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Posts Tagged ‘presidential election’

President Obama: Moving Forward and Leaving a Legacy

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

Photo via pixabay [CC0 Public Domain]

President Obama’s Legacy

Every president leaves behind a legacy and becomes part of the classroom history lessons and discussions for future generations.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States. He arrived during a time of anger and brewing uncertainty in the U.S. His campaign slogans ranged from Hope and Yes We Can! in 2008 to Forward in 2012. Did his accomplishments live up to his campaign promises? Only time will tell how historians will view the Obama presidency and whether he indeed brought hope and a positive impact on the country he served.

In the meantime, students can study the impact of the Obama administration by evaluating his impact in key areas: the economy, health care, environment, culture, and education.

The Economy

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he entered a country in the midst of a global financial crisis that lasted from 2007-2009 with lingering after-effects. Jobs were lost and big banks were in trouble. Some economists argued the financial crisis was the worst one since the 1930s Great Depression. Under President Obama, “15 million private sector jobs” were added as of August 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This period of job growth, a total of 77 months thus far, is a record for the United States. Legislation has also been put into place that helps the middle class and low-income families while stimulating financial growth.

 

Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted by President Obama on March 23, 2010. While it has received much criticism, there have been some clear benefits to this statute. The Affordable Care Act prevents health insurers from denying or charging more for coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions could be diabetes, cancer or a range of others. Read more about pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act here. Also, this law has made it possible for many more people to get health insurance. Only non-citizens and people who are incarcerated can be denied health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Some critics have argued against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act due to its high premiums and tax penalties.

Environment and Culture

An area of differentiation in President Obama’s second presidential term compared with his first has been his tireless use of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Obama has repeatedly used the Antiquities Act to preserve ecological areas and protect cultural as well as historical sites. You can read more about these accomplishments here in a 2015 Washington Post article.

“Obama has established or expanded 19 national monuments for a total of more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters, more than any previous president.” — Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

Also, President Obama has emphasized the importance of acknowledging and addressing climate change. His Action Plan for protecting the planet offers insight into the effects extreme weather is having on the world. His plan also targets ways to limit carbon pollution, which is vital to the planet’s future.

Education

A major misconception about the widely discussed education initiative known as the Common Core State Standards is that it was led by the Obama administration, but this is not so. While Obama supports this initiative it was actually led by U.S. states, many of which opted to adopt these standards on their own. More about the Common Core State Standards can be read here. Some of President Obama’s education initiatives have been:

  1. Race to the Top: Encouraging states to spur education reform so that teachers and students can succeed.
  2. Reforming No Child Left Behind: Intended to close the achievement gap and bring education standards up-to-date.
  3. Redesign Initiative: An initiative designed to improve high schools and incorporate college-level coursework as well as career-related experiences/competencies into daily education.
  4. Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Providing states and school districts with emergency funding needed to keep more teachers in the classroom.
  5. ConnectED Initiative: This initiative aims to bring the best technology and training to students and classrooms.

What is the Obama legacy? 

Your students can research and gather the evidence themselves. Point them to SIRS Knowledge Source for a wealth of information on the past eight years of the Obama administration.

Election 2016: Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

Jail Cells

Jail cells by TryJimmy
[Public Domain] via Pixabay

There is one group of Americans who will not be voting this election season. Nearly six million Americans nationwide are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit people with felony convictions from voting. A disproportionate number of those denied the right to vote due to criminal convictions are African Americans, leading some to charge that such felony disenfranchisement laws unfairly target minorities.

Only two states—Maine and Vermont—allow unrestricted voting rights for people who are felons. Both states permit voting while incarcerated for a felony offense. The other end of the spectrum includes three states—Florida, Iowa and Kentucky—that impose lifetime voting bans to all persons with felony convictions unless the governor expressly restores the right to vote.

For the Classroom

Students can learn more about Felony Disenfranchisement in ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher by clicking on the Convicted Felons’ Rights Leading Issue in the A-Z List. The Convicted Felons’ Rights issue contains editorially-selected materials, including an overview and an essential question, Should felons be allowed to vote after they have served their time? Supporting pro/con articles help students gain an understanding of the different sides of the issue so they can present a cogent argument in a paper or a debate.

Take Our Three-Part Poll

(If you can’t view the poll below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

Rank the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Issues

Vote!

Vote up or down to rank the following 15 issues, which get re-ordered in real-time. (If you can’t view the list below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

 

Teach the Election

With the presidential election dominating the news, now is the perfect time to engage future voters with projects and debates on the candidates and where they stand on important issues.  ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher provides students with both editorially-created and selected content that will equip your students with the research and understanding they need to prepare for debates and other assignments. Direct your students to our Election 2016 issue, which contains an overview, timeline, essential question and other resources. If your students are researching a specific issue, such as Gun Control, Immigration or Economic Inequality, show them the A-Z List or have them type the issue in the search box.

Tell Us What You’re Doing

Are you and your class doing a project or debate about the election? If so, let us know what you’re doing in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!