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Additional Lessons

The Ugly History of Jon Burge

Whenever Chicago Police commander Jon Burge needed a confession, he would walk into the interrogation room and set down a little black box, his alleged victims would later tell prosecutors. The box had two wires and a crank. Burge, they alleged, would attach one wire to the suspect’s handcuffed ankles and the other to his manacled hands. Then, they said, Burge would place a plastic bag over the suspect’s head. Finally, he would crank his little black box and listen to the screams of pain as electricity coursed through the suspect’s body.  

Read more: Washington Post: John Burge costs Chicago $5.5 million

Part I:  Writing a Mission Statement for the Police

1.  Imagine that you are starting a new town.  All of the residents are working on figuring out different aspects of how the town will be governed.  Your class has been assigned to think about the police department.  Organize into groups of 4 to 6 students and write your own mission statement.
2.  Class Discussion: 
  • Is a police department necessary in today's world?  Why or why not?
  • What are the most important functions of the police?
  • Let's look closely at our mission statements.  What similarities do you see?  What words appear in several of the students?  What differences do you see?  What do you think accounts for the differences?
3.  Compare your mission statements with the mission statement of the Chicago Police Department (CPD).  
     The Chicago Police Department, as part of, and empowered by, the community, is committed to protect the lives, property, and rights of all people, to maintain order, and to enforce the law impartially.  We will provide quality police service in partnership with other members of the community.  To fulfill our mission, we will strive to attain the highest degree of ethical behavior and professional conduct at all times.  
  • Read each sentence of the mission statement carefully.  What does each sentence mean to you?
  • How is the CPD mission statement similar to the mission statement you wrote?  How is it different?
  • If you could change one thing in the CPD mission statement, what would it be?  Explain your choice.
4.  Share your changes you would make to the CPD mission statement.   Pay attention to the requirement that CPD administer the law impartially.  Consider the implications of this part of the mission statement in dealing with a diverse community.
5.  Remember history and literature are full of examples of people misusing their power.  Can you think of an example?  The Constitution gives us rights to help ensure that law enforcement and the courts cannot misuse their power.  In the next part of the lesson, you will be introduced to these rights.
Part II:  Balancing Act
1.  The Constitution protects a number of rights that help balance the power of the police.  Understanding these rights, often called the rights of the accused, can be very important in dealing with law enforcement.  Define the rights of the accused.  
2.  Why you find out that someone has been arrested and accused of a crime, what do you think about that person?  Do you say to yourself, "I think that person is guilty" or "I think that person may be innocent"? Think of the some of the causes or reasons for your assumptions.  
3.  Remember the justice system in the United States is based in the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty.  To be sure that people are treated as though they were innocent until proven guilty, the Bill of Rights includes guarantees that ensure what is called due process under law.  Due process means the government must use fair procedures to determine guilt.  These ideas are protections against the government being able to abuse power.
4.  Review as a class  This Nation: Rights of the Accused.  We will clarify any words you may not be familiar with.  
5.  Write a brief letter to a city decision maker explaining two ideas from this lesson that they think prospective police officers should learn about at the police academy and why those ideas are important for the police officers to understand.
6.  Share your letter with your groups from the first part of this lesson.
7.  Look up the appropriate address and mail it! 

What is My Heritage?  Report

Download the What is My Heritage Report - Gilded History.doc (Unit Assessment) a complete packet with individual assignments and grading rubric for final copy of What is My Heritage? Report

What is My Heritage? Report  Due Dates:

  • Wednesday/Thursday of October 10th & 14th - What is My Heritage? Report - Family Tree 
  • Wednesday/Thursday of October 15th & 16th - What is My Heritage? Report - The Checklist 
  • Thursday/Friday of October 23 & 24 - What is My Heritage? Report - The Graphic Organizer 
  • Thursday/Friday of November 6th & 10th - Final Copy of What is My Heritage Report? 
Iron Curtain (Mini-Russian History
Read p.23-29 in your new All The People mini-book and answer the Iron Curtain (Mini-Russian History) questions below in your COMP books: 

1. What does the United States spend money on to prove it was mightier than the Soviet Union?
2. Where does Russian word tsar come from? 
3. Who led the 1st Russian Revolution in 1917?  HINT:  Before Vladimir Lenin (image to the left) and the Bolsheviks take power. 
4. What was the likely fate of Russians who questioned or opposed Lenin or Stalin?
5. Most credit the creation of communism to what 19th century thinker?  What was his opinion of capitalism?
6. What did Winston Churchill mean by, " iron curtain has descended across the Continent?"
7. Who was the president of Yugoslavia after World War II?
8. How did President Harry S. Truman attempt to stop the spread of Soviet Russia and communism?

Our Monetary System (lesson designed by Gabe Tavas)

What would happen if the Federal Reserve was shut down permanently?  That is a question that CNBC asked recently, but unfortunately most Americans don't really think about the Fed much. Most Americans are content with believing that the Federal Reserve is just another stuffy government agency that sets our interest rates and that is watching out for the best interests of the American people.  But that is not the case at all.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel that has been designed to systematically destroy the value of our currency, drain the wealth of the American public and enslave the federal government to perpetually expanding debt.  During this election year, the economy is the number one issue that voters are concerned about.  But instead of endlessly blaming both political parties, the truth is that most of the blame should be placed at the feet of the Federal Reserve.  

The Federal Reserve has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does.  The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, the Federal Reserve sets the interest rates and the Federal Reserve hands out bailouts to the big banks that absolutely dwarf anything that Congress ever did.  If the American people are ever going to learn what is really going on with our economy, then it is absolutely imperative that they get educated about the Federal Reserve.  Read more in Step 1.  

Step 1:  Read the following articles before class (homework).  Be prepared to ask questions and discuss in an open forum:   Economic Collapse: 10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve and US Economy - What Was The Great Depression of 1929?

Step 2:  Discuss with a peer the top 3 reasons how the privatization of the federal reserve could be highly controversial and destructive to our economic stability and your future as a young adult.

Step 3:  Gabe Tavas will present:  Prezi: Our Monetary System

Step 4:  How many Congressmen are aware of our current monetary system? Do you believe our Congressmen are willing to acknowledge and confront the problems that exist around this monetary system?  How does this system connect all of the dots to what we have learned in modern history?

Step 5:  What does this mean to our national debt clock?  US Debt Clock

BONUS:  When did this monetary system start?  HINT: Try this A HISTORY OF CENTRAL BANKING IN THE UNITED STATES

Takeaway questions for your parents:   What is the difference between currency and money?  What do the banks with your personal savings?  What impact will this have on your retirement savings?  Have you ever tried to refinance your mortgage?   

Need more evidence?  

  • Federal Reserve Act Section 7. Division of Earnings: "In General. After all necessary expenses of a Federal reserve bank have been paid or provided for, the stockholders of the bank shall be entitled to receive an annual dividend of 6 percent on paid-in capital stock."