
Identify the role of international organizations.
5.4.12.C:
Evaluate the effectiveness of international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental.
5.4.C.C:
Intentionally Blank
Media and its Influence 5.4.8.D:
Describe how mass media influences our view of international events.
5.4.9.D:
Analyze the various mass media outlets and their influence on global issues.
5.4.12.D:
Evaluate the role of mass media in world politics.
5.4.C.D:
Intentionally Blank
How Foreign Policy is Influenced 5.4.8.E:
Intentionally Blank
5.4.9.E:
Identify the politics of interest groups (e.g. business and labor organizations, ethnic and religious organizations) on foreign policy.
5.4.12.E:
Compare and contrast the politics of various interest groups and evaluate their impact on foreign policy.
5.4.C.E:
Intentionally Blank

Glossary

Amendment (Constitutional):
Changes in, or additions to, a constitution. Proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by a convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures. Ratified by approval of three-fourths of the states.
Articles of Confederation:
First framework of government of the United States, 1781. Created a weak national government; replaced in 1789 by the Constitution of the United States.
Authority:
Right to control or direct the actions of others, legitimized by law, morality, custom or consent.
Autocracy:
A government in which one person possesses unlimited power.
Bill of Rights:
First Ten Amendments to the Constitution. Ratified in 1791, these amendments limit government power and protect basic rights and liberties of individuals.
Caucuses:
A private meeting of members of a political party to plan action or to select delegates for a nominating convention. The term also refers to distinct groups, either official or unofficial, in Congress, as in the black caucus in the House of Representatives.
Checks and balances:
Constitutional mechanisms that authorize each branch of government to share powers with the other branches and thereby check their activities. For example, the president may veto legislation passed by Congress, the Senate must confirm major executive appointments and the courts may declare acts of Congress unconstitutional.
Citizen:
Member of a political society who therefore owes allegiance to and is entitled to protection by and from the government.
Citizenship:
Status of being a member of a state; one who owes allegiance to the government and is entitled to protection by and from the government.
Civic life:
A manner of existence of an individual concerned with the affairs of communities and the common good rather than solely in pursuit of private and personal interests.
Civic responsibilities:
Obligation of citizens to take part in the governance of the school, community, tribe, state or nation.
Civil disobedience:
Refusal to obey laws. This tactic is usually passive and nonviolent, aimed at bringing injustices to the attention of lawmakers and the public at large. An example of civil disobedience was the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
Civil rights:
Protections and privileges given to all United States citizens by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Civil society:
The spheres of voluntary individual, social and economic relationships and organizations that although limited by law are not part of governmental institutions.
Classical republicanism:
Refers to government that seeks the public or common good rather than the good of a particular group or class of society.
Common or public good:
Benefit or interest of a politically organized society as a whole.
Confederal:
Relating to a league of independent states.
Constitutional government:
A form of authority in which a legal structure details the powers available to each branch of government and the rights of the individual in relation to the government. Any action by government that is not in accord with the Constitution is considered illegitimate.
Democracy:
Form of government in which political control is exercised by the people, either directly or through their elected representatives.
Diplomacy:
The art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations. Direct democracy:
Form of government in which the people completely exercise political decisions.
Diversity:
State of being different; variety. Documents of government:
Papers necessary for the organization and powers of government.
Double jeopardy:
A concept established by law that says a person cannot be tried twice for the same offense. It is part of the Fifth Amendment, which states that “no person shall . . . be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”
Due process of law:
Right of every citizen to be protected against arbitrary action by government.
Economic rights:
Financial choices and privileges that individuals may select without government prohibition. Economic rights would include: right to own property, change employment, operate a business and join a labor union.
Electoral College:
The group of presidential electors that casts the official votes for president after the presidential election. Each state has a number of electors equal to the total of its members in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Enumerated powers:
Powers that are specifically granted to Congress by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Equal protection:
An idea that no individual or group may receive special privileges from nor be unjustly discriminated against by the political authority of the legal system.
Equality:
The condition of possessing substantially the same rights, privileges and immunities, and being substantially responsible for the same duties as other members of society.
Federal Supremacy Clause:
Article VI of the Constitution provides that the Constitution and all federal laws and treaties shall be the "Supreme Law of the Land." Therefore, all federal laws take precedence over state and local laws. Federal system (or Federalism): Form of political organization in which governmental power is divided between a central government and territorial subdivisions (e.g., in the United States - the national, state and local governments).
Federalism:
The distribution of power in a government between a central authority and states and the distribution of power among states with most powers retained by central government.
Foreign Policy:
Actions of the federal government directed to matters beyond United States’ borders, especially relations with other countries. Government: Institutions and procedures through which a territory and its people are ruled.
Habeas Corpus:
Court order demanding that the individual in custody be brought into court and shown the cause for detention. Habeas corpus is guaranteed by the Constitution and can be suspended only in the case of rebellion or invasion.
Individual responsibility:
Fulfilling the moral and legal obligations of membership in society.
Individual rights:
Just claims due a person by law, morality or tradition as opposed to those due to groups.
Interest group:
Organized body of individuals who share same goals and try to influence public policy to meet those goals.
International organizations:
Groups formed by nation-states to achieve common political, social or economic goals.
Judicial Review:
Doctrine that permits the federal courts to declare unconstitutional, and thus null and void, acts of the Congress, the executive branch and the states. The precedent for judicial review was established in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.
Justice:
That which may be obtained through fair distribution of benefits and burdens, fair correction of wrongs and injuries, or use of fair procedures in gathering information and making decisions.
Leadership:
State or condition of one who guides or governs.
Liberal Democracy:
Government that recognizes that the individual has rights that exist independently of government and which ought to be protected by and against government.
Liberty:
Freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others.
Limited government:
A legal structure where officials in authority do not have enormous power. The Constitution of the United States limits government through methods of checks and balances.
Majority rule:
Decision by more than half of those participating in the decision-making process.
Minority rights:
Opportunities that a member is entitled to have, or to receive from others within the limits of the law, even though he/she may not be part of the controlling group.
Nation-state:
Divisions of the world in which each state claims sovereignty over defined territory and jurisdiction over everyone within it. These states interact using diplomacy, formal agreements and sanctions that may be peaceful or may involve the use of force.
NATO:
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an international transatlantic partnership consisting of various European states, the United States and Canada, which was designed through cooperation, consultation and collective defense to maintain peace and promote stability throughout Europe.
Non-governmental Organization:
A group in a free society that is not a part of any government institution and does not derive its power from government.
OAS:
Organization of American States, an international governmental organization formed by the states of North and South America for security and the protection of mutual interests.
Oligarchy:
A government in which a small group exercises control. These systems are usually based on wealth, military power of social position.
Patriotism: A feeling of pride in and respect for one's country.
Personal rights:
Private legal privileges and decisions that individuals are free to participate in without intervention from government. Personal rights would include the right to vote, petition, assemble, seek public office.
Political party:
Any group, however loosely organized, that seeks to elect government officials under a given label.
Political rights:
Legal claims by citizens to participate in government and be treated fairly. Political rights would include the right to vote, petition, assemble, and seek public office.
Popular sovereignty:
The concept that ultimate political authority rests with the people to create, alter or abolish governments.
Presumption of innocence:
The legal concept that a criminal defendant is not guilty until the prosecution proves every element of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Privacy:
The right to be left alone; the right of an individual to withhold one’s self and one's property from public scrutiny if one so chooses. Public service: Action of benefit to local, state or national communities through appointed or elected office.
Republic:
Form of government in which political control is exercised through elected representatives.
Republican form of government:
System of government in which power is held by the voters and is exercised by elected representatives responsible for promoting the common welfare.
Right against self-incrimination:
Individual right found in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution that prevents an individual from being forced to testify against himself or herself.
Right of appeal:
The right to seek review by a superior court of an injustice done or error committed by an inferior court, whose judgment or decision the court above is called upon to correct or reverse.
Right to counsel:
Individual right found in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution that requires criminal defendants to have access to legal representation.
Rule of Law:
Principle that every member of a society, even a ruler, must follow the law.
Separation of powers:
Distribution among the branches of government to ensure that the same person or group will not make the law, enforce the law and interpret the law.
State:
A commonwealth; a nation; a civil power.
Treaty:
Formal agreement between or among sovereign nations to create or restrict rights and responsibilities. In the United States all treaties must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.
Trial by jury:
Individual right found in the Sixth and Seventh Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees a person an impartial jury.
Truth:
Agreement of thought and reality that can eventually be verified.
Unitary government:
An authoritative system in which all regulatory power is vested in a central government from which regional and local governments derive their powers (e.g., Great Britain and France as well as the American states within their spheres of authority).
United Nations:
International organization comprising most of the nation-states of the world. It was formed in 1945 to promote peace, security and economic development.
Unlimited government:
A legal structure where officials in authority have unrestricted power. Examples of unlimited governments would be authoritarian or totalitarian systems without restraints on their power.
World Court:
Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, set up by the United Nations Treaty to which nations may voluntarily submit disputes.