Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:    Jeanette Jackson, Caldwell High School, Caldwell, Idaho

GRADE LEVEL:  Appropriate for grades 9 - 12.

OVERVIEW:  While the federal bureaucracy is one of the least understood
aspects of U.S. Government, it affects the American people most directly.
Few Americans give any thought as to how the heads of this huge
bureaucracy, the Cabinet, are chosen. 

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this lesson is for students to understand that
even though Senate approval is needed for presidential Cabinet
appointments, there are no qualifications or standards set for each

Students will complete the following as a result of this lesson: 
  1)  Match Cabinet positions with current secretaries.
  2)  Evaluate the qualifications of each secretary with respect to his/her
  3)  Develop a set of qualifications for two Cabinet positions.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS:  The biographical sketches do not need to be
current in order to fulfill the purpose of this lesson. However, as
Cabinet secretaries change or when a new administration begins, teachers
may want to update the sketches. Keeping the sketches current also makes
the lesson more relevant to students as they study current news.
Biographical information on the Cabinet can be obtained from Congressional
Research Service, The Library of Congress, Washington D.C., 20540. Your
Senator or Congressman may be helpful in getting this information from CRS

  1)  Divide the class into small groups of 3 - 4 students.
  2)  Distribute the material titled "Who Gets the Job". Read the
introduction out loud and answer any questions students may have.
  3)  Allow the groups 15 - 20 minutes to complete the activity.
  4)  Have each group announce its choice of Cabinet position for each
biographical sketch. Group members must justify their choices. After each
biographical sketch has been discussed, tell them the correct position and
the name of the current secretary.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  After discussing each biographical sketch, have
the students list common characteristics found in the members of the
Cabinet. These qualities should be listed on the chalkboard. Next, assign
each group 2 or 3 Cabinet posts and have them develop a specific set of
qualifications for the head of each department. This activity could be
turned in as a graded assignment.


  We have been studying the presidency and the executive departments,
specifically the role of the Cabinet. You have read a description of what
each Cabinet department does. Keep this in mind as you read the
biographical sketches below. The sketches give some facts about the
current members of the Cabinet under President George Bush. The persons
are not identified by name in the sketches. As you read each sketch,
decide which executive department each person would be best qualified to

Cabinet Positions:

Sec. of State                         Sec. of Labor
Sec. of the Treasury       Sec. of Health and Human Services
Sec. of Defense        Sec. of Housing and Urban Development
Attorney General                   Sec. of Transportation
Sec. of the Interior                Sec. of Energy
Sec. of Agriculture                 Sec. of Education
Sec. of Commerce                   Sec. of Veterans Affairs

Individual One - ___________  Individual Three - ___________

Age: 52                           Age: 61
Former public school              Campaign chairman for
        teacher                      Pres. Bush
Served in Illinois House           Served in Marines       
      of Representatives          Trustee for Woodrow
Served in Illinois Senate            Wilson International
Served in Congress from              Center for Scholars
    Illinois (10 yrs.)           White House Chief of Staff 
National co-chairman for              under Reagan
     Bush-Quayle                  Lawyer
     Presidential campaign        Undersecretary for Dept.
                                    of Commerce 
                                  Secretary of Treasury
                                    under Reagan 
                                  From Texas

Individual Two - ___________  Individual Four - ____________

Age: 51                         Age: 55
Lawyer                          Owner of taxi company
Former Governor of Tennessee    Illinois State legislator
 (8 yrs.)                      Served in Congress from
Legal assistant to Sen.           Illinois (18 yrs.)
  Howard Baker                 Chairman of Republican
resident of University           Research 
  Tennessee                    Served on House Agriculture 
Member of President's Task        Committee
  Force on Federalism 
Chairman of National Governors Assoc.

Individual Five - ____________  Individual Ten - ___________
Age: 64                         Age: 61
Independent Texas oil and gas   M.B.A. Harvard University
   producer                     U.S. Senator from New Jersey
Chief Executive officer &       Chairman and chief executive 
  chairman of Mosbacher           officer of an investment
  Energy Co.                      and securities firm
Chairman of Nat'l Petroleum     Served in MX missile
  Council                         development options panel
National finance chairman for   Served on Central America
  Bush for President               Study Commission
Director New York Life Ins. Co.  Chairman of President's
o-chairman of Republican           Commission on Executive,
  National Finance Committee       Legislative, and
                                   Judicial Salaries

Individual Six - ___________  Individual Eleven - __________
Age: 50                       Age: 59
Congressman from Wyoming      Lawyer
  (10 yrs.)                  U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania
Aide to Governor of           Governor of Penn. (8 yrs.)
  Wisconsin                  Asst. Atty. General for Dept.
eputy Assistant to Pres.       of Justice
  Ford                       Director of Institute of
Assistant Director of Cost      Politics, JFK School of
  of Living Council            Government,Harvard Univ.
Republican leader in House 
  of Representatives

Individual Seven - ___________  Individual Twelve- ________
Age: 65                         Age: 58
Served in Illinois              Physician
  legislature                  Associate Professor of
Congressman from Illinois         Medicine, Boston Counselor 
  (24 yrs.) and under-           University (6 yrs.)
  secretary in Dept. of        Dean of School of Medicine,
   State                          Morehouse College
elegate to the U.N.              (14 yrs.)
  General Assembly

Individual Eight - __________  Individual Thirteen- ________
Age: 56                         Age: 63
Special Asst. to governor       Insurance and real estate 
  of Calif.                       businessman
Congressman from New York       Served on President's
   (18 yrs.)                       National Commission on
Professional football player       Space
   (13 yrs.)                    Congressman from New Mexico 
Public relations officer for      (20 yrs.)
   bank                         Chairman of House Science,
Ran for Republican                 Space, and Technology
   nomination for Pres.            Committee
   1987 - 1988
 Served on President's Council on
  Physical Fitness and Sports.

Individual Nine - __________  Individual Fourteen- _________
Age: 64                       Age: 53
U.S. Naval Academy            Lawyer
  graduate                    Salesman for IBM
Chairman of Presidential      Asst. U.S. Attorney for
   Commission on the           Illinois
   HIV (AIDS) Epidemic        U.S. Attorney for Illinois
Admiral in U. S. Navy         Chairman of Regional 
Commander in Chief of U.S.      Transportation Authority
   Pacific Fleet                for Illinois
Served on advisory boards     Served in U.S. Army
   in education and energy    Vice Chairman of the
   fields                        President's Commission
                                 on Organized Crime
                               Illinois Campaign Director
                                 for Bush

Answers for "Who Gets the Job?"

Individual One - Secretary of Labor - Lynn Martin
Individual Two - Secretary of Education - Lamar Alexander
Individual Three - Secretary of State - James A. Baker, III
Individual Four - Secretary of Agriculture - Edward Madigan
Individual Five - Secretary of Commerce - Robert Mosbacher
Individual Six - Secretary of Defense - Dick Cheney
Individual Seven - Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Edward Derwinski
Individual Eight - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Jack 
Individual Nine - Secretary of Energy - James D. Watkins
Individual Ten - Secretary of the Treasury - Nicholas Brady
Individual Eleven - Attorney General - Richard Thornburgh
Individual Twelve - Secretary of Health and Human Services - Louis 
Individual Thirteen - Secretary of the Interior - Manuel Lujan, Jr.
Individual Fourteen - Secretary of Transportation - Samuel Skinner


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