American Government Primer Survey Results

I taught the American Government Primer course over eight weeks (two four-part lectures) in winter/spring 2017 at my local libraries.  Going into it, I expected a few bored individuals to wander into one or two of the classes.  Happily, both course attendance and participation far exceeded my expectations.  For each of the lectures, 20-30 people showed up and peppered me with questions about the course materials and things that they heard on the news.  

After the course, I asked attendees to take a survey so I could gauge how much they learned in the course.  Here are the results: 

100% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the Constitution

 

·       100% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the relationship between the state and federal government; 

·       92% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the structure and function of the judicial branch; 

·       92% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the powers and limitations of the President;

·       77% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the powers and limitations of administrative agencies and how regulations are passed;

·       92% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of procedural due process;

·       76% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of the Bill of Rights and fundamental rights;

·       92% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they increased their understanding of equal protection;

·       100% indicated that they learned quite a bit or that most of the material was new to them;

·       92% indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that they felt more confident in engaging with their government;

·       100% would recommend the course to a friend.

Course participants provided the following comments:

great
timely
relevant
engaging
empowering

·       “I enjoyed reference to, and discussion of, current events the most.”

·       “I really loved and appreciated this opportunity and feel its offering through the public library is essential.”

·       “I would encourage everyone interested in understanding and being more participatory in their governmental process to make the time to take this free class.  It is empowering.” 

·       “Great course, thank you! I really can’t recall having a class in govt/civics ever—maybe in elementary school.  My grasp on govt function/judicial function has been very thin and this class helped immensely.”

·       “Well done class. I learned a lot and it has made me more interested in even more classes.  Top notch.”

·       “THANK YOU!  I think EVERYONE should take this class.”

·       “This class was timely and relevant to what is going on in our government now and I am so pleased that Sarah took the time to educate all of us and open our eyes and minds to the what is and the process.”

·       “I thought it was great.”

·       “I’m just so glad you offered this—it demystified a lot of government process for me.”

·       “I was a Political Science major undergrad, have a Masters in Public Administration, and worked for legislative and executive branches for a total of 35 years.  I thought I knew all there was to know about government but I learned a lot in each session.  This class is a terrific public service.”

·       “This was a fantastic and engaging course.  Sarah’s knowledge and expertise was evident while the class remained (for the most part) on a level I was interested in and could understand.”

Community members are hungry for this information and grateful to those who teach it.  A few hours of a lawyer’s time can truly educate and empower citizens.

In the next post, I will discuss my thoughts on the next steps.