What Should be Included?
Each current events paper should be approximately one (1) page in length and should include the following sections:
- A correct citation of the article including title, author, publisher, and publication date (using MLA format).
- A brief (one paragraph) explanation/summary of the article – DO NOT copy the article – use your own words to paraphrase and summarize the article.
- An explanation of why this particular article was chosen by you. What caught your attention and made you read/choose this article? What issues or events interested you? Why?
- A description of how this current event article relates to a topic of study described in your syllabus/textbook. Be specific – this is where a large portion of your grade is awarded – use academic vocabulary and cite from the textbook or other relevant sources to demonstrate the relevance of the article.
- An explanation of how you feel this current event/article will impact yourself, your city, county, or the State of Texas.
All articles should be relevant to subjects covered/presented in class or in the textbook and should be directly related to government/politics. Current events should be timely (recent) and relevant. No articles older than a week or two from the due date; no articles on the Dallas Cowboys, Justin Bieber!
Grades will be assigned using the following general rubric:
|Needs Improvement||Completed, Some Errors||Meets/Exceeds Expectations|
|Citation is appropriately formatted using MLA format and includes title, author, publisher, and date of publication.||0 points||5 points||10 points||15 points||20 points|
|One paragraph summary of article in student’s own words explaining the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the article.||0 points||5 points||10 points||15 points||20 points|
|Student explains why this article was chosen and what issues/events drew attention to it.||0 points||5 points||10 points||15 points||20 points|
|A discussion of how the article relates to politics within Texas at the state, county, or local level. Student justifies and defends the relevance of the article as it pertains to a topic found in the text.||0 points||5 points||10 points||15 points||20 points|
|Student discusses the potential impact of this article on future events, policies, decisions, or events.||0 points||5 points||10 points||15 points||20 points|
|Total Available Score||100 points|
Sample Current Events Analysis Paper #1
Student Name: Johnny Doe Date: January 17, 2017
Article Citation: Ward, Mike. “Some Texas Parolees Freed of Sex Offender Label.” The Austin American Statesman (Austin), August 16, 2011. http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/some-texas-parolees-freed-of-sex-offender-label-1752700.html
Article Summary: This article discusses the specific case of Curtis Ray Graham, a Texas Parolee who was also classified as a convicted sex offender even though he was not specifically convicted of a sexual offense. In the case of Graham, state parole officials made an abrupt change to their previous position after the Texas State Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the status of “sex offender” cannot be arbitrarily assigned to a parolee without just cause and due process. Prior to this case, the State has refused to acknowledge rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court in this matter.
Why Was This Article Chosen? The article received my attention because it is an excellent example of how both the federal and state justice systems ultimately align through the process of judicial review, case law, and vertical oversight. Ultimately, the State of Texas, while sovereign in most areas of its legal system, was pressured into honoring precedents established at the federal level after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recognized the legal implications that continuing the previous policy would have in terms of judicial relations between the federal and state governments.
Relevance? As mentioned above, it is a good example of how the judicial branches of the United States and the State of Texas work and demonstrates the supremacy of federal court rulings over those of the state. It also demonstrates how the judicial system within the State of Texas operates, with the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals positioned as the highest courts in the State of Texas. This article also explicitly shows how state agencies are directly overseen by all branches of government through the process of checks and balances, with the Texas State Court of Criminal Appeals exercising its authority to oversee the policies and actions of agencies and actors within the state.
Implications for policy, policy makers, and/or legislation? By exerting judicial authority and pressure over the Texas Department of Paroles, the Court of Criminal Appeals has shown its power to influence present and future policy within the state. We can see that checks and balances, as a system of oversight, is alive and well in Texas Government. At least in this instance, judicial oversight has directly impacted executive agency policy.