31. Dual Career Families and Working Mothers. What impact have two-career families had on society? Some areas of impact are:
- Shopping: Some stores are now open 24 hours a day, more people are shopping online, and groceries can be delivered.
- Eating out.
- Handling sick family members.
- Getting repairs done.
- Who is doing the housework and/or raising the children? Has this changed the attitudes of women toward men and vice versa?
- What are the costs of employment?
- What is the real value of the second income after subtracting the costs of employment.
- What is the impact on children/families?
- Job transfers are also an issue. When one spouse has an attractive offer but has to relocate, what should the other do?
32. Dual Enrollment. Dual credit/dual enrollment/concurrent enrollment. These terms refer to college credit for high school students who take college classes instead of high school ones and get credit for both. This option is becoming more available. One of the most attractive benefits of taking early credit is that it saves money on college costs. A student can conceivably enter college with 15 or more credits. On the other hand, a student may find the college class too difficult and be unable to graduate from high school on schedule.
- Do students learn everything they need if they take one class rather than two?
- Are students emotionally and mentally ready to learn at a college level when they are still in high school?
- Are the rules and standards the same for the student taking a college class through high school as they would be at the college?
- What are some of the benefits or disadvantages of a program like this?
- Is the student really receiving a college-level education? What does the research say about students who have completed college after participating in these dual programs?
- Is this method appropriate for every discipline? Are there some subjects that should not be taught in this way? Why or why not?
33. Eating Disorders. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by fear of obesity and resulting in severe weight loss. Bulimia nervosa is excessive food intake followed by self-induced vomiting or diarrhea.
- Does the desire for a super-thin body contribute to the onset of an eating disorder?
- Does the disorder indicate the presence of a deeper psychological problem?
- What are the physical or neurological effects of anorexia or bulimia?
- Are eating disorders more frequent among certain groups, such as fashion models, athletes, or gay men?
- Do svelte figures on television and in magazine ads contribute to eating disorders?
- What are other factors that contribute?
You may also want to consider prevention or treatment programs.
34. Education for Homeless Children. This serious problem can be broad or local. If you decide to write about schooling homeless children in your city, local resources will be your best sources of information. Try your local newspaper, local school district, and family shelters. Take a look at laws passed to ensure that all children get proper schooling. Nutrition, health, and other issues enter into this “educational” process.
- How do the schools identify and help these students—particularly because they are so migratory?
- McKinney Act (60 U.S.L.W. 2807, Lampkins v. D.C.)
- What about dropout rates?
35. Election Reform. In 2000, George W. Bush, Jr. won the presidential election, even though he had lost the popular vote by 550,000 votes. This was because, in the United States, the president and vice-president are not elected by popular vote but by votes in the Electoral College: 270 votes were required to win, and Bush won 271. Throughout the United States, some counties were using punch card ballots that many voters found difficult to read, whereas other counties were voting by more technologically sophisticated methods. In Florida (where the vote was very close), many voters did not punch their cards accurately, so their ballots were disqualified. Some African Americans and members of other ethnic and racial groups reported being discouraged from voting or even being turned away at the polls. People were also discovering that many ballots, such as absentee votes, do not get counted until after election results are announced. These events caused many people to question the way the United States runs its elections. Consider the following issues:
- Why was the Electoral College created, and what impact has it had on previous presidential elections?
- Is it time to establish a new system using popular votes rather than the electoral college?
- Why do so many states and counties use punch card ballots?
- What alternatives are there, and how can they be funded?
- Is the solution a matter of money and technology?
- Is Internet voting feasible and secure? What are the issues involved in online voting?
36. Electronic Copyright and Piracy. Copyright laws are intended to balance the rights of authors with the needs of the public for information and ideas. The ease of reproduction and access to the Internet have altered the needs for copyright protection.
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Intellectual Property Rights
- The Internet: It’s so easy to copy information, a picture, or a Web site and claim it as your own. What are the author’s rights?
- Copying movies and CDs: If you own a copy, do you have the right to copy it? To share it?
- Who owns ideas? Can you copyright them?
37. Emerging Infectious Disease and Epidemics. The problem with new strains of old diseases, such as tuberculosis, is that the old medicines are no longer effective. The diseases have become drug resistant, so you might use drug resistan? as part of your search. How can this problem be approached? What research is being done? You might select a specific disease to research, such as Ebola virus or the new strains of mycobacterium, tuberculosis, or Hantavirus. If you choose AIDS, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information you find; be sure to limit your research to a certain aspect of the disease. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted between animals and people. Hantavirus comes from rodents; Ebola from monkeys. Many others are airborne, like tuberculosis. Some of these diseases are brought to the United States by travelers. Also, we no longer isolate the ill. Should we? Suggestions for narrowing your topic:
- AIDS and Infectious Diseases (like TB)
- Drug Resistance
- Emerging Infectious Disease
- Global Climate Change and Disease
- Outbreaks or Plague
- Tuberculosis, Ebola, Hantavirus, etc.
- Zoonoses or Zoonotic Diseases
38. Energy Sources and Energy Use. Is oil the best source of energy for now? For the future? Should research funds be spent on finding more oil, finding better ways to use it, or developing other sources of energy altogether? You might want to compare the benefits and disadvantages of oil with those of other energy sources. Which is the most efficient? Most renewable? Least expensive? Consider cost, efficiency, and supply. Many states are trying or considering deregulating utility companies and allowing consumers to shop for the best rates. In California this has resulted in massive energy shortages. Is deregulation a good idea? Are safeguards needed to protect the consumer? To ensure a reasonable profit for the energy companies? Consider the following topics:
- Energy Policy Act
- Renewable Energy
- Natural Gas
- Nuclear Power
- Energy Shortages
- Oil Dependance
- Solar Energy
- Traditional Energy Sources, such as Coal
- Alternative Energy Sources, such as Wind Power and Geothermal Energy
39. English Only Movement. Most countries have an official language. You may be surprised to find that the United States does not. The question is, should we?
- What are the pros and cons of having an official language?
- Who wants English as our official language? Why?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of making English our official language?
- Would minority groups be affected by an English-only law?
- What is the history of English-only laws?
- Consider the English Language Amendment and states with heavy immigrant populations. What would be the repercussions of passing the amendment?
- How would statehood for Puerto Rico affect or be affected by English-only laws?
- Some towns have enacted Spanish as an official language. Consider the impact on the English-only movement.
- Consider the problems and costs of educating children in languages other than English.
40. Ethics of Organ Transplantation. With a shortage of organ donors, and a long list of patients awaiting transplants, fair allocation of organs for transplant is an interesting topic. There is talk of a national recipient list, rather than a local pool. Consider the following issues:
- How should the recipients be determined? First come, first served? Need? Proximity? How can this be decided?
- What policies do different states have?
- Should hospitals “presume consent” if no donor card is signed?
- What are the ethics of this problem? Is it fair to give transplants to the rich and important first? To the sickest or the healthiest patients? Or to those for whom it is more likely to work? Who decides? You may want to use the Mickey Mantle case as an example.