Web Component, Video-based course
26 half-hour videos
Video Preview / Course Demonstration
Texas Politics and You brings the world of the state's government to life through the realistic day-to-day scenarios and objective interviews that are relevant to the distance learner's experience and interests. This course takes a citizen-activist approach in providing the student with a general survey of Texas government. Students are exposed to a broad and diverse range of opinions; each program integrates conversations with professors, journalists, political leaders and ordinary citizens to give students a better idea about important political events and forces that affect state and local governmental decisions.
- Acquire a general knowledge of the nature and scope of the purpose, the structure, and the organization of the state’s government
- Understand the significance and importance of the Texas Constitution as it reflects the culture, values, and expectations of people in Texas
- Appreciate the responsibilities of the state legislature, the governor, state courts, and the bureaucracy in policy development and implementation
- Acquire an understanding of the problems facing cities and counties
- Develop knowledge about the potential individual involvement in the community and in the state’s government Develop a basic knowledge of political parties and interest groups and how they impact policymaking Comprehend the task of government to provide rights for all Americans
- Develop an understanding of the relationship between government and individual rights and liberties
- Texas: Who We Are - Describes important social and economic challenges and dilemmas confronting Texans in the 21st century; identifies two populations and the possible implications of the rising needs for public services occurring at the same time the revenue resources appear to be diminishing. Illustrates how demographic factors influence the quality of life.
- The Texas Constitution - Explains how the Texas Constitution is amended, explains what accounts for the fact that it has been amended 377 times (through 1997) and examines the advantages to interest groups in having their particular concerns addressed in the Constitution.
- The Politics of the Environment - Examines environmental issues; identifies how individuals can impact environmental policy and the quality of life in their communities; and explains the challenge of providing for a clean and safe environment within the confines of avoiding excessive regulations.
- Federalism and Texas - Provides a brief history of federal-state relations with the emphasis on the current trends toward devolution power and responsibility swinging back to the states; explains how the government and politics of Texas is affected by the federal system; takes a look at state initiatives to meet the needs of the growing number of uninsured children; and explores the issue of which government is best suited for specific tasks.
- Local Governments in Texas - Profiles one major metropolitan area and identifies different types of local governments and examines their major functions as they address important issues.
- Political Culture - Profiles three political subcultures of Texas in relation to Daniel Elazar's classifications and assesses how these subcultures affect attitudes, politics and public policy.
- Community Involvement - Examines the concept of citizenship and public involvement and analyzes the importance of citizens engaging in a common life beyond their private endeavors. Family Pathfinders, a National Issues Forum, and Communities Organized for Public Service are examined to understand and evaluate trends of community involvement.
- Media and Public Agenda - Explains the importance of an independent press to a democratic society, explains and analyzes the degree of influence the media has in shaping public policy and assesses different types of news received from print, television, talk radio, and the internet.
- Interest Groups in Texas - Describes techniques used by a variety of interest groups to influence governmental policy and examines why interest groups are especially powerful in Texas.
- Political Parties in Texas - Discusses the role and operation of political parties in Texas, including the campaign process and party structure; defines party platforms and assesses whether a winning candidate keeps campaign promises.
- Third Parties in Texas - Explains the goals of current and recent third parties; discusses the history and impact of La Raza Unida; examines reasons that statewide electoral success has been extremely difficult in Texas; and assesses the contributions of third parties.
- Campaigns and Elections - Discusses the benefits of campaigns and elections, examines what motivates a person to run for public office, and evaluates campaign strategies and outcomes in elections where there is low voter turnout.
- The Ballot Box: Voting Under Texas Law - Explains why voting is important and how election law and high voter turnout combats voter fraud, discusses the expansions of voting rights and reasons for low voter turnout, and assesses the impact voting rights have on the selection of leaders and the implementation of policies.
- The Texas Legislature - Describes and explains the significance of the powers of the presiding officers of the Texas legislature as they manage the session and the legislative process, and discusses attempts to reduce their power.
- The Legislative Process in Texas - Describes numerous forces that drive or defeat the creation of new legislation, focuses on major steps and hurdles that a bill faces, examines the importance of committee and calendar placement and interim studies, illustrates how unwritten rules and parliamentary rules can collide, and follows efforts to bring about compromise for a Constitutional amendment to remove the ban on home equity lending.
- Texas Casework and Oversight - Examines the responsibility of legislators after the 140-day session is over; describes how legislators integrate the needs of their constituency into their elected roles; discusses theories of representation, how different philosophies impact decisions, and explains the role of legislative oversight.
- The Governor - Describes the powers and limitations of the office and profiles three governors–their goals and styles of leadership.
- Texas Bureaucracy - Describes the Texas bureaucracy and public services and examines the independence, efficiency, and accountability of administrative agencies.
- Fiscal Policy - Explains the difference between progressive and regressive taxes in Texas, discusses policies of fiscal management that have guided Texas government, analyzes the impact that taxes have on three different income families, and discusses the issue of funding for public schools.
- Globalism and Texas - Examines the impact of the increased economic integration between Mexico and Texas as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Criminal Justice System in Texas - Explores the genesis of Ruiz v. Estelle and its impact on the Texas prison system.
- Judicial Selection in Texas - Describes and analyzes the judicial selection process in Texas and evaluates proposals for reform.
- Decision Making by the Courts - Examines Texas Courts and their roles in civil liberty protections, defines and differentiates between civil rights and civil liberties, explores the difference between judicial restraint and judicial activism, and profiles the Ku Klux Klan case of ExParte Lowe.
- First Amendment Civil Liberties - Explores the limits of free speech, examines the wall separating church and state in the Elgin Independent School District, and provides a look at the role of the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas.
- Rights of the Accused - Defines due process and the rights of the accused, and discusses the steps taken in Texas to provide the poor with legal representation.
- Civil Rights & Equal Protection - Defines civil rights and the significance of the Fourteenth Amendment, looks at the Hopwood case and examines the policies and impact of affirmative action, and explores changing attitudes and new opportunities for women in the workplace.
Design and Production Team Content Specialist
- Noreen Warwick has been a full-time government instructor at Richland College since 1973. Actively involved with the instruction of telecourses for over 20 years, she has served as a member of the advisory committees for all previous government telecourse productions from Dallas TeleLearning. She received her MS degree in Political Science from Southern Methodist University and has completed over 60 hours of advanced coursework. Project Director
- Linda Condos' experience spans two continents, coming to the United States having served in a management position with Education Television in New Zealand. Her background in education includes roles as programmer, program manager, executive producer of telecourses, project manager, and producer of local and national programs. Producer/Director
- Pamela Kettle brings more than 17 years' experience as a documentary producer/director in broadcast, corporate and commercial television to Texas Politics and You. With a Journalism degree from the University of Texas, she began her career in TV news producing, reporting, and anchoring. She lived abroad working in Southeast Asia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and England producing travel documentaries for US cable channels before launching her own production company in Dallas. Instructional Designer
- Mary Williams has over 17 years of experience designing and writing management and technical training programs for industry. She received her MBA from the University of North Texas in Personnel and Industrial Relations. She is a member of the American Society for Training and Development and has been an instructional program developer and designer for such corporate entities as The Evans Group, Greyhound Lines, and the Zale Corporation. Executive-in-Charge
- Pamela K. Quinn is Assistant Chancellor for the Dallas County Community College District's LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications. With a BS from the University of Kansas and an MS from Texas A&M University-Commerce, she has over 25 years experience in education and television, in teaching, public broadcasting, and administration. She has served as a board member and consultant on numerous national organizations promoting educational telecommunications. Advisory Committee State Advisors
- Evelyn Ballard, Houston Community College, Houston, Texas
- Ted Lewis, Collin County Community College District, Frisco, Texas
- Gerald Money, El Paso Community College, El Paso, Texas
- James Perkins, San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas
- Bob Peters, Tyler Junior College, Tyler, Texas
- Neil Sapper, Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas
- Ronald Stocker, Tarrant Community College District, Fort Worth, Texas
- Dennis Toombs, San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas
- Rudy Rountree and Robert Little, Brookhaven College
- Gerald Stranglin and Lincoln Rolling, Cedar Valley College
- Bob Trotter, El Centro College
- Ray Hill, Eastfield College
- Jimmie Strain, Mountain View College
- Lynn Brink, North Lake College
- Jim Duke and Kathy Yates, Richland College