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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 22, 2010

Census results will help shape our communities for the next 10 years

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Find Census coverage of any kind, including advertising. Do news articles have a local angle or quotes?
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Look at opinion pages, newspaper blogs and reader forums for comments about the Census.
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Can you spot news or listings about Census activities aimed at college students, immigrants or other groups being targeted to assure an accurate counts?

Our country is taking attendance to see who's here. A national Census -- required by the Constitution -- takes place every 10 years to determine how many U.S. House members each state has, based on population. It also affects how federal money is split among communities for hospitals, schools, job training, public works projects, emergency services and other needs.

Forms began hitting 120 million mailboxes last week. Most households get a 10-question short version, which the Census Bureau says takes 10 minutes or less to answer. From April through July, Census takers will visit or contact households that didn't respond.
If this seems simple, think again. In addition to "black" and "African Am.," the word "Negro" defines that racial category -- which some find odd or offensive. The race question lacks a box for Latino or Hispanic -- who can check "Other" or "White." (A separate question asks if anyone in the residence is Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.) And, as happens every 10 years, privacy concerns arise. Half the respondents in a recent survey were not "confident" that personal Census data would stay confidential.

The overall cost of the Census is $7.4 billion in 2010, including a $338-million communications budget to cover ads, mailings and local promotions to boost participation. Groups being targeted include college students, who're urged to list current locations -- not family homes. In Flint, Mich., civic boosters and the Census Bureau last Sunday gave prizes totaling $2,300 to four local college students who created one-minute videos spreading the word. The one below by Robert Burack, a freshman at the University of Michigan-Flint, was among the finalists.

Student says: "It's important that [college] students . . . fill out the Census so that the proper amount of funding comes to the community we're a part of." -- Owen Agho, University of Michigan-Flint

Columnist says: "According to the government, you are the race you choose to belong to. Such a subjective determination surely renders the race question useless." -- John Whitehead, attorney and nationally published commentator

Government says: "If we were to try to provide a space for every different consideration of race . . . the form would be 100 pages long. Focus groups were used to make decisions on which [races] were used." -- Raul Vicente, Jr., Census official in New York City


Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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