The American Dream
American Problems Unit 1
Short Writing Assignment
Finish these sentences…
America owes me _________ because ____________.
I owe America _____________ because___________.
America was built on ________________________.
The American Dream is ________________________.
What is the American Dream?
American’s hope for a better quality of life and a higher standard of living
than their parents’
Some consider the American dream to be having two children and living in a
perfect house with financial security.
The concept widely held in the United States of America, that through hard
work, courage and determination one can achieve prosperity
Has the Dream Changed over time?
Do people still believe in the American Dream?
New American Dream Study
S Study found while 27.9% of respondents see the American
Dream as retiring at 65 and 18.2% see it as owning a home,
23% view the American Dream as being debt-free.
S At the height of the boom, USA Today published a poll in
which 81% of young adults said getting rich was their top
priority (and 51% gave the same priority to becoming
S When asked what financial goals are most important to
respondents right now, being free of debt/credit card debt
was at the top (33.4% of responses)
American Dream Political
Writing Assignment
In your opinion, is the American Dream still possible for
everyone in the United States? Why?
I believe the American Dream is…
American Dream Songs
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
Glory Days
1.Is this a positive or a negative song? Why?
2.In the song Springsteen mentions two friends. One was
a baseball player and one was a “head turner” back in
high school. Neither of them seems to be living the
American Dream. Why Not?
3. What are some of the factors that could inhibit you
from achieving your American Dream?
The River- Bruce Springsteen
The River
1.What does he mean when he says “when you’re young
they bring you up like your daddy done.”?
2. What happened when he got Mary pregnant?
3. What does he mean when he says “Is a dream a lie if it
don't come true or is it something worse?”
4. Compare and contrast the two Springsteen songs.
American Dream- MKTO
1. What do they think about the American Dream? Prove it.
Is this a positive or negative song about the American
dream? How is their American Dream different from
Explain the words “I don’t want a job I just want a life”.
Eminem- Lose Yourself
The Clean Version!
S http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLYH6rn3adw
S Does he believe he will reach his dream?
S What would he say about a normal “American Dream” life?
S Does this song’s theme have more in common with Bruce
Springsteen or Simon and Garfunkel? Why?
Approaches to understanding
generational differences
• Generational research
– How the particular period in which you
matured influences your beliefs, values,
• Developmental research
– What the effects of growing up within
particular socio-cultural contexts on
psychological, intellectual, and social
Generational research – some
analytic devices
• Demographic research
• Core values
• Seminal (defining) events
• Cultural artifacts
• Heroes
G.I. Generation 1901-1924
(AKA The Greatest Generation)
• Grew up with largest
ever increase in
• Lived through
• Fought WWII
• Started flight to suburbs
What are the Core Values of the
GI Generation
S Humility
S Frugality
S Hard Work
S Duty
S Sacrifice
S Discipline
S Conformity
S Patience
S Trust
S Loyalty
S Courage
The GI Generation
(Greatest Generation)
S http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-
Practice Cartoon Analysis
Cartoon Analysis
Silent Generation 1925-1942
• grew up with war
and depressed
• too young to fight in
• witnessed US assent
to world power
Core Values- Silents
Keepers of the grail
Hard work
Law and order
Respect for Authority
Delayed reward
Duty before pleasure
Adherence to rules
Contributions of the Silent
S Relatively small in comparison
S Fought in Korean War
S Leading Artists
S Came of age in the 1950’s
Boomer Generation 1943-1964
• Grew up with the most
idyllic images of American
family life (Leave it to
• Created counterculture era
of free love
• Witness's to urban riots
and campus unrest
Core Values-Boomers
• Personal growth
• Optimism
• Team orientation • Youth
• Personal
• Work
• Involvement
• Health and wellness
Baby Boomers Start to Retire
S Will potentially cause a major issue when they all retire
S Baby Boomers
Generation X 1964-1981
“It’s no wonder Xers are angst-ridden and
rudderless. They feel America’s greatness has
passed. They got to the cocktail party twenty
minutes too late, and all that is left are those little
wieners and a half-empty bottle of Zima”
From: Dennis Miller, Rants
Generation X 1964-1981
• Grew up with increase
in divorce rates and
single parent families
• Witness to AIDS
• Skyrocketing youth
crime, latchkeys and
unsupervised afternoons
• Labeled “SLACKERS”
What are Latchkey kids?
S Kids who came home from school and there were no
parents to supervise
S Increase in both parents working contributed
S Potential for children to become lonely or fearful
S Also caused self-reliance
Generation X Continued
• Entered the job market when
there were no jobs
• Highest Percentage of Volunteer
• Prefer free agency to corporate
• Started grunge movement
(Nirvana, Pearl Jam, ect.) as well as
hip hop
• Cynical Xers would rather
volunteer than vote
• Famous Xers (Michael Jordan
Mia Hamm, Tiger Woods)
Millennials or Generation Y
Technologically Literate
Very aware of the world
Influenced by 9/11
High (Unreasonable)
Connected to friends in new
Think people care about their
ideas (Twitter/Status Updates)
Millennials Cont.
Less Religious
S One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share
of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29.
Less likely to join the military
S 2% of males-are military veterans. At a comparable stage of their life
cycle, 6% of Gen Xer men, 13% of Baby Boomer men and 24% of
Silent men were veterans.
Expected to become the most educated generation in American history
Among 18 to 24 year olds a record share — 39.6% — was enrolled in
college as of 2008
A few stats
Changing Demographics
In defense of Millennials
S Millennials: We suck and were sorry
Why Are the Millennials So Unhappy?
How To Properly Cite
Your Sources
Why does this matter?
S It is unethical to attempt to pass off someone
else’s ideas as your own
S College Expectations
S You can be expelled!
S It is not really all that hard.
How to do it?
S So you found a picture you want to use
S Congrats
S Feel free to print it off
Make sure you grab the FULL URL of the picture you are going
to use
This will be typed up and put at the bottom of the picture.
S Go to Easybib.com and choose digital image or photograph
and fill out what you know!
How do I cite my description?
S You must rewrite any information you find in your own
words and still cite your sources at the end of the paragraph.
S Example:
Elie Wiesel is a Romanian born writer who is well known for writing the
book Night in 1958. He is a survivor of the Holocaust where he spent
nearly an entire year in Auschwitz concentration camp. He continues to
give lectures describing the horrors of the Holocaust and continues to
make sure that people all over the world remember the evil carried out by
the Nazi regime. (Encyclopedia Britannica Online)
Then I include the full citation in my works cited.
Where should I find this info?
The internet
S Wikipedia is not a source
It is a fantastic starting point
Look for the citations at the bottom
The Arrowhead Library Databases
S ABC-CLIO Database
History stuff!
Actual Books!
S They really do have good stuff in them
Check the Library
A study of issues facing American Schools
What are some issues
facing American
History of Education in the
United States
S 1647 Puritan colonies in Massachusetts decree that any town with
more that 50 people must have an elementary school.
S 1820: First Public High School in US opens in Boston
S 1896: Plessy vs. Ferguson creates legal basis for segregated
schools. “Separate but Equal”
S 1918: Every state requires children to complete Elementary
S 1954: Brown v Board of Education desegregates schools
S Brown v. Board
Education cont.
S 1957: Arkansas Governor uses National Guard to keep
African American students from formally white high
school. President Eisenhower calls in US Army to
enforce Brown v. Board Decision
S Little Rock 9
Statistics on Violence in School.
S In a 2011 nationally representative sample of youth in
grades 9-12:
S 12% reported being in a physical fight on school property in
the 12 months preceding the survey.
S 16% of male students and 7.8% of female students reported
being in a physical fight on school property in the 12 months
preceding the survey.
S 5.9% did not go to school on one or more days in the 30 days
preceding the survey because they felt unsafe at school or on
their way to or from school.
S 5.4% reported carrying a weapon (gun, knife or club) on
school property on one or more days in the 30 days preceding
the survey.
S In a 2011 nationally-representative sample of youth in
grades 9-12:
20.1% reported being bullied on school property in the 12
months preceding the survey; the prevalence was higher among
females (22.0%) than males (18.2%).
S 16.2% reported being bullied electronically (email, chat room,
website, texting) in the 12 months preceding the survey; the
prevalence was higher among females (22.1%) than males
Bullying cont.
S In Wisconsin, school districts must have anti-bullying plans
created with clear consequences for students who are
S In the City of Monona, parents can be fined if their child is
repeatedly bullying.
S In New Jersey, schools must report incidents of bullying and
have a trained anti-bullying staff member at every school.
Mass Shootings
S Columbine High School Shooting
S 13 people are shot and killed
S Virginia Tech
S 32 people are killed in mass shooting on campus
S Newtown Connecticut Elementary School
S 26 are killed at the school
S 20 of which are first graders
How does the US compare in
Student Achievement
S The Education Olympics
S In an international test, American students ranked 25th in
math, 17th in science and 14th in reading.
S The United States is falling behind, especially in Math.