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12/10/12 Tips For Teachers

December 10, 2012
Plain English Version

The Scandal Behind the Fires at Garment Factories

Workers earning low wages lower the cost of the products they produce.

In Bangladesh and Pakistan workers earn very little and work in dangerous conditions. The low wages attract companies that compete for the business of outlets such as Walmart. The unsafe working conditions are also a part of a system that stresses low cost before everything else.

What is a consumer in the United States to do? If they refuse to buy products because they do not like how they are produced, the factories might go out of business along with income of some very poor people.

Is it better to allow workers to work in misery or not to work at all?

In the United States, many of these problems were solved by trade unions and a bureaucracy charged with enforcing laws on wages and working conditions.

In China, despite setbacks, conditions are improving. What are the reasons for this?

Is there any way out of the cycle of low wages – low priced products – high competition – consumer demand?

Dreamers Want Citizenship For All

Young Dreamers believe the presidential election changed the balance of electoral power in the U.S. From advocating for rights for young people, they now want to extend the opportunity for citizenship to the undocumented residents of the country.

Is this realistic? Was the election so great a shift in forces that years of political opposition to immigration reform can be overcome?

What are the demographics that made the difference in this election? [Hint: all the ethnicities, women and young people gave a majority of their votes to President Obama.]

Where and how did the change in the plans of the Dreamers take place?

Do students know Dreamers? Was there a real danger in their going to the convention?

The Causes of Heartburn Now a Mystery

It seems every advance in medical research either disproves what we knew before or adds to the complications of trying to figure the right treatment to follow.

Heartburn is a good example. It was always seen as the result or eating the wrong foods and could be treated by a certain kind of medicine. Now, doctors say heartburn is much more complex.

This story is full of medical terms. Is it too technical? Can the average person keep up with all the changes in technology?

Does the story make clear that it is still a good idea to watch your diet and exercise regularly?

Does the idea that stress may lead to heartburn make sense?

Is it a good idea to continually report on medical advances even though they may lead to more questions?

Improving Your Credit Score

This is one of those good advice stories that may make very little sense. Most people have poor credit scores for two reasons: they do not make enough money; they may make bad decisions about spending the money they have.

Still, is it good to know how successful borrowers achieve high credit scores? Most of the students are hard workers. Is this story helpful?

Can they and do they follow any of the practices recommended in the article?

Most of us do not read the fine print on our agreements with the credit card companies. Yet failure to make timely payments may lead to harsh results. Whose responsibility is it to know that a late payment can lead to high interest costs?

Is the article relevant to the lives of the students?

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