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11/26/12 Tips for Teachers

November 26, 2012
Plain English Version

The Difference Between Rich and Poor is Becoming Greater

“Inequality” is what we call a “loaded word.” A person hearing or reading it usually says it is not right for so few people to have so much money when so many have so little, or that’s the way life is and that is the way our system works.

But what if you say it does not matter if it is right or wrong or good or bad, it is probably a good idea for all if inequality is lessened.

The article explains why that is a good idea and some ways to go about doing it.

Does the article make clear what are some of the choices in trying to rectify inequality?

Can the students talk about some of the reasons people can’t talk about dealing with inequality without expressing their feelings in strong and usually political terms?

Older Children Do Better in Classrooms

The principal point of this article is that the spread between the youngest and oldest child in a classroom has an impact on performance. It cites the research that shows younger children do less well on standardized tests and are more often prescribed behavior modification drugs.

Using a calendar year, where you enter first grade at the age of six, have the students calculate where they were in the age distribution when they started the first grade in September of that year.

Kids born in January will be the oldest kids born in December will be the youngest.

Have the students talk about what impact their age in the grade might have had on their school performance.

What are the other factors that most influence school success or failure?

Do the students buy the premise of this article that age is so important?

Haitian Kidnapper is a Businessman, Not a Common Criminal

Haiti is a poor country, bedeviled by natural disasters, corruption and authoritarian governments. It is also beautiful and populated by decent hardworking people.

In the last ten years, kidnapping has become a frequent way to extort money from the Island’s wealthier people. Many people link criminal activity to skin tone and a lower class way of life.

Now it turns out that one of the Island’s biggest criminals is a rich businessman from a high-class family.

Also, a corrupt, ineffective, national police force brought him to justice.

What happens when people’s expectations and stereotypes are overturned? Does it make people want to take a look at their own prejudices?

When we judge people before we learn about them – whether it is the poor resenting the rich, or the rich resenting the poor – don’t we limit our view of the possibilities of change and growth?

Say Goodbye to Toll Collectors and Hello to Electronic Monitoring

E-Z Pass and the new electronic toll collecting technology are able to track the whereabouts of all vehicles going through toll plazas. This will make life much easier on drivers. The purpose is to make going through toll bridges and highways faster

Transponders are devices to record your tolls and deduct the cost from various types of accounts. Your license plate will be photographed and you will be billed if you do not have a transponder.

But what if you do not want an official body to know when you crossed a bridge? What are some of the reasons you would not want them to know?

Will the government now know more about where you are and when you were there than you think is healthy?

This is called a tradeoff, where you give up some personal privacy for easier and faster road trips.

What do the students think about these tradeoffs?

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