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Work Samples

 

 

 

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SHARED ASSIGNMENTSBelow are samples of assignments submitted for this course with names removed so as not to violate anyone's privacy.

They are examples of the quality of work I expect.

The assignments you see here are not necessarily the best work for that assignment
but examples chosen at random from among all of the assignments I consider well done.

I change assignments from time to time so make certain you are looking at an example based on your current assignment rather than a previous assignment.

In assignments that ask for specific right or wrong answers, I have substituted Xs for the answers so as not to tempt you!

If you don't see an example of a particular assignment, it's because I haven't yet found one to post.

 


Activity #1

political ad

name calling

glittering generalities

euphemism

transfer

testimony

plain folks

bandwagon

fear

other

no.

year

party

place

title

1

1952

Dem

1st

I Love the Gov

 

x

 

 

x

x

x

 

 

 

1956

none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

1960

Rep

1st

Most Important Issue

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

1964

Dem

2nd

Daisy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

4

1968

Rep

1st

Convention

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

1972

none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

1976

Rep

last

Pearl  Bailey

 

x

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

6

1980

Rep

4th

Safire

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

7

1980

Dem

6th

Bible

 

x

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

8

1980

Dem

7th

Flip Flop

x

x

x

 

 

 

 

x

 

9

1984

Rep

5th

Bear

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

10

1984

Rep

last

Peace

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

11

1984

Dem

2nd

Limo

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

1984

Dem

6th

Failure

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

x

 

13

1988

Rep

last

Willie Horton

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

1992

Dem

8th

Morning

x

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

15

1992

Rep

3rd

Gray Dot

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

1992

Reform

1st

Kids

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

17

1996

Rep

4th

From the Heart

 

x

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

18

2000

Rep

4th

Dangerous World

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

19

2000

Rep

7th

Hopeful

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

20

2000

Dem

last

Question

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

2004

Rep

1st

Safer, Stronger

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

22

2004

Rep

7th

Changing World

 

x

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

23

2004

Rep

14th

Wolves

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24

2004

Dem

5th

Optimists

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

25

2004

Dem

last

Heroes

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

I feel that political advertising has a positive effect on the democratic process. Advertising allows propagandists to share information that might not be available through an individual’s personal research. Usually, it is in the best interest of the propagandists to put the most valuable information out to the public. With this information, an individual can make their own judgments and opinions to help them vote on election day. Basically, political advertising does the research for the public, and depending on which party the individual is from, they may hear what they do or do not want to hear.

In political advertising, a propagandist can use a number of various advertising techniques to get their point across. These techniques can be used as a positive or negative attack on the political candidate, but either way, it is a positive movement because the public is allowed to learn about the individual who is being advertised. The same concept goes for commercials. Companies broadcast their products on TV or other media sources to inform the public of what they are selling. Propagandists will market what the candidate is “selling” to boost their votes.

For me, the most effective way for an advertisement to affect me is using the technique of “plain folks.” This is where the purpose of the advertisement is to convince the viewers that the candidate's ideas are “of the people.” Basically, they are trying to show that they are just like the “average-Joe.” Another effective technique is “testimonial.” Athletes on cereal boxes or Gatorade commercials are examples of this technique. Last Presidential election, Oprah Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama. I believe this endorsement was a boost to his candidacy because Oprah has many followers and she will advertise and speak to the public's liking. She will advertise products on her show and people will buy it because of their trust in her. Some may know this as “The Oprah Effect.”

All techniques in political advertising help the democratic process move forward. They help candidates gain strength or they can reveal unwanted facts. Let’s not forget that when choosing a candidate to run for any office, the public opinion is what matters, and the government and candidates will certainly react to the public opinion.

The media is a prime place for political advertising. With little to no regulations, propagandists have the power to advertise to their content. The TV and radio are some places to advertise special commercials about candidates. Each commercial has a specific time limit as well as the agreement of the fairness doctrine. While driving to work or other places or sitting at home watching the television, the public has an easy source of getting information from political advertisements. Other forms of media include the Internet and newspapers. Here, viewers can read recent polls or debates. All media in political advertising is a stepping stone in helping the democratic process.

This country was formed together under a democracy, “of the people, for the people.” In one of the slide presentations, I noted, “In a democracy, government should do what the citizens want it to do - it should follow citizens’ policy preferences.” The same applies to political advertising. Depending upon the beliefs of the person, and their political party, the candidate must show they are “for the people.” One controversial issue that always has voters stirring is the social issue of abortion. Every Presidential election it seems that each candidate must make it clear on how they stand on this issue. With that, they must then decide how to advertise their belief and how they will satisfy the public opinion. Another issue to name is health care; voters want to know what kind of benefits will stay or what will go. If a candidate has a new plan, voters are extremely interested in every detail. Another topic voters what to hear about are tax laws. Voters usually want to hear the candidate's views and tactics to help Americans with tax laws. A candidate must strategize how to win the public opinion because it certainly is a factor in policy-making. Political advertising is a great way to get the candidate’s voice out to the public, as they hope to win the public’s opinion and vote.

For those who say that political advertising has a negative effect on the democratic process because it is only for those with financial advantages or it ruins candidates' reputations, you must look beyond that. Funding has always been an essential to any monetary disadvantage. No candidate has a perfect record. Your judgments come from your own opinions and beliefs, and since we live in the US, no one can force you to think differently. I believe political advertisements are positive to the democratic process because this type of advertising can bring new ideas to the arena of the democratic process.


Activity #1

No.

Year

Political Ad Title

Propaganda Techniques

1

1952

I love the Gov

Glittering generalities

2

1960

Most Important Issue

Testimonial, glittering generalities

3

1964

Daisy

Fear

4

1968

Convention

Fear

5

1976

Pearl Bailey

testimonial

6

1980

Safire

name-calling, fear, testimonial

7

1980

Bible

glittering generalities

8

1980

Flip Flop

testimonial, name-calling

9

1984

Bear

Fear

10

1984

Peace

Glittering generalities, other (hope)

11

1984

Limo

Name-calling, fear, euphemism

12

1984

Failure

Name-calling, fear

13

1988

Willie Norton

Euphemisms, fear

14

1992

Morning

Plain folk, testimonial, name-calling, euphemisms

15

1992

Gray Dot

Name-calling, transfer

16

1992

Kids

bandwagon

17

1996

From the heart

Testimonial, glittering generalities

18

2000

Dangerous World

Fear

19

2000

Hopeful

Testimonial, glittering generalities

20

2000

Question

Testimonial, fear,

21

2004

Safer, Stronger

Glittering generalities

22

2004

Changing World

Fear, plain folk, bandwagon

23

2004

Wolves

Testimonial, fear, name-calling

24

2004

Optimists

Glittering generalities

25

2004

Heroes

Testimonial, transfer

There was a time in American history when political advertising had a positive effect on the democratic process. Today, however, in recent elections it has had a negative effect on our democratic process. When elections were first held, the candidates would appeal to the public according to what they believed was good for our country.

In the beginning public opinion was mainly influenced by political socialization. Now, opinion is influenced by political socialization and political advertising. Political advertising was initially introduced to reach more people and ask for their support. It was a way for candidates to introduce themselves into our homes and tell us about their campaign. Now we have polls and the media. Between both, a candidate seems to know what the public wants to hear.

Political advertising has lost its original honesty. Campaigns now have more to work with like special interest groups. These groups help push a candidate and/or their agenda. With the help of the media, messages are easier to convey. The question is how much of that message is twisted in order to satisfy a public poll. It seems that the dire the case for presidency (in all parties), the more distorted the information becomes. Perhaps the negative effect on our democratic process came about when negative ads became popular.


Activity #2

Our local city council has decided, due to budget constraints, to close the branch of our library that is in my community. Everyone who goes to the library is very upset about this idea and feels like there must be some other recourse. We live in a very large bedroom community of a major city. The next closest branch is the main downtown location. So, we created a group to save our library.

We decided to have everyone who comes into the library fill out a poll. Information on this poll will tell us how many people use the library and what days and hours the highest use is occurring.
After compiling this data, we will present it to a council meeting to show them how important the library is to our community.

Everyone is aware of the budget shortfalls, so we are also putting forth an alternative idea. We will only open the library during the hours our poll showed its highest number of customers. We also have created a database of local volunteers who are willing to donate time each week or month so that employee expenditures can be reduced.

Secondly, we met with members of the Chamber of Commerce.  We were able to enlist several major businesses who are willing create a "Save our Library" fund. Each business has agreed to raise/donate a certain amount of money each month for 5 years. This money will be used to help cover expenses for the library.

With these ideas, we have addressed the budget shortfall by reducing operating hours, enlisting more volunteers, involving local businesses and raising money.


Activity #3

I would first like to start by saying that this has been my favorite assignment thus far. I am more of a hands-on learning, so having the redistricting game really helped me.

I am in favor of redistricting reform because I feel that the current districting in most states is a partisan gerrymander. Throughout each game, I chose to represent the Democratic Party in order to better understand the challenges that they are presented in Texas and in other Republican dominant states. For each mission I had no big issue with pleasing the democrats except for mission four. It seemed in mission four that I could not please anyone. The easiest mission for me was mission five. The main thing I realized was that I could NEVER please everyone.

I feel the Tanner Proposal is the fairest districting available. With the Tanner Proposal, not one party can out do the other. Despite the difficulty I had, I also agree with the VRA as well. I feel with most states, if not all, the people are not accurately heard. Even though I have lived in Texas for a short time, I have found that minorities do not vote because they honestly do not feel that their vote will matter. To a certain extent, I agree. I know this was in bread into the mind set of minorities many years before with voter suppression. There is no longer voter suppression by using poll tax, etc; but rather voter depression. I want to find a way to change the mind set of minorities in Texas so they will feel that their votes do count. Even though partisan gerrymander was created to have a specific party in favor, but I feel this idea can be easily flipped onto its side. A partisan gerrymander is based on previous election votes, so say that one election every person voted that had never voted before. Now because of this huge change in voter number and the party voted for, the partisan gerrymander will no longer work. I also feel that another issue that should be reformed is how a person in favor of one party can be over the redistricting plan. To me that is clearly wrong. Of course if you are a democratic you will map the districts in your party’s favor and vice versa. With issues like these, I can understand why many people have voter depression.

I am a strong believer of democracy. What is the point of being in a free country if our words and feelings are not truly heard?


Activity #4

1. As dean of students and a city councilor my response to the protests differed in each of my roles. As I wear my dean of students hat I am mainly concerned with protecting the safety of the students. I definitely do not want a repeat of the 1970 Kent State debacle. I want to encourage students to learn they have civil rights and liberties that allow them to demonstrate against things they deem unfair or unjust, just like you have the right to celebrate things that are good. I want to lead them to peaceful protests and not lawless anarchy. I have to remember I have parents’ children who they have entrusted to Prickly Pear to prepare them to become tomorrow’s leaders.

As I wear my city councilor hat, I must be concerned with protecting the city and innocent citizens. I have to think bigger and for the greater good. Is there a clear and present danger? I must confront civil disobedience and protect the city’s assets while not using an overkill of power and force.

2. Some ideas that I had to protect public safety and still maintain the civil rights of the citizens are to have a strong police presence wherever the protesters had permission to assemble. I controlled where they assembled with permits to assure that we could most effectively use our electronic monitoring system and combine our police and riot control teams. If people chose to violate the law with civil disobedience, my officers would try to peaceably handle them. If that did not work, they would go to jail. My people were dedicated to protecting the civil rights and safety of everyone.

3. As much as I detest hate groups, and the word hate in general, I would not ban them. The Constitution of the United States of America, along with our Bill of Rights, is still one of the greatest documents ever written. Our country was founded on the people's right to speak out. If we start limiting these rights, who will be in charge of making the decision on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable? Just because I am a Christian, who eats meat and prefers dogs over cats, does not mean I should outlaw other religions, draw and quarter all vegans and incarcerate all cat owners. That would make me one of them.
Instead, I believe everyone has the right to voice their own opinions and gather in groups to show support for something they believe in as long as it is done peaceably, civilly and within the constraints of the law.


Critical Thinking Essay

In Texas, immigration has always been an important political issue because it is a major concern for both the population and government. The citizens of Texas think that immigration is a bad thing because it increases unemployment and increases crime rates. Unfortunately, citizens are mistaken. Immigration can be a good thing because it can be controlled, without using the federal government to regulate the rules of migration. Since unemployment is an important issue for the country today, let me begin with that issue.

Unemployment is increasing today, and citizens blame immigrants that come in to find a job. This is a misunderstanding because immigrants are not taking jobs that are either there or not. One explanation of this is that America is placing jobs overseas, instead of creating more jobs here. Since America started to ship jobs overseas to other countries, jobs have decreased. In turn, this had the effect of decreasing jobs for citizens. Because of the increase in immigration, citizens put the blame on immigrants. If America created more jobs, then there would be more jobs, allowing citizens to have jobs and immigrants to remain in America while having jobs. Another concern about immigration is that the crime rate increased because of all the gangs and drug cartels from across the border. This is not entirely true; the crime rate is because of the gangs in America. Gangs that formed in America try to convince immigrants that they need protection from dangers, such as other gangs, etc. This can be prevented if America were a little more protective of all citizens and immigrants. If more immigrants came in to America, not only would that help with the increase in population, it could help with elections and political issues.

Another pro for immigration is that it can give a bigger voice to the population. This can help elections and the political issues that America is facing today. Since the federal government is decreasing the population’s freedom and becoming more socialist, if the immigrants were to come here, then they would help to support a better democracy. When immigrants think of America, they think that it is better over here because of its democracy and freedoms than their home country. This can drive immigrants to strive for the government to release its tight grip on the peoples’ rights and freedoms, which can help restore the citizens’ confidence in their power in themselves and their constitutional rights. If immigrants were to migrate over here, then they could help citizens with voting for the good candidates that will help all of us get the rights we deserve. Although this is a good idea, there is a need to control the flow of immigrants coming in from other countries.

Since immigration can get a little out of hand, there are a couple of ways to regulate and control the flow of migration. Instead of trying to organize and collect papers, the government of Texas can issue work permits that can grant immigrants the right to work in Texas. This can solve the issue of paperwork for immigrants since it is such a hassle for immigrants to get citizenship. When immigrants first come to the border, they not only have to hand over a photo of themselves, they also have to fill out a lot of paperwork in order to earn a green card. After a couple of years with a steady job and a household, immigrants now get a visa. Another few years pass by, and then, finally, immigrants can get full citizenship. This could be cut out if work permits were enabled and required instead of stacks of paper to fill out. This solution is sensible if the Texas government would sit down and talk about it during sessions of passing bills and legislation.

As I concluded my research over this topic of deciding if immigration is helpful for Texas, I learned that not all unemployment, violence and an increased crime rate is caused by immigration. This can be averted if the government helps out immigrants by protecting them as they cross the border and allowing them to work in the protection forces (police, firefighters, etc.). As a result, this will cause an increase in jobs and will encourage immigrants to migrate to America. Since it is better to have more immigrants, the Texas government should take control of the flow of immigrants by establishing work permits so the immigrants can work in America. This will bring in more immigrants to come to America and stay here for a long while, which will help establish a better democracy for all citizens and new citizens.


Critical Thinking Essay

With the debate intensifying over immigration hurting or helping Texas, my mind keeps going to the inscription of the Statute of Liberty, "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free." This is what welcomed our forefathers who came to the United States generations ago but is it still valid today? Can we afford to keep this open door policy and is it safe for our citizens to maintain this ideology?

Dick Armey passionately insisted that immigrants have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and are eager to achieve the American dream. They make contributions to our economy as well as expand our knowledge of culture. In Texas, the Hispanic population is our largest group of immigrants. We have most certainly adopted a great deal of the Hispanic culture. We have a Mexican food restaurant on nearly every corner. Their Latin heritage has infiltrated modern music and many Texas have learned to speak their language. But, do they contribute to our economy?

Natural born American citizens have often cried that immigrants take jobs and therefore contribute to higher unemployment numbers. If, this is true, wouldn't it make sense that in border states like Texas, where we have huge numbers of immigrants, we would likewise have huge numbers of unemployed? Immigrants, especially un- and under-educated ones, are more likely to take less desirable jobs, work for less pay and work in unsafe and illegal conditions. These tend to be the jobs most Americans do not desire to do. Many others take legal but menial jobs just to make ends meet, while some, who have obtained higher levels of education, are working beside natural citizens. The unemployment numbers in Texas are actually lower than the national average during the current economic downturn and have historically been lower than the national average.

Texas is the second largest state in size and population. Approximately 60-70% of our immigrants are from Mexico. This large population group adds extensive costs to our already burdened public school system. While the Constitution of the United States of America does not directly deal with the subject of immigration, the 14th amendment says that no state shall deny any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the law. In the early 1970s, a Texas school district decided to charge tuition to immigrant students who wanted to attend school. In 1975, the federal courts decided that you cannot hold a child accountable for the actions of their parents. Therefore, it would not be legal to withhold a public education to immigrant children. The jurists further stated that it is far more expensive, over the course of a lifetime, to not educate children. Later, in 1986, the United States implemented the Immigration Reform Act.

The more education anyone receives, the more likely they are to be a positive addition to society as well as a tax-paying citizen. As a tax-paying citizen, they would be contributing to the social security fund as well as paying federal income taxes. Roughly 35% of Hispanic students are earning advanced academic degrees.

These two events have ensured immigrants the right and opportunity to get a higher education, thus enabling them the chance to be a homeowner and to make contributions within their communities.

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Americans became exponentially more security conscience of immigrants. While most of this was directed at Middle Eastern immigrants, it also raised awareness of Latino immigrants and border security became a hot-button issue. From 1994 to 2004 undocumented immigration population doubled to about 12million people. At the same time The Bureau of Justice reports violent crime was down 35% nationally. Other crime statistics seemed to mimic the unemployment numbers in a downward trend. Crime is lowest in the states with the highest number of immigrants. Overall, immigrants are 5 times less likely to be incarcerated.

After researching this material about the contributions made by the Latino community, I am overwhelmed by the positive effects they have on Texas. I personally cannot imagine a week without some Tex-Mex food.

I have to absolutely concur with Mr. Armey. The immigrants today are very similar to my ancestors who came to America generations ago and passed through Ellis Island and the great Statue of Liberty. Both sets of people had dreams to give their families more and better than they could in their homelands. We will always have some slackers in every race, but overall Hispanic immigrants have brought new growth and excitement to Texas.


Project

1. What is your age?

A. 18 – 21                        5

B. 22 – 29                         6

C. 30 – 40                         7

D. over 40                        4

2. What is your education level?

A. High school graduate       2

B. Some college                       7

C. Bachelors degree              10

D. Masters degree or higher  3

3. What is your income per year?

A. $25,000 or less              6

B. $25,000 - $30,000         5

C. $30,000 - $50,000         8

D. $50,000 or higher        3

4. Male or female?                       13 M             9 F

5. Are you generally satisfied with public education?

A. Yes                              15

B. No                               7

6. Over all do you believe public school teachers are academically qualified?

A. Yes                              18

B. No                               4

7. Currently teachers must have a Bachelors degree. Should we require a Masters degree?

A. Yes                              18

B. No                               4

8. Several classes are a great expense to your district. Which would you cut?

A. Breakfast                  10

B. Pre-K                           9

C. Spanish textbooks     3

D. College level classes 0

E. All                               0

F. None                          0

9. Pre-K is already income-based for lower incomes. Should we...

A. Leave it as it is.                  7

B. Open Pre-K to everyone. 10

C. Cut Pre-K.                            3

D. Make everyone pay.         2

10. We know students learn better with proper nutrition, but with budget constraints teachers are being laid off. Your local elementary school has four teachers for each grade with approximately 22 children per class. To save money would you...

A. Cut one teacher and have 29 - 30 children per class.   3

B. Cut breakfast.                                                                        19

11. Your local high school has to cut the budget. Which program should go first?

A. Athletics                                                                      7

B. Arts (Band, choir, art, etc.)                                       10

C. The school police department                                  0

D. An expensive, comprehensive 2-year computer

program class that enrolls 50 kids a year, 95% of

whom have a job within 6 months of completion       5

12. Your town is cutting the school’s budget. Which program should go first?

A. Athletics for all grades                  4

B. Athletics for Junior High only      16

C. Arts                                                    2

D. The school police program           0

13. Students spend the first 12 - 18 weeks relearning what they learned the previous year. Should we have 12 months of school a year?

A. Yes                                        4

B. No                                         17

14. Transportation is a major expense. Should we...

A. Continue as we are.                                  2

B. Have group bus stops every half mile     8

C. Have group bus stops every mile.             7

D. Ask parents to bring children to school.  5

15. College degrees are now taking 5 - 6 years because student s are taking more remedial classes in math, science, and literature. Should schools continue to offer college credit for these classes?

A. Yes                             22

B. No                               0

16. Our school district can set up classes online for families who want to home school. You have access to the teachers’ assignments and curriculum but don’t drive to school or get lunch. This will cut one teaching position per grade for grades 1 - 8 and approximately 6 - 8 positions in high school. Is this a good idea?

A. Yes                              8

B. No                               14

17. The cost of eating lunch at school is $1.25. However, schools offer free and reduced lunches. Should we...

A. Leave it as it is.                                                                                   5

B. Make everyone pay the same.                                                         0

C. Make students that get free or reduced lunches pay 50 cents.12

D. Make students that get free or reduced lunches pay $1.           5

18. In high school athletics most schools provide money for dinner for out of town games, footwear and uniforms. Should student athletes...

A. Pay for everything on their own.  1

B. Pay $50 per person per sport.         9

C. Continue as is.                                  12

19. Schools provide bus transportation to and from athletic events and other school functions. Should we...

A. Let children and parents handle transportation.               5

B. Have families pay $50 per year towards transportation.   11

C. Leave the transportation as it is.                                             6

20. Right now teachers have 24 children per class. Should we raise that number?

A. Yes                              3

B. No                               19

For my survey I chose to do close ended questions. I did this because in open ended questions people tend to stray off topic. instead of having to figure out what their point is, I gave them specific answers to choose from.

I did my survey in an area between several restaurants. The only problem I ran into was actually getting people to take my survey. Going into the restaurant everyone was in a hurry to get seated and eat. Everyone leaving the restaurant was in a hurry to get home and get to bed. I did however find 22 people who felt sorry enough for me to take my survey.

While analyzing the data from my survey, I looked for connections of people making a higher income and their answers, and people making a lower income and their answers. I thought I would find that the people making a higher income would choose to pay for their children's transportation, food, uniforms, shoes, and college classes and that hey would expect everyone to do so as well. I also expected to find that the people making a lower income would want to keep a lot of things the same including free or reduced lunches, free transportation, and uniforms but not everyone answered as I had expected. Most of the people making a higher income were very thoughtful of those that are less fortunate. They chose to keep a lot of things the same so that the less fortunate could still afford for their children to be involved in extracurricular activities. The people with a lower paying income chose to keep extracurricular activities and for the school to pay for uniforms, but they also chose to pay for their children's lunches and some even chose to help pay for transportation.

I also looked for the connection of the answers between males and females. There was one question that stood out to me the most. When asking about home schooling I was sure that more women would think this was a good idea and more men would think it was not a good idea, but the answers of men and women were equal. I think that because women are not just house wife's anymore and they have a full time job, they don't have the time to home school their children and most women would not want to lose the ability to support themselves to become a stay at home mother.  Therefore, most women chose to keep their children in school, and as the supporter of the family most of the males that took my survey chose to do the same thing.

The last thing I looked for was the connection between the answers of higher-educated people to lower-educated people. I thought that the higher-educated people would choose to get rid of extracurricular activities in order to focus more on education, but they found it equally as important to widen children's experience in high school and figure out what they are best at. It was actually the lower-educated people that chose to get rid of extracurricular activities, I think it is because they want their children to work hard in school and get a better education than they did.

Schools having to make budget cuts are very frustrated with federal government mandates that do not include the finances to implement these new mandates. Local school districts prefer local decision making control. They maintain they know what is best for their community. They live and work in their town not the federal government so why would the federal government make these important decisions and not the local school?


Project

A public opinion poll is a mechanism to accumulate individuals’ stands or opinions on a particular subject. The result of the poll can categorize whether the individual is very much for or against the information on the given issue. It was our group’s assignment to select a topic, develop questions around this topic, distribute them and analyze the data for a public opinion poll. At the end of this process our poll results uncovered a lot of shocking and wonderful outcomes about the average American’s daily life.

One of the top ten most important issues to Texas voters is the environment, which I selected as my topic. The environment is a subject that nearly everyone has an opinion or question about that causes it to seem very large. However, I prevented the survey from being too broad by narrowing the topic to popular and simple questions pertaining to the “going green” movement. The types of questions found in the public opinion poll were close-ended (yes or no responses) because separating the participants into different categories needed to be swiftly uncomplicated. These categories are low, moderate and extreme environmentalist. Since the survey consisted of 26 questions, using close-ended questions would help prevent it from seeming overwhelming to the participant. To be more specific, these questions are about the average American’s daily actions, regarding whether they may help our environment grow or lead it towards destruction. I started off by asking the participants basic questions such as what is their gender, sex or political identification. Then I went into more detailed questions such as:  “Do you recycle?” The wording for the questions did not need to be changed because they were easy to understand, leaving no space for interpretation.

The specific questions and responses to each survey question can be found in these two tables

Demographic Table

Age

18-35

36-55

56 and older

43

30

27

Sex

Male

Female

53

47

Are you currently employed?

Yes

No

 

66

34

 

Household income?

$30,000 or less

30,000-$75,000

$75,000 or more

34

30

36

Highest education completed?

None

High School

College

1

47

52

What is your political identification?

Democrat

Republican

Independent

44

32

24

Question Table

Question

Yes

No

Do you recycle?

77

23

Do you carpool?

19

81

Do your ride the bus at least 3 times a week?

19

81

Do you bring your own bag when shopping?

30

70

Do you buy bottled water?

74

26

Do you buy environmentally friendly products?

51

49

Do you buy locally grown items?

48

52

Do you turn of the lights when room is not in use?

92

8

Do you buy florescent light bulbs?

56

44

Do you unplug electronics when not in use?

24

76

Do you use a sprinkler system?

36

64

Do you hand water your yard?

46

54

Do you drive a hybrid vehicle?

17

83

Does your vehicle get less than 25 mpg?

28

72

Do you drive more than 30 miles a day?

51

49

Do you think the government should be more involved in protecting the environment?

63

37

Do you feel like you have an effect on the environment?

73

27

Do you feel that global warming is a real issue?

82

18

Would you support a tax to help protect the environment?

52

48

 

In order to distribute the survey, I went to various malls in the San Antonio area during a 3-day period of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People that were willing to participate were given the written survey and had the opportunity to circle their own answers. Thus I used the method of written in person. The format of my written survey was simple to follow. There were 26 questions, which required the participant to circle an answer. Most of the questions were yes and no, and the remaining questions had three answer selections. I also asked and recorded demographic data such as age, sex, ethnicity, employment status, household income, highest level of education completed, and political identification. I went to different malls in the San Antonio area such as Rolling Oaks, La Cantera, North Star and South Park. The specific time the survey was distributed was from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM or “lunch time.” I continuously approached individuals until 20 people agreed to take the survey. In fact, some individuals approached me, wanting to take the survey out of curiosity. The data was then analyzed and tallied by using a point system. For each positive environmental response a point was given. The total amount of points a person gained separated the participants into three categories: low, moderate and extreme environmental involvement and awareness. 0-6 points indicated low involvement, 7-12 points indicated moderate involvement and 13-19 points indicated extreme involvement.

Some issues were encountered with the distribution of the survey including a large amount of shoppers who refused to take the survey. However, since I set a specific time period to administer the survey I remained patient and calm. Out of those that were willing to take the survey, some refused to answer the question:  “What ethnicity do you define yourself as?” Some of the responses I received were: “Do I have to answer this question or may I select no preference?” The lack of data I collected on this question later caused me to drop that category from the final report. Another problem encountered was the busy flow of mall traffic, which made it difficult to maintain a standard random approach to individuals.

After analyzing and tallying the data, I found several interesting responses. Out of the 100 people surveyed, a surprising 77 people recycle. And during shopping trips, 30% of people bring their own bag. While shopping at a grocery store, 74% buy bottled water. Fewer than 20% of the participants carpool or ride the bus at least three times a week. Even fewer use a hybrid vehicle for their transportation. The majority of the people surveyed do think the government should be more involved in protecting the environment. The majority also agree they have an effect on the environment and feel global warming is a real issue. The most shocking response was half of the survey participants would support a tax to help protect the environment.

Upon analyzing the data more deeply and applying our point system, patterns and interesting results were found. Out of the 100 people surveyed 56 people were considered moderately active and aware environmentalists. The number of people classified as low and extreme environmentalists was roughly the same. I also observed a very strong trend involving party identification. In general, those who labeled themselves as Democrats were more involved and active in the “going green” movement, Independents showed a low concern about the environment, and those who identified as Republicans ranked in the middle of the other two parties in terms of environmental efforts. Not surprising, the data concludes higher educated people are more knowledgeable and active in environmental issues. The most shocking discovery was the extreme trend we found when comparing the environmental involvement of males and females. Unfortunately, 38% of males are classified as low involvement compared to only 11% of females. There are 10% of males classified under extreme involvement compared to 30% of females. Based on the data it’s apparent that females are more concerned about the environment than males are. Slightly surprising is the lack of pattern in environment awareness and activity based upon age. It is interesting to note, I did not find any relationship between a person’s income and their environmental practices and beliefs. In every analysis of the data, 50% or more of the participants ranked in the middle as moderate environmentalists; meaning the majority of participants maintained a middle ground on this environmental issue.

 


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Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   09/13/2017   0130

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