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Commonwealth Data Point: Transparency at Work in Virginia,
Commonwealth of Virginia
Commonwealth Data Point is an excellent tool for understanding the basic implementation of financial expenditures. Find out budget data, or what was purchased on the state credit card. The website also provides demographic data, such as university enrollment and food stamp use. While browsing the website, you may want to consider how state and local governments implement policy decisions. What changes could you make to policy or spending practices?
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?
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.
Virginia State Board of Elections,
Virginia State Board of Elections
The official election website of the state of Virginia includes practical information about elections, such as detailed information on when, where, and how to vote. There are also sections on what is on your ballot and an informative guide to the election process. Overall, the Virginia State Board of Elections website provides a primer on the ins-and-outs of the electoral process that can help demystify what happens at the polls.
Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services,
Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services
How does the government help individuals who might have trouble making it on their own? The Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services aims to help people with disabilities gain independence, so that they can live, work, or go to school. This website offers a window into the way government helps individuals, with an extensive index of articles that show concrete examples of government actions. These include downloadable press releases relating to gubernatorial initiatives, charts, meeting minutes, and much more.
Virginia State Police,
Virginia Department of State Police
The Virginia State Police website offers information about police initiatives to improve public safety throughout the Commonwealth. Website visitors can see the ways the public can access these initiatives, including public safety tips and annual vehicle safety inspections. Police are also subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the website offers directions for requesting information. Overall, the Virginia State Police portal deals with ways the public and public safety officers interact with each other, which is a prime example of government in action.
Virginia Department of Health,
Virginia Department of Health
The Virginia Department of Health has a comprehensive website with information on health-related issues ranging from disease outbreaks to restaurant inspections. Ever wondered why you have to get all those pesky shots before going to school? The Virginia Department of Health deals with issues that affect everyone, and its website shows the ways government influences our lives every day.
Political Activity for Public Servants (Hatch Act),
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
These Hatch Act guidelines outline the legal restrictions placed on government employees’ involvement in political activities. This website is aimed at state, federal, and local government officials, and it offers a window into potentially problematic areas of government. How may state and federal officials participate in political campaigns? When does it become a conflict of interest? These questions and more could form the basis of a classroom discussion or a research project.
GovSpot: Virginia State Government Agencies,
GovSpot.com offers an index of Virginia government websites. Categories include branches of government, government agencies, elections, law, licenses, taxes, and travel. Although not eye-catching, this list is an excellent resource for anyone doing research on different aspects of government.
U.S. Census Educational Resources,
U.S. Census Bureau
This website from the U.S. Census Bureau has a series of educational materials related to use of the U.S. Census, including maps, community involvement, and data (in pdf format). There are also lesson plans for each section (in ASCII format) that offer guides on how to use these materials in the classroom. State Facts also offers a page on Virginia with more unusual data, such as the number of amusement parks. This website offers a window into how the Census works, and gives ideas on how that data might be used in government decision-making processes.