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Persuasive Essays, Low-Income Communities & The Census Count

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The United States Census Bureau does its every-ten-year census in 2010, and much of the allocation of public funds and resources is based on the results. Lower-income communities are often “short-changed” because many people don’t respond to Census questions for a variety of reasons.

The Sacramento Bee ran an excellent article today titled Capital-area activists seek full census count of Franklin Boulevard’s Latinos. The graphics that accompany the article are even better, especially one highlighting Sacramento’s Hard-To-Count Census Tracts.

It got me thinking…

The Census Bureau itself has a lot educational materials for us in schools, but I have to admit that I’m less than impressed with most of them. It does, however, have a simple and accessible Census Fact Sheet that I like.

We’re in the middle of a neighborhood research unit (I explain it in detail in my upcoming book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work, and I’ll post about it here one of these days). It culminates with their writing a persuasive essay explaining why they like living in their neighborhood.

I’m thinking that an interesting follow-up to that would be for students to do a little more analysis into why their neighborhood is considered “hard-to-count,” read a little more about the Census and what benefits could come in to make their neighborhood even better if more people responded, and develop their own version of a persuasive essay/poster to share in the community.

If you’re interesting in trying to do something similar, you can find which neighborhoods in your area are considered “hard to count” here.

You might also want to read my post:More On The U.S. Census & The Classroom, which was written after this lesson took place.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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