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11/19/12 Tips for Teachers

November 17, 2012
Plain English Version

President Turns to the Pressing Tax Problem

Part of the discussion about the “fiscal cliff.”

Many low-wage workers benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. It generally means this debate about letting the Bush Tax cuts expire does not affect them directly.

But of course it does because it affects the whole economy. Republicans simply do not want to raise tax rates. Democrats simply do not want to cut entitlement programs like food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Do the students agree that when the government spends more than it takes in, there will have to a day of reckoning?

What changes are they willing to live with?

Many people say Republicans want to protect their pocketbooks and Democrats want to add to the number of people who get benefits from the government.

Does this story about taxes reflect the differences in the approach of each party?

Hispanic Diet May Lead to Diabetes

Diabetes is epidemic in the United States. Medical people disagree a little about how to treat it. But they all agree about the need to change behaviors in order to prevent it.

Do the students buy the premise in this article that the Hispanic diet, particularly as practiced by recent immigrants, can lead to diabetes?

Which parts of the article resemble dietary habits students or people they know follow?

The article says that diabetes is not common in the old countries. What happens when people come to the United States?

How would the students going about trying to change poor dietary habits?

How a New Futbol is Saving the World

A good news story.

What problem is the inventor trying to solve? How he is solving it?

The story implies that at least one foreign aid program does not achieve its goal. Which program is that? [Hint: giving out millions of soccer balls that deflate.]

Have any of the students had any experience with a foreign aid program?

What do we mean when we call a story a “good news” story. Generally, that the news is usually bad – about crime or politics. But do the students agree that we need good news stories from time to time?

Do they have any examples of good news stories?

How important is soccer around the world?

Online Payday Loans May be Scams

It seems that there are always dishonest people exploiting trusting people.

What does it mean? Should we trust no one? Can we exist without a good amount of trust in our life? For example, can we trust that the driver coming down the road will stop at the red light?

What is the way trust plays a role in the lives of the students?

What is the clever scheme in this payday scam? [Hint: selling completed applications to loan companies.]

The article implies the Internet can be use to get around state laws and regulations. What is the danger in this?

Is the Internet a new force in the world that makes a lot of practices obsolete (like reading books or shopping at stores)? What role does the Internet play in the lives of students? Big Question!

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