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A Local Charter,

Kelly Walker, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Sometimes referred to as a “Constitution,” a city, town, or county charter allows residents the flexibility to choose the kind of government structure allowed by law for their community. A community organized under a charter may choose…

Public Education: What is the State’s Responsibility ,

Deborah Sprenger

Public education remains one of the primary responsibilities shared between state and local government. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia requires the General Assembly to provide a system of free public schools. That provision has been…

School Desegregation: A Community’s Response,

Sarah Taylor, Salem City Schools

The challenge of protecting civil rights in a democracy, the intersection between state and local government, the activity of citizens in their local school board and administration, and the role of the media in addressing controversial issues are…

What are Initiatives and Referendums?,

Rob Campbell

Currently, 24 states have some form of initiative and referendum process. Citizens can use the ballot initiative process to implement laws on their own; conversely, a referendum places an existing law to a popular vote. In this activity, students…

Monticello Classroom,

Thomas Jefferson Foundation

The Monticello Classroom offers extensive information about Thomas Jefferson, Virginia history, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and other important aspects surrounding the founding of the United States. The website also allows visitors to log in and create projects, design lesson plans, or do homework. It also features fun information, such as why Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel, and how to make ice cream the colonial way.

What is the Real Cost of Buying a House and Car?,

Linda Long

Tax rates differ for citizens in Virginia, depending on where one lives. In addition, a local government may choose to spend collected tax money differently than another local government in the Commonwealth. In this activity, students simulate the…

The Politics of Solid Waste Management ,

Joe LaRocco

Virginians produce over 9.5 million tons of solid wastes every year. Solid waste management is a classic study of federalism. Federal, state, and local laws and ordinances have a multitude of requirements that apply to the disposal of solid wastes.…

Virginia’s Role in the Global Economy ,

Joe LaRocco

Virginia has a rich history in trading goods with other countries. Because the global economy is a great deal more competitive than it was in Virginia’s early colonial history, Virginia’s governors, legislators, and business leaders have…

Electoral College Policy Brief to the Governor,

Georgia Leser, Loudoun County Public Schools

Since ratification of the Constitution, the Electoral College has been the method used for electing the President and Vice President of the United States and is outlined in Article II of the Constitution. The Electoral College elects the President,…

Virginia Voter Registration and Turnout,

Jessica Cromer, Floyd County Schools

The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of citizens in a democratic society. Identify voter requirements for residents of Virginia, discuss procedures to register to vote and changes or trends in voter participation, and analyze…