After finishing up the last episode of Breaking Bad Brenda and I applied ourselves to finding another moderate to long-running TV series to binge-watch, two episodes a night. We were looking for another character-based crime drama, though nothing so emotionally stressful as BB. Martin suggested The Wire and we gave it a try. If it had been just me, I would have nixed the show after the first episode.
“What’s going on?”
“What did he say?”
But, as is often the case, three episodes in to this series created by author and former police reporter, David Simon, and we were hooked. Essentially, the show is about life, death, business and politics in neighborhoods that the rest of America would rather pretend aren’t there. In the show, they are “the projects,” “the towers,” “the vacants,” “the east side,” “the west side.”
One of the aspects of The Wire that most impresses me is its portrayal of both good and bad, wisdom and near-sightedness, compassion and cruelty, loyalty and treachery on both sides of the criminal code.
But mostly, it’s about thriving in economically depressed Baltimore in the first years of the 21st century, facing drugs, disease, murder and gangster politics.
And, in season 4, a new evil threat emerges from Eric Overmyer’s scripts, reaffirming the futility of trying to rise out of the streets of east and west Baltimore. You guessed it. It’s the effects of high-stakes testing on the lives of children and their teachers.
I find it interesting that a major network, even if it’s a limited-view premium network like HBO, has placed, along side violence, disease, and dysfunctional government, the debilitating effects of an education system, based increasingly on bubble-sheet compliance.
2/7/13 - Gerry Roe posted a comment to this article, asking for the data source on this infographic. The designer did not include the data, which in my opinion, renders the graphic useless. Ryann has not yet commented below. She's busy with her other job and her graduate work.
I did some googling and found three tables with identical data, but none of those documents sited valid sources. I am leaving the graphic up as an example of the critical importance of the basic literacy practice, "Ask questions about the answers that you find."dfw
Taxes are a constant debate among politics. Everyone wants lower taxes, but few people think about why taxes are necessary. Before you show this infographic, challenge each student to find five unique uses for tax money, and imagine what the world would be like without the government having that money.
This infographic shows that the US and Japan have the highest taxes in the world. Why do these two countries need such high taxes? What do each of the countries listed use their taxes on. What is their national debt like? How did they rack up these debts? Make sure your students understand why taxes are necessary, and brainstorm ways for the government to come up with the necessary funds without taxes.