This guide provides information for teachers as to how the essay prompt aligns with the Florida high school curriculum standards and how teachers may promote the essay contest to their students.
The contest rules, submission requirements, and deadlines are available on the Middle District’s website at www.flmd.uscourts.gov.
We hope you will encourage your students to participate in the 2019 essay contest. The top three winners’ teachers will receive a $500 classroom grant. Accordingly, if your students participate, they may ask for your contact information to include in their online contest entry form. In promoting the essay contest to your students, you may want to review with them or direct them to the contest rules, regulations, and deadlines, and emphasize the following benefits:
The Founding Fathers created a "divided government" by separating important powers among each of the three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial. To prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful, the Framers established a system of checks and balances. Some argue, however, the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances undermine the government's ability to swiftly and decisively respond to problems facing the nation.
Identify a historical or current event that exemplifies the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances. Drawing on primary sources, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a "divided government."
The essay prompt is designed to align with several English Language Arts and Social Studies/Civics and Government CPALMS standards, as referenced below (scoring of essays).
The essays will be judged by lawyers and judges in the Jacksonville Division. Their decisions will be final. The essay graders will evaluate the essays based on the following four categories, which directly align with CPALMS standards as indicated:
Teachers should note that the Supreme Court cases and Federalist Papers listed on the contest website are challenging for even the most advanced of readers. Law students struggle when first reading these cases, and seasoned attorneys find that they must read these cases with close focus and attention. Therefore, your students can certainly seek out summaries or descriptions of the referenced material to assist in their understanding of the referenced cases and other documents. Likewise, students are not limited to the suggested primary resources.