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POL 220: State and Local Government

Course Description

This course examines the functions and processes of state and local governments in America, with a very practical emphasis on the institutions and policies that affect our everyday lives. Students who take this course will be acquainted with the powers and duties of their state legislatures and governors, as well as their mayors, city councils and town managers. (3 credits)

Prerequisite

  • None

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Understand the relationship between federal and state governments, and between state and local governments.
  2. Identify the relationship between state constitutions, state laws, and local ordinances.
  3. Recognize the role that citizens, elected officials and appointed administrators play in the development and enforcement of public policy at the state and local levels.
  4. Understand the roles political parties, interest groups and the media play in state and local politics.
  5. Explain how state legislatures and governors operate and interact with one another.
  6. Explain how and why some governors are much stronger than others.
  7. Explain how and why the method of selecting state judges affects public policy.
  8. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of Mayor/Council and Council/Manager local governments.
  9. Understand the relationship between revenue (i.e. taxation) and expenditures (i.e. spending) at both the state and local levels.
  10. Evaluate the basic tenets of education, health care, criminal justice and environmental policy debates.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsWeight

Discussions (Weeks 1-8)

40%

State and Local Government Paper (Week 7)

40%

Final Exam (Week 8)

20%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through Charter Oak’s online bookstore)

  • Bowman, Ann and Richard Kearney. State and Local Government. 10th ed. Wadsworth, Inc., 2017. ISBN-10: 1-305-38847-X or ISBN-13: 978-1-305-38847-5

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1,2

  • Course Introduction
  • Chapter 1: New Directions for State & Local Government
  • Chapter 2: Federalism and the States
  • Chapter 3: State Constitutions
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

2

3,4

  • Chapter 4: Citizen Participation and Elections
  • Chapter 5: Political Parties, Interest Groups and Campaigns
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

3

3,5,6

  • Chapter 6: State Legislatures
  • Chapter 7: Governors
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

4

3,7

  • Chapter 8: Public Administration
  • Chapter 9: The Judiciary
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

5

2,3,8

  • Chapter 10: The Structure of Local Government
  • Chapter 11: Local Leadership and Governance
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

6

1,2,9

  • Chapter 12: State-Local Relations
  • Chapter 13: State & Local Finance
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material

7

1,2,10

  • Chapter 14: Economic Development
  • Chapter 15: Education Policy
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Submit State and Local Government Papers

State and Local Government Papers Due
SLOs 1-10

8

1,2,10

  • Chapter 16: Criminal Justice
  • Chapter 17: Social Welfare & Health Care Policy
  • Chapter 18: Environmental Policy
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Take the Final Exam

Final Exam
Chapters 1-18
SLOs 1-10

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.