AP Government and Politics~ Bureaucracy

fed BureaucracyI recommend a good PowerPoint on this topic to get the major ideas across. Once you’ve shown that you can let students have a bit of fun.

Idea #1 Warm up: Discussion based on campaign clip on downsizing the Federal Government by Marco Rubio of Florida,


Ask students to consider:  Would this simple solution work?

Class Activity:  Students watch video on the subject of the Federal Bureaucracy (“A Controversial Necessity” —Find it on the Annenberg website, in the “Democracy in America” series.  It’s a very teacherly video, but it makes a case for the necessity of bureaucracy.)


Idea #2 Discussion with prompts.  Bureaucratic pathologies. Are they inevitable?

David Osborne, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPmKrbOCXPM&feature=related

Is Osborne right that our concept of Bureaucracy is simply outdated?

Show this CBS clip on FAA Whistleblowers”.


(Brief commercial at the beginning of clip)

C. And this clip of a finance-expert who repeatedly warned the SEC about the Madoff Ponzi scheme: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Madoff-Whistleblower-Markopolos-Slams-SEC-in-New-Book-87173332.html


Why do Whistleblowers have such a hard time? Can they always be trusted?  Would students trust all the whistle blowers on this website?


 Idea(s) #3 . Warm ups: Using C-SPAN Clips: Students Review of concepts from previous chapters that involve linkages of Congress or the Presidency to the federal bureaucracy:  Congressional Oversight, students could watch this classic exchange between Senators and Michael Brown discussing failures of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina. http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Video/58/Michael+Brown+testifies+before+Congress.aspx


Or this short 1995 exchange between the executive Branch and the Senate on the renewal of the Patriot Act.


 Idea #4 Class and homework Activity: Students individually research federal agencies.  Students should write a 3+ page paper, on a government agency, which should include the size, and location(s) of the agency, the organization and number of people working there; its annual budget, the agency’s mission and duties; and an evaluation as to how well the agency performs the tasks its been assigned.   Also, has the agency been in the news?  Why and when?  (If students are interested in a huge cabinet agency such as the Department of Agriculture, it will work better if they choose a division of that agency,) Papers should include an interview with someone who works at the agency. And should report on the groups critics Overall how well does the agency do its job?  In what ways does it need improvement?

Each student reports on his or her agency. As students repot, classify the agency—cabinet, independent, regulatory, Government Corporation, presidential commission.

Have students write a 3-5-page paper on a Federal Agency, with bibliography, and notes from the interview.

A list of Federal agencies can be found at: http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml

Attached is a ppt on the Federal bureaucracy, based on Thomas Patterson’s American Democracy Any violations of copyright are unintentional


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s