Topic: Ethics

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Current Event April 16, 2016

Universal Recycling Law Keeps Food from Landfills

Environment Ethics

A new law in Vermont has created an opportunity. This law requires institutions to avoid sending lots of food waste to landfills. Now, much of the food that would have been thrown away is being donated to hungry local residents instead. In fact, food rescue was up 30% last year, while overall waste is down 56%. Volunteers check food items for quality and then re-box them before sending them off to people in need. Listen to the story to hear more about how the Universal Recycling Law has increased food donations.

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Current Event April 5, 2016

A Bosnian War Criminal

Ethics war

A key leader in the Bosnian War was convicted of genocide by a United Nations tribunal. Radovan Karadzic was a former leader of the Serbian Republic during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Bosnia was one of the ethnically mixed republics in the former country of Yugoslavia. Karadzic managed to escape arrest for twelve years. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for ethnic cleansing, including killing more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica. His trial was compared to the Nuremberg trials of German Nazi officials. Listen to hear more about this important war crimes trial.

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Current Event February 29, 2016

Closing Guantanamo

Civics/Government Politics Constitution Ethics

President Obama has wanted to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay since his second day in office. Now, the President has announced a plan to transfer prisoners to the U.S. and other countries before his term ends. He faces resistance from members of Congress who are trying to block the closure of Guantanamo. Many are concerned about bringing known terrorists to U.S. soil. While the Administration hopes to work with lawmakers, it argues that the President does have the authority to act on his own in this matter. Listen to learn more about arguments for and against the President’s plans.

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Current Event January 25, 2016

Tainted Water

Civics/Government Health Ethics

For more than a year, Flint Michigan’s tap water has been unsafe to drink. The problem started in 2014 when the city decided to switch the drinking water supply to the Flint River to save money. This water damaged the pipes and lead seeped into the drinking water. But the state ignored complaints about the smell and taste of the water. It wasn’t until January 2015 that the governor of Michigan declared a state of emergency because of the high lead levels in the water. This story looks at how the water crisis has caused residents to lose trust in their government officials.

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1.migrant original

Current Event August 23, 2015

Migrant Crisis in Europe

Immigration Ethics Middle East Africa

Thousands of migrants fleeing instability in Africa and the Middle East are in a refugee camp in a small town on the coast of France. It’s become a refugee crisis for France as the migrants are living in campsites, building their own homes and waiting for asylum in France or transport to Britain. Many are teenagers without families, and the camp can sometimes be a competitive environment where only the fittest survive. But there are also inspiring stories of people with little helping those who have less. The camp does not provide shelter, which is one of the many ways it does not meet international standards for refugees, says an international aid group. Listen to hear more about this crisis that doesn’t have a ready solution.

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Current Event June 21, 2015

Misrepresenting Race

Race US History II Ethics Civil RIghts

The NAACP is a national civil rights organization that represents and works to serve the African American community. It was recently discovered that an NAACP leader from Spokane Washington lied and misrepresented her race. Rachel Dolezal was born to two white parents but identifies as black and has falsely claimed African American and Native American heritage. This falsehood had prompted a larger conversation about about racial boundaries and how they are observed.

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Current Event June 14, 2015

Corruption in Soccer

Civics/Government Ethics

Top officials at FIFA, the group that governs international soccer and the World Cup, have been accused of corruption. Investigators in the United States and Switzerland have uncovered bribes and wire transfers between World Cup host countries and FIFA officials. Sepp Blatter, who has served as FIFA’s president for 17 years has resigned in the face of this scandal. Listen to learn more about the scandal rocking the soccer world.

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Current Event June 11, 2015

Changing Human Genes

Life Science Ethics Genetics

A new scientific tool can edit or change genes. It can target genes that cause problems, like disease, and snip them out of the DNA, sort of like scissors at a molecular level. The potential to change the human genome has some scientists celebrating and others worrying about the ethical implications. Listen to learn more about this technique and the debate it has provoked.

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Honor and the scarlett letter

ELA High School

"Other Than Honorable Discharge" from Military has Similarities to the 'Scarlet Letter'

Literature Psychology Ethics war Classics

In 'The Scarlet Letter' Nathaniel Hawthorne explores inclusion and exclusion in Puritan Boston. Hester Prynne is exposed to public humiliation and exclusion for breaking societal standards and having a child out of wedlock. Veterans experience similar exclusion and dishonor. When they are discharged with the label of "Other Than Honorable," they are marked with a figurative Scarlet Letter, ashamed and unable to gain veterans' benefits.

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Current Event May 21, 2015

Phone Tapping Questioned

Civics/Government Politics Constitution Ethics

The provision of the U.S. Patriot Act that authorized the mass collection of phone records in the United States and abroad is set to expire at the end of this month. The National Security Agency has been collecting data from personal phone calls in an effort to prevent another terrorist attack. The U.S. House of Representatives has taken action and passed a bill that strictly narrows the scope of this surveillance. But some members of the U.S. Senate want to leave the Patriot Act as it and renew it. Listen to learn more about this debate and the impact it will have on how government surveillance is used to fight terrorism.

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Current Event May 19, 2015

Execution for Boston Marathon Bomber

Civics/Government Psychology Ethics

The sentencing phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has come to a dramatic conclusion. After just a day and a half of deliberation the jury voted to put Tsarnaev to death on 6 of the 17 eligible counts. An appeal is automatic but some families directly impacted still feel relieved by the sentence. Listen to learn more about the sentence and the response to it.

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Current Event May 17, 2015

Nail Salon Crack Down

Civics/Government Immigration Ethics Journalism

An investigation in New York City has found that hundreds of nail salons are ignoring workers’ rights. Middle and upper class customers have come to expect cheap manicures and until now, no one has questioned how the price can be so low. In a year long investigation for the New York Times journalist Sarah Maslin Nir found widespread wage theft and indentured servitude in an industry that puts its workers' health on the line. The two part series, “Unvarnished”, has prompted action from consumers and the state government. Listen to hear more from the reporter about her investigation and the reaction to the story.

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Current Event May 15, 2015

Schools Bring Back Native American Languages

Civics/Government US History I Ethics

The state of Montana is adopting a new approach to maintaining and reviving Native American languages in the state. The state’s new policy, to partially fund native language immersion in public schools, is very different from previous efforts to get rid of Native American language and culture through government boarding schools. Listen to learn more about the policies of the past and present, and why Native Americans in Montana feel strongly about passing their language on to the next generation.

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Current Event May 14, 2015

Cheating in the NFL

Sports Ethics

An NFL investigation has confirmed that staffers for the New England Patriots purposefully deflated footballs used in the football game that qualified the Patriots for this year’s Super Bowl. The report also suggests that star quarterback Tom Brady knew. This scandal, known as Deflate-Gate, has led to a stiff penalty against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The penalty has the sports world talking about how it will affect the Patriots next season and whether the rule about ball inflation should be changed. Listen to learn more about this scandal and come to your own opinion.

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Current Event May 10, 2015

Gay Marriage Before the Supreme Court

Civics/Government Politics Ethics

On April 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of state-level bans on gay marriage. This hearing combined four different cases and tackled two big questions: whether state bans on gay marriage are legal, and whether it is legal for states to not recognize marriages from states where gay marriage is legal. The cases sparked a long and heated Supreme Court session. A decision is expected at the end of June. Listen to hear questions and arguments from the justices on this controversial issue.

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Current Event April 29, 2015

Too Thin to Model

Civics/Government Health Ethics

Tall, ultra-skinny fashion models have graced the runways in Paris, France for decades, but a new French law could change the look of models. The new law, which aims to fight anorexia and other eating disorders, requires employers ask models for a medical certificate proving they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18. It also requires they periodically weigh their models to make sure they aren’t too thin. If companies use models that don’t meet these standards they face a fine and potential jail time.

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Current Event April 23, 2015

Cheating Educators

Civics/Government Education Ethics

Educators in Atlanta, Georgia have been convicted and in some cases sent to jail for orchestrating cheating on high-stakes tests in their school districts. An investigation found widespread evidence that educators were pressured to erase wrong answers on student tests and fill in the correct bubble. This is not the only example of cheating in school systems, but it is the largest. Listen to learn more how the federal No Child Left Behind law put so much pressure on school administrators that it led to the cheating scandal.

Update: One month after issuing the sentence, the judge in the Atlanta cheating case had a change of heart and reduced the sentences of three former educators from seven years in prison to three.

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Current Event April 9, 2015

Modern-Day Slavery

Economics Geography Ethics

Where does your fish come from? A year-long journalistic investigation found that some of the fish that ends up in U.S. food products appears to have been been caught by slaves. People from Burma are being held against their will and forced to work loading and unloading fish on a remote island in Indonesia. When this modern day slavery was uncovered, reporters traced the route of this fish all the way to American stores, tables and pet food. Listen to learn more about how slavery still exists in parts of the world.

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Current Event March 23, 2015

Should College Athletes Get Paid?

Economics Sports Ethics

With college basketball’s March Madness Tournament heating up, all eyes are on college sports and the money they generate. From ticket sales, to merchandise, and TV rights, college sports bring more than just pride to their schools; they also generate huge amounts of money. College athletes are awarded scholarships to cover tuition, but they don’t get paid anything else. Is this fair? Athletes are speaking out and telling their stories of financial need. Listen to hear about one former college athlete who is challenging this system in court.

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Food safety and the jungle

ELA High School

Food Safety and 'The Jungle'

Politics Health Ethics Fiction Reform Informational Text Persuasive

Our food supply is considered safe today thanks in large part to a movement to improve safety following the publication of the novel in 1906, "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. It was a vivid portrayal of the lives of immigrant families who worked in a meat-packing plant in Chicago. Americans were shocked and disgusted. This public radio story tells of how "The Jungle" galvanized public support to improve the safety of our food system.

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