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2015 United States Senate Youth Program

California Qualifying Examination for the 2015 U.S. Senate Youth Program.

Directions: Please type your responses on a separate page. Label each page with your name and school name.

Section 1

Answer two of the following questions in 150 words or less for each question:

  1. Describe at least two ways in which public participation in elections in the United States can be increased.
  2. Do you think that California students should have to pass a test on civics and/or political knowledge to graduate from high school? Why or why not?
  3. Briefly describe the justification for why United States Senators serve longer terms in office than United States Representatives.
Section 2

Respond to as many of the following situations that apply to you in 150 words or less for each response:

  1. Describe a non-school political campaign or electoral activity in which you participated (i.e. phoning for candidates, voter registration, volunteering at polls, signature gathering, etc.). Describe what you learned from it.
  2. Describe what happened at a local government meeting (i.e. board of education, city council, county board of supervisors, etc.) that you attended. Describe what you learned from it.
  3. Describe what you learned from writing a letter to the editor on a political or civic issue that was published in your school newspaper, local newspaper, or a Web site or blog. Enclose a copy of it with this application package.
Section 3

Respond to one of the following five prompts with a well-written and logically organized essay in 750 words or less. Address all parts of the prompt and include specific details and/or examples to support your response.

  1. Because senators are allocated by state and not by population, California's delegation to the United States Senate, representing over 37 million people, has the same weight as the delegation from Wyoming, representing 563,000 people. What impact does the current system of representation in the Senate have upon state and national politics? Does the current imbalance in representation pose a significant problem, or is it a beneficial feature of our political system?
  2. What do you believe the role of newscasters and the media in the democratic process should be? Are they the framers of national debates, opinion makers, or do they simply relay facts to the public? Your response can answer any of these questions or address the role of newscasters and the media in a way you see fit.
  3. Do you consider President Obama’s presidency so far to be a success or failure? Please explain.
  4. The United States government, by most accounts, has yet to fully address climate change. A cap and trade system which was meant to deal with climate change failed to garner enough votes to pass the Senate. What role should the United States government play in protecting the environment and in looking for reliable energy solutions?
  5. Discuss how the politicization of the United States national debt has changed over the last few sessions of the United States Congress. Does the existence of the so-called "debt ceiling" for the United States national debt violate the 14th Amendment? What structural solutions would you propose for avoiding a possible default crisis in the future?
Questions:   David Carriker | dcarriker@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0173
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