Get Involved: Go Online

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Weigh In on Social Policy

Inform Yourself

1.
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Visit the main poverty page of the U.S. Census Bureau. There you will find the most recent statistics on poverty in the United States and data on those without health insurance. In 2011 more than 46 million people lived in poverty; that is, one in six Americans. Of children under the age of 18, 21 percent live in poverty. Poverty trends aren’t constant. The number of people in poverty has risen steadily over the past decade. What do you think drives these trends?
2.
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Watch a video on the government’s role in social policy. Why do we ultimately care about social policy? Why does our government provide services to low-income individuals and families? Watch a short video on the subject at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQQcNkWyXms. Consider Professor Mary Jo Bane’s answers versus what you have heard in the past. Given her argument, do you think the government should be providing these services?
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Express Yourself

3.
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Map social issues and share what you find. Go to www.patchworknation.org and click on the “Latest Data” tab on the bottom right. Click on “Food Stamps,” for example, and generate a map of the percentage of the population using food stamps. Some parts of America have nearly one in two Americans on food stamps. Put your cursor on the map to see which counties are high and low in food stamp use. What changes in food stamp use do you see from 2007 to 2009? Consider exporting the map and sharing what you find with your friends or classmates, using Facebook or Twitter.
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Connect with Others

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Connect with the Center for Law and Social Policy. The Center for Law and Social Policy is a nonprofit organization that has been around since the 1960s. Its mission is “to improve the lives of low-income people [so that] children grow up safe, healthy, nurtured and prepared to succeed.” Visit its Facebook page and see what issues its posts address. Does this organization seem to have a political bias in what it posts and how it portrays the issues? Do you agree or disagree with its posts?

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