Above the Noise

Homework in High School: How Much Is Too Much? | Above the Noise

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It’s not hard to find a high school student who is stressed about homework. Many are stressed to the max — juggling extracurricular activities, jobs and family responsibilities. It can be hard for many students, particularly low-income students, to find the time to dedicate to homework. So students in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program at YouthBeat in Oakland, California are asking what’s a fair amount of homework for high school students? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Is the U.S. Bail System Fair? | Above the Noise

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The founding principle of the U.S. justice system is fairness, right? Innocent until proven guilty. The right to a speedy trial. That’s how it’s supposed to work in THEORY. In PRACTICE, there are more than 450,000 people accused of a crime but not yet convicted of anything, sitting in jail cells as they wait for their trials. A large portion of them remain behind bars simply because they can’t pay their bail. Critics think it creates a two-tiered justice system, where the rich get to go home while the poor have to stay behind bars. Those in favor of keeping bail argue that it’s effective at keeping potential criminals off the street. What do you think? Is America’s bail system fair? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Is a Carbon Tax the Best Way to Slow Climate Change? | Above the Noise

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The UN’s latest report shows that climate change is happening a lot faster than scientists originally predicted. As a result, there’s a renewed interest in carbon taxes as a way to slow the effects of climate change. The problem is, it’s not always a popular solution as opponents argue it would unfairy hurt the poor--as we’ve seen play out in France lately with the Yellow Vest protests. Would a carbon tax work to fight climate change? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Should We Get Free Money from the Government? | Above the Noise

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When the robots come to take our jobs, what are we all going to do to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table? That’s the question that the universal basic income (UBI) hopes to answer. The government gives everyone JUST enough money to afford the basics so that no one falls into total, abject poverty. Supporters think a universal income is essential to fight financial inequality and help the millions of people who could lose their jobs to artificial intelligence. But opponents think it would be WAY too expensive and could hurt the economy by stripping away the incentive to work. Where do you stand? Is the universal basic income a good idea or bad idea? Have your students join the discussion with other students across the country on KQED Learn. (Log in required.)

False Equivalence: Why It's so Dangerous | Above the Noise

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Not every topic warrants a “both sides” approach. Some viewpoints are simply not backed by empirical evidence or are based on false ideas. Journalists and anyone who work with facts have to be careful not to present them as legit debates. If they do, they are creating a “false equivalence.” False equivalence: what does it mean, and why is it helping to spread misinformation online? 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

 

 

Suicide Prevention: How Can Schools Help? | Above the Noise

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No one wants to talk about it, but suicide is a leading cause of death among teens. The good news is, schools are uniquely positioned to help. Student reporters from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs investigate what schools can do. 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Do Active Shooter Drills Do More Harm Than Good? | Above the Noise

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As active shooter drills become more common in schools, there’s debate over what type of drill is best. Do hyper realistic drills better prepare students, or are they unnecessarily traumatizing? Join students from PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs as they investigate which kind of drills are most effective. Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

Oakland Sideshows: Should They Be Legal? | Above the Noise

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What do you get when you mix car stunts, youth culture and Oakland? Sideshows! In the Bay Area, illegal sideshows divide the community. Supporters say sideshows are part of Oakland culture and advocate for safe venues. Opponents view sideshows as disruptive and dangerous. Even if you’re not from Oakland, there’s likely a clash between car culture and cops near you. What do you think? Should communities embrace car culture events like sideshows, or should they remain banned? 

Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

School Dress Codes: When Do They Go Too Far? | Above the Noise

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On social media, conversations about #Imnotadistraction are gaining popularity, and school dress codes are coming under fire from students who say these policies can be sexist and racist. But many argue strict dress codes are necessary for a safe learning environment. So, how should schools decide on dress code policies? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

The accompanying lesson plan asks students to explore the pros and cons of dress code policies in light of the national conversation, as well as their own school. 

Why Isn't There More Research about Gun Violence? | Above the Noise

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As political issues go, gun control is definitely a doozie. Few topics get Americans as riled up. But no matter where you stand, most of us can at least agree on this: that gun violence claims the lives of too many innocent people in this country, and actions should be taken to reduce the number of people killed. Compared to other wealthy nations around the world, the rate of gun deaths in the U.S. is high. So why isn’t there more government-funded research about the problem, the way there is for other major public health crises? Why is the rate of gun violence in the United States higher than in any other wealthy nation? Have your students watch the video and respond to the question in KQED Learn.

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