, week of
June 01, 2020
1. Crime Goes Down
The coronavirus emergency has disrupted life in communities around the world, but in some American cities it has had a positive effect. Crime is down. In New York City the New York Times reported that most major crimes were down 21 percent compared to last year for the month that ended May 17 (although murders were unchanged). In Las Vegas, Nevada, crime fell more than 22 percent during the initial two months of the coronavirus lockdown that closed the city’s famous Strip area of nightclubs and bars. Chicago, Illinois recorded a whopping 73 percent drop in arrests during the first month of the city’s lockdown, though much of that may be due to officials not wanting to send prisoners to the Cook County jail, which had a high number of corona cases. Crime experts don’t expect the drop to last as the country gradually reopens. “I don’t know what the future holds,” an assistant police chief in Indianapolis, Indiana told the Times. “It makes me a little nervous from the crime perspective.” The coronavirus emergency has affected crime in some cities. In the newspaper or online find and closely read stories about the kind of crimes police are having to deal with during the virus emergency. Use what you read to write a short editorial addressing which crimes are down, which are up and which have remained the same. Analyze how this has required police departments to adjust their tactics.
Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them.
2. Public Dining & More
As communities reopen from the coronavirus shutdown, one of the key questions for restaurants and other businesses is how to practice social distancing while still serving enough customers to make money. In some communities, officials are addressing this problem by closing streets or parking spots and allowing businesses to expand operations into the spaces. Restaurants are being allowed to safely space out tables on sidewalks, streets and parking areas, and other businesses are displaying clothes and other merchandise in these previously public spaces. One supporter of the idea is the mayor of Tampa, Florida, which is now allowing restaurants to set up tables in some public spaces. It’s a way “to increase their customer base while keeping everyone safe,” Mayor Jane Castor said. “The best way to do that is to move everyone outside.” Finding ways to help businesses reopen safely is a challenge for every community. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about ways different communities are addressing this. Write a letter to the editor calling attention to an idea you think would work in your community.
Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
3. Facebook Photo Ruling
Proud grandmothers everywhere have posted pictures of their grandchildren on Facebook. After a court ruling in the European nation of the Netherlands, they’d better get permission from parents before doing it. A Dutch court has ruled that a grandmother who posted pictures against the wishes of her daughter must take them down because they “seriously violate” the privacy of the underage children involved. The woman had been asked by her daughter on several occasions to remove the photos, but had not done so. So the daughter took the unusual step of taking her mother court. The judge in the case sided with the mother, stating that “On Facebook, it cannot be ruled out that placed photos could be distributed and that they may come into the hands of third parties” who could use them in damaging ways. In the United States the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits companies — including social media companies — from collecting information about children under 13 years of age. Yet many parents post photos of their young children and share information about them. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about reasons parents might want to limit information and photos of their children on the Internet. Use what you read to write a consumer column for parents offering guidelines for posting photos and information about young children.
Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; citing specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
4. More Women Pilots?
In an effort to attract more women pilots, the U.S. Air Force has removed its minimum height requirement that had required pilots to be taller than 5 feet, 4 inches. Under previous policy, applicants shorter than that had to apply for a special waiver to join the training program, a requirement that effectively eliminated about 44 percent of American women between the ages of 20 and 29, the Air Force said. The average height of an American woman over age 20 is a little more than 5-foot-3, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the average height of a man over age 20 is 5-foot-9. An Air Force spokesperson called the change in policy “a huge win, especially for women and minorities of smaller stature who previously may have assumed they weren’t qualified to join our team.” The Air Force change in its height requirement was designed to increase opportunity for women and people of shorter stature. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another change by a business or organization that is designed to increase opportunity. Use what you read to write a letter to a friend explaining how this change will increase opportunity for people in a positive way.
Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.
5. Free Medical Housing
As medical workers battle the coronavirus in hospitals, many worry about bringing the disease home to their families. A program started in the state of Ohio is helping solve that program by offering to let them stay — for free — in unused condominiums near medical facilities. The Caregiver Shelter Fund was started by a company based in Columbus, Ohio, after officials learned that many medical workers were sleeping in garages or campers to avoid exposing their families. The Airriva company, which manages condominiums and other properties, realized it had many vacant condos due to cancellations from the coronavirus. It decided to offer them to medical workers at no charge as a way to give back and recognize their service. “These people are risking their lives to keep us safe,” said Sean Whittaker, a sales executive at Airriva. “So we need to do what we can to help keep them safe, right?” The Caregiver Shelter Fund is an example of people doing something special or unusual to help medical workers on the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus epidemic. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about other people or organizations doing something special to help frontline workers. Use what you read to prepare a short movie documentary calling attention to one effort. Write an outline for your movie including images you would use. Then write the opening scene. Choose a celebrity to narrate your movie and explain your choice.
Common Core State Standards: Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic.
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