FAKE NEWS. In the aftermath of Trump, we’re finding the term used everywhere. Most recently, the Washington Post suggested that it was time to retire the term, having become so capricious that it hardly meant anything. While typically a fault, this lack of definition has made fake news incredibly compelling to rally against. We…
The Rise of the Unaffiliated
The American religious landscape has undergone substantial changes in recent years. However, one of the most consequential shifts in American religion has been the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. This trend emerged in the early 1990s. In 1991, only six percent of Americans identified their religious affiliation as “none,” and that number had not moved much since the early 1970s. By the end of the 1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early 2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.
Please watch the Reggie Yates ‘Death in Chicago ‘ BBC documentary and answer the questions below (please note, there are a couple of swear words and adult themes so don’t watch with younger siblings!):
- Chicago is America’s ______ largest city
- How murders have there been in 2016 so far?
- Which social group is the most likely to be killed?
- How many African Americans were killed in 2015?
- How many African Americans were killed in Chigago last year?
- What does Jamal Green blame?
- What happened in Gresham?
- Why is Reggie distrustful of the police?
- Why do some people argue that the police have been misrepresented (unfairly represented) in the media?
- How many black on black shootings were there in 2015
- On average how often is someone shot in Chicago?
- How many guns were seized last year in Chicago?
- Why does the journalist feel so despondent about homicide rates in Chicago?
- What are many African American boys lacking in their lives?
- In your opinion, why might the constant message of ‘be a man’ help contribute to the cycle of violence that takes place in Chicago?
The study published in the American Journal of Sociology shows a drop in the number of Americans who claim religious affiliations, attend church regularly and believe in God. It also finds that these drops are driven by generational differences.
Jon Snow tears into pro- gun campaigner
Check out the following website – it compares US crime with UK crime. The most shocking statistic is that there are 669 times more murders with firearms in the US than the UK!
Also, The Guardian have been tracking people killed by the police in the USA. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed by police than white Americans:
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim explores the US education system and presents a very depressing representation. Whilst the analysis at times is simplistic (“…until the 1970s the U.S had the best education system…”) and the narrative one sided, without doubt, Guggenheim presents a persuasive case for educational change. For example. he argues that there are over 2,000 ‘faliure factories’ in the USA, that in some high schools the drop out rate is 30%, an incredible amount. Interestingly, teachers in the U.S are heavily protected by unions and it is therefore very hard to dismiss failing teachers who enjoy the protection of tenure. Moreover, he highlights the cost of imprisonment in relation to education – education is cheaper. The ‘Knowledge is Power’ (KIP) programme appears to help overcome material and cultural deprivation and perhaps proves the sytem can overcome it’s shortcomings (http://www.kipp.org/). Amusingly, despite ranking 25th in Maths and 21st in Science (out of 30 developed countries) and 8th out of 8 for Maths in another study (DECO 2003) , Americans rank first in confidence!
Although of course the US is a very different society to the UK, there are definitely similarites between the two; many of the issues remain the same – overcrowded prisons, undereducated inmates, urban ‘sink schools’, an over representation of certain ethnic groups ‘failing’ in education and the lotttery of education.
Yet, I feel that there is a tendency to scapegoat teachers and lot of dubious statistics are used to back up his arguments. Guggenheim presents a reductionist argument claiming that teachers are the key determining factor on a childs educational success. This of course is a very limited premise – surely material and cultural deprivation are hugely important factors too! Tamin Ansary’s article “The Myth of America’s Failing Schools very much attacks Guggenheim’s claims:” http://www.infotk.com/digest/TeachersHelper/The%20Myth%20of%20America’s%20Failing%20Schools.htm
Yet, despite its shortcomings, it a very decent watch and really encourages us to reflect upon common sensical ideas about education systems.