Economic Inequality Educator Resources

Understanding the American Dream through Political Ideologies

Utilizing interactive and engaged learning strategies, this activity challenges your students to explore their conceptions of the “American Dream” and to understand multi-dimensional political ideologies, as defined by Dr. Barry Clark in Political Economy: A Comparative Approach (Praeger, 2016). Students will complete a “Political Ideology Diagnostic” and will be provided with a visual representation of their own diagnostic results. Faculty and students will see a scatterplot of the collective diagnostic results. Additional activities will discuss the impact of ideological perspective on the role of public policy in supporting the attainment of the “American Dream.”

During this activity, students will:

  • Reflect on their interpretations of the “American Dream”;
  • Participate in a “Political Ideology Diagnostic”;
  • Explore the four ideologies presented in the diagnostic, developing baseline knowledge and connecting these ideologies with prominent individuals;
  • Undergo an assessment of their understanding of the ideologies and be provided with feedback to deepen their understanding of them;
  • Receive the outcome of the “Political Ideology Diagnostic” and process the results;
  • Receive information regarding their class’s diagnostic results and explore particular patterns that may emerge;
  • Participate in activities that link the ideologies to the “American Dream”; and
  • Explore what is missing from the versions of the “American Dream” that have been shared.

Key Learning Outcomes:

Over the course of this activity, students will:

  • Learning Outcome #1: Develop a baseline knowledge of four political ideologies and their theoretical underpinnings;
  • Learning Outcome #2: Develop a baseline understanding of assorted components of the “American Dream”;
  • Learning Outcome #3: Connect the concept of “The American Dream” to economic inequality;
  • Learning Outcome #4: Connect the four political ideologies to economic inequality; and
  • Learning Outcome #5: Be able to consider issues through the different lenses provided by four political ideologies.
Course Description