71. Recycling. The younger generation has been very interested in finding ways to protect their environment. One thing we can all do is to recycle. This becomes a problem in areas where there is no pickup or ready source for receiving recycled articles. Think about the following questions:
- Is there a market for recycled materials?
- Is it cost-effective? Is recycling so important that cost-effectiveness should not be an issue?
- What is the cost to the city or county for recycling pickup and delivery? Is it economical? If not, should recycling be a moral issue?
- Is recycling by city waste companies done in primarily upper class neighborhoods? Is this arguable?
Consider the market for these products: plastic, aluminum, paper, and medical waste.
72. Road Rage. In Riding the Iron Rooster, Paul Theroux states that the reason Texans are such courteous drivers is because each thinks the other has a gun in the front seat. That may not be 100 percent true, but it is true that drivers are not always courteous on busy freeways. Perfectly nice people turn into power-obsessed demons when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. And each year the problem increases. The phenomenon called “road rage” is escalating in major cities around the country. Aggressive driving was involved in two-thirds of auto deaths in 1996.
- What are the causes of road rage? What can be done to prevent it?
- What solutions are being attempted to solve this serious problem?
- Is road rage happening primarily in overpopulated cities? If so, what are the causes? The effects? The possible solutions?
73. Same-Sex Marriage. This topic comes and goes, but is part of our changing social views. As gay and lesbian groups become stronger, it will be interesting to see what happens with this topic.
- Should gays and lesbians have the legal right to marry their same-sex partners?
- Is this a moral, religious, or government issue? Legislated morality is a phrase used with this topic.
- Because they cannot marry, homosexuals do not have access to certain government and other services. Should homosexuals be entitled to spousal benefits? Insurance? Tax benefits?
74. School Choice and School Vouchers. In school voucher programs, state and local government give parents monetary vouchers that they can use at any public or private school, allowing for choice in each student’s education.
- Are vouchers a plausible way to ensure that U.S. children receive the same quality of education?
- What are charter schools? Will charter schools work?
- What are the benefits or detriments of offering vouchers to U.S. families?
- How can these school choices work and be fair to rich and poor alike?
- What affect would voucher programs have on the inner city student?
75. School Prayer. Most people have strong feelings about this controversial issue. If you choose it, be very professional in your presentation of facts. You might make your paper more interesting if you find useful information on the history of attitudes toward school prayer. We love to compare changes in public attitudes during a given period. Another very good comparison here would be belief about this issue in small towns versus large urban areas. Some of the issues to consider are:
- Should school prayer be allowed, and if so, in what form (silent meditation, actual prayers said aloud)?
- Should graduation ceremonies, sports events, and other public school gatherings have invocations?
- What responsibility do we have to people of differing faiths in a multicultural society?
- How can we incorporate prayer and observe other religions?
- Should state or national government be allowed to legislate this issue?
76. School Violence. Sometimes we think public schools are becoming war zones. From urban schools to suburban, none of our schools seems safe for children. Gangs and other groups seem to proliferate. Each year the violence seems to originate from younger students.
- Is this a new phenomenon, or has it just been more widely publicized recently?
- What causes a student to become violent?
- What are reasons for the change?
- What can be done about it?
- Can schools teach nonviolence successfully?
- Should schools provide better preventive counseling?
Consider focusing on the responsibilities of parents and school officials. Discuss a balance of safety with personal freedoms, like freedom of the press or the right to bear arms. Use some of the recent incidents in your paper. Try to find psychological effects and causes.
77. Sex and Violence on TV.
- What has research indicated are the effects of television violence and sex on children? On adults?
- Do the violence and sex shown on television reflect a decaying of American morals?
- Should television have a more rigorous rating system? How successful are the blocking technologies, such as the V-chip?
- Should television share the responsibility for violence and crime in our society?
- What are parental responsibilities in supervising what children see on television?
- What responsibility should the media have in selecting what they show on television?
Think about First Amendment rights.
78. Sex Education. The argument about whether parents or the schools should teach sex education is an old one. Find early legislation and articles in the library. Can you find a trend of changing public attitudes on this topic? Are schools and parents more or less conservative today? How does the school decide what is appropriate for the sex education curriculum? Following are a few of the age-old considerations:
- Does sex education increase sexual activity?
- Does sex education actually decrease teenage pregnancy?
- Does sex education affect the use of safe sex methods by the young?
- At what age or grade should sex education begin?
- Whose responsibility is it to teach children about sex and other life issues?
79. Sex Offender Registries. This topic discusses whether a community should be notified when a convicted rapist, child molester, or other type of sex offender moves into the area. Statistics can be very helpful in defending your argument.
- Is notification an infringement of the offender’s civil rights?
- What are the arguments for and against notification? Are there statistics available that would support pro or con arguments on this topic?
- What has prompted some communities to press for notification?
80. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is another topic about which there is almost too much information. Try to focus on a certain aspect of this topic and perhaps find legislation and specific examples. You may be wise to locate a case to research and comment on. Look at the law. It has changed, and there are specific guidelines on exactly what constitutes sexual harassment. You may want to include the guidelines in your paper. Keep in mind that this is a separate issue from violence against women. Sexual harassment does not have to be men harassing women. It may be more interesting to find some of the unusual cases. Some suggestions for narrowing the topic:
- Sexual Harassment and Employment
- Women and Workplace
- Employment Discrimination and Legislation
- Workplace Violence