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11/12/12 Tips for Teachers

November 12, 2012
Plain English Version

Minority Voters Power Obama to the Presidency

This article goes over the numbers that carried Mr. Obama to victory. He owes a lot to the nation’s minorities.

Hispanics are a minority who are white (except for those who aren’t). The phrase non-Hispanic white refers to white people. When counting votes or looking at demographics in any way Hispanics and whites are counted separately to avoid double counting.

It is confusing. The Times in Plain English simply classifies Hispanics, along with blacks and Asians, as minorities. Everybody else is white.

Is there any problem with this? In America, culture, race and ethnicity are identifiers, but they can get mixed up. Other ethnicities are Italian, Irish, German, Spanish and so on. Then there are the religions – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and many others.

So it is hard to be any one thing in America, but this does not stop us from always trying to classify people. Incidentally, you can add gender, income, age, education, occupation, and location to the list of things by which we identify people.

Given all this, why do the students think President Obama got so much support from minority communities?

The story also refers to Mr. Obama as biracial, not black. Why?

Did everybody who could vote vote? If not why not?

Los Angeles Approves Identification Card for All Residents

What’s with identification cards? Immigrant groups support issuing photo ID cards because it will help establish undocumented residents as part of the community.

At the same time, they opposed requiring voters to show photo IDs when they went to the polls.

And the country as a whole seems to be against a national ID card issued by the federal government. People believe it will give the government too much information and power.

What do the students think about identity cards?

Do they think an ID card can be foolproof? That is can’t be copied or forged?

By issuing ID cards, cities are taking federal immigration policy into their own hands.

Some groups oppose the policies of states, such as Arizona, passing laws that give police the obligation to check the immigration status of people they stop.

Should states and/or local government be concerned about immigrants? And if so, how should they act?

Gang Members Have Difficulty Escaping Life

A researcher in Chicago conducted a longitudinal study of young people in the juvenile justice system. Longitudinal means a study following the same group of people over a long period of time.

Does the story imply that birth is destiny? If you are born into a gang culture is it very hard to get out?

It says that laws and police and programs do not make much of a difference. What works, but only sometimes, is an individual’s resolve to remake his life. What are the most important influences cited in the story?

What do the students think is the best way to break the cycle of gang membership and violence?

Students Getting Debit Cards… Whether They Want To or Not

Another card story! Colleges are making deals with bank companies for debit cards. They are defending the practice by saying what?

The story makes it clear that it makes it easier for the school to deliver student aid money – no more stamps and envelopes.

Are the students in the story happy about getting the cards? By what measure could you say yes?

Somebody has to pay for these services – should it be the school, the bank company or the students?

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