Who decides who benefits? A comparative view of wealth distribution using examples from New Mexico's Legislature, Santa Fe City and the Pueblo of Pojoaque

byMeredith Tilp


"Who decides who benefits in New Mexico?" The answer to that question will be worked out in my government and economics class at Capital High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico as part of my commitment to teach 'values'.1

My curriculum will take a comparative view of decision making and wealth distribution. My course covers many basics of United States democracy and economics, state, local and pueblo governments. However, my students' lens of analysis will be an ethical inquiry using these questions: What decisions are being made in Santa Fe and New Mexico, right here and right now, which effect my community and school? Who is making those decisions? How did they get to a position of making them? What values do the key players have? and, How can I, as a participant in these processes, contribute to the overall outcome for my own benefit and the benefit of others?

This curriculum unit features student investigations on the proposal of legislation, the ensuing debate and the final enactment. This process is unique in Native American government to include deliberation by a tribal council and its members. At the city level, the mayor and city council members review proposals, listen to public debate and decide upon priorities.

This curriculum unit culminates in a class visit to the Pueblo of Pojoaque about 10 miles north of Santa Fe, and New Mexico's film office and Legislature, known as "the Roundhouse." Mayor David Coss of Santa Fe will visit our school and discuss "The Angelou Report: Cultivating Santa Fe's Future: Economic Development Strategy 2004."2

Students will be able to review all the steps in these democratic actions, debate their merit and review their costs and benefits. Students apply their knowledge by listening, observing and asking questions of presenters. Applying an ethical lens of analysis, they bring their questions full circle to grade and evaluate the decisions made by their governments. As a final result, I hope they will remain engaged in political decision making.

Santa Fe: The City Different

Santa Fe dates its origins back to about 1050 when the Pueblo cultures established villages near Santa Fe. Two important New Mexican figures, Don Juan de Oñate and Don Pedro de Peralta became governors of the New Mexican territory under Spanish rule. Later in the 1600's, Native Americans expelled those Spanish settlers from Santa Fe in what is known as the Pueblo Revolt.3

Santa Fe now calls itself the oldest capital city in North America (1607) and the oldest European colony west of the Mississippi. This history, sans the expulsion of the Spaniards in 1680, and the consequent brutality, murder and retaliation on both sides, is commemorated annually in a city reenactment. Every September, teachers and students alike stop everything to watch and participate in "The Fiestas" which celebrate the reoccupation of Santa Fe by the Spanish. The burning of the "Zozobra," a huge, 49 foot tall marionette during this celebration, signifies the burning away of our troubles and cares, supposedly giving us a fresh start on the year—and we hadn't even started school! It is one of those historical events, the memory of which brings joy and pride to some, and horror to others.

Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and is home to our citizen legislature4 and third largest urban population. It is an ethnic mix of Mexicans and New Mexicans, whites, Asians and blacks. However, it is also a destination to many others including those who yearn for refuge from big cities, those who seek work from unemployment in Mexico, and those who are actively involved in spirituality, art, opera, Native American culture and the citizen legislature.

Modern day conquistadors?

Entered into statehood in 1912, New Mexico has a fascinating history cutting across time of ancient civilizations, Spanish colony, Mexican territory, US territory and state. Who owns this land and its wealth? How was it distributed then? How have the former spoils of conquest become the current resource development which fosters education for my students? Has inequality become so imbedded in our society that we ignore it and refocus on the goals of meritocracy?

Integral to my students' study of government and economic development are the foundations of American democracy, federalism, economics and civics. Are we a democracy or republic? Do we have full participation of the masses of people at the federal, state and local level? Do a selected few representatives and elites make choices for us on our behalf? Does a 'citizen legislature' make decisions that more adequately reflect our wishes?

Schumpeter's work Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy5 is a lynchpin in teaching my unit on the relationship between government and economics. It conveys the emerging political and economic tension in our society from the 1950's. Schumpeter brings new insight into Rousseau's idea of the volonté generale in saying that there is no such thing as the general will of the people. Rather, says Schumpeter, the public has many different volitions. This concept has evolved into a materialistic struggle between the economic motivations for profit versus the political motivation for votes. If we take a simple diagram6 to explain this phenomenon to students, it will bring their knowledge of democratic principles in line with their quest for understanding economic and political realities for their state.

New Mexican Government

New Mexico's government, like almost all other states, has executive, legislative and judicial branches. The Governor and his staff address priority issues by promulgating an agenda at the beginning of each legislative session. New Mexico has a volunteer and part time, unpaid 'citizen legislature.' Legislators come from a wide variety of backgrounds including ranchers, attorneys, realtors and businesswomen.

Using information gleaned from the Internet and direct interviews with officials in the NM government, I have learned that a centerpiece of NM's economic development plan is to use a portion of the taxes on the extraction of resources of New Mexico's oil, gas and minerals to fund new initiatives such as the NM Film Industry.7

One such initiative, the Film Office, is undergoing a windfall because of the increase in oil and gas leases and the taxes paid on extraction of these resources. One cannot help but wonder is that equitable? It sounds beneficial that 82% of those taxes go for educational initiatives, but, are the Film Office and investment brought into the state from outside, monies that directly assist our students?

Incentives from other states such as Florida, California and New York make film industry dollars quite competitive and attractive. According to Trish Lopez of the NM Film Office, the number of employees in film has increased from 80 in 2002 to 1500 in 2008. In addition, 6 training programs in film now exist at New Mexican colleges. Investment in the NM's film industry increased from $ 8 million to $ 200 million in 2004.

Attracting film production in the United States is both a federal and individual state program. No Country for Old Men, the 2008 Academy Award won by Miramax and made in New Mexico, grossed $ 61.3 million. Also filmed in NM, 3:10 to Yuma, grossed $ 68 million including international receipts for Lionsgate Corporation. Its production budget was $ 55 million. Did the NM incentives package return 25% of the investment back to the producers and help Lionsgate's bottom line by adding an additional $ 11 million to a California-based coffer? Where do the proceeds end up? Do they revert to California, or New Mexico's fledgling economy for reinvestment in other economic priorities?

A big challenge is if New Mexico can develop its own film companies so that capital which comes from New Mexico stays in New Mexico. What remains to be seen is whether the windfall profit for the oil and gas exploration will directly and equitably be shared in New Mexico, either for future development and fiscal reserve, or for education and school development projects, which benefit the average citizen. A formal evaluation of the costs and benefits has been promised by the Legislature for the end of the year.

Tribal Government

In comparison, students will learn about the Pueblo of Pojoaque, one of nineteen northern Pueblos in New Mexico. Each Pueblo is different, and Pojoaque, a few miles north of Santa Fe, is a tiny, yet sovereign nation. 'Pueblo' is Spanish word for stone masonry village dweller, and refers to one of the oldest cultures in the Americas. Pueblo ancestors, the Anasazi (Navajo for 'ancient ones'), have a history dating back 7000 years. The Anasazi were first nomadic and changed over into cliff dwellers, making their homes out of natural caves and mesas. They settledin Southeastern Colorado, New-Mexico, Utah and Arizona, also known as the Four Corners region. Today, the Pueblo population in New Mexico is about 8500. In the 1500's, Spanish priests and explorers' diaries record their contact with the Pueblo Indians

Pojoaque is one of the smallest (227 members) and yet, most aggressive in economic development by building a hotel, spa and casino called Buffalo Thunder. Navajos, which are the largest Native American group (97,470 members), only recently voted to have a casino in their territory. The Buffalo Thunder, mega-project, in Pojoaque, is a development over which the tribe has apparent control. The tribal council and Pojoaque's governor, George Rivera make decisions on behalf of its membership in a direct democracy. Evidently, the proceeds from the profit of the mega-project are divided up among tribal members in the form of scholarships, educational assistance, health care and social programs. It remains to be seen how this new initiative and to what extent it will directly benefit the population.

My student's visit to the Pueblo will be hosted by Daniel Moya, an interpreter for the Pueblo and the Poeh Museum. Daniel speaks to the students from his heart about challenges and opportunities growing up in New Mexico. Daniel spends about one hour explaining the establishment of the Pueblos (there are eight northern Pueblos in New Mexico). He discusses with the students the polity of the Pueblos: its governor, tribal council and judiciary. The unique feature of the Pueblo is the tribal council; where issues are open to debate from registered tribal members. However, there is no written constitution. Pojoaque's focus is sharing and cooperation from youth to old age.

Seniors need more than jobs, they need careers!

In any case, New Mexico has a very low unemployment rate (3.9% in 2008 lower than 43 other states). Santa Fe has very attractive minimum wage and job opportunities promoted and encouraged by the State. The connections to NM's Legislative Office, the Film Office, the colleges and universities that have film education programs offer a hopeful opportunity for my students. Trish Lopez says that there are a myriad of jobs ranging from builders, caterers and peripheral businesses of carpentry, accounting, hair design, chauffeurs, set design, makeup, directing—and yes, even acting!

The topic for my classroom is timely and provocative. Most of my seniors already have part time jobs. Seniors are beginning to feel the pinch of the gas crisis. One student said on a Tuesday he did not think he could come on a Friday again because he had no more money to fuel his vehicle. So important is this curriculum to the education of seniors at Capital High that the 2008 valedictorian speech by senior Robert Migliori was entitled "US Freedom from Addiction to Non-Renewable Resources." Administrators, teachers and students alike gave him a standing ovation.8

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there," says Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. I intend to help students forecast where they are going by assessing social, political and economic skills necessary to achieve their goals and beyond.


Who decides who benefits?

A curiosity or puzzle for the students is: How can it be that a state such as New Mexico, with rich oil, gas and mineral reserves, and some of New Mexico's wealthiest per capita earners in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, have the ignominious distinction of being ranked the state with the third highest number of persons living at or below poverty?9 What are state and local governments doing about this?

The task is to learn how legislative decisions are made in New Mexico, the Pueblo of Pojoaque and Santa Fe. Examining corporate tax breaks for the film industry in Santa Fe and New Mexico, we will trace the costs and benefits of the creation of jobs in the film sector.

This analysis fosters an understanding of the interrelation of public policy and resource distribution. New Mexico's $ 1 billion budget surplus and its expenditure is a political and economic interplay of competing priorities. Taxation of resources to attract capital, create jobs and develop local businesses cannot all be equal. Santa Fe's local government and Pojoaque's move to invest in a spa-resort-golf club-casino do not benefit their populations equally across the board. Students will know and analyze the cost and benefit of these programs by dividing it into parts to make it simpler. The summary of this twofold analysis appears as Grid A in the Appendix. They will come up with underlying concerns of their own and create a score card for ranking their representatives' decisions.

To arrive at this level of analysis, they will have to have an understanding of democratic foundations, policy making and undertake values-based deliberations using Concepts 1-4:

1. Students will know that the New Mexican government and constitution closely mirrors the US Constitution. They will know that the US constitution has been influenced by the Iroquois League, its confederation and constitution. They will learn who their representatives are, and that they are citizen legislators. They will study how the governor and legislators are elected. What the party system is like in New Mexico and which party is concerned with which priority issues. They will know the role of the governor in New Mexico and, in particular this governor, Bill Richardson, who has prioritized attraction of investment in the film industry.

2. Our class will take a focused look at New Mexico's demographics and distribution of wealth through the US Census bureau data. Analyzing the per capita income of the US $ 36,714, New Mexico's $ 29,929, Santa Fe's $ 35,964, they will see that New Mexico is well below the US' and ranks 46 in the US. Students will have an answer to the questions. "How have state resources been spread by county in New Mexico. Is there equality of distribution? Which counties have the highest per capita income? Why? They use demographic maps for this work.

3. Students will know that the Pueblos and Native American lands are sovereign nations and what that implies. They will learn how a Pueblo government's resources are spent and how wealth or profit is distributed. They will use an example of the Pueblo of Pojoaque which recently borrowed $ 400 million dollars to create a partnership with the Hilton Hotel chain to build a spa, casino, golf course and hotel. Pojoaque, one of the smallest but an activist Pueblo government has used its local land resources to create jobs, invest in the arts, culture and tourism.

4. Regarding Santa Fe's economy, my class will summarize Cultivating Santa Fe's Future: Economic Development Strategy 2004;10 look at the growth of specific sectors such as tourism, the environment and funding for vocational and technical training. Students will answer questions such as "What impact does the investment of the Film Industry have in Santa Fe? Because education is a fundamental concern of the Santa Fe city government, they will inquire of the Mayor and City Councilors "What impact have decisions had on the school system and in particular Capital High School?"


Study Culminating in Field Trip and Pubic Debate at the Roundhouse

Using excerpts from the primary sources such as The Federalist Papers, students will study and critique fundamentals of the US democracy and its Constitution. Students will investigate NM and Pojoaque's law making processes, how lawmakers are elected and which parties they represent? In terms of bills who proposes and what kinds of votes are taken on bills? Do the people have a voice in the legislative process? Why and How? Are there lobbyists—whose interests do they represent? They learn about the media and how they inform the people about democracy and its process. Finally, they will be able to describe how does a bill becomes law in NM or a Pueblo?

Next, students will review the following information on the distributive side. Examining the natural resources of New Mexico, students will make maps of various sectors: tourism, water, oil, gas and natural resources. Who is taxed in New Mexico using what measurements, why, how and for what purposes? What is the size of the NM budget? How is the budget constructed? What sectors does it include? What kind of outlays are there for administration, recurring needs and capital expenses? Who benefits the most through taxation by county, income group and demographics?

We will have a chance in class to use humor and sarcasm in the analysis of the topic. Current event headlines from the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal will provide grist for my students' wit. There are several local political blogs about the Legislature. Eventually, students will be able to attend public fora and debate on the issues in the Roundhouse.

Our work will culminate in job exploration, resume-writing, interviewing skills, college applications and scholarship application. I work closely with our career counselor, college representatives and recruiters who come to school.

Classroom Activities

Background for Quarter 1

Teacher uses KWL on democracy using Greeks, English law and deTocqueville and Federalists and anti-Federalists. Students spend three to four of the earliest weeks of school on the foundations of American democracy and the following aspects: populary sovereignty, federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances and representative government using text and excerpts from Magna Carta, Federalist Papers, The Iroquois Constitution, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

1. To get into the cross-cutting analysis of government and economics, teacher will distribute a blank graphic organizer and ask students to research and fill in examples.

Grid A: Elements of Political and Economic Power

Elements of Political Power Elements of Economic power
Voters Consumers
Policies Goods and services
Votes Profits
Parties Firms

2. Students use textbook and Internet websites to determine a comparative analysis of the governments of New Mexico, Pojoaque Pueblo and city of Santa Fe…see Grid B (see Appendix).

3. Students will make maps of water, oil, gas and natural resources natural resources of New Mexico.

4. Socratic seminars are led on the 'lens of analysis' and values. "What decisions are being made in Santa Fe and New Mexico, right here and right now, which effect my community and school?" "Who is making those decisions? How did they get to a position of making them?" What values do the key players have?" and, "How can I, as a participant in these processes, contribute to the overall outcome for my own benefit and the benefit of others?"

5. Students read Schmidly article on "Citizen Legislature," and debate legislative roles.

6. Teacher provides the three examples of cross cutting issues of democracy and distribution using New Mexico's Film Industry, Pojoaque's resort and Santa Fe's education strategy.

7. Students diagram in Groups: "How a Bill becomes Law in New Mexico" "How does a decision gets made in the Pueblo", "How do City Councils and Mayors make laws?"

8. Students choose to attend public debates and/or develop questions for visit.

9. Students prepare for the field trip: permissions, discussions, asking questions and behavior management

  1. Visit to the New Mexico Governor's office and the Roundhouse (NM Legislature) and the Pueblo of Pojoaque
  2. Make visit to the NM Film office
  3. Santa Fe Mayor discussion
  4. Debrief on behavior and lessons learned.
  5. Write thank you letters


Textbook: Magruder's American History 2005 including the Federalist Papers at the back

The Internet websites (see below)

Grid A: Comparative Government Graphic Organizers; Grid B Political and Economic analysis

Santa Fe Public Schools field trip and school buses

Weekly class participation grade in group project or discussion

*Field trip to Santa Fe's Roundhouse and Pueblo of Pojoaque

Economic Plan for Santa Fe

Student Internet and other Resources

New Mexico Film Industry http://www.nmfilm.com/filming/incentives/

Incentives for filmmakers, places for students to look for careers and local productions and their location.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson


New Mexico Legislature http://legis.state.nm.us/lcs/

New Mexican news, commentary by the Santa Fe New Mexican on Legislative Affairs


New Mexico: US Census data


New Mexico: fun facts


The Pueblo of Pojoaque



The Native American Conquistador, Ibarra, Christine and Valadez, John. Video provides an excellent modern-day view of tax payer spending for the arts. It highlights the tension between Native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors. http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/lastconquistador/update.html

Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce


Santa Fe: Government of the City


Santa Fe Tourism


Santa Fe City: US Census data


Annotated Teacher Bibliography/Resources

Bartels, Larry Partisan Politics and the U.S. Income Distribution Princeton: Princeton University February 2004.

Chomsky, Noam The Common Good, New York: The Odonian Press, 1996-1998.

These talks by MIT professor of linguistics and leader of left wing analysis helps to clarify values while at the same time citing important documents and facts.

Graetz, Michael J., and Ian Shapiro. Death by a Thousand Cuts. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

These authors tell the story of the attempt to repeal the inheritance tax and the coalitions which supported them.

Hamilton, Alexander, and James Madison and John Jay. The Federalist Papers. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.

This is a compilation of the Federalist papers published in 1787. Students are expected to know Federalist 5, 49, 51 and 78-83. This highlights important passages including checks and balances and executive power. n.b. The Magruders textbook has the relevant Federalist papers in the back.

Ibarra, Christine and Valadez, John The Native American Conquistador. Video provides an excellent modern-day view of the tension between Native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors. http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/lastconquistador/update.html

Lawrence, George trans., de Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. New York: Perennial/Harper/Collins, 1969.

Alexis de Tocqueville was sent on a journey to the United States and reported the details of our early infancy. It is a lucid, detailed and incredibly vivid account of town meetings and branches of government.

Lee, Desmond trans. The Republic of Plato. 2 nd ed. London The Penguin Group, 1987.

This book forms the basis for our philosophical understanding of the difference between democracy and a republic and the Philosopher Ruler concept. It is a great insight into early Greek civilization and a great philosopher's story of the important questions for man and his state. The Chapter on the Cave is used in Senior English as an analysis of leaders and is used in conjunction with the movie: the Matrix.

Moyers, Bill. Moyers on Democracy, Random House, May 2008.

Bill Moyers is a former staffer of the Johnson administration, first administrator of the Peace Corps and current media presenter on PBS. Through a compilation of speeches Moyers ties unique American history with democratic principles.

New Mexico Film Industry http://www.nmfilm.com/filming/incentives/

Incentives for filmmakers, places for students to look for careers and local productions and their location.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson


New Mexico Legislature http://legis.state.nm.us/lcs/

New Mexico economic statistics


New Mexican news, commentary by the Santa Fe New Mexican on Legislative Affairs


New Mexico news, commentary by the Albuquerque Journal


The Pueblo of Pojoaque



Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce


Santa Fe: Government of the City


Santa Fe Tourism


Santa Fe City: US Census data


Shmidly, David J. "Legislature does Democracy proud," The Albuquerque Journal, February 25, 2008

Schumpeter, Joseph A. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1950.

Schumpeter brings insight into Rousseau's idea of the volonté generale in saying that there is no such thing as the general will of the people. Rather it is a struggle between the economic power for profit versus the political power for votes.

Shapiro, Ian. The State of Democratic Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Acknowledging and defining democratic theories, especially those that relate to reasons for inequality in a democracy is important to this book. Chapter Five on Democracy and Distribution is particularly helpful in describing both the supply side (the politicians) and demand side (the electorate).


Grid A Graphic explaining analogous relationship between government and economics

Elements of Economic power Elements of Political Power
Consumers Voters
Goods and services Policies
Profits Votes
Firms Parties

Vocabulary lists:

*In the Magruder's textbook, an excellent translation into Spanish exists for these terms.


Majority, minority

Will of the People

Articles of Confederation

Federalist anti-Federalist

Bill of Rights



Checks and Balances




Per Capita Income


4 Factors of Production: land labor, capital and entrepreneurship


Separation of Powers


States Rights



Racial Group

Ancestral lands

Rural and Urban

Taxes: Progressive, Proportional and Regressive

Population Growth Rate

GRID B Comparative govt United States New Mexico Pojoaque
Symbol? Bald Eagle Zia Symbol Butterfly
Constitution? US dates 1789 based on principals of Social Contract Theory, Natural Rights, English Law and Iroquois League, 13 colonies NM based on US constitution 1911 No written agreement, verbal agreement based on Indian tribal philosophies and religion of respect and honor
Bill of Rights? Yes, Amendments 1-10; demanded after revolution because of States fear of Federal Government Included in NM Constitution as Article II: Sections 1-24 A form of Bill of Rights, not written, ex. Everyone is equal; and has equal voice? Women?
Population Served? 280 millions US Census 2000 1.3 million 277 tribal members
Universal Suffrage? All 18 years and older, registered and US Citizens All 18 years and older, registered and US Citizens 18 years and older tribal members
1. 3 Branches of Goverment?
2.Checks and Balances?
3.Limited Government
4.Popular Sovereignty
Yes, but Executive has veto and evolving power in times of terrorism and war.
2. Legislative Branch has power of the financial approvals
3. Over 50% of Americans don't participate
4. Washington DC is perceived as a out of touch with average Americans" Lobbying The War in Iraq $3 billion??
-Executive has power of line item veto.
-Citizen's Legislature all voluntary
Budget Surplus $1 Billion??
Formation of NM Film Industry
The Governor is key figure in proposing economic development.
??? Checks and Balances
??? Disagreements
Hilton Hotel Chain, Casinos $240 Million?
Name of Exec & Staff? Current George W. Bush, President
Richard Cheney, Vice President
Governor Bill Richardson
Lt. Gov. Diane Denish
George Rivera, Governor
Name of Legislature and composition? Congress House (432) and Senate (100)
Mainly white men changing
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of House
Citizen Legislature
NM House 100
; NM Senate 33 Ben Lujan, Speaker of the House
Tribal Council 77 members; 3 meetings must be attended
Name of Judiciary? Supreme Court and Federal Courts (DC) NM Courts (Santa Fe) Tribal Courts but
Tribal Tradition of Elders
Executive Election Popular Vote but Electoral College Popular Vote Tribal members 18 years and older
How Laws are Made? Governor and Legislators work together Governor and Legislators work together Governor and Tribal Council

Evaluation Aspects

  • Pre-test analysis of concerns on democracy: distribution of wealth
  • Monday-Current events topics on the economy and distribution of wealth?-graded participation
  • Tuesday-Lecture or PowerPoint with individual homework-graded
  • Wednesday-Group project-group gets a grade
  • Thursday-individual classwork
  • Friday-Weekly test
  • Pre-and Post Career Planning-after students make the class trip, they write a question on what their career plans are. I keep a record of this, resume writing, interviewing skills, steps to pursue career goals (examples would be application to an internship, interview at Mervyn's etc.) and what the final outcome is at the time of graduation.

Seniors at Capital High School Notes

I teach US history and geography, government and economics to 125 Capital High School juniors and seniors living on the south side of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Recent immigrants from Mexico comprise approximately 40% of my students, another 40% of the students are "Hispanics," identifying with their Spanish ancestors as distinct from Mexican nationals, and the remaining 20% are white, black and Asian. So the majority is really divided in two parts.

There are sensitivities in teaching to this largely Hispanic group and differences of opinions that are personal. Some Mexican kids feel that they are sojourners in the land of opportunity and that not all of the United States' benefits are available to them. Some New Mexican students, on the other hand, feel there is not enough of the pie to go around, especially including those who are not legally in the United States. The teacher weighs each of these attitudes and intervenes where necessary and appropriate.

Because my classes are only 55 minutes long, week-long projects cover broad categories. Involving the students in planning and implementing the field trip is important and an opportunity for democratic decision making. Permissions are signed agreeing to behavior, grades and respect.

NM Benchmarks for 12 th Grade Government & Civics and Economics

Since the course I teach focuses on US government and economics, it will be relatively easy to integrate 'democracy' and 'distribution of wealth' into my curriculum. The New Mexico Benchmarks in Government state that 11 & 12 th graders should be able to analyze the structure, function, and powers of the federal government (e.g., legislative, executive, and judicial branches and should be able to the philosophical foundations of the American political system in terms of the inalienable rights of people and the purpose of government. In addition, Benchmarks in Economics state that these same students should be able to fully participate and understand how economic decisions are made.


1 Values in this instance mean what is good and bad, right and wrong individually and collectively.

2 The Angelou Report: Cultivating Santa Fe's Future: Economic Development Strategy 2004.

3 Ibarra, Christine and Valadez, John The Native American Conquistador. Video provides an excellent modern-day view of the tension between Native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors. http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/lastconquistador/update.html

4 Shmidly, David J. "Legislature does Democracy proud," The Albuquerque Journal, February 25, 2008.

5 Schumpeter, Joseph, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Harper, 1942.

6 Graphic organizer used in Ian Shapiro's class on Democracy, Yale New Haven Institute, July 15, 2008.

7 Bemis, John, Assistant Commissioner of oil, gas and minerals of the NM Land Office explained taxes on the exploration of oil, gas and minerals. He said that where oil,gas and mineral extraction is concerned: the Federal Government (Bureau of Land Management) owns 35-40% of the land in New Mexico, and New Mexico owns 45% and private owners 15%.

8 Migliori, Robert, Senior Valedictorian, Capital High School, Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 29, 2008.

9 US Census Bureau of the Census, 2006, Poverty rates by state. www.census.org


10 Ibid. The Angelou Report: Cultivating Santa Fe's Future: Economic Development Strategy 2004.

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