image2The academic program at Boys’ State will have three components – general education, electives and mini-courses. On a number of occasions throughout the week, there will be lectures intended for all. These will deal with topics of general interest, including state and local government, the electoral process and the national political scene. In addition, there will be three elective courses: Economics, Government and Law, which will meet five times throughout the week. These will be traditional lecture courses, not unlike those that are conducted at college.

The Government Course deals with a number of questions of current interest as well as political historical value. Matthew Parent is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Connecticut, studying military technology and international relations. He holds an MA in Political Science from UConn (2015), a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights from UConn (2015), an MA in World Politics from the Catholic University of America (2012), and a BA in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst; 2010). He is published in the Journal of Intelligence and National Security, and online at War on the Rocks. Matt has also taught coursework on international relations, security studies, and international organizations at UConn and Clark University.

The Economics Course will have different lecturers and topics. James Myatt is economic consultant, supporting expert testimony in complex antitrust litigation and mergers. He received his Ph. D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 2018. He also holds an M.A. in Economics from Northwestern and a B.S. from New York University in Economics and Mathematics. He is an alumnus of Milford High School.

The Law Course deals with general topics in legal ethics and the fields of criminal, constitutional, tort and contract law. The Law Course is taught by Hon. Dennis J. Curran, (Ret.). Judge Curran is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania, and Boston Latin School. On top of being an Adjunct Professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, he has received many honors as a jurist, including the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey award, which has been bestowed only 7 times in the last 30 years


Finally, there will be a number of Mini-Courses offered beginning on Monday afternoon. Note that during the same time period when Mini-Courses are held, the legislature will meet. Therefore, no one who is elected to either the House or the Senate can take a Mini-Course. These topics will vary and will provide a much greater opportunity for discussion than is the case with general education or electives. A sample course list and descriptions are below.

Freakonomics: Finding the Rationality in Some of Life’s Most Irrational Decisions

What do Galileo Galilei and Randy Moss have in common?  When should you park in a fire lane?  Why did the addition of seatbelts in cars result in more auto related deaths?  How are crack cocaine and the Whopper similar? Why might compulsive gamblers make the best savers? The answers to these questions and more can be discovered through economics.  Come uncover the economics behind sex, drugs, rock and roll, crime, addiction, altruism, greed and dating.  Along the way, you’ll learn real economic principles such as: supply and demand, diminishing marginal utility, indifference, scale and substitution effects, skewness, compensating differentials, game theory and Nash equilibria.  As a bonus, I’ll teach you all how to win $1 million dollars on the TV show “Survivor”.

The Citizen

It was Thomas Jefferson who stated “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”  This course will focus on exercising the constitutional right to freedom of the press by publishing a daily newspaper, the Citizen.  The paper will include news, sports, and editorial sections.  There will also be opportunities to work with photo, layout, and design.

Let’s Talk: Public Speaking and Debate

The objective of this course is to use video and textbooks to show some of the finer points of making speeches with the point of helping them in their campaign.  This is not a class to help write speeches to specifically.  This mini-course is designed to show common mistakes as well many famous speeches in real life, in movies and in theater.  This class is aimed towards those who want to run for office, but would like some pointers before they take the stage. 

International Relations

Have you ever considered that era of the Cold War was actually marked by the longest absence of war between major powers?  Have you ever questioned the role and legitimacy of international institutions? The study of International Relations can answer questions about why and how nations interact in the global community. This course will examine the primary schools of thought of international relations as well as assess historical and contemporary issues that can be examined from and international perspective.

Climate Negotiation

Despite disagreement in the United States, climate change is recognized by governments around the world and by international organizations as a pressing issue requiring immediate attention. Through a simulation in which students will represent countries at a climate treaty negotiation, this course will familiarize participants with the problem at hand, how the global community has responded, and how international politics has and may come into play.