Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Welcome Back! Editorials and Shattering Glass

Welcome back from your extra long vacation!

Opening Moment: Cody and Kyle

Now that you have two feature articles under your belt, it's time to explore writing editorials as well.  What makes an editorial different from a feature???  You can finally have an opinion...and be biased!  How exciting!

1. How Much Control Do You Have Over Your Own Fate?
Read the excerpt from the following NYT Opinion Piece and answer the questions on your blog.

In “Your Ancestors, Your Fate,” Gregory Clark makes the case that our lineage has more influence on our life’s trajectory than we might think — or be comfortable with:
Inequality of income and wealth has risen in America since the 1970s, yet a large-scale research study recently found that social mobility hadn’t changed much during that time. How can that be?
The study, by researchers at Harvard and Berkeley, tells only part of the story. It may be true that mobility hasn’t slowed — but, more to the point, mobility has always been slow.
When you look across centuries, and at social status broadly measured — not just income and wealth, but also occupation, education and longevity — social mobility is much slower than many of us believe, or want to believe. This is true in Sweden, a social welfare state; England, where industrial capitalism was born; the United States, one of the most heterogeneous societies in history; and India, a fairly new democracy hobbled by the legacy of caste. Capitalism has not led to pervasive, rapid mobility. Nor have democratization, mass public education, the decline of nepotism, redistributive taxation, the emancipation of women, or even, as in China, socialist revolution.
To a striking extent, your overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents’ status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents’. The recent study suggests that 10 percent of variation in income can be predicted based on your parents’ earnings. In contrast, my colleagues and I estimate that 50 to 60 percent of variation in overall status is determined by your lineage. The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past.

— How much control do you think you have over your fate?
— Do you feel your fate is already predetermined by your lineage — your parents and ancestors? Or do you feel you are in the driver’s seat in determining your own success?
— Do you think you will be better or worse off than your parents? In what ways? Why?
— The author makes the argument that “the compulsion to strive, the talent to prosper and the ability to overcome failure are strongly inherited.” Do you think you inherited these qualities? Or do you think you had to develop them on your own?
2. As a way of segueing into editorials, we will also be viewing the film "Shattered Glass"--a real life account of Stephen Glass.

Remember: the lip dub is this Wednesday!

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