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Summer SAVY 2017, Session 2/Day 1- Policies and Politics (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Monday, June 19, 2017 in SAVY.

Today was a great first day! I enjoyed getting to know the class and was really impressed by all of them. We started off with discussing what government does and getting to know each other. In our introductions we shared some of our favorite activities—which was a great way to kick off talking about what government does! How does government play a role in our everyday lives? The class picked it up quickly and ran with it. Some examples of what we talked about are: public schools, roads, healthcare, TSA, and public safety. Please ask your students to share about how government is involved in their day-to-day lives! Please share with them how it is the same (and different) for you!

While we do not have time to give it the about of time it deserves, we also discussed federalism and the structure of the different levels of government. Did you know there are more than 89,000 governments in the United States? Your student does now!

Your student worked on what their personal budget might look like and how it reflects their priorities. We had the full spectrum. Some chose to save and others did not. We had some spending almost all of their money on junk food and others investing in the stock market! They were all very thoughtful though. They considered what were recurring costs, what they would have to do every month and what they would have to do just once or twice a year. They thought about their lifestyles and how they socialized. It was great.

I think the biggest lesson from today was how hard it is to make budget cuts. We watched a part of a Presidential debate from 2012 when Romney suggested cutting funding for PBS and then saw the backlash. We saw news coverage of a struggling community with large budget shortfalls that was considering cuts to the police force. The students immediately saw that every program and service matters and serves someone, and there is no easy answer.

Tomorrow we are going to discuss taxes. They are coming home with homework for you! It is optional and no one but your student will see it. It would be helpful for discussion tomorrow if they understood how taxes affect them and their household. I am asking you to estimate your taxes and fees and list them out. Fill out the worksheet as much or as little as you are comfortable with. I think the range of answers and feedback from you all—and seeing that it really does apply to their lives—would be great though. Thank you in advance.

I am really excited about getting back into the classroom with them tomorrow. I look forward to meeting some of you at the open house!

Whitney Afonso

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