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Opposing Viewpoints

The limits that have been placed in this world, as far as are placed boundaries that have always been in place on the world, as far as media, communication and entertainment are concerned, are slowly lifting away. We now have the freedom to believe, think and say what we want. However, don’t you think there are some things that should be left unsaid? This is where the question about media censorship comes in; it is when things that are allowed to be published, televised or broadcasted are monitored by the government. This is done for various reasons, including the prevention of negative propaganda to spread. Though it is said to be implemented for good reasons, there are still many people saying contradicting opinions. Let us look at the pros and cons of media censorship to have a well-informed insight about this matter.

List of Pros of Media Censorship

1. It helps save the children from violence.
Censoring extreme violent material is beneficial, particularly among children. With the access to all sorts of media made easier these days, younger generations can easily fall prey to this sort of content. Thus, censorship would allow them to use the web or watch TV without worrying about their minds being corrupted.

2. It keeps the negative impact of sex materials away from children.
Sex is a serious topic that creates turmoil among people. Sexual acts, especially porn, would sometimes illustrate many unnatural and disturbing videos. It will likely have a negative impact on children who might think it to be true. Hence, this topic, along with violence, should be restricted to people who appreciate and understand that all of those are deliberately produced, in this case, adults.

3. It limits harmful advertisements.
It is understandable that product or service advertisements that are harmful to a person’s health are to be censored or, rather, limited. This will help prevent epidemics, such as alcohol addiction and obesity, which are increasingly becoming a concern for the population.

4. It helps protect personal security.
Sometimes, the First Amendment or Freedom of Speech threatens a person’s or a place’s security because of the fine details the media may provide. As information is, somehow, limited with media censorship, threats can be lessened and people are informed of things when they should be. This means chaos and panic would not ensue.

Another interesting argument regarding this matter is protection of secrets. Ignorance is bliss is certainly true here, considering that it is in the best interest of a country that its strategies are kept confidential. Sometimes, we just need to trust our government blindly.

5. It helps control hate.
By controlling the media, the government can also control prejudice, racism and untrue slandering of certain individuals, which might involve races, religions, companies and other countries.

6. It necessitates regulation.
Many proponents of internet censorship think that it allows for regulation of mass media, which is important to authority. Some even feel that not implementing regulations could have very detrimental effect on the society at certain levels. Some of the benefits of internet regulation to society are lessening the spread of drug cartels and keeping the exploitation of children to a minimum.

Internet censorship is seen as a form of control, and all other forms of mass media, including TV and radio, have specific administrative controls and regulations in place, which means that the web should be no different. It is important to note that regulations can lead to more order, which is the ultimate goal of internet censorship.

List of Cons of Media Censorship

1. It keeps the ignorant, ignorant.
If the government is put in control of what people are allowed to tune into, there is the tendency that things, which can expose corruption within the system, could not be viewed. This is an exploitable way to damage the people of a country.

2. It violates the First Amendment.
Freedom of speech and press is implemented for a reason—it is what the US was formed around. And, putting into effect an excessive amount of media censorship can infringe on this on this basic right of the people. Also, censorship is believed to negate the First Amendment. What would be the point of your right to speak when there is nobody listening to what you are talking about? The very concept of censorship is believed to clash with the idea of democracy. By covering the ears of listeners, then democracy and dictatorship would be no different.

3. It encourages ulterior motives.
As previously stated, placing the government in charge of what can be shown on the media can be risky. Considering that many politicians might be aligned with brands or companies, they may only allow these affiliates to advertise. They may also not allow anything negative to come out about these brands, no matter how true it is.

4. It hinders sex education and awareness.
Though taboo, sex and other delicate matters should still be dealt with maturity. Sex education and awareness of AIDS and STDs need to be spread in many countries, and it is unwise to brush these pressing topics under the carpet as taboo. The question here is what to show or not.

5. It violates website owners’ legal rights to make their information accessible.
Some owners of websites that are censored would possibly sue the government for keeping their online information from being accessible to their target audience. Though not a common situation, but it is a possibility among site owners if their content is being strictly regulated. This shows that regulations can be unnecessary and unlawful.

Conclusion

The media is like a very powerful weapon. If used properly, it can provide society with great benefits, but if used in negative ways, it can destroy. In a modern world where information can spread like wildfires, it is certainly not a bad thing to monitor or limit the types of things being spread, but there are also many cases where it can be irrational. Now, you can probably see that this debate can be a matter of belief. No matter what, censorship should come with rationale.

Passed in the early 1970s, the Endangered Species Act encompasses several different environmental laws in the US. It was signed into law by Former President Richard Nixon, whose primary objective was to stop many endangered species from being extinct using whatever means necessary. Because it is placed to protect certain animals that are nearing extinction on our planet, it will make people who harm or kill them a felon. While the law has been highly successful in the revival of some creatures, like the bald eagle, it has also been receiving a bit of heat from private land owners and ranchers all over the country. Here are the pros and cons of the Endangered Species Act:

List of Pros of the Endangered Species Act

1. It raises environmental awareness.
One of the greatest impacts this law has had on society is the level of awareness that has been raised for animal species. Once animals are gone, they cannot be brought back. To stop this from happening, education is our best weapon. This law forces people to be aware of the environment and help naturally protect it. Actually, it has undergone several changes so that it can effectively protect our ecosystem and ensure endangered or threatened species to recover their numbers despite being at the brink of extinction at certain times.

2. It helps protects the environment.
When certain animal species are listed as endangered, it automatically becomes a crime to harm them and even the habitat they are living in. This means the law is protecting the environment, while protecting the animals.

3. It creates a sense of order to the environment.
Truth is, some people have no problem hunting down and killing endangered species, and what’s worse, they sometimes do it for amusement. On the other hand, there are also people who may not use the environment at all and just stay at home all the time. What this law does is provide everybody a fair chance to enjoy the environment, while still providing a sense of order to keep threatened animals protected.

4. It involves set-up regulations.
Having a guide in preserving animal species is one of the greatest pros of the Endangered Species Act. The pursuit of keeping endangered species’ alive is firmly established with the aid of included regulations. This means that, whenever a hunt or capture of any endangered animal is reported, action can be taken instantly.

5. It invokes a sense of pride.
Aside from the preservation of animals and nature, this law also provides a wide variety of new wildlife parks that people can visit. This allows us to go and see the animals that are being protected in their natural habitat and feel proud that we are making it possible.

6. It really helps revive dwindling species.
The Endangered Species Act has been successful in increasing the number of species that are considered as being on the brink of extinction. After all, this is the largest pro of this law and also its main goal.

7. It brings about a sense of personal ownership.
Everyone in the US has had some skin in the efforts of environmental protection thanks to this law. Practically, this means that people can go to natural areas and see native wildlife in their habitat.

List of Cons of the Endangered Species Act

1. It is very strict.
The Endangered Species Act is extremely strict in terms of preserving all species. Many people even argue that other considerations should be taken into account before we make extreme decisions.

2. It offers no variations or options for us to take.
There is very little flexibility built into the law. This means that it can affect more than just local populations and businesses; it could also impact land management, tourism and even the lives of the protected animals.

3. It interferes with the sometimes-needed economic benefits.
The law puts a higher priority on the life of animals in their natural habitats than the immediate needs humans may have. For example, if a community needs affordable housing to be developed in an empty land, it cannot happen is such a law is present.

4. It implements extreme land restrictions.
As a country, the US is continuing to develop at a very rapid rate. And in order to continue such development, we must have sufficient land to build on. However, this act places restrictions on many areas, which can hinder business growth.

5. It requires high costs.
Implementing many of the laws and doing the necessary research can cost extremely high. Certain things, such as land surveying, law enforcement and security, are all on-going costs that must be taken on by those who pay taxes.

6. Its recovery rate is slow.
While the Endangered Species Act is considered a success in general, many people are still wondering how useful it really is. Of all the animals on the endangered species list, it is revealed that only about a fourth of their numbers have been delisted. This perceived lack of progress is making many people want to consider alternatives.

7. It saves endangered animals that may be dangerous.
You should know that not all animals are harmless, friendly and safe, and there is a number of species on the endangered list that are capable of causing severe harm and even death to humans. Plus, these creatures represent a threat to livestock and various businesses that are near them. Ranchers and private land owners, in particular, are struggling to manage these animals because there may be strict penalties if they are killed.

Conclusion

The Endangered Species Act was put into affect with truthful and pure intentions of saving the world’s animals. It has been highly successful in many cases and has continued to work on protecting nature and its beauty. However, based on the pros and cons presented above, is it really the right law to implement to manage and take care of the animal populations? By weighing them down, you can informatively determine the right path to take.

As the US economy tanked, the banks have been bailing out and the country losing its jobs, its military spending has continued to grow. For the past years, it is recorded to have increased more than 100%, which is very high compared to the height of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the Cold War. The money allocated for the defense budget is used to purchase sophisticated weapons that often do not make it into production, but when they do, they are just too expensive to maintain. This means the US has been maintaining its spending a full 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) just to maintain its arsenal.

However, military spending has become a hot topic during debates in many years now, where some people suggest of cutting it, while others are okay with increasing it. To come up with a good decision on our end for this matter, let us take a look at its pros and cons.

List of Pros of Military Spending

1. It is used for important military matters.
The US military budget is the portion of the country’s discretionary federal budget that is allocated to the Department of Defense or, more generally, the portion of the budget that is allocated to any expenditure related to the military. It is used to pay the training, health care and salaries of civilian and uniformed personnel; maintain arms, equipment and facilities; to fund operations; and to develop and buy new equipment. It funds all of the country’ military branches, such as the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.

2. It allocates a certain amount for emergency and supplemental spending.
The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were largely financed through supplementary spending bills that are outside the federal budget and are also not included in the military budget figures. But since the fiscal year of 2010, the wars in these countries were put under the “Overseas Contingency Operations” category, making the budget for them included in the federal budget.

3. It is useful in deterring foreign threats.
Even though the Cold War is over and the threat from the Soviet Union is already eliminated, the country is still facing threats from smaller rogue nations, such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Cuba, Syria and Sudan.

4. It makes military preparation efficient.
It is critical to keep the military forces ready to fight and quickly win. The fund is used for this purpose, especially for major regional wars that could happen at the same time. Remember that readiness will decline if funds are not increased for training and equipment.

5. It supports peacekeeping in foreign regions.
There are several long-term demands on US troops from other regions, such as for peacekeeping in the Balkans for example.

6. It prevents recruitment and retention issues.
The armed services in the country have been facing problems with the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel due to low benefits and pays. This can be avoided with sufficient budget for the military.

7. It can keep defense factories operational.
Increasing military spending will enable struggling defense contractors to keep their factories operational and retain jobs at military bases.

8. It is spent to ensure national security.
The last on the “pros” list, but obviously one of the most important, military spending is done to make national security a priority.

List of Cons of Military Spending

For the opponents, they also have several reasons why we should not put too much focus on military spending, even suggesting cuts. Here are them:

1. Its share to global military spending is already too big.
Though the US’s military spending has declined since 1989, its share of total worldwide military spending has increased greatly. In fact, the country’s military spending and its allies’ account for more than half of the total amount worldwide. Moreover, the US spends 18 times the combined military budgets of the rogue nations.

2. It is used to fund unrealistic wars.
As opponents said, the current 2-war strategy is unrealistic, considering that the country is fighting two simultaneous wars with no help from the allies.

3. It may support the rhetoric about readiness that may not reflect reality accurately.
The fact that the country’s forces were overwhelmingly superior to its oppositions in the Iraq and Yugoslavia wars seems to contradict the idea that they might not be ready.

4. It is not balanced with foreign aid and diplomacy.
If foreign aid and diplomacy budgets were more balanced with military spending, there would be a better chance to prevent conflict and avoid military involvement. Also, let us remember that national security means more than military power. So, to sustain a secure nation, federal spending must be balanced among military defense, economic security, healthcare, education and job training.

5. It might be used irresponsibly.
Enlisted men and women who are having difficulties in supporting their families should receive a fair wage, adequate healthcare and housing. Financial support would be available for these needs if the country’s military authority improved the way it manages its funds to reduce fraud, waste and abuse.

Conclusion

Military budgets are only one of the many gauges of military power. Their spending adequacy depends on the capability and number of the country’s adversaries, how well it invests its funds and its objectives, among other factors. Now, policymakers have been debating whether the level of military spending is appropriate, considering the increasingly constrained budgets and the winding down of wars in other countries. This fiscal year of 2015, military spending is projected to account for 54% of all the country’s federal discretionary spending, which has a total of USD598.5 billion. It is created to cover a range of areas, including all Department of Defense’s regular activities, nuclear weapons spending, war spending, international military assistance and other expenditures related to the Pentagon.

Taking all the context of this article into consideration, are you a supporter or an opponent of military spending?

Real-estate mogul Donald Trump makes the news for a variety of reasons, but his latest foray into the headlines cost him relationships with Univision, NBC and Macy’s.

Trump is running for president of the United States in the 2016 elections and his apparent way of wooing voters is by vilifying illegal immigrants. He called them rapists and drug criminals. Then again, this wasn’t the only time Trump has said words against undocumented immigrants.

In a March 25, 2015 interview with Iowa-based conservative podcast host Steve Deace, Trump referred to illegal immigrants as “destroying America”: “People are flowing into this country by the millions, not by the thousands, by the millions, and destroying the fabric of the country.”

Apparently, the man has been doing it for quite some time and it’s just now that people are taking notice.

As you can see, illegal immigration is such a conscientious topic – anywhere. But maybe most particularly significant in big nations like the US with thousands upon thousands of undocumented immigrants coming from not just close to their borders but from other countries as well.

In November 2014, US President Barack Obama announced that he will be granting temporary legal status and work permits for close to five million illegal immigrants. However, the deal is only applicable to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the country for at least five years. It asks them to register, pass a background check and be granted a stay of deportation and a work permit valid for at least three years.

A lot, particularly Republicans, did not agree at all with the decision. For President Obama, the action was necessary to address the immigration issue in the US. In addition, Obama reached a decision as Republican lawmakers refused to pass an immigration bill that he favored.

The Senate – which is led by Democrats – passed a bill in 2013 that would grant long-term pathway to citizenship for most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in America.

The decision was not met with applause unlike the recent decision to legalize gay marriage across America. Even those who are immigration reform advocates didn’t quite like the decision as they felt more could be done. For Wilfredo Seda, a radio host and immigration activist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania: “This will impact less than half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here right now. By ignoring that many people, we are still leaving most people in the shadows.”

So what are people in favor of and against with this amnesty for illegal immigrants?

List of Pros of Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

1. It helps contribute to the economy.
Illegal immigrants don’t contribute to the economy even if they work. That is because their pay isn’t taxed because they don’t have the legal right to work in the US. In essence, there are millions of dollars that goes unpaid in income taxes each year. With the amnesty program, unauthorized immigrants would be recognized and hence, their pay will be considered as legal income and can be taxed.

2. It can result in a stronger nation.
Illegal immigrants don’t feel as part of the nation because of their status. They are always left out in terms of benefits and such. By lifting them to legal status, they might be a bridge towards building a stronger America.

3. It gives people a second chance.
They may have committed a crime by coming to the US without consent, but amnestying them would allow them a new start – not in hiding anymore. As some say, when people are given a second chance, they can do great things.

List of Cons of Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

1. It encourages more illegal immigration.
In February 2015, Judge Andrew S Hannen rejected an argument raised by Texas in trying to establish legal standing. The state showed that the amnesty policies of President Obama would cause an increase of illegal residents and would also put a dent on state coffers as a result.

The state of Texas even included a written testimony from Karl Eschbach, a Harvard Ph.D. who was a former demographer for the state as well as an expert in racial demographic trends, ethnic health disparities and illegal immigration, but that didn’t even help their cause. Texas has been paying out close to $1.7 billion in the last two years in uncompensated health care associated with illegal residents.

In the testimony, Eschbach noted that amnesty policies “encourage those eligible [for it] to stay in the United States and incentivize other ineligible unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States with the hope that they will be the beneficiaries of a future adjustment of status.” He added, “the effect of DACA and DAPA is to incentivize residents of other countries to come to the United States.”

This isn’t just speculation though, it has happened.

The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act is a legislative proposal for undocumented US immigrants that would grant them conditional residency and when they meet further qualification, permanent residency. In June 2012, Obama suspended enforcement action against Dreamers. Within three months, 150,000 teenagers and families from Central America crossed across the border.

2. It erases the fact that people broke the law.
While advocates do feel for the plight of those who want to hopefully better their lives by immigrating to the US, it also doesn’t change the fact that they broke immigration laws. Everything that has been proposed absolves unauthorized immigrants of their sins – basically, the slate is wiped clean.

With the latest amnesty for illegal immigrants, Obama has seemed to forget what he said in the past. For some time, he has pleaded for relief for the young ones who were unknowingly brought into the country by their parents. For the president, the children “often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license or a college scholarship.” The message at that time was: don’t blame the children for the faults of their parents. However, fast forward to 2014 and the policy Obama has put in place exempts the parents from their wrongdoing.

3. It is costly.
Let’s face it, not everyone who illegally migrate ends up being wealthy. Most of the time, they end up poor and employed in low-income jobs because of their status. Amnestying them would mean they would qualify for means-tested social programs. Data shows that 41% of net growth in the Medicaid population between 2011 and 2013 were made up of immigrants and their children. By legalizing millions more, programs such as Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers and food stamps will grow astoundingly.

Put simply, immigration policy in the US has increased the number of poor people living in the US dramatically.

Geothermal energy is really beneficial, offering people the ability to tap into the Earth for a renewable source of power. Once it was discovered, it became a revolutionary energy solution that quickly spread from one corner of the globe to the other. But as with any other power-generating solution, you might want to take a look at the upsides and downsides geothermal energy brings if you are thinking of using it for your home. So, to help you with coming up with a well-informed decision, we have gathered some answers to a probable question that is running inside your mind, “What are the advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy?”

List of the Advantages of Geothermal Energy

1. It is renewable.
This is probably the biggest advantage of geothermal energy—being renewable. This means that as long as we do not pump too much cold water into the Earth, which can cool off hot rocks, such energy will just keep on coming.

2. It allows for direct use.
Since the old times, we have been using this energy source for heating our homes, taking a bath, preparing our food and, today, heating directly our offices. This has made geothermal energy more affordable for everyone. Though the initial investment you have to make is quite high, you will enjoy huge cost savings in the long run.

3. It causes no pollution.
Another great advantage of using geothermal energy is that it does not produce any type of pollution. At the same time, it does not contribute to the worsening greenhouse effects.

4. Its set-up just requires less area.
Power stations that generate geothermal energy do not take up a whole bunch of room. Because of this, they tend to have less of an impact on their locations’ surroundings and the environment.

5. It does not require external power sources.
Due to the fact that geothermal energy is already energy in itself, it does not require an outside source of fuel to keep its power houses running.

6. It reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
According to expert observations, dependence on fossil fuels dropped with the rise in the use of geothermal energy. With the sky-rocketing oil prices, more and more countries are now pushing businesses and organizations to adopt such a clean source of energy. Also, it is important to note that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases that are the main cause of global warming.

7. It creates more job opportunities.
Considering that governments of various nations are now investing hugely in geothermal energy generation, more jobs for the people in the locality are also created.

8. It is economical.
Efficiency of geothermal energy even offers a more exciting benefit to the frugal homeowner. By building a geothermal power station, the energy you can use is nearly, free! While it may require a little amount of power to run its pump, you can just tap into the existing energy to handle the task.

9. It offers significant cost saving.
Somehow related to the previous advantage, geothermal energy generally involves low-running costs, since it is capable of saving 80% of the costs needed to make use of fossil fuels and it needs no fuel to generate power. Also, the costs of purchasing, transporting and cleaning up plants are quite low.

List of the Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy

1. Its plant cannot be set up anywhere.
Perhaps the biggest downside of geothermal energy is that you just cannot set up its power station anywhere you want. First, you will need a location that has the right kind of hot rocks. Remember that not just any kind of hot rocks will do, since some of them are just too strong to drill through. These rocks also need to be within a reasonable depth to make drilling a feasible option. The most efficient place to have a geothermal plant constructed is a volcanic area.

2. It requires high installation costs.
To generate geothermal energy, installation of power plants that gather steam from deep within the earth is needed, which also require a huge one-time investment. In addition, electricity towers are needed to be set up to move the power generated from the plant to the consumers.

3. Its sources are not widespread.
Since geothermal energy is not widely used, the unavailability of infrastructure, equipment, staff, and training poses a hindrance to the installation of plants across the planet. This is not the only problem facing geothermal energy, but also the insufficient skilled manpower and availability of suitable locations.

4. Its sources might deplete.
In some cases, geothermal sites might, well, literally run out of steam, and when this happens, the dry spell may last for very long periods, such as decades.

5. It poses potential hazards.
When you are drilling into the earth and letting steam escape, other not-so-friendly things might escape as well. Hazardous minerals and gases can seep up from beneath the ground, and finding a solution to dispose of them safely may prove highly dangerous and difficult.

6. Its transportation processes are not that easy.
Put in mind that geothermal energy cannot be easily transported. Once we extract the tapped energy, the power can only be used in the surrounding areas, unlike other sources of energy, such as oil, coal and wood, which can be transported to residential areas.

Conclusion

So, when the time comes that you are considering making an energy change at home, it is important to weigh down the advantages and disadvantages that come with your decision. For geothermal energy, just like any other form of power-generation technology, it does not only bring about many benefits, but also drawbacks. If you live in a place where it is a viable solution, consider getting in touch with a geothermal site builder for some consultation. As an expert in the trade, he will be able to offer you a more thorough explanation of the benefits, risks and other important information behind geothermal efficiency and what this energy source can do for you.

In a pass fail grading system, students receive either a pass or fail mark, instead of the traditional letter or number grade. This is considered advantageous to both the students and faculty since the level of assessment is only limited to 2 options — a passing or failing grade. Students who receive a C or higher will typically pass, while those who get a D or F will fail. In some cases, only an F is considered a failing mark. With just two grades to consider, teachers will have fewer options to choose from when evaluating a student’s performance.

Students, on the other hand, will get the education that they need without the added stress and pressure of competing for higher grades. According to a testimony of a Yale student, which was posted on the school’s website, “Yale allows you to make your education truly yours without worrying about grade competition”.

Since the 1960’s, Yale has adopted the pass-fail system. Harvard and Stanford only followed suit during the early part of the 21st century.

In a study conducted through the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, evidence showed that the pass fail grading system has a positive impact on the mood, stress, test anxiety and group cohesion among medical students. Research showed that students graded through this system have less perceived stress and have greater group cohesion than those students who were graded through the previous 5-interval grading system. In terms of mood, however, the difference between the two groups is not that significant. In conclusion, the pass fail system reduces stress and increases group cohesion.

While the pass fail grading system has its advantages, many of its opponents have something negative to say about it.

List of Pros of Pass Fail Grading System

1. Takes pressure off students at certain levels
In a pass-fail grading system, a student’s actual scores are not reported on the transcript, which means their GPA will not be affected with either a pass or fail mark. This spares students from obsessing about getting a high letter grade, allowing them to relax, while still getting the education necessary for them to land a good job and mold them to become responsible citizens. What is even better is that they will receive credit for the course. Without the worries that come with scoring an A, students may even be encouraged to enroll in more challenging courses that they would have avoided with the traditional letter grading system in place.

2. Give students a clear cut idea of their weaknesses and strengths
Knowing exactly which subject(s) that they fail in, students will easily determine where to switch their focus on. In a letter grade system, they would be wondering whether to study on areas where they are performing so-so (grade of a C) or concentrate all their efforts on where they are likely to fail (grade of a D). Seeing evidence of their competency in certain subjects, students will also learn early on which degree would have a positive effect on their job placement in the future. Chances of being employed would not be solely dependent on their GPA as well.

3. Make class work easier
Without emphasis on achieving a high tier grade, students can focus on true information retention rather than just focus on specific details that will help them receive a C or higher. In a pass fail grading system, knowing generalized amount of information is often enough to achieve a passing grade, so there’s no need to cram for tests just to remember specific data.

4. Lead to better engagement
Classes or courses that are often difficult are best taken as pass fail, as this allows students to engage with the difficult content in a way that is suitable for them. They will have an easier time to learn the difficult concepts, and have an opportunity to excel.

List of Cons of Pass Fail Grading System

1. Eliminates competitiveness
When all that is required of you is a passing mark, you would not find the urgency or the need to work hard to get a higher grade. An A, after all, indicates your best performance, which is far from what an F represents. But without such distinction, you will be satisfied with just satisfactory or good enough. This will result in you becoming lazy and less focused. The same thing could be true with the rest of the student population.

When laziness becomes habitual due to the lack of competitiveness, future performance of students will be affected up to the point when they are already working. Under the circumstances, the pass fail system proves to be a failure.

2. Doesn’t provide accurate representation of performance level and knowledge
So a student passed, but how well exactly did he do in his exam? So-so may be enough in a classroom setting, but not in the real world. If a student failed, how bad did he do, really? Without an accurate representation that a traditional letter grading system provides, there is no easy way of knowing a student’s level of performance and knowledge. The teacher might know, but the student won’t, unless he bothers to ask.

3. Conversion to exact scoring is not possible
Say you worked hard to recover from a failing mark and successfully got a passing score. With a pass fail grading system, you can’t determine if you got an A or a C for all your efforts, which would have made a huge difference in your sense of achievement. An A or a C makes no difference in a pass fail system.

4. Lack of incentives
Proponents of the traditional letter grading system believe that every letter is an incentive to do good, better or best. Knowing they get a B could prompt students to exert extra effort to get an A. After all, they are just one step closer to getting the highest mark. By taking this away, however, students will not have that extra incentive to do well. This is why proponents blame pass fail in the increasing number of students who are mediocre and lazy.

Knowing the pros and cons, can you say that the pass fail grading system is a pass or a failure?

A flat tax system is where ALL taxpayers – regardless of income – pay the same tax rate. Having everyone pay the same rate no matter how much they make stirs debate between those who are in support of it and those who are against it. Supporters argue that the system is fair while those who don’t find it an unpleasant situation especially for the lower income class.

While the US adopts a progressive tax system, there are other countries in the world who have imposed a flat tax rate system on both individuals and businesses. The results? Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have all experienced economic growth since switching to the system.

Estonia adopted the system in 1994 and put a 26% tax on both personal and corporate income. The country experienced an 11.7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 1997 which continuously grew between 7 and 10 percent throughout the early 2000s. Then again, other factors contributed to the case as well.

But an article by Josh Barro in Bloomberg View in 2013 will argue otherwise. In it was detailed the exit of several central and eastern Europena countries from flat-rate income taxes. The Czech Republic and Slovakia changed theirs to a progressive system. Barro wrote: “Even the poster child for flat-tax fans, Estonia, isn’t looking so hot. Since the 2008 crash, Estonia has resolutely kept its flat tax and signed up for severe fiscal and monetary austerity, even joining the Euro area. Its economy has strongly rebounded since 2010, but only after an extremely hard crash has left its gross domestic product still below its 2007 peak.”

Even more recently, Senator Rand Paul, in an article on The Wall Street Journal, suggested a flat tax rate system for the US. Rand is of course a candidate in the 2016 US Presidential Elections and this is his ticket he hopes would take him to the White House. In his plan, the following would be implemented:

replacement of complicated personal income tax with a 14.5% flat tax.
replacement of complicated corporate taxes with a new 14.5% value-added tax.
elimination of payroll tax.
elimination of estate and gift taxes.
elimination of excises and tariffs.
elimination of most credits, deductions and loopholes.
elimination of most double-taxation of income.
elimination of much of the IRS.

The plan is hedged on the GOP’s three goals of tax reform: simplicity, fairness and growth. Paul’s plan does make things simpler and could do very well on growth. However, it’s still rather vulnerable when it comes to fairness.

According to the Tax Foundation, the Paul Plan can increase gross domestic product a full percent each year. Based on static analysis, the plan would raise the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years.

While some agree that the plan looks good (even conservative pundit Glenn Beck called the plan “erotic”), there are several downsides to it as well. For one, it looks to favor the wealthy – even if it would increase income for everyone in the income scale – as they look to get the biggest gains out of it.

Arguments the Paul Plan mention that it’s not a true flat system as it still preserves several loopholes and exemptions such as the charitable deduction, mortgage-interest deduction, child credit, earned-income credit and tax exclusion for workplace health benefits.

Another argument for the Paul Plan is the system won’t likely stay flat. After all, some countries in Europe have opted out of it when they got into trouble. Just take a look at the tax reforms implemented during Reagan’s time – Reaganomics if you will. It limited taxes on the wealthy on the belief that it would “trickle down” to the lower-income class. While it did partly improve the economy, that system didn’t last long – just four years. And what happened then? The US diverted back to the really sad system that Reaganomics replaced.

The idea of flat tax in the UK has also been thrown around. George Osborne cited Estonia as economies with “lessons we can learn from.” But he also admitted it wasn’t a popular choice for “mature economies.” But just like anywhere else, the idea had dissenters too. Robert Halfon called the measure “deeply regressive and would be hard to defend as fair.”

So, what is it exactly? Is there more harm than good of implementing a flat rate tax system? Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument:

List of Pros of Flat Tax

1. It is fairly simple
Let’s take the US tax bracket as an example. For taxes filed on April 15, 2015, these were the tax rates:

Tax Rate Single filers Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower Married filing separately Head of household
10% Up to $9,075 Up to $18.510 Up to $9,075 Up to $12,950
15% $9,076 to $36,900 $18,151 to $73,800 $9,076 to $36,900 $12,951 to $49,400
25% $36,901 to $89,350 $73,801 to $148,850 $36,901 to $74,425 $49,401 to $127,550
28% $89,351 to $186,350 $148,851 to $226,850 $74,426 to $113,425 $127,551 to $206,600
33% $186,351 to $405,100 $226,851 to $405,100 $113,426 to $202,550 $206,601 to $405,100
35% $405,101 to $406,750 $405,101 to $457,600 $202,551 to $228,800 $405,101 to $432,200
39.6% $406,751 or more $457,601 or more $228,801 or more $432,201 or more

 

What happens then with these brackets when a flat tax is implemented? Eliminated and replaced with just one rate for everyone. It wouldn’t give tax filers a hard time and those at the IRS would welcome the easy computation. Flat rate taxes only one income and that makes it easier to understand and report.

2. It provides a cost benefit for taxpayers
The financial cost of complying with regulations set by the IRS is high. For one, taxpayers may need lawyers, accountants and other resources. That can be eliminated with the implementation of a flat system.

3. It eliminates other taxes
With a flat tax system, a section of the tax code biased against capital formation is removed. In addition, death tax, capital gains tax and double taxation of savings and dividends are eliminated. In other words, families and individuals won’t be asked to report dividends, interest or any other business-related income. As a result, individual taxpayers will do away with paying interest, dividends and other business tax.

Basically, it taxes only earned income.

4. It employs territorial taxation
Territorial taxation is when the government taxes income generated within national borders.

5. It promotes economic growth
Almost every country that has adapted the flat tax system experienced economic growth. It’s worth noting too that former communist nations were the first to apply global tax reform. It started with Estonia in 1994, which is a few years after the demise of the Soviet Union. They were followed by two other Baltic republics of the former Soviet Union: Latvia (opting for 25%) and Lithuania (choosing 33%).

Russia too, inspired by its neighbors, shifted to a flat tax system in 2001. The move yielded some positive results: the economy did prosper and revenues streamed into government coffers. In 2003, Serbia chose a 14% rate and the following year, Slovakia shifted and stuck with a 19% rate. Other countries with a flat rate tax system include:

Ukraine – 13%
Georgia – 12%
Romania – 16%
Kyrgyztan – 10%

6. It is deemed as fair
Let’s say that Person 1 earns $5,000 and Person 2 makes $500,000. With the progressive system, they have to pay different tax rates based on how much they make. With the flat rate system, both will pay the exact same amount.

Also, it should be noted that Person 2 is paying much bigger tax because they have a greater income. But when considered as a whole, the percentage each have to pay is equal.

List of Cons of Flat Tax

1. It penalizes low-income earners
Low-income earners, well, earn much less than others. The fact that they have to spend on the same necessities are more well-placed folk is also an issue as when necessities expense is taken out of the picture, low-income earners are left with so little for anything else.

In other words, the poor get poorer.

2. It eliminates the IRS
This can be taken both ways, actually. With Rand Paul’s flat tax proposition, not everyone was in agreement with retaining a small portion of the IRS. On the other hand, if the IRS gets re-adjusted, then some employees would surely lose their jobs. And that’s another problem to deal with: unemployment.

3. It benefits the rich
Let’s go with another example: Person 1 earns $1,000 while Person 2 makes $10,000. They live in a country where a flat tax system is in place and the rate is 10%. Person 1 would only have $900 left after taxation while Person 2 would have $9,000. Can you spot the discrepancy?

Even with taxes at the same rate, well-paid individuals are well, still well paid. Or put simply, the rich still gets richer.

Hearing is a sense that most of us take for granted. Many of us do not realize that within that seemingly simple organ is a complex and intricate anatomical architecture capable of recognizing and processing sounds. The process begins when the sound waves arrive at the outer ear. After which, they are funneled into the air canal where they will find themselves banging on the eardrum. This creates vibrations which move a tiny connected bone called the hammer or malleus. As the hammer vibrates, it passes down the sound vibrations to the other two small bones (ossicles) and then send them through the fuel-filled and snail-like structure called the cochlea. Inside the cochlea is the spinal organ of Corti, the receptor organ for hearing. The latter contains tiny hair cells, which translate the vibrations of sound into electrical impulses that are carried on to the brain by sensory nerves to be interpreted.

So, that is how our ears process sound. Incredible isn’t it? Not every one of us though is lucky to have that gift of hearing, and this is where cochlear implant makes a world of difference. As soon as a person with hearing disability puts this artificial ear on, he is able to hear the creak of a chair, the crackling of fireworks, the coo of a pigeon, and the swooshing of the waves. It gives him the ability to hear different kinds of sounds, recognize their source, and know where they are coming from. Most important, it helps develop his communication skills, enables him to learn the sounds of words, and allows him to hear and recognize his own voice. This elegant, sophisticated technology bypasses the role of the hair cells by transmitting sound signals directly to the brain.

List of Pros of Cochlear Implants

1. It can improve hearing.
Unlike a hearing aid, a cochlear implant does not amplify sound. Rather, it stimulates just a few locations in the cochlea, replacing the functions of thousands nerves fibers. This improves hearing and allows deaf individuals to hear sounds. The implant enables them to verbally communicate with others and makes it easier for them to function in mainstream society.

2. It allows children born with ANSD to attend regular school.
It can be devastating for parents to hear other children bubble as they talk while their own child can’teven mutter “mum” or “dad”. Choclear implant offers hope because it can be implanted on children beginning at 12 months of age. This gives ANSD children a chance to live a normal life as well as attend normal schools.

3. Adults may benefit immediately.
After the initial tuning sessions, adults may immediately experience the benefits of hearing, which may continue to improve after three months. Although in some cases, improvements are slower and may take more than three months.

4. Helps people understand speech without lip-reading.
Most individuals born deaf learn to communicate through lip reading. A cochlear implant can make communication easier by not needing one to lip read anymore. However, even if this is not possible, the implant can eventually help a person recognize the sound of words with the aid of lip reading.

5. Enables one to enjoy music.
Imagine hearing a beautiful music for the first time. This is inarguably one of the best gifts of hearing.

List of Cons of Cochlear Implants

1. The sounds are unnatural sound.
While cochlear implant makes hearing possible, the sounds patient hear are not the same sound heard through normal hearing. Environmental noises and people’s voices just sound different when heard through the device.

2. The surgical procedure is risky.
A cochlear implant is a major procedure. Since the location of the operation is near the brain, general anesthesia is needed to put the patient to sleep (and we know that general anesthesia has negative side effects to some people). Injury to the facial nerve is also a serious risk. This nerve goes through the middle ear and is the one responsible for the movement of our facial muscles.

When this nerve is injured, a person may suffer from temporary or full weakening of the facial muscles, or at worst full paralysis on the side of the face that is on the same side as the cochlear implant. There is also the risk of acquiring meningitis. In 2002, the FDA first issued its first warning about the increased risk of bacterial meningitis among children who have undergone cochlear implant. A study by both the agency and the CDC showed that children whose implant includes a positioner are at increased risk of bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumonia. This risk can continue for up to 2 years after the implantation.

3. Loss of residual hearing.
Another risk presented by having the implant is that any remaining or residual hearing a person has maybe destroyed in the implanted ear.

4. Risk to infection requiring the implant to be removed.
A cochlear implant can cost thousands of dollars, and that money could just be easily wasted when a serious infection requiring the removal of the implant occurs.

5. Made some medical examinations and treatments not possible.
This hearing device is made of a combination rubber, plastic and metal. Certain medical examinations and treatments, such as MRI imaging, ion radiation therapy and electrical surgery, may dislodge the implant or demagnetized its internal magnet.

6. It is for a life time.
Children who have undergone the operation at a very young age may have to grow old with their cochlear implant on in order to retain their ability to hear. What is worse is that during a person’s lifetime, the manufacturer of the implant could go out of business. This makes getting a replacement part or customer service in the future very uncertain.

Conclusion

The cochlear implant is no doubt one of the best things that happened to people with hearing disability. However, its cons showed us that deciding to get one should not be done in a rush. Individuals, and especially parents who are planning to let their toddler go through the implant procedure, should carefully consider its long-term effects.

Because of its focus on regular testing, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has become a huge subject of controversy. The debates surrounding the act have become heated since it was put under review and in the process of reauthorization. While the NCLB initially received bipartisan support, political parties in the US are now pushing arguments on whether the act is being implemented effectively. Both advocates and critics cited extensive evidentiary support of their own position on this controversial matter. To get a well-informed insight on this topic, let us take a look at the act’s pros and cons.

List of Pros of the No Child Left Behind Act

1. Improvements in Test Scores
Generally, test scores have been observed to have improved since 2002 when the act was implemented. Aside from this, test scores of students belonging to minority groups have also improved since then, which is a good sign for the future.

2. Quality State Academic Content
The NCLB links state academic content to student educational outcomes. It requires the implementation of school improvement using scientific research methods in the classroom, teacher development courses and parent programs.

3. Quality Education for the Underserved
It is good to know that the act requires educational institutions to focus on providing quality education to underserved students, including children from low-income families, those with disabilities, those who are non-English speakers, as well as those belonging to African-American and Latino communities.

4. Higher Teacher Qualifications
One of the primary issues the NCLB was designed to tackle is making sure that teachers are highly qualified for the work jobs that they do. Since it was pushed, more people in the field of teaching have become more qualified and more highly educated than before. This means that schoolchildren are now getting quality education from the best possible instructors.

5. Extra Help
Regular testing has its benefits, and one of them is helping schools with identifying students who need extra help. And due to the fact that schools would lose financial support if students do not do well on their exams, they offer extra incentives to help struggling students. Since the passing of the NCLB, thousands of students have been receiving tutorials and other free supplemental help from their schools.

6. Parental Understanding
Remember that without proper assessments, we cannot know how well students are doing in school. Thanks to the tests the NCLB mandates, parents are having a better idea of how their children are performing. And because the test scores are made public, parents are also getting a better understanding of what available options, such as charter or private schools, can provide a better place for learning.

7. Advantage for Minority Students
The NCLB was designed to measure educational growth and status by ethnicity and to help close the achievement gap between white and minority students.

List of Cons of the No Child Left Behind Act

1. Doubts of the Acts Effectiveness
In the eyes of the opponents of the NCLB, which include major teachers’ unions, the act has not been effective in improving education in the public arena, especially in high schools, as proven by combined results of standardized tests since the act’s inception.

2. Federal Underfunding
During the Bush Administration, the NCLB was significantly underfunded at the state level, but still required the states to comply with all its provisions or risk losing federal funds. As stated by Senator Ted Kennedy, who was the Senate Education Committee Chair and a sponsor of NCLB, “The tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not.” This resulted to most states being constrained to make budget cuts in non-tested school subjects, such as foreign languages, science, art and social studies, as well as in school supplies, books and field trips.

3. Bias and Deep Flaws
Opponents claim that standardized tests, which are the center of NCLB accountability, is biased and deeply flawed for many reasons. Also, the stricter qualifications for teachers have exacerbated the teacher shortage across the country and have not provided a stronger pool of teachers.

4. More Focus on Test Scores
Many teachers and parents arrogate that the NCLB encourages children to score well on their tests, instead of teaching them the primary goal of learning. Consequently, teachers are compelled to teach narrow sets of test-taking skills and a test-limited knowledge range.

5. Lack of Constitutional Authority by the Government Over Education
Some critics believe that the federal government lacks the constitutional authority in the field of education and that it erodes local and state control over educating children.

6. Very High Teacher Qualification Standards
The NCLB sets very high qualifications for teachers, like requiring them to possess one or more college degrees in particular subjects and to pass a battery of proficiency tests. These new requirements have caused huge problems with getting qualified teachers in certain subjects, such as math, science and special education, and certain areas, such as rural, inner cities, where school districts are already experiencing teacher shortages. Moreover, teachers strongly object to the Bush Administration’s proposal in 2007 to allow districts to circumvent their contracts to transfer them to poorly performing or failing schools.

7. Failure to Address Reasons for Lack of Achievement
At its core, the NCLB faults curriculum and the schools themselves for student failure. However, critics claim that there are other factors to blame, including old and damaged school buildings, class size, homelessness, hunger and lack of health care.

Conclusion

The No Child Left Behind Act has definitely changed the procedures and standards disadvantaged students in public schools, requiring the states to develop basic assessments of students each year to see their level of development. However, this change in policies did come as quite a shock to teachers, students and parents alike. On your part, do you think it really benefited the children in the US or do you think it has become more of a hindrance?

Plea bargaining is an agreement used in criminal cases to avoid a lengthy trial. Here, the prosecutor and the defendant work together to agree with each other, instead of taking the litigation to a jury. It often includes things like pleading to a lesser charge and pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. It is highly common in the US, where many cases are settled through plea bargains than by trials.

This type of legal agreement enables both parties to avoid a prolonged trial under court and enables the defendant to avoid the risk of a guilty verdict at court, which can lead to a more severe sentence. Plea bargaining has been carried out as an intentional agreement that leaves the defendant and the prosecutor better off, in which the former have various procedural and substantive rights. However, if the defendant pleads accountable, he is trading his rights to a prosecutor in return for concessions that are highly respected than surrendered rights. Withal, plea bargaining has become a hot topic in debates whether it is good for the society or not. To get a good idea on this subject, let us take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

List of Advantages of Plea Bargaining

1. It helps deal with case loads.
In plea bargaining, the state and the court are aided in dealing with case loads. Also, the process decreases the prosecutors’ work load by letting them prepare for more serious cases by leaving effortless and petty charges in order to settle through.

2. It makes trial scheduling uncongested.
For the judge, the key benefit of accepting a plea bargain agreement is that he can alleviate the need to schedule and hold the trial on a docket that is already overcrowded. Judges are also aware of overcrowding in jails, so they might be receptive to process out offenders who are unlikely to do much jail time anyway. This means cases will be closed much quicker, which is good for the society as the method de-clogs court systems for more serious cases.

3. It hastens the process of trials.
Plea bargains are a significant factor in restructuring offenders by letting them agree to the blame for their trial and by letting them voluntarily submit before the law—without having expensive and time-consuming trials.

4. It eliminates a case’s uncertainty.
From the criminal defense’s perspective, the most useful benefit of this type of agreement is its ability to remove the uncertainty of a trial. It helps defendants with making sure they will not receive more serious charges for the criminal acts filed against them.

5. It brings great possibility to find the accused guilty.
When it does happen that the prosecution is feeble or that the court wants proper witnesses or evidence, and the outcome is likely acquittal, it is possible that the prosecuting party will still find the accused guilty.

6. It prevents a case from getting worse.
When a charged individual takes a plea bargain, he will not have to go through trial. This means that some crimes, which may have been committed, and any damning evidence are not going to be discovered.

7. It does not allow maximum sentence.
One of the biggest reasons why many people opt for plea bargaining is the fact that they cannot receive maximum sentences for their crimes.

8. It may allow for aiding larger cases.
In a plea bargaining agreement, prosecutors will often roll other conditions for the defendants to testify against a co-defendant, which might help solve larger cases in a prosecution.

9. It lets the justice system breathe.
If all criminal cases should make it to a trial by jury, then our justice systems would not be able to sustain themselves. Courts will probably be backed up by months or even years.

List of Disadvantages of Plea Bargaining

1. It allows presentation of the accused with unconscionable pressure.
In a plea bargaining agreement, the prosecution can present the accused with unconscionable pressure. And even though the process is controlled, there is still a chance of it being coerced.

2. It can lead to poor case preparation and investigations.
Some judges and attorneys argue that plea bargaining has led to attorneys not taking the time to properly prepare their cases and poor police investigations. They believe that, rather than pursuing justice, the parties would rely on making a deal, where the details of what happened and their legal consequences will become less important.

3. It might be biased to the prosecution party.
Plea bargaining might allow prosecutors to take full advantage of accepting criminal acts in the weakest trials. The more beneficial will be a guilty claim for the prosecution is if the trial ends in acquittal.

4. It might charge innocent people guilty.
Even if you are innocent, but agreed to a guilty plea, you still have to pay a fine or be imprisoned for a crime you did not commit. Not only this, but you will also have a criminal record that cannot be erased.

5. It is unconstitutional.
It is argued that plea bargaining is unconstitutional, as it takes away the defense’s constitutional right to a trial by jury. If the defendant is pressured or coerced into such an agreement, then this argument may have a considerable weight. But if the defendant, at all times in the criminal case, retains his right to a trial by jury without pressure to make an agreement, then the court finds that this procedure remains constitutional.

6. It can make the justice system suffer.
Since both the defense and prosecution parties depend on their power to negotiate a deal, instead of winning a trial, the justice system might suffer.

Conclusion

If both parties agree on a plea bargain, then the agreement shall be stated clearly on the court record before a judge who will issue the sentence that is agreed upon. Plea bargaining can have benefits for defendants and for the society, whose interests are represented by the government prosecutor. However, it is always important that both the prosecution and defending parties carefully weigh their options before reaching an agreement through a plea bargain.