Government In An Evolving Democracy


Summer 2014 quarter

Taught by

law, literature, theatre

The defining question for this program is: 


What good is government?


Why do we pay for “government” and what does it give “Us?”  Why does Washington State have the most regressive tax structure in the United States and the second highest national college tuition rate?  How are Washington state laws related to vehicle licensing permits as connected with the voter Initiative process?”  Why do western states have an Initiative process?


How do United States Supreme Court rulings effect ideas, policies and laws about gender, marriage, gun control, education and media?  What is infrastructure and how does state-level investment in construction differ from tht invested in human-delivered social/educational services?  Why are roads, bridges and dams mentioned in the media only when they fail?  How do gun laws like “Stand Your Ground” relate to the criminal justice system?  Why are food, clothing, shelter and water so expensive?


What is the  role of both state and Federal government in:  Food production?  Housing? Privacy?  Water?  Health?  Education?


This course  provides students with theoretical and pragmatic knowledge about how government and democratic systems function in the United States and in the State of Washington.  The approach to this body of information focuses on national, state, and local branches of government.  Themes include, but are not limited to, federalism, states' rights, and citizens' participatory governance and individual rights.  In addition to the text, students are required to read assigned U. S. Supreme Court and Washington State cases.  Students are expected to write short papers and maintain a journal on the reading assignments for preparation to participate in class discussions.  Students will work in groups to complete a final project.


The program also includes field trips to the Temple of Justice in Olympia as well as visits with self-selected state representatives and/or local officials in Washington State. 


Credit may be awarded in civics, government and political science.  Parts of the curriculum may also contribute to minimum coursework expectations for various teaching endorsements.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

Government, Public Policy, Teaching, Law, Political Science, Criminal Justice

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10am-2pm


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

More information about online learning.


Date Revision
May 19th, 2014 Program Description Updated

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Summer)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Number

Full Session (12 credits): 40070

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