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Virginia Performs: Measuring What Matters to Virginians,

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Performs is part of Virginia's open government initiative. The website includes information on Virginia's progress in areas such as health, education, and transportation. For example, users can find information on high school graduation rates in Virginia and surrounding states. The website also includes information on government initiatives to increase high school graduation rates. Questions to consider include: What is the role of state and local government? How are policy decisions implemented at a state and local level?

Dr. Dean Ornish on the world's killer diet,

Dean Ornish

This video serves as an excellent background source for information about the obesity epidemic in Virginia and elsewhere. Drawing from CDC and other public health research, Dr. Dean Ornish discusses the effect of diet on obesity, cardiovascular,…

A Guide to Writing about Virginia Indians and Virginia Indian History,

Virginia Council on Indians

This document is a concise, two-page guide to writing and thinking about Virginia Indians and their history. The information is equally useful for teaching a class, writing a research paper, or having a conversation.

What are important…

Virginia Council on Indians: Resources,

Virginia Council on Indians

The Virginia Council on Indians (VCI) is a state advisory board to the Governor and the General Assembly. Some Council activities include conducting research, making recommendations regarding issues such as tribal recognition, and promoting education about Virginia's Indian tribes. This resource page provides links to such websites as the American Indian Studies department at Virginia Tech, as well as pdf downloads of teaching materials. Don't miss the rest of the VCI website, where there's information about Native Americans in Virginia, tracing your genealogy, and state recognition of Indian tribes. This website is also a great resource for anyone looking for an example of the implementation of public policy.

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…

Project Vote Smart,

Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart aims to provide voters with information about key election issues, biographical information about candidates, and voting records. One of its best properties is the level of detail given to state and local elections. Visitors can search by zip code to find information about candidates in their area, go directly to Virginia’s profile page, or even find links to local election offices. Find out who your representatives are, how their votes are affecting your life, and how you can vote in your area.

Budget Hero Game,

American Public Media

Budget Hero gives players an opportunity to try to manage the Federal budget by making budget decisions without breaking the bank. Players can choose up to three major issues to focus on, such as  national defense, health and wellness, energy independence, and efficient government. The game provides details about individual issues (such as funding for mass transit and other infrastructure), which can inform players about some of the major policy issues being dicussed right now. The game is aimed at the Federal budget, but some of the policy decisions affect state and local governments.

Public Agenda: Helping Americans Explore Today's Issues,

Public Agenda

This website provides a wealth of up-to-date coverage of current issues, from America's role in the international community to Social Security. A large section for educators includes resources for teachers, students, parents, and leaders. Topics such as the rising cost of college tuition are particularly relevant for those involved in education. While there are limited resources specifically aimed at Virginia, the broader issues covered by the website can easily be oriented to fit discussions about their specific application on the state and local level.