Civics 101: A Podcast

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Why does the U.S. have an Electoral College? How do congressional investigations work? What does the minority whip actually do? Civics 101 is the podcast refresher course on some basics you may have forgotten, or slept through, in school.

Have a civics question you'd like us to answer? Fill out the form below!

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Episode 5: Calling Your Congressperson

Feb 9, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're often urged to call our elected representatives to voice opinions on the issues, but what happens after that call is made?  Where does the message go? And do those calls ever sway decisions?  In this episode of Civics 101, we go into a congressional representative's office to find out.

Episode 4: How to Amend the Constitution

Feb 2, 2017
Logan Shannon / New Hampshire Public Radio

It’s been 25 years since the last constitutional amendment was ratified. How hard is it to change our most sacred document? We discover that there are not one, but two ways to amend the constitution – and one of them has never been used. Walter Olson, senior fellow of the Cato Institute explains that the founders didn’t exactly spell the process out clearly.

Logan Shannon

You've probably heard the term "comment period", but do you know what it means? What exactly happens when a government agency opens a proposed rule to public comment?  And do these comments ever sway decision making? Today, a look into the notice and comment rule making procedure. 

Episode 2: White House Press Corps

Jan 26, 2017
Logan Shannon / New Hampshire Public Radio

What's it really like for a journalist stationed at the White House? We go inside the press briefing room with NPR's Senior White House Correspondent, Scott Horsley.

Episode 1: Chief of Staff

Jan 20, 2017
Logan Shannon

We're all familiar with the title, but what does a White House Chief of Staff actually do? What does the daily routine entail? And how much power does the position hold?  Our inaugural episode covers the basics of the President's gatekeeper.

Skipped Civics Class? Send Us Your Questions!

Jan 19, 2017
Logan Shannon

Just because you saw The West Wing a decade ago, doesn't mean you actually understand the mechanics of the American government.  Don't feel bad, it's been years since most of us had to study any of this stuff, and there are lots of well-informed people out there who – when pressed – might not remember how the Electoral College works, or what it takes to pass a constitutional amendment.

Wally Gobetz via Flickr/CC

A recent survey finds most adults are a little rusty on their civics, with three-quarters unable to name all three branches of government -- the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.  That's the lowest showing in some time. We ask why and how much it matters.


Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

Kyle Flannery/USFWS / Flickr/CC

A bill proposed by fourth graders from Hampton falls was harshly debated and defeated in the legislature last month, leading to some late-night satire but also a conversation about the best way to get students involved in the democratic process. We’ll look at that and also examine bills this year addressing voter requirements.

GUESTS, VOTER REQUIREMENTS:

We’re back in school again, and back at the polls. Seemed like a good time to listen back to this conversation on the Exchange from 2009. Laura spoke with a few members of a newly appointed task force to examine the state of civics education in NH.

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