with Jim Lehrer (December 3, 2002): Affirmative Action
Procedure: Before students watch the NewsHour report on affirmative action, they should conduct background research on the history of affirmative action. The teacher can provide supplemental materials and/or Internet links before the lesson. A few helpful Web site links are provided below. Students may also review older NewsHour reports on affirmative action.
Opening Questions (before listening to the report)
1. What is affirmative action? What is diversity? How do they differ?
2. Do you think diversity is important in education? Explain.
3. Would you consider diversity when applying to college? Why or why not?
Understanding Main Themes - Viewing Activities for Affirmative Action
Procedure: Each student should receive a handout with the discussion questions. First, place students in small discussion groups so they can share ideas about the main themes, compare and contrast attitudes, and express opinions on key issues. Students should write short answers to the discussion questions based on the small group interaction. Then, moderate a larger discussion.
1. Describe the affirmative action cases that will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. What issues are at stake?
2. What is Dean Lehman's rationale for maintaining the affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan?
3. Summarize the main points of the 1978 Supreme Court case -- the Bakke Decision.
4. Compare and contrast the views of Terence Pell and Christopher Edley regarding affirmative action and the potential impact on society.
Compare and Contrast Viewpoints - Classroom or Homework Assignment: Question #4 can be assigned as homework. Ask students to summarize the arguments presented by Terence Pell and Christopher Edley. Which arguments do they find the most convincing and why? At the next class meeting, students can exchange their summaries with a partner. If this activity is completed in class, discussion teams may focus primarily on one interviewee's perspective and report their analyses back to the class.
Procedure: The vocabulary task may precede or follow the viewing of the NewsHour report. Pass out the handout. In this exercise, ask students to read the excerpts from Affirmative Action (students may work in pairs). For each excerpt, students should choose the best synonym for the underlined vocabulary word. Then, students should write sample sentences for each vocabulary word.
Vocabulary Multiple Choice/Sample Sentences: Read the following excerpts from the NewsHour report. Choose the best synonym for the underlined vocabulary words/expressions. Then, write your own sentences using the underlined vocabulary words.
1. RAY SUAREZ "To bolster its argument, the university cited a landmark Supreme Court case from 1978, known as the Bakke Decision."
2. JEFFREY LEHMAN: "It's not a colorblind society. Opportunity is not distributed without regard to race. And therefore in order to have a racially integrated student body, it is necessary to pay attention to race in the admissions process."
7. CHRISTOPHER EDLEY: "And by no means is California or the flagship institutions serving a reasonable proportion of Latinos in particular, which is of course an extremely fast growing component of the population in California."
Procedure: Place students in small groups for the role play, in which students will represent admissions officers of a university. Ask students to examine focus questions. Students should make at least three policy recommendations addressing key issues raised in the focus questions. You may require students to write responses to the focus questions as a classroom or homework assignment. Finally, join all "Admissions Boards" together for a class discussion/debate on the focus questions and policy recommendations.
1. What qualities should your university look for in applicants?
2. Should race be considered a key factor in your admissions policy? Explain.
3. Make three recommendations regarding inclusion or exclusion of an affirmative action policy at your university. If you include an affirmative action policy, how will your policy be implemented?
United States History- Standard 31
United States History- Standard 31, Level IV
MCREL Thinking and Reasoning Standards
1-Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument
MCREL Life Skills, Working with Others Standards:
1-Contributes to the overall effort of the group
Author Laura Greenwald teaches English for International Relations at The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. She has a Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Master's Degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS. She has a B.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com