NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use
initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your
Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the
issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions
and/or their editorial.
Story: U.S. Jobs
Going Overseas Becomes Election Issue, 3/10/04
1. Take a look at
your shoes. Where were they made?
2. Why are many shoes worn in the United States manufactured in Asian
countries such as China or South American countries such as Brazil?
3. Do American clothing companies have a responsibility to manufacture
their products in the United States? Why or why not?
4. What kinds of jobs do people in your community have? Who are the big
employers in the area? Have these jobs changed in your lifetime?
here for printout)
1. What is outsourcing
and what are some of the causes?
Outsourcing is the
movement of jobs from the United States to other countries, where wages
While cheap labor
is the primary cause for outsourcing, low shipping and communication
costs contribute; companies can produce goods overseas and then ship
them back to the United States without significant tax.
2. What kinds of jobs
are going overseas now?
have shown that manufacturing jobs are not the only jobs being outsourced.
whose job does not require daily face-to-face interaction is now in
jeopardy of being replaced by a lower-paid, equally skilled worker thousands
of miles away," said Paul Craig Roberts, an economist with the
Institute for Political Economy who worked for President Reagan in the
This means that
high paying jobs once thought safe, such as software engineers, data
processors, phone bankers and software designers, are now at risk of
3. Where are many
outsourced jobs going? Why are they going there?
New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman told The NewsHour that India is the most popular
destination for outsourced high-tech jobs because there is a "huge
amount of educated people who speak English."
makes transferring technical data easier and cost effective, and by
locating workers in different time zones around the world, the company
can have 24-hour service.
4. According to columnist
Thomas Friedman, what are the benefits of outsourcing for Americans?
that outsourcing works for U.S. businesses, not only because it provides
cheaper labor, but because those new workers create a middle class that
can then purchase more from American companies (if Americas stay creative
enough to come up with innovative products that these new consumers
5. What are some of
the political responses in Congress to the issue of outsourcing?
beginning to respond to pressure to do something about the movement
of jobs to other countries. Congress is currently debating a proposed
law that would stop the government from buying goods and services from
companies that outsource. Another proposal would require workers at
telephone call centers to disclose their physical locations at the beginning
of each call.
(more research might be needed):
1. If you were the
head of a company that made cell phones, how would you make the decision
whether to move your factories to a country where you could pay workers
much less than you do in the United States? If you worked in a company
that was going to close its U.S. factories and move to India, what would
2. If outsourcing is inevitable, as some economists and politicians argue,
what should the U.S. government do, if anything, to help those Americans
who are losing jobs to companies overseas?
3. Research the proposals that are being debated in Congress. Will they
help or hurt the American economy? Why or why not?
4. What role do you
think the upcoming presidential election will have on the issue of outsourcing?
Explain your reasoning.
Write a 300-500 word
essay on any of these topics providing clear examples. Send your completed
editorial to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com].
Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.