Ideas for Teachers (Links & Critical-Thinking Questions) – December 2016

For further research, please see the links below. Links have been shortened for your convenience. Issue 1: Mandatory Vaccines State Vaccination Exemptions for Children  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention PBS – The Vaccine War (Video)  NBC News – Measles Eliminated in Americas  MIT – Arguments For & Against Mandatory Vaccines Issue 2: Soda Taxes Cato Institute – Ineffectiveness of Soda Taxes  CNN – Berkeley, CA Soda Tax H.R.1687 - SWEET Act  American Beverage Association New York Times – Do Soda Taxes Work? 
Help students develop their critical-thinking skills on legislative issues with these essay questions. Can be used for classroom discussion, essay writing, homework, debate, etc. Issue 1: Mandatory Vaccines
  1. Compare the arguments of those for and against mandatory vaccines. Who is right in your opinion?
  2. Which should come first – individual or collective human rights? Explain your reasoning.
  3. In June 2015, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that revokes parents’ right to skip mandatory vaccines for their children based on religious or personal objections. In your opinion, does this law go too far or do you see the need for it?
  4. Using the “State Vaccination Exemptions for Children” link (above), determine whether your state allows religious, medical and/or philosophical exceptions to mandatory vaccines laws. Do you agree with your state’s position on mandatory vaccines?
  5. Currently, mandatory vaccine laws are left to the states to decide. Should there be a national law for mandatory vaccines? Why or why not?
Issue 2: Soda Taxes
  1. Do you think soda taxes will help reduce obesity in the U.S.? Why are why not?
  2. Do you think these local (city/county) soda taxes will eventually influence governmental policy at a state and/or national level?
  3. Opponents of soda taxes have said they are “nanny-state laws.” This term refers to governmental policies that are overprotective or that unduly interfere with personal choice. Do you agree?
  4. Proponents of soda taxes believe they should be included in the “sin taxes” already in place for alcohol and tobacco. Do you think sin taxes are effective in shaping people’s behavior?
  5. Read the congressional quotes for Issue 2 (soda taxes). Are there any errors in reasoning or biases that influence their positions?