Friday, January 29, 2021

01/29/2021 Plans To Assess Domestic Violent Extremism - Debit Cards for Second Stimulus?

Today's Article: Plans To Assess Domestic Violent Extremism
From: NPR
Readability Score: 14.4

President Biden to target Domestic Extremism with new threat assessment

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:

Today's Alternate Article: Debit Cards for Second Stimulus?
Readability Score: 6.4

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. While Black History IS American history, and the incredible contributions, sacrifice, and impact of black Americans are taught in one U.S. History book – it is fitting to underscore and bring to light in open discussion the long, hard-fought struggle towards changing laws to move us closer to the ideal that ALL (men) people are created equal.® has a host of resources for you to use with your students this month. Our U.S. Constitution & Black History course is a great starting point that explores U.S. Black History through the lens of federal law, from the Constitution to Brown v. Board of Ed and beyond. The course covers the painfully slow, two-steps-forward, one-step-backward lurch toward the ultimate ideal of fully realizing Jefferson’s eloquent premise that “all men are created equal” as well as equality under the rule of law. 

Our Teachable Moments (under 5 minutes) are a great way to delve deeper, examining topics like the "Dred Scott" decision, "Plessy v. Ferguson," and "Brown v. Board of Education." I used these resources in a recent Civics class (see blog) where I share the when, how, and why I infused these resources towards a greater impact on student learning. 

We've also got a really special lesson for you! Lynne Jackson, the great-great-granddaughter of Dred Scott spoke to my Civics class, presenting the nuances of the Supreme Court case battle and never-before-heard stories of the trials and tribulations of Dred and Harriet Scott! Lynne brings the "distant history" close enough to touch through her personal stories. Help students understand that the past really wasn't as "long ago and far away" as they may think by watching Lynne's classroom presentation in your own class.

Make Black History come alive as told by an incredible voice of history with a personal & poignant passion!


Dean Graziano, J.D., is vice president of, the education division of Free To Choose Network. He brings more than 25 years of education experience to, overseeing the growth and development of the teacher resource organization.

An award-winning educator and former curriculum specialist teacher, grades 6-12 social studies, Graziano served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and was selected by the College Board to be an advanced placement reader for U.S. history. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data-base company.

In 2007, Graziano was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. He also was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator-of-the Year. His pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by Governor Sununu as the model for the State of New Hampshire Career Academies.

Graziano received his Juris Doctor degree from Massachusetts School of Law and he is a member of Advanced Career Technical Education.

He lives in Dover, New Hampshire with his wife, Barbara.


01/28/2021 Tesla has started deliveries of the Chinese-made Model Y - The Mobbing of a Portland Bookstore Reminds Us Why FAHRENHEIT 451 Was Written

Today's Article: Tesla has started deliveries of the Chinese-made Model Y
From: CNN Business
Readability Score: 12.0

Should U.S. companies build factories in China? After building a factory in Shanghai, Tesla recently began selling its new Model Y in China. What are the advantages and disadvantages of building factories overseas? Read and discuss the article; then consider following up with's Free Trade.

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:

Today's Alternate Article: Opinion: The Mobbing of a Portland Bookstore Reminds Us Why FAHRENHEIT 451 Was Written
Readability Score: 9.4

How an Elevator Is Like a Traffic Light

Assume that you are on the seventh floor waiting for one of three elevators or that you are in your car, pausing for a red light.

There are similarities.

Wait Times

Let’s start with some elevator basics.

In most buildings, elevators continue in the same direction when occupied or picking someone up. Then, if all requests for a certain direction are satisfied, the elevator waits for the new call. While skyscrapers have more complex algorithms, they also can create what one paper called, “elevator pain.”

Elevator Pain

Our elevator pain is composed of wait time and travel time. Together they equal our journey time. Our wait time starts when we enter the lobby and ends when the elevator arrives. Then, travel time begins and continues uneventfully to our destination or there might be several stops if other riders enter and exit.

Researchers have quantified the pain we experience during each segment of our journey time. They concluded that the wait time is the unhappiest part. Otherwise, it’s the stops that we most dislike:

wait times

Traffic Light Pain

In 1920, with Model T fatalities escalating, a police officer created the first traffic signal. It had to be operated manually:

wait time first traffic light

This street scene, from Detroit, is circa 1922:

wait times first traffic light Detroit 1922

Autoweek tells us that the basics of traffic lights have changed little during the past 100 years. Our traffic control systems are outdated, using timers, and human input. And, as you know that never quite works out. There might be no cars, no pedestrians and still we wait for green.  Then, to compound our frustration, a red light stops us at every intersection.

Now, real time digitized big data traffic systems exist that respond to current conditions. One traffic pacing company claims to have reduced wait times by 54 percent. They predict that nationwide implementation would erase 93,106 months of delays.

Our Bottom Line: Cost

Whether it’s caused by an elevator or a traffic light, extra travel time has value. As economists, we can say that the cost is what the extra time forces us to sacrifice. It takes us to what we otherwise could be doing.

Please add up (as I have occasionally) the hours you could use elsewhere, were you not delayed by elevators and traffic lights. The cost could be massive.

My sources and more: To ponder further what you’ve probably minimally considered, do take a look at Autoweek,  this paper and this NY Times article on  traffic lights. Then, for more, this paper had the facts on elevator wait times and this one had the pain index. (Our featured image is from Pixabay.)

Ideal for the classroom, reflects Elaine Schwartz’s work as a teacher and a writer. As a teacher at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, she’s been an Endowed Chair in Economics and chaired the history department. She’s developed curricula, was a featured teacher in the Annenberg/CPB video project “The Economics Classroom,” and has written several books including Econ 101 ½ (Avon Books/Harper Collins). You can get econlife on a daily basis! Head to econlife.