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For Grades 9-12 , week of June 20, 2016

1. Schools Re-Segregating

Poor, black and Hispanic children are becoming increasingly isolated from other kids in public schools, new federal data disclose. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the number of high-poverty schools serving primarily minority students has more than doubled in recent years. The study found that children in high-poverty schools with a high percentage of minority students lack access to the same opportunities as kids in schools whose populations were primarily white. The poorer schools were found less likely to offer a full range of math and science courses, for example, and more likely to use expulsion and suspension as disciplinary tools. More than 60 years ago, the U.S. Supreme ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate minorities and white students in public schools in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. Yet in recent years, public schools have grown less and less diverse, and many city schools are now predominantly minority. Use the newspaper and Internet to research why this change has come about. Then use what you read to create an Internet website detailing how greater diversity can benefit students, and how it can be achieved. Design the home page to show categories of information you want to highlight. Pick an image or video to illustrate each category. Then write headlines and text blocks to briefly explain each category. Finish by creating a “site map” showing additional categories you want your website to have.

Common Core State Standards: Using drawings or visual displays when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or points; integrating information presented in different media or formats to develop a coherent understanding of a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task;.

2. No Women? No British Open

Scotland’s Muirfield Golf Club has been the site of 16 British Opens and is said to be the source of the written Rules of Golf dating back to 1744. This year, however, Muirfield has been stripped of the right to host the British Open because women are not allowed to be members of the club. A recent vote on a resolution to admit women as members was supported by 64 percent of members, but fell short of the two-thirds (66 percent) approval that was required to change membership rules. Muirfield is one of two clubs in the 10 that rotate to host the British Open that bans female membership. The other, Royal Troon, is this year’s host — having been chosen to host in 2012. Women have achieved greater equality in many fields but still face instances of unequal treatment socially or professionally. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about a woman or women facing unequal treatment. Use what you read to write a short editorial giving your view on how the situation could be best addressed.

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.

3. A Ban on Tight Jeans?

A North Carolina school district is considering a policy that prohibits students from wearing “excessive tight fitting pants,” unless worn with a top or dress that covers “the posterior in its entirety.” The policy would apply to both boys and girls. On social media sites and elsewhere, students and parents have protested the proposal being considered by the New Hanover County School Board. Some said it seemed to single out “large girls” and another said it was an example of “body shaming.” School dress codes often cause controversy and debate, because schools want to minimize distractions and students want to be able to wear what they want. Use the newspaper or Internet to read more stories about school dress codes. Then write a conversation between a student and a school administrator who disagree about one dress code item. Have each present his/her point of view in the dialog, offering different reasons for their opinions. Team up with classmates to perform the conversation in the style of a play or movie scene.

Common Core State Standards: Conducting short research projects that build knowledge about a topic; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; reading with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression on successive readings.

4. Too Long Behind Bars

More than 4,300 federal inmates were kept in prison beyond their scheduled release dates between 2009 and 2014, the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general reports. Sometimes, prisoners were kept for months beyond the date they were supposed to be set free. The Justice Department investigation says many cases were due to avoidable errors by prison staffers, such as misinterpreting a sentence or failing to give proper credit for time spent behind bars before sentencing. The findings are an embarrassment to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at a time when the Obama administration has been criticizing what it says are unfair and unduly harsh sentences for many inmates. Many American prisons and jails are overcrowded because more people are arrested than the jails have room for — often for minor offenses. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about prison overcrowding and proposals to deal with it. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor, calling attention to the situation and offering what you think would be workable ideas for dealing with it.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task.

5. Millennials Living with Parents

For the first time in modern history, more 18-to-34-year-olds are living with their parents instead of living with a spouse, a romantic partner, a roommate or by themselves. New statistics show that about one third of millennials are now living with parents, according to the Pew Research Center. The percentage of young Americans settling down with a spouse or romantic partner has plunged to second place at about 31.6 percent. Researchers say a decline in economic opportunities has fueled the trend to living with parents. As the cost of living rises, wages stagnate, school debts mount and homes cost more, fewer young adults can afford to get married or live with a romantic partner, the study found. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about challenges faced by millennials who are 18 to 34 years old. Pretend you are a candidate for president. Use what you read to write a speech offering at least three proposals you think would make millennials’ lives better.

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.