GOVT 2306 – Dr. Crissien
Critical Thinking Assignment
(Note: this was originally two separate assignments, but I have combined them into ONE assignment. This is worth 40 points and is due Friday, October 12th at 11:59PM)
OBJECTIVE: This assignment has two key purposes: 1) to develop the student’s ability to analyze and interpret information and arguments; 2) to assess the student’s ability to interpret visual information. Translation: you are demonstrating your capacity to think critically, while also showing the ability to interpret graphs and charts.
*Remember: you are largely being graded on the quality of your analysis and use of sources. This means that you will want to put things IN YOUR OWN WORDS and cite sources where appropriate. If you put in effort and avoid plagiarism you should be in decent shape.
BACKGROUND: Every year a key political issue in every state is the budget. If you are wondering what a “government budget” is, here’s a definition:
A government budget is a financial statement in which the government proposes how to spend its revenues (taxes) by prioritizing expenditures. State budgets are usually proposed by an elected legislature and must be signed by the executive (governor).
When a state legislature creates and passes a budget, they are revealing their values and priorities. Specifically, budgets indicate a state’s ideological perception on three things: 1) size of government; 2) government’s role in the economy, jobs, and welfare; 3) how much people should be taxed. It says ALL of that. Crazy, right?
PROCEDURES: Now that you have a little background on budgets, your task is to compare and contrast two state budgets: Texas and Massachusetts. You will conduct this analysis by doing the following:
First, look at your visuals: In the assignment folder you will find a PDF with two pie graphs. One is a budget for TX and the other for Massachusetts.
Written Section #1: Please number your responses to facilitate grading; your responses should be AT LEAST 150 words in length. These are worth 10 points total.
1. Describe what the graphs look like visually. Pretend that the reader is not able to see the graphs and give as much detail as possible. (3 points) (VL1)
2. What information are the graphs presenting? What are the graphs telling you about? Take the information that is presented visually and communicate it to the reader in written form. (3 points) (VL2)
3. What does the information in these graphs mean for the government of Texas versus the government of Massachusetts? How would the residents of each of the states be affected by the information presented in the graphs? (4 points) (VL3)