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10/15/12 Tips for Teachers

October 15, 2012
Plain English Version

Governor Romney Will End Deferment Program

To be ambivalent means to be uncertain about something, “I do not know whether I want to go to the park or the movies.”

To be ambiguous means to be unclear about something, “I want to go to the park but I do not feel like walking to get there.”

What are Governor Romney views on the Deferment Program?

It sounds like he is ambiguous. He clearly does not like the program – he would end it. But the people already granted deferment would be allowed to continue in it.

No doubt about where he stands. But he would accept the reality of the current program as he found it.

These are two words that people often confuse. Ask the students how they feel about the class.

Certain – “I really want to be here.”

Ambivalent – “Is this the right class for me?”

Ambiguous – “I know I should be here, but I think I would be better off at the gym.”

President Obama seems more favorable to immigration reform – for example he favors the Dream Act that will allow the children of undocumented residents to become integrated into American life, including a path to citizenship.

Compared to the economy, the climate and the war on terror, should immigration reform be a central issue?

Sleeping All night May Not Be Normal

Conventional wisdom is something most people believe is true. For example, people need to sleep eight hours. This story attacks that conventional wisdom.

New ideas by definition challenge conventional wisdom. For example studies that show vigorous exercise is not as important as regular exercise.

What are some things your students believe that go against conventional wisdom? Talk about the ways they approach going to work, dealing with their life-styles or just try to be different.

The story explains how sleep has changed over the years. Ask the class if they noted the explanations – such as the influence of electricity and now electronics.

How do they feel about napping? What do they do to stay up if they are tired, say on the job or in class?

Will this article change their bedtime habits?

Payday Loans – Risks, Costs and Benefits

What is the lesson this story conveys? What can students learn from it? Is the math of payday loans made clear?

Do they or people they know use payday loans? What are their experiences?

On the five things to think about –

Do you really need it? Ask the students what they would do (cut expenses) if payday loans were not available.

It will take you longer to pay off than you think. Studies show borrowers take an average of 8 payday loans a year.

There are other options. Borrowers should use credit cards, banks or credit unions if they can.

It could ruin your credit score. If you do not pay the loans back it goes on your record as uncollected debt.

Payday lenders rely on your bad financial habits.  Lenders thrive on giving borrowers repeat loans.

Affirmative Action on the Line in Supreme Court Case

Racial segregation is illegal in the United States. Quotas, in employment and education, mean a certain number of people have to be minority. Quotas are also largely illegal. Affirmative action means efforts are made in outreach, hiring and admissions to assure a diverse workforce or student body.

The article is about whether race can be the critical factor in making sure the student body at the University of Texas is diverse. Can the students summarize the case as described in the article?

Have any of the students been victims of discrimination? Have any been the beneficiaries of affirmative action programs?

One criticism of affirmative action is that the beneficiary cannot know if he or she was admitted or got a job because of the program. Is that a valid concern?

What is the right goal for the future?

Which side would the student be arguing if he or she were a lawyer on the case?


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