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Standard 8.Understands the central ideas of American constitutional government and how this form of government has shaped the character of American society
  Level Pre-K (Grade Pre-K)
   1. Not appropriate for this level
  Level I (Grade K-2)
   1. Knows that America has had a historical commitment to the pursuit of justice
  Level II (Grade 3-5)
   1. Knows the fundamental values of American democracy (e.g., individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; the public or common good; justice; equality of opportunity; diversity; truth; patriotism)
   2. Knows the fundamental principles of American democracy (e.g., the people are sovereign; the power of government is limited by law; people exercise their authority directly through voting; people exercise their authority indirectly through elected representatives)
   3. Knows how fundamental values and principles of American democracy are expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, as well as in American songs, stories, and speeches
   4. Understands the focus on "the individual" in American society (e.g., a primary purpose of government is to protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; individuals have the right to differ about politics, religion, or any other matter; the vote of one individual should count as much as another's)
   5. Understands the focus on the school, community, state, and nation in American society (e.g., people should try to improve the quality of life in their schools, communities, states, and nation; people should help others who are less fortunate than they and assist them in times of need, emergency, or natural disaster)
   6. Understands the importance of equality of opportunity and equal protection of the law as a characteristic of American society (e.g., all people have a right to equal opportunity in education, employment, housing, and to equal access to public facilities; all people have a right to participate in political life by expressing their opinions and trying to persuade others; everyone has the right to be treated equally in the eyes of the law)
   7. Understands the importance of respect for the law as a characteristic of American society (e.g., everyone, including government officials, must obey the law; people have the right to work together to see that laws they consider unfair or unwise are changed by peaceful means)
   8. Understands the importance of education as a characteristic of American society (e.g., education is essential for informed and effective citizenship; education is important for earning a living; everyone has a right to public education; people with special needs should be provided with appropriate educational opportunities)
   9. Understands the importance of work as a characteristic of American society (e.g., work is important to a person's independence and self-esteem; work is important to the well-being of the family, community, state, and nation; all honest work is worthy of respect)
  Level III (Grade 6-8)
   1. Knows the essential ideas of American constitutional government that are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other writings (e.g., the Constitution is a higher law that authorizes a government of limited powers; the Preamble to the Constitution states the purposes of government such as to form a more perfect union, establish justice, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare)
   2. Knows how certain provisions of the United States Constitution give government the necessary power to fulfill its purposes (e.g., delegated or enumerated powers as stated in Articles I, II, and III; the general welfare provision as stated in Article I, Section 8; the necessary and proper clause as stated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18)
   3. Understands how the United States Constitution serves to limit the powers of government (e.g., separation and sharing of powers, checks and balances, Bill of Rights)
   4. Understands how specific provisions of the United States Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) limit the powers of government in order to protect the rights of individuals (e.g., habeas corpus; trial by jury; ex post facto; freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; equal protection of the law; due process of law; right to counsel)
   5. Knows opposing positions on current issues involving constitutional protection of individual rights such as limits on speech (e.g., "hate speech," advertising), separation of church and state (e.g., school vouchers, prayer in public schools), cruel and unusual punishment (e.g., death penalty), search and seizure (e.g., warrantless searches), and privacy (e.g., national identification cards, wiretapping)
   6. Understands important factors that have helped shape American society (e.g., absence of a nobility or an inherited caste system; religious freedom; abundance of land and widespread ownership of property; large scale immigration; diversity of the population; market economy; relative social equality; universal public education)
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Knows major historical events that led to the creation of limited government in the United States (e.g., Magna Carta (1215), common law, and the Bill of Rights (1689) in England; colonial experience, Declaration of Independence (1776), Articles of Confederation (1781), state constitutions and charters, United States Constitution (1787), Bill of Rights (1791) in the United States)
   2. Knows how the creation of American constitutional government was influenced by the central ideas of the natural rights philosophy (e.g., all persons have the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; the major purpose of government is to protect those rights)
   3. Knows the major ideas about republican government that influenced the development of the United States Constitution (e.g., the concept of representative government, the importance of civic virtue or concern for the common good)
   4. Understands the concept of popular sovereignty as a central idea of American constitutional government (e.g., the people as the ultimate source of the power to create, alter, or abolish governments)
   5. Understands the necessity for a written Constitution to set forth the organization of government and to grant and distribute its powers (e.g., among different branches of the national government, between the national government and the states, between the people and the government)
   6. Understands how various provisions of the Constitution and principles of the constitutional system help to insure an effective government that will not exceed its limits
   7. Understands how the design of the institutions of government and the federal system works to channel and limit governmental power in order to serve the purposes of American constitutional government
   8. Understands how the belief in limited government and the values and principles of the Constitution have influenced American society (e.g., the Constitution has encouraged Americans to engage in commercial and other productive activities)
   9. Knows ways in which Americans have attempted to make the values and principles of the Constitution a reality
   10. Knows how the distinctive characteristics of American society are similar to and different from the characteristics of other societies