Final Exam Senior Current Issues

Your input is appreciated…

Coming up with a final exam for Senior Current Issues in 2013 has been a challenge.  Besides minor detours through Meditation and Constitutional History in preparation for the election, the semester has been shared between the election of 2012 and laying out your direction for next Fall.  Despite the fact that you all did a wonderful job with the issues of the election, to go back and test your retention of that knowledge now would be redundant, and frankly boring.  Besides a lot of it revolved around campaign promises that are probably already broken.  Providing structure to the future, while significant,  is not really testable.  So, what to do?  Over Christmas Break I came across an article by David Brooks in the New York Times.  The article highlighted the Sidney Awards.

What exactly is the Sidney Award…

“For more than 50 years, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has awarded, annually, the prestigious Hillman Prizes in Journalism. In 2009, the Foundation inaugurated the Sidney, a monthly award for an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism.

The Sidney is awarded monthly to a piece published in a magazine, newspaper, on a news site, or a blog in the United States.  Television and radio segments broadcast in the United States are also eligible, as are published photography series.”

What exactly is the Sidney Foundation…

“‘We want a better America.’ These words were spoken by Sidney Hillman, President of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, at its 15th Biennial Convention in May, 1946. Two months later, on July 10, 1946, Sidney Hillman was dead.

His passing was felt as a deep personal loss by men and women in every walk of life. Before long, the union, which he had led since its founding in 1914, was besieged with requests to create a living memorial to the man who had become the spokesman for progressive industrial democracy. The General Executive Board of the A.C.W.A responded on November 17, 1946, by voting to establish The Sidney Hillman Foundation.”

The New Yorker…

I read a couple of the articles.  This is good stuff.  I was led to the website of The New Yorker, which is an excellent monthly magazine that covers many socially relevant issues in the world.  The New Yorker also features “A Best Of for 2012” Looking through these titles brought me to a realization that whatever we do in Senior Current Issues in the future, that these journalistic pieces should be a part of our curriculum.

Which then led me back to the Final Exam for 2012.  Why not introduce these articles in this exam?

And so with that in mind our 2012 Final Exam will be completely take home and involve some of these stories.  I will read each of the Sidney’s and each of the New Yorker’s over break.  I expect to provide a synopsis of the story after I read it, in order to give you a better idea of what it is all about.  And finally I’ll have to come up with set of standard questions (common to all of the articles) that will take you through the piece.   As I’m writing this on Christmas Day…the structure of the questions, the number of the questions, the number of the articles for the exam, this is all up in the air.

I am open to input that any of you may have on what this final exam would consist of.  I just want it to involve these articles.  Maybe I would throw out ten – and you would choose five.  Maybe you would choose three.  I don’t know.  It must have some kind of a basic structured format for you to follow in writing a response, so that it could be used for each of the articles.  I’m thinking as I type here.  I like the idea as an exam.  I like the idea that exam would be take home and that you could even start on it now by reading.  And I like the idea of these journalistic pieces as a Senior Current Issues regular focus.  I’m just not really sure what to do with it all.

I would like you to be able to have at least a week to fulfill the take home requirements for the exam.   And I must turn in my exam by the end of break…so with or without your input I will have the Senior Current Issue exam written up by January 7.  It will involve these stories.

If you want to go ahead and read a story or two – please do and let me know your thoughts on the matter.  I know one thing – this is good socially conscious journalism.  The stories are from reputable sources.  And they should be very very interesting.

Please let me know what you think.   Have a nice holiday break.  Stay Awake!

Get ready for your stretch run…remember May 2013…is relatively unimportant.  September 2013 however, DOES MATTER A LOT!

The Sidney Awards 

David Brooks – New York Times

The New Yorker (top ten of 2012) – you can only access if you subscribe.  I do – so I linked a few PDF copies of the articles below.




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