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11/05/12 Tips for Teachers

November 5, 2012
Plain English Version

Immigrants are a  Key to a Growing Economy

There is new information about whether undocumented workers help or hurt the American economy.

At the margin, the story says, undocumented workers may push aside some American workers without high school degrees.

On the whole lower wage -workers expand the economy by encouraging investment and growth. Investment adds to the hiring of better educated, higher paid workers as managers and supervisors.

A little like a pact with the devil. The growth of Asian economies is linked to a low-wage pool of labor. The same is true here.

Do the students accept these facts? Many Americans believe in starting at the bottom and then working your way up the ladder. It is still called the American Dream.

Some economist’s think this journey is more difficult in these times. Do the students believe in the American Dream?

If so, why? Is it because their parents, friends or relatives have succeeded? Or they believe in themselves? Or they think the economy will improve and they will be able to take advantage of it?

Is this a “good news” story?

Hours Shrink for Workers in America

This story looks at the other side. To be profitable some companies have to squeeze every dime out of the business. And they are aided by technology – such as software programs that allow them to schedule workers according to the needs of the company.

Is this an example of how technology is a two-edged sword – being used by companies to the detriment of workers?

What do students think about the idea that the needs of the company are so much more important than the needs of the workers? Was it ever different?

The story just mentions the diminished role of trade unions in setting wage and working conditions.

What do the students think about unions? Do they belong to one?

It does seem like the worker’s have very little bargaining power. How would they handle the challenge of seeing their wages reduced or work rescheduled to their disadvantage?

 Look Up to See the Farm of the  Future

Futurists are people who look way ahead in planning society. Concerns about climate change are stirring these people to think about the future of food supply.

The idea is that the closer we grow the food to where it is consumed the greater the savings to society in energy and in the reduction of pollution.

The science is apparently very complicated. Naturally, there are many skeptics who think the whole idea is a pipe dream.

However, every great innovation has it doubters, and looking around it is clear to see how many have succeeded.

Do the students thinks society should invest in ideas that do not seem practical or will not offer a return on investment in the near future?

If they believe in investing in the future, who should pay: the government, the private sector, a combination of both?

R & D means Research and Development. Most people believe investing in it is the way a society stays competitive.

It is one of the great debates of our time. What are the student’s feelings about how we should shape our future?

Research Finds More Problems Caused by Obesity

What is the difference between being overweight and being obese? Overweight means you weigh more than you should for your sex and height. Obesity means you weigh 30 percent more than you should. This leads to body fat under the skin and around certain internal organs.

It looks like the research is showing that obesity leads to all kinds of other problems.

Do these articles matter? Isn’t everyone aware that health and weight are related?

What do the students see as causes of overweight?

  • Too much food
  • Fast food
  • Imbalanced diets – too much starch as in pizza, potatoes and bread
  • Too many sugary sodas?

Do the students think that changing our eating habits and exercising would make a difference?

Some people think weight is a result of genetic inheritance from parents. If some people are naturally obese, what should they do?

And some people say if you just eat well and take care of yourself, you should not worry too much about your weight. Why is that such a popular view?

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