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MATH  

Duplicate and distribute this activity. Students may work independently or cooperatively.

Living Wage
Although the federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, many towns have adopted a living wage ordinance specifying a higher minimum rate of pay that reflects the cost of living in that community. As you saw in Segment 7, San Jose’s living wage is now $10.75 an hour. Try to figure out what a living wage would be in your town.

• Make a monthly budget based on a single person’s basic needs. Remember to include the costs of rent, food, phone, utilities, and transportation. You might ask a parent or friend to give estimates on these figures.

• Based on these monthly expenses, determine what a person’s hourly wage would have to be to meet these expenses, assuming a 40-hour work week. To find out more about the Living Wage, where is practiced, who started it, and where to find out more, check out Livelyhood’s Living Wage feature (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/livingwage.html).

To look up important issues related to Wages in the United States, (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html) check out that section on the Livelyhood Resources page . You may want to extend the activity by holding a debate about whether a living wage should be established in your town. Ask questions like these:

• Who would be affected by a living wage?

• How might small business owners be affected by the new living wage?

• Does a living wage have any disadvantages for a community? If so, what are they?

• Does a community have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of its citizens?

Use the ideas expressed in the debate to write a well-argued op-ed piece for or against the adoption of a living wage ordinance. Submit it to your school paper or to a local paper.

A Sporting Investment
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the entire town is economically and emotionally invested in their football team, the Packers, which they have owned for a very long time. Review the story and find additional information in Livelyhood’s “At Home with the Cheeseheads in Green Bay” Web feature (/livelyhood/ourtowns/greenbay.html) What would it take to establish a publicly owned sports team nowadays? Explore the potential expenses and benefits of this kind of town investment.

• Choose a sport without a current professional league. (Some possibilities are soccer, volleyball, skiing, softball, lacrosse, and swimming.)

• Decide on the specifics of creating a new team: How many players are there to pay? How much would they make? How much would it cost to rent or build a space for them to play? What would be the costs of uniforms, equipment, staff? [Note: You might want to look up the actual prices of these items by searching catalogue / distributor sites online, or by asking your school athletic department head or local recreation department for figures and scaling up.]

• Consider how many games there would be in the season. How many would be played at home? How many seats would there be in the arena? What would the price of tickets be?

Using all this information, make an estimate about the total cost of creating a new professional sports team in your town, and how much income you might generate each year. Then think about whether you could make this a publicly owned company. For help deciphering share cost and info on the stock market, check out The Newshour Online Extra’s feature, “Investing 101” (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/on2/money/stocks.html).

• Considering your estimate, how many shares of stock at what price would you have to sell to cover the expenses?

• Is there a chance this could work in your town? Would other areas consider joining this new league?

• What are the benefits to having a publicly owned sports team? (You can find out Green Bay’s stock history at (http://www.packers.com/history/stockhistory.html).

• Are there any potential drawbacks to this kind of investment? If so, what are they?

Create a proposal for your new sports team, and present it to the class, along with your analysis.