The Case for AP Gov


Aniket Martins

As students prepare for course registration in the coming weeks, some might be aware of Ludlowe’s .5 credit requirement in civics. State of Connecticut law mandates that a student earn at least .5 credits in civics or American government in order to graduate. One option for that at Ludlowe is AP US Government and Politics: a course which does a deep dive into our country’s government system. Students learn detailed information about all three branches of government, the Constitution, various foundational documents in our country’s history and 15 unique Supreme Court cases which are core to our judicial identity. AP US Government and Politics, otherwise referred to as “AP Gov,” or just “Gov,” is an excellent course for students who seek to challenge themselves while learning about our country. 

As a senior – and a future voter – I encourage all students to take this course. I took it in my junior year and found it eye opening. AP Gov teaches you a number of topics from the foundations of our government after the Revolutionary War to current topics regarding elections and court decisions. Ludlowe’s Gov teachers also build in class time to discuss current events, which encourages students to stay civically engaged with local, state and federal politics. 

Our teacher encouraged us to challenge each other’s thinking through provocative discussions on challenging case studies. I recall a class debate we had regarding the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission. Citizens United expanded freedoms for companies and PACs in creating electioneering content and raised spending limits. It remains a controversial decision. Being the only junior in the class, I found that my senior peers had experience voting and interacting with electioneering content, whereas I had not. Citizens United is also a complex case which involves two federal laws, multiple Constitutional clauses and several high profile politicians. 

When the debate began, I noticed that the opposing side felt strongly about their opinion, but that attitude was reflected in my team as well. Over the course of the 90 minute debate, we kept our conversations rooted in facts, Constitutional principles, and American history. Although the arguments became extremely heated, they were always productive. I presented effective rebuttals and a persuasive closing statement to lead my team to victory. We enjoyed the Dunkin Donuts reward, although months later I cherish the taste of a mature, respectful conversation regarding American politics. 

Ludlowe Class of 2022 graduate Jess Finnerty, who took Gov as a senior, says that Gov “informs you on what’s going on and how the government works” and helps students “understand the voting process” which is particularly important as we near the voting age. Gov also shows students “how our media influences daily life.” Teachers also make the class “fun and amazing.” Finnerty said that she chose to take US Gov over Comparative Gov (which teaches about six worldwide countries rather than focusing on the US) because she “wanted to know what’s going on in my world that directly affects my life.”

Through AP Gov, I gained the ability to engage in political discussion without the polarization typically associated with politics today. Since I will begin voting next year, I am keen to bring this sense of passionate yet respectful discourse to my identity as a responsible citizen. I encourage all Falcons to enroll in AP Gov. It’s a fantastic class that not only fulfills the graduation requirements but also makes you a more informed citizen. We are the future of our country, and taking AP Gov can be the first step towards creating a more informed democracy for all of us.