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UFR & EconEdLink

Category: Blog

April 25, 2016

We are excited to announce that the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility curriculum is migrating to EconEdLink, the searchable lesson plan database from the Council for Economic Education.  This means the lessons you are already familiar with will be linked to the CEE for thousands of teachers to discover.

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On the EconEdLink website, you can find UFR under the “Topics” bar at the top of the landing page.  You can also search through 9-12 economics lessons, or themes and topics.  Each lesson still begins with our essential question.  All resources, handouts, and links are there, and have been updated to current data and information.

We are very excited about this partnership with CEE!

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Minimum Wage in the News

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April 19, 2016

There was a really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on California raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  They went a step further, though, and outlined what was happening in every state, which could be a great connection – and analysis – for students.  They provide a chart showing each state, what the minimum wage is now, and what it is projected to be under current law, through 2022.

The article links to another which outlines minimum wage “by the numbers”, stating that 1.3 million people earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (about 3.9% of hourly employees in the country), and the laws changing state minimum wage in New York and California will affect about 9 million workers.

Have students look through the “by the numbers” before returning to the original article to find their own state’s information.  Have them analyze the information, and see if they can determine how many people it would affect in their state if the minimum wage was increased (note: this would take more research on their part).

I like tying the minimum wage debate to UFR Lesson 2.4 on political beliefs.

 

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Minimum Wage Political Cartoons

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April 14, 2016

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

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Minimum Wage Fights

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April 14, 2016

There has been a lot of media coverage lately on the push to increase the minimum wage to $15 to encourage economic and wage equity.  The Economist has an article on events in Virginia, CNN Money looks at New York, and the LA Times outlines events in California.  Today (April 14) is the US Living Wage Day of Action, and protests are being documented across the country.

A CNN article, however, looks at presidential candidates and politics to guess who will ‘fight’ for minimum wage.  The author points out that the next president could technically bypass Congress by issuing an executive order that no government contracts will be given to any company offering less than a $15 per hour wage.

Have students read the article before going back to other posts about the minimum wage and how different economists view the effects of an increase in it. Tie this back to UFR Lesson 2.4 on political beliefs and the national debt.  How does this all come together?

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2016 Election Political Cartoons

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April 14, 2016

he political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

 

 

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State Policymakers and Economic Equality

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April 14, 2016

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities shared a very interesting post about state priorities in providing economic equality.  After reading it, I thought it was a fantastic link to (almost any) UFR Lesson, but especially to those looking at the definite cost/beghitsinfogr4.13.pngnefit analysis of public policy.  I especially like the connections to Lesson 1.4 on Taxation and the National Debt, and 1.5, Balancing the Federal Budget.

A State Roadmap for Broadly Shared Prosperity walks people through what states face (or in this opinion piece, what they feel states should do) in regards to economic equality gaps.  All of the suggestions outline a movement towards “sharing prosperity”.

Have student read through the article and compare to what happens at the federal level.  Are there significant differences in the procedures and policy issues?  Who holds more control or power over these types of issues – the states or the federal government?  What evidence can they provide to support their statement?

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SNAP Benefits Expire

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April 7, 2016

Changes to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, usually known as food stamps) requirements means that some 500,000+ Americans are facing a decrease in state and federal aid this year.  The federal government reinstated a work requirement and three-month limit to unemployed adults between the ages of 18-49 who arStates Newly Implementing SNAP Time Limits in 2016e not raising minor children or disabled.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that about 40% of those affected are women, and about 33% are over age 40.

Media around the country are looking at these changes and how it will affect local areas.  The News Courier (AL) states that food banks are preparing for an increase in need, with an estimate of over 44,000 people being affected in their state.  WYFF Channel 4 in South Carolina estimates about 60,000 residents in their state will be affected.

This change in the federal budget ties well to UFR Lesson 2.4 on Political Beliefs and the Federal Budget.  How are such decisions made in the federal budget?  How much is dependent on political beliefs?

 

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FY 2016 Federal Budget Deficit to Reach $534B (CBO)

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March 30, 2016

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new report stating that the federal budget deficit will reach $534 billion if the president’s suggested budget goes through.  This is about $100 billion higher than previously thought.  They also estimate that public debt would rise to 86% of GDP by 2026.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article tied to this report.  Author David Wessel states that the report gives a good reason to be concerned over the federal debt, as the deficit continues to rise to a larger proportion of the GDP.  The debt will continue to rise, but the real concern, to him, is the interest.  Today, interest on the national debt is about 6% of the budget; the CBO estimates that if Obama’s budget is passed, that number will increase to about 12% of the budget by 2026.

This offers a great opportunity to discuss UFR Lesson 1.5 (Balancing the Federal Budget) with students.  When, if ever, should the nation prioritize balancing the federal budget?

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House Budget Cut Suggestions

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March 28, 2016

The suggested Republican budget out of the House of Representatives slashes especially deep on low- to moderate-income programs.  This has created a lot of controversy in Congress, and even among Republicans.

House Budget Plan Gets 62% of Its Non-Defense Cuts from Programs for People with Low or Modest Incomes

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that 62% of the proposed budget cuts are based on non-defense spending, including the mandatory health care requirement under the Affordable Care Act.  Other cuts include SNAP benefits and higher education affordability programs.  Government Executive online says that this is an attempt to decrease the federal debt.

Have students review UFR Lesson 1.5 on balancing the federal budget.  What challenges does the Republican proposal cause?  What results?

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Apple & National Security – Political Cartoons

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March 22, 2016

The political cartoons included in this blog are selected as tools to teach about public policy issues. Their inclusion does not in any way constitute an endorsement by Teachers College, Columbia University, of their point of view.

Political cartoons can be a powerful way to teach and talk about public policy issues in the classroom. They engaging, often funny, and they teach very complex ideas in a quick and intuitive way. We are so convinced of the value of political cartoons that, in addition to including them in many of our blogs, we feature posts that are all cartoons.

Using cartoons presents an opportunity to teach students media literacy, including the ability to detect point of view or bias. As a sequence, we strongly encourage students to study the cartoon carefully, analyze the specific context of the cartoon, and determine the cartoonist’s point of view. See the blog post of October 8, 2013 for a guide to using the political cartoons we have selected. The Library of Congress also has a a very useful Cartoon Analysis Guide.

iPhone Security, Bob Englehart,CagleCartoons.com,iPhone Security,apple,fbi,password,phone,backdoor,san bernardino,terror,federal bureau investigation

FBI Puts Bite Out of Apple, Martin Kozlowski,inxart.com,apple,fbi,bite,privacy,apple-and-fbi

FBI vs Apple, Mike Keefe,Cagle Cartoons,FBI; justice; department; iPhone; encryption; back; door; terrorism; privacy; san; bernadino; digital

Apple and FBI, John Cole,The Scranton Times-Tribune,Apple, iPhone, FBI, terrorist, terror, San Bernardino, privacy, federal court

Apple against FBI, Tom Janssen,The Netherlands,Apple privacy, backdoor software,FBI Apple

 

Bite at the Apple, Steve Benson,Arizona Republic,apple,fbi,bite,privacy,personal,apple-and-fbi

 

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