Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week #3: What does democracy look like in society? Locate and blog about an article that relates to democratic content, principles, or processes. Is democracy something that is reflected in the current events of our society? What people and perspectives are represented?

33 comments:

  1. Post #3: What does democracy look like in society?
    New York Times
    Friday, September 20, 2013
    A Turnabout at Traditionally White Sororities, in Nine Days at Alabama
    By Alan Blinder


    Article Summary:
    Recently it was exposed that at the University of Alabama had a history of racial discrimination in their Greek system. There was a quick turn around from that discovery when many of the traditionally white sororities, who hadn’t accepted a minority member since 2003, offered 11 bids to black women (out of 72 total bids). By Friday 6 of those minority women had accepted to join the sororities. This University has a history with this discrimination, when 50 years ago the Governor attempted to ban African-Americans from attending the University; Black students are now more than 12% of the student body. They expect the Greek system to continue expanding their reach to minority students throughout the coming year.


    Social Studies Connections:
    This article deals with the NCSS theme Civic Ideals and Practices because it explores the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of students. As students of the University it is their right to strive to be a part of whatever institution they want, and to be considered. It is their privilege, to be accepted into that institution (when rules and regulations permit). And, it is their responsibility to treat all students with respect, dignity, and as members of the sorority to give all students the same consideration regardless of their race.

    Application/ Objectives:

    I thought this article especially interesting because it went along with the same standard as the first article I posted, which was about women’s rights.

    Standards: Fifth Grade Social Studies Standard V.
    Objective 2: Assess the impact of social and political movements in recent United States history.
    Indicators:
    a. Identify major social movements of the 20th century (eg. Women’s movement, the civil rights movement, and child labor reforms).

    I would use this article after the students have learned about the civil rights movement, and other elements of that movement that have continued up to today. We could also discuss how they think these sororities in Alabama got these racially discriminatory tendencies; what events in history lead to these feelings that are often primarily present in the South?
    I would also use it to teach them more about the democratic principle that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated as such, and help them examine their own prejudices that they may be harboring.

    Response to weekly question: What does democracy look like in society?
    This article relates to the democratic principle that everyone is equal and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Like LeCompte’s Condition “E pluribus Unum,” we are all in this together and when people are being discriminated against we are not acting on that condition. Democracy is something that is reflected in current events of society, however, I have found it is mostly found in articles about something that goes against the principles of democracy. However, there are cases like this article, that show people coming around, realizing what they are doing is not democratic, and making changes to implement more democracy. From what I have noticed, it seems that the articles about politicians and government officials do not reflect democratic principles as much, however, the articles about good American citizens do.

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    1. This is really interesting! I like your very detailed connection to Social Studies. And it's really interesting because I didn't know that the Greek systems there had a problem with discrimination.

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  2. New York Times
    Monday, September 23, 2013
    “Switzerland Votes to Keep Mandatory Army Service”
    By The Associated Press

    Article Summary:
    Switzerland maintains a military that requires part-time service from every male citizen between 18 and 34. They attend basic training for 18-21 weeks and then keep weapons in their home to be prepared to defend their country whenever necessary. Their left-wing party put forward a referendum recently that would end mandatory military service and 73% of voters rejected the referendum.

    Social Studies Connections:
    This article relates to the NCSS theme of power, authority, and governance because it reveals how parts of the Swiss political system work. Citizens are allowed to vote on issues that are presented to them by lawmakers from parties. The article also relates to the NCSS theme of civic ideals and practices because it shows that the people of Switzerland value the civil practice of serving in the military. Male citizens of Switzerland give up a large amount of time to ensure their country’s safety.

    Application/ Objectives:
    The concept of government and citizenship is discussed more fully in high school. It may be a little advanced to compare and contrast the United States’ political system and military requirements with the Swiss system in elementary school, but elementary students can benefit from this article as well as high school students. One thing that you could discuss as a class would be how all of the citizens had a chance to have their voice heard on the subject of military service by voting. It would be great to discuss with your students how people prepare to vote by researching the topic.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    Democracy in Switzerland and the United States looks like citizens forming educated opinions about issues facing their country and voting on those issues. The people do not have full control over what laws are made in their country, like in a true democracy, but when they do have the opportunity to vote it should be done in a thoughtful and educated manner. Voting is an important civic duty in our society and it has strong connections to democracy.

    -Laura Villicana

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    1. I appreciate you mentioning that this article relates to civic ideals and practices. Citizens of Switzerland make a great sacrifice by participating in the mandatory military service, and it's obvious that many citizens value the service, as evidenced by the "overwhelming" vote to continue the practice!

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    2. This is a great example of democracy in society because they were able to vote on what they wanted, and I'm so glad that they did! This is not something I would have necessarily "picked for them" if I had that power or responsibility; that is one of the reasons I am so grateful for voting like this, because the people get what they want, not what others want for them. Great example!

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    3. I think that this is a great article about democracy. Although this democracy is not perfect, the people had a chance to voice their opinion through voting. This article really does relate to civic ideals and practices. They have made military service a civic ideal just as voting is a civic duty. I think that this really shows a bit of democracy in our lives today.

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  3. The New York Times, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
    Switzerland Votes to Keep Mandatory Army Service by (AP) Associated Press

    Summary
    In Switzerland, each male citizen between the ages of 18 to 34 is required to serve part-time in the Swiss army, and women may choose to serve voluntarily. The soldiers attend basic training for 18 to 21 weeks; thereafter “they keep their uniforms and weapons at home to be ready for rapid mobilization and tours of duty.” For the third time in almost 25 years, Swiss voters “overwhelmingly voted to maintain its conscription army,” with the support of 73 percent of the voters from 26 Swiss cantons rejecting a referendum Sunday that had been proposed by pacifists and left-wing parties to eliminate the mandatory service.

    Connections to social studies
    Individuals, Groups, and Institutions—According to the article, the Swiss government has historically urged voters to retain the conscription service, counter to what most Western European nations have done since the cold war, due to a widely held belief that the military has been a deterrent that has kept Switzerland out of Europe’s wars, particularly World War II. This point of view demonstrates that the government has probably had an influence on individuals’ support for the service.

    Power, Authority, and Governance—Certainly, this article also demonstrates that the legitimacy of the Swiss government to maintain the army has been questioned by vote at least 3 times in the last 25 years. One could argue that the rights of some to not participate in the army have been challenged by a majority rule in favor of the service.

    This article can be tied to Grade 6, Standard IV-Students will understand current global issues and their rights and responsibilities in the interconnected world, Objective 1-Analyze how major world events of the 20th century affect the world today, a-Identify key events, ideas, and leaders of the 20th century (e.g. World War I, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts, dynamic Asian economies).

    Response to “What does democracy look like in society?”
    In this article, we witness that citizens of Switzerland are able to vote on an issue affecting their lives. One of the keystones of democracy is the ability to have your voice heard. Although the pacifists and right-wing parties behind the referendum were unable to do away with the military service, their voices were heard, and their initiative was put to a vote.

    Application
    In the classroom, students could be encouraged to propose perspectives of and solutions to issues of concern (either classroom concerns or outside concerns that connect with their lives) to the class, debate the benefits and disadvantages of their proposals, and seek to understand and evaluate the merits of what other members of the class have to say. When decisions need to be made, the issues can be put to a vote.

    Submitted by Joyce Mustoe

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    1. I really like your application. I remember in school that we did debates on current topics (mine was welfare). It was really interesting for me, when I got stuck debating for the opposing side of what I personally thought. It was a great lesson for me about knowing the arguments on the other side of the fence as well. Since I personally supported the other side than the side I was debating for in class, I was able to easily anticipate my opponents points, and knew what she would say in response to my arguments. It was a great and worthwhile experience. Using articles like this to spark interest in debates and research is a great application!

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  4. Wall Street Journal
    Monday, September 23, 2013
    "More Samples, More Debate"
    By Erica E. Phillips

    Article Summary:
    It is the norm to take DNA samples from criminals charged and convicted of violent crimes (murder, rape, etc.), but in Orange County, CA, DNA samples from people charged with minor offenses (like drug possession or shoplifting) are being taken by officials in exchange for the dismissal of their minor offense charges. They are doing this with the intention of solving more crime and helping law enforcement. They have connected a 10-year-unsolved rape case with a man who gave his DNA instead of going to court for a DUI, and he is now charged with rape and kidnapping.

    Social Studies Connections:
    This is a social studies connection because of how it relates to the freedom and choices Americans can make. Citizens in California now have the option to give a DNA sample instead of paying a big speeding ticket, whereas before, there was no choice. Science is being used to solve crime, and people are doing what they can to make this practice of collecting DNA and entering it into their database a ethical solution to crime.

    Application/ Objectives:
    A topic like this may not make sense to children in the younger grades, but could engage upper grades in a heated debate about whether this is ethical or not! Some argue that those who don't want to give their DNA may be investigated anyway because of suspicion that they are involved in a crime and don't want to be found out. As a teacher, we could address both sides of the issue and ask the class what they think.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    As a citizen in a society, we are expected to abide by rules and laws that keep others safe. In this particular article, I believe democracy is having the freedom to choose which consequence will be dealt with. Citizens had the freedom to make their own choices and they also have the freedom to voice their opinion about whether collecting DNA samples is ethical or not! We have the freedom to debate, and to bring the topic to our local leaders.

    Taryn Lewis

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    1. This is so interesting! I'm really a fan of crime-solving TV shows so real life stuff like this is so cool to me. An article like this would really catch the interest of your older elementary school kids, and I think they would be really excited (like you said in your application) to debate it and talk about the pros and cons.

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    2. That is really interesting, I hadn't known that people could make that choice! The ability to make choices is democratic, but it's interesting to think about whether or not that choice could be considered ethical. True, they had the success story of the man convicted for rape, but who knows if that was a fluke or real progress. This could be a very lively debate in a classroom!

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  5. Wall Street Journal
    Tuesday, September 23, 2013
    "Abercrombie Settles Suits Over Head Scarves; Retailer Will Allow Employees to Wear Traditional Muslim Hijabs"
    By Anonymous

    Summary:
    Abercrombie & Fitch has decided to allow employees to wear head scarves after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits. This happened because the company had discriminated against several Muslim women who were either fired or not hired because of their hijabs, or head scarves.

    Social Studies Connections:
    This connects to the NCSS themes of Culture and Individual Development and Identity, because the culture and identities of Muslim women were not initially treated with respect by this company. Individuals should not be limited to what society dictates, especially when it's squelching their culture and beliefs.

    Application/Objectives:
    I think this article can be definitely applied to a classroom. Sometimes it's hard for students to accept peers that are different, but they can learn to do so especially when taught democratic principles.

    What does deomocracy look like in society?
    Society is gradually becoming more accepting of other cultures and their strings attached, but it is definitely a work in progress, as we can see here. Abercrombie & Fitch respected the religion and culture of their workers in theory, but in practice it was hard for them when specifically presented with a culture that was new to them. We can see democracy at work here though, because the company has acknowledged what they did wrong, and became more accepting of others, which makes it more democratic than before, because in a democracy, all are included.

    Holly Meek

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    1. This is a great example of democracy! I love that you talked about how students need to learn that in a democracy we accept people who are different than us. I think that is a very important thing to teach early on in the classroom because children need to learn early not to discriminate against people that are different than them. It is a shame that we still deal with issues like this in the United States.

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    2. This article is great! I think it demonstrates democracy perfectly and shows the students how opinions can be changed and solutions found.

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    3. Wow, interesting article indeed. Everyone deserves respect regardless of their differences and appearance. I think that the way this issue was handled demonstrated democracy and helped a lot of people realize how important this is for a community to function with peace and acceptance.

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  6. New York Times
    Sept 23, 2013
    "Former F.B.I. agent to plead guilty in Press Leak." by Charlie Savage

    Summary: Donald Sachtleben is a former F.B.I. agent who is pleading guilty about leaking some confidential information. He was suspected to be guilty of child pornography so they searched his electronic devices. While searching his electronic devices, they also found evidence that he was leaking top secret information that he wasn't suppose to. He has decided to plead guilty of both things and serve a total of 12 years in prison.

    Social Studies Connection: This relates to the NCSS theme of "Power, Authority, and Governance" because this man's punishment probably involved a lot of power, authority and governance. Somebody had to decide on his punishment and how long he would serve in jail. This would be decided by the person who has the power and authority to decide.

    Application: THis could be applied to the classroom when teaching them about rules of the classroom and punishments for not keeping the rules. You can teach them that punishment is part of our society whether you are a child or an adult. There will always be rules and consequences when we don't follow the rules.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    I think this article definitely shows what democracy looks like in society. FIrst of all, this man was given an option. He could plead guilty or he could plead innocent. Every decision wasn't dictated by a dictator. The man who did the crimes was able to make a choice. And his punishment probably went through several authorities to make sure it was fair. This is an example of democracy because everything wasn't dictated by one person.

    Lana Poppleton

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    1. This is a great example of due process of law. I think it's great for students to see how it works. It might even spark their interest to learn more about it. When talking about this kind of thing, I think classes would benefit greatly from inquiry-based discussion. Students should figure out why this works and possible ways to make it better. That is democracy.

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    2. This article grabs people! It shows the reality of our decisions and how small lies lead to eventually being caught and suffering the consequences. When discussing these articles as a class, it provides opportunities for teachers to really help students think and instill in them values to help them in their lives.

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  7. New York Times
    September 24, 2013
    "Vote for Merkel Seen as Victory For Austerity" by Andrew Higgins

    Summary:
    Angela Merkel won the popular vote in Germany and was reelected for a third term. She has promised to be more firm in her leadership. This is bad news for other countries in Europe. With employment down across Europe, countries have looked to Germany for financial backing in hard times. They aren't sure that they will continue to receive support.

    Social Studies Connection:
    This applies to social studies because it is a solid example of voting and elections and the effect it has on other countries. Democracy does not only affect individual countries, but also how that country relates to other countries. In times of recession and war, these relationships are more critical.

    Application:
    As i've mentioned before, children need to realize that what we do in this country impacts the whole world. One act can spark hundreds of others. This is not only valuable in social studies but in life. Your actions never affect only you. Positive and negative consequences are experienced by those around you as well. This is a very valuable lesson to learn.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    Democracy is very popular throughout the world, though other countries may not like the results of what your country decides. People are realizing and predicting the global effects of every democratic decision. It puts more pressure on those running for office.

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  9. New York Times
    September 24,1013
    Number of Illegal Immigrants in US May be on Rise Again, Estimates Say

    Summary:
    This article talks about the possible rise of illegal immigrants. However it does clarify that this is just a possibility from one study, it is not proven. The article talks about how illegal immigration has dropped in several states, such as California, Illinois and New York. But the numbers of immigrants in Florida and New Jersey are growing again "after falling in the first years of the recession." The article then mentions that in in 2007 there was a peak of immigrants reaching 12.2 million, from numbers like 3.5 million in 1990. The author acknowledges that there was a steep drop from 2007 to 2009, but in their opinion its not enough for all that President Obama has put in place.

    Social Studies connection:
    There are a few connections to social studies. The first connection is in the functions of our government and how it deals with problems. The second connection is the fact that the US has a history of having illegal immigrants. The third connection is the topic of free speech. This author has the freedom to disagree with our government on an issue and publish it, this is not allowed in many countries.

    Application:
    In my classroom I would talk about how we solve problems in our classroom vs how the government solves problems. We could talk about congress, the president, and state and how they work through pressing issues.

    What does Democracy look like in society?
    In my opinion there is democracy in our society. Unfortunately it is something very hard to maintain consistently and so our government and country falls into years of bickering over one thing before it can come up with a solution, like immigration. Democracy in our society is in our voting, in our government, in our neighborhoods and schools.

    Jessica Fox

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  10. In the Shadow of “Old Smokey,” A Toxic Legacy
    The New York Times
    Sept 23, 2013
    By Nick Madigan

    Article Summary:
    “Old Smokey” was a trash incinerator that was shut down in 1970 after being in use for 45 years in Miami, Florida. This area has been recently discovered to have been contaminated with toxins and they hypothesis these come from the ash put out by the old trash incinerator. Originally the findings were kept from the citizens in the area, but once they were told the citizens were upset that they had not been told sooner. One researcher has found that there is a cancer cluster in this area and some people wonder if a correlation could be established with the high level of toxins in the area.

    Social Studies Connection:
    This article relates to the social studies core and studying of community. In the core, students should learn about their community in second grade. This can involve the history of their community and the responsibilities that they have in their communities. They also can learn about different roles in the community. This article relates as the community is upset, as the officials in their community did not tell the citizens in a timely manner about the toxins in the community. This breech of responsibility can really cause dramatic consequences on a community. Everyone has a responsibility to the community and they all have to focus on being a good citizen. We all need to help each other and fulfill our duties.

    Application:
    I would use this article as an example of the consequences of not fulfilling our civic responsibility to our community. I would also use this as an example of how the leaders eventually did do their responsibility and tried to make the community safer. I would show that we are all important in a community and that history can still have an effect on us today. I would use this as a way to introduce roles and responsibilities to the students, and have them realize that it is very important to be informed.

    What does Democracy look like in Society?:
    I think that this article demonstrates that people want Democracy in Society. They want to be informed of the things around them. They want to know how things around them could affect them. The citizens in this article really wanted to have their voice heard about the issue of the toxins. They wanted to help make decisions on how to solve the problem of having all the toxins in the parks. Sometimes, Democracy does fail in our society though. Even though the officials had information about the toxins, they did not inform the citizens until later. However, they still did what they could in their civic responsibility to get the toxins taken care of and make the parks better. We as a people want to be able to help make informed decisions, have our voice heard and work to make our communities a better place. I think that although Democracy sometimes fails in our society, we can continue to work together as a community to improve and let our voice be heard.

    Rachel Stokes

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    1. Rachel, I appreciated how you said that students (and all citizens) need to learn about the history of the community in which they live and the responsibilities that they are required to fulfill as part of that community. It is so important that students learn this early on so that they are willing to step up and be the informed, responsible citizens and community members they need to be. In regards to the article, I thought it was interesting that the leadership did not tell the community about the risks until pretty late after everything happened. I think that students can benefit from seeing these poor examples of leadership and citizenship because then they can see what negative consequences come from slacking on their duties.

      Thanks for sharing! --Heather Young

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  11. Heather Young
    Post #3: What does democracy look like in society?
    New York Times
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Summary: This brief article discusses the recent historic event in the German parliament. Two blacks, the first ever to serve in the parliament, were voted into office recently. The article points out possible reasons why blacks have not served in parliament previously; one possible reason includes Germany's rocky relationship between the majority ethnicity and the minorities.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    It's important that we as citizens of the United States are aware of other cultures and governments in the countries around us. By taking a look at Germany's parliament and this historic change (having the first 2 blacks in office), one may notice that some countries are similar in politics as the U.S.A (having a democratic republic), but that they still may differ in other ways. It's important to realize that by studying social studies, ones' perspective about the world can be expanded and increase exponentially by knowing more about the cultures and people living in this world.

    Connection to the Classroom:
    In the classroom I would hope to use this article to show the differences and similarities between the U.S. government and Germany's political environment. Students may notice that both have a sort of democratic republic, but that the U.S. has a senate, congress and president whereas Germany has a parliament with a prime minister. Also, I would hope to emphasize how important it is to be tolerant and accepting of all cultures and ethnicities. It's interesting that it has taken so long for a black citizen to be elected into German parliament, but it is definitely a historic event that will affect their country hopefully in a positive way. I would definitely talk about these causes and effects with my students in the classroom.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    Democracy, to me, looks like people being accepting of others and working together (as best as possible) towards a unified cause. It may be difficult sometimes to agree with someone who may have varying views and opinions as you, but democracy means staying committed to the common good no matter what everyone's specific opinions and perspectives are. Hopefully all U.S. citizens realize that although there are democrats and republicans, people of different religions and ethnicities, or even people of a variety of ages living in this country, we are all aiming towards becoming the "more perfect union" our founding fathers set out for us to become. This is what democracy looks like in society: people coming together and affecting change, all leading towards "a more perfect union" each and everyday.

    --Heather Young

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    1. You said some things that I feel very passionate about. "Ones' perspective about the world can be expanded and increase exponentially by knowing more about the cultures and people living in this world." And "Democracy, to me, looks like people being accepting of others and working together (as best as possible) towards a unified cause." I feel fortunate to have worked with many different types of people. I grew up having Hispanic, likely illegal immigrant, friends. I participated in activities with people who had physical or mental disabilities. I've worked with the elderly. I lived in Mexico for 2 months. All of these experiences and others helped me realize that my way is not the only way. Just like in the devotional today, we need to be less sure of our "infallibility." Be open to new ideas.

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    2. I really liked how you said we need to be aware of “other cultures and governments”. I believe children will be naturally interested in these topics, but initially may need the teacher to facilitate discovery. This is an excellent topic for making connections, and noticing similarities and differences. I completely agree that school is a great place for students to learn the need to respect all cultures and ethnicities. Creating an environment where students realize that everyone brings knowledge and has valuable input will help students internalize this concept.

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  12. "A Jury of Whose Peers?" by Bill Keller
    New York Times Monday, September 23, 2013

    Summary of Article: In this article the author notes that jury duty is becoming less common because it is more expensive. It is cheaper to settle matters out of court. The author says this is sad because jury duty is "one of the few rituals of our political system that respects the experience and common sense of the ordinary citizen, and that puts a premium on an open mind." It gives us a chance to feel like a more dutiful member of society. He makes the point that not just citizens should be required to participate. "They benefit from the protections of our laws, so it is fair and just that they should be asked to share in the obligation to do jury duty."

    Connect to Social Studies:
    Social studies is all about being dedicated and participating members of society. It is also about letting people voice their opinions and work together to achieve the common good. If that means that non-citizens should be in jury duty, so be it. Social studies is about letting everyone have a say and then deciding upon what helps the community as a whole.

    Classroom Application:
    It would be helpful to involve students in decision-making processes. Setting up rules and routines would help bring more unity to the classroom. If students feel like their opinion and voice was heard, they are more likely to obey the laws in place.

    Weekly Question- Is democracy something that is reflected in the current events of our society? What people and perspectives are represented?
    Democracy is reflected in our society. But I am not sure how well people and perspectives are represented. I think that democracy exists in our communities, but not as much as we would like. We can have meetings, vote for representatives, and work together to make changes. But reading this article made me wonder- are non-citizens are represented as well?

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    1. This is an important article that I didn't read, but I am glad that you wrote about it. I feel like perhaps these days are changing because "democracy" is just too hard or as this article suggests, "too expensive". Jury duty is an important responsibility of "everyday citizens" and it is just one way that we can contribute. In the classroom it would be easier for the teacher to just do most of the things, but when you implement democratic principles, it is better for the students. - Kelsey Captain

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  13. New York Times/ September 23, 2013
    Candidates in Boston Struggle to Stand Out On Eve of Mayoral Vote
    By: Katharine Seelye

    Summary:
    The mayoral candidates for Boston are certainly representative of the various ethnic groups of the area. With a dozen candidates running, citizens are torn on which of the respectable candidates, who share several of the same views, to vote for. One citizen, Mrs. McGrath, brought up the need for public schools in the downtown area as she said, “And there are a ton of people out there who want to raise kids here, but they don’t have the money for private school.” As education is currently the “biggest problem facing the city”, Mr. Connolly has been a favored candidate as his main priority is education. Ultimately, several of the candidates are extremely close in the polls so the results will simply depend on which voters turn out.

    Connections to Social Studies: This article relates to LeCompte’s condition of democracy “Respect for civil discourse”. In other words, all of the candidates have opportunities to share their platforms, and citizens have the right to state their opinions as Mrs. McGrath did. This also relates to the NCSS theme “Civic Ideals and Practices”. Citizens need to be informed and vote to fully participate in society.

    Response to Theme: Democracy can certainly be found in the current events of our society. Elections and opportunities to share our opinion on issues affecting our community are extremely relevant. I thought it was interesting that they were unable to predict who was in the lead for becoming mayor as it really came down to which voters turned out. As “Civic Ideals and Practices” addresses, it is important to remember our responsibilities as citizens. In addition, I liked that Mrs. McGrath addressed the education issues affecting her city at a town meeting. Being informed and sharing your opinions are both essential in becoming an active citizen.

    Applications: In the classroom, I would love to provide opportunities for students to gather information from a variety of sources and review them for a particular topic. Once students feel informed, we would hold a class meeting where students have opportunities to express their views. This article would be a great way to introduce this activity beforehand. Then, students would be able to cast their vote. In addition, I want to create a classroom where students have opportunities to share their ideas, respect others’ ideas, and vote. If students understand the importance of becoming engaged citizens at a young age, they will be more likely to actively participate in society.

    Blog Author: Kara Weathers

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    1. I thin that sharing opinions on global issues as a class would be a great idea to encourage kids to be up-to-date with what's going on in the world! It would also teach them the importance of democracy and being involved in elections.

      Taryn Lewis

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  14. The New York Times/ September 25, 2013
    Weighing a Government Shutdown: Panic, No; Frustration, Yes.
    By Manny Fernandez

    Summary: In Bentonville, Arkansas, a very Republican community, people were interviewed to see what they knew and felt about the possible government shutdown or debt default. The answers varied from “I don’t think they’ll shut it down. But they won’t get anything solved…” to “They’ve quit trying to decide what’s best for the people in general. It’s all about power…” There were some people that didn’t know what a government shutdown entailed and one woman said, “I can’t do anything about it, so I just don’t get worked up about it.”

    Connections to social studies: In the social studies curriculum, this article relates to the “Citizenship” strand. In the article, random citizens were interviewed and their knowledge of current events was varied. They were also varied in their ideas of how a government shutdown would affect their every day life. In the third grade curriculum, the third standard explains that “students will understand the principles of civic responsibility in classroom, community, and country.” Within the objectives and indicators, there are many that relate to the article. For example, “identify roles of representative government”, “research community needs and the role government serves in meeting those needs”, and “engage in meaningful dialogue about the community and current events within the classroom, school, and local community”. Using this article, you can teach about how a government shutdown occurs and how it affects our needs as a community.

    Applications: Another thing that would be important to include is an activity that determines how well the students would be able to reply if they were asked questions on current events and their opinions in random interviews such as these. As citizens, it is necessary that we be well informed so that we can protect our rights and participate in society.

    What does democracy look like in society? One condition of democracy that is demonstrated in this article is knowledge of rights and free & open inquiry. The people that were interviewed were asked questions. Some were informed as to the current government situation. Some were not. Those that were not, perhaps, do not understand their rights and their ability to ask questions and wonder why something happens and how it will affect them. They also may feel that they do not have a say in the decisions that are made in our country and therefore do not pay attention. Overall, what is happening right now is not an example of democracy, because it seems as though any regular citizen would not be able to influence or participate in what is going on in congress.

    Blog Author: Kelsey Captain

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  15. The New York Times/ Sept. 28, 2013
    "A Polling Place of Their Own: Students Win a Long Battle"
    By Reeve Hamiliton

    Article Summary
    This article is about a black public college, Prairie View A&M University, and the efforts taken to get an on-campus voting center. One particular student, Priscilla Barbour, took the lead in this action by writing a letter to the Secretary of State outlining the desires and needs of the students at this University. Many students had to walk to the community center off campus to vote which was quite a hassle and distance for many. A national group focused on voter fraud/rights, called True the Vote, learned of what was happening and the students' desire at this school. They helped and eventually Prairie View A&M University was able to achieve their goal of having an on-campus voting center for students and residents.

    Connection to Social Studies:
    I believe this article demonstrated the importance and results that occur from 'Respect of Civil Discourse.' People stood up for their rights and took action to help them achieve what they felt was needed at their school. People helped these students in their efforts and realized their goals and interests.

    Application:
    I would use this article in my classroom to explain to students the importance of being assertive in standing up for what we believe in. They would be able to see how one person can make a difference and that other people often may be willing to help. I would explain to students how voting is important and is something we do to make a difference and be good citizens.

    What does democracy look like in society?
    I feel like this article was a great example of democracy. Voting rights apply to everyone and having adequate access is something that is of concern and importance also. These students at this public black college wanted to vote and having one on-campus to them was important. More students are able to vote now as well as residents at this University. This event shows the perspective a dedicated group of people and their will for the benefit of all.

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