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Secretary of State Pate unveils Caucus 101 curriculum for Iowa HS Students
Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal WEBSITE:
Kevin Hall
Communications Director
(515) 725-2942
October 6, 2015

Secretary of State Pate unveils Caucus 101 curriculum for Iowa HS Students

ANKENY – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate introduced a brand new curriculum for Iowa high school students today. The course, entitled Caucus 101, is aimed at involving students, parents and the community in civic engagement while educating them about Iowa's unique role in the political process.

"We want to encourage participation of all Iowans in our electoral process," Secretary Pate said. "This is where democracy begins, at the grassroots. Young people, for far too long, have not been active in the electoral process. This is an opportunity for them to get involved on the ground floor."

The curriculum is available for anyone to use and can be downloaded at This non-partisan, seven-step course has the approval of the Iowa Democratic Party, the Republican Party of Iowa and the Iowa Council for the Social Studies.

The seven-step curriculum includes:

  1. Iowa Caucus history and a focus on Iowa's First-in-the-Nation status
  2. The role of political parties
  3. The media's role in reporting elections
  4. The role of special interest groups in the electoral process
  5. The differences between the Democratic and Republican caucuses
  6. Mock Caucus
  7. The effects of the Iowa Caucuses

There is a 30, 60 and 90-minute lesson plan for each step, providing teachers with plenty of options to fit whichever parts of the curriculum they want to use in their classroom. Caucus 101 also fulfills the Iowa Core requirement for Social Studies.

"This gives them the basic information of what a caucus is and how it operates. It gets them comfortable with it so they might want to actually participate. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of textbooks out there about caucuses because Iowa is so unique. I felt it was important to fill that gap," Secretary Pate said.

The Caucus 101 curriculum is written by Iowans, for Iowans. Secretary Pate partnered with Adam Arthur from Des Moines Lincoln High School, Canada Snyder from Des Moines Center Academy and Joseph Nydle from Des Moines Hoover High School.

Another unique facet of the curriculum is messages from the presidential candidates geared directly toward Iowa students. The Iowa Secretary of State's Office reached out to each presidential campaign to send a 90-second video specifically for Caucus 101. Those videos will be released at a later date.