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Language Used when Covering People with Disabilities

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News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center

News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center of the story. A story about a disabled person is primarily about their disability, with their other accomplishments framed by it.

As one example of the victimhood narrative, ABC News used to run a special called My Extreme Affliction as part of 20/20 until 2012. As the name implies, the specials covered people with disabilities, specifically extreme versions. One 2008 episode on Tourette’s syndrome described Tourette’s like it was some sort of demonic possession. The narrator talked about children who were “prisoners in their own bodies” and a family that was at risk of being “torn apart by Tourette’s.” I have Tourette’s syndrome myself, which made ABC’s special especially uncomfortable to watch. When not wringing their metaphorical hands over the “victims” of disability, many news outlets fall into the “supercrip” narrative. They refer to people as “heroes” who “overcome” their disabilities to achieve something that ranges from impressive to utterly mundane. The main emphasis is on the disability rather than the person who has it. These articles then exploit that disability to make readers feel good. As a person with a disability, I am aware that it impacts my life, but it is not the center of my life. The tics from my Tourette’s syndrome made it difficult to speak to people when I was younger, but even then they did not rule me.

Disability coverage, however, is still incredibly important for promoting acceptance and giving people with disabilities a voice. A little over a fifth of adults in the United States have a disability (CDC: 53 million adults in the US live with a disability), so poor coverage means marginalizing or even excluding a large amount of people. Journalists should try to reach their entire audience. The news helps shape public opinion with the stories it features. Therefore, it should provide visibility for people with disabilities in order to increase acceptance. This is a matter of civil rights. People with disabilities deserve fair and accurate representation.

My personal experience with ABC’s Tourette’s special leads me to believe that the media, especially the news, needs to be more responsible in their reporting. Even the name “My Extreme Affliction” paints a poor picture of what to expect. A show that focuses on sensationalist portrayals in pursuit of views further ostracizes people with disabilities. The emphasis should be on a person and not their condition. The National Center for Disability Journalism tells reporters to “Focus on the person you are interviewing, not the disability” (Tips for interviewing people with disabilities). This people-first approach is the way to improve disability coverage: Treat people with disabilities with the same respect as any other minority group.

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2019-05

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Arizona Civic Education: A Plan to Strengthen Engagement Beyond the Classroom

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This thesis explores the current standards and the progress being made for civic education in the state of Arizona. To develop a new model, it draws on the programs offered to students in the community of Camden, NJ by the

This thesis explores the current standards and the progress being made for civic education in the state of Arizona. To develop a new model, it draws on the programs offered to students in the community of Camden, NJ by the thriving civics department at Rutgers University. Motivated by the current lack of civic resources in Arizona high schools, this research seeks out a practical, community-centered approach to improving the civic education standards. Arizona was one of the first states to make civic education a priority by passing the American Civics Act, but there is still a long way to go to create civically engaged classrooms for students. The proposed plan combines citizenship pedagogy with direct service opportunities, mentorship, and community projects to help students become engaged in their local communities.

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2020-05

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Modernizing Truth in Sentencing in Arizona

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Debates about criminal justice have erupted onto the American political scene in recent years. Topics like mass Incarceration, civil asset Forfeiture, three strike laws, and mandatory minimums have been dredged up and discussed at every level of government from county

Debates about criminal justice have erupted onto the American political scene in recent years. Topics like mass Incarceration, civil asset Forfeiture, three strike laws, and mandatory minimums have been dredged up and discussed at every level of government from county courtrooms to state legislatures and all the way up to the halls of the US Senate and the desk of the White House. According to Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project, a non-profit entity focused on prison population reduction, this new focus has yielded some important victories with New York, and New Jersey both reducing their respective prison populations by 26% between 1999 and 2012 (1). In the summer of 2015, President Obama became the first sitting President in American history to visit a prison. His visit to El Reno Prison, just outside of Oklahoma City, came on the heels of a speech against Mass Incarceration that the President made at an NAACP conference in Philadelphia (Horsely). The movement for change had reached all the way to the desk of the oval office. Indeed, it is of little wonder why our criminal justice system has come under such close scrutiny. With mass protests breaking out around the nation due to clashes between the criminal justice system and those it has victimized, the rise of a new Black Lives Matter movement, and an overburdened prison system that houses almost 25% of the world inmates (Ya Lee Hee), criminal justice in America has been driven to an ideological and financial breaking point. In a nation that purportedly values freedom and individual choice, the stark realities of our prison system have created a divide between those that would reform the system and those who seek to keep the status quo. I align with those stakeholders that desire comprehensive reform. In my opinion, it is no longer fiscally responsible, nor morally credible to lock American citizens up and throw away the key. The days of tough on crime, of Willie Horton, and of super predators are gone. Crime has been reduced to historic lows in almost the entire country despite significant increases in the population. According to Oliver Roeder, in a Brennan Center scholarly article, violent crime has been reduced by 50% since 1990 and property crime has been reduced by 46% (Roeder et al, p.15) while the population during this same period has grown by how much 249 million to 323 million, almost 30%. For the first time in almost 20 years, the conversation has finally shifted to how we can make the system equitable. My vision for our criminal justice system will stretch beyond the following plan to revise truth in sentencing. TIS remains a small component of a much larger question of our justice system. It is my fundamental belief that the way America treats its offenders needs reformation at every level of the system, from the court, to the prison. It is my view that our prerogative when treating offenders should be to address the root causes of crime, that is the societal structure that causes men and women to commit crime. Poverty, education, economics, and community reinvestment will be just some of the issues that need to be addressed to secure a better future. If we seek true justice, then we must seek to reinvest in those communities that need it the most. Only then can the lowest rungs of our society be given the opportunity to climb upward. In my view, a reimagined prison system idealistically strives to put itself out of business.

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2017-05

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School Choice: An Arizona Case Study

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ABSTRACT The origins of School Choice in the United States can be predominantly attributed to Milton Friedman's 1955 essay, "The Role of Government in Education." Since that time, the idea of leveling the educational playing field with a free market

ABSTRACT The origins of School Choice in the United States can be predominantly attributed to Milton Friedman's 1955 essay, "The Role of Government in Education." Since that time, the idea of leveling the educational playing field with a free market approach has been championed by conservatives and abhorred by liberals. Currently, there is overwhelming evidence to support the fact that public schools are failing today's youth and are not providing them with the tools to succeed post-high school graduation. Many policymakers have attempted to improve the education system by increasing the options available to parents. Today, that choice comes in the form of charter schools, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), Vouchers, and Tax-Credit Scholarships (STOs). Each of these mechanisms seeks to empower families to make the best decision for their child, yet each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Fraud and abuse plague every system and School Choice is not immune to such problems. However, the root concept at the core of school choice - that every child should have to opportunity to attend any school of their choosing, whether public, private, or charter - is fundamentally positive for society. The concept of School Choice is a noble and intelligent solution to the complex task of educating millions of youth across the United States. However, the process must be properly executed, through ESAs and Vouchers, to truly promote access and opportunity for all. Specifically, in Arizona, tax credit programs should be phased out in lieu of more efficient programs readily available. If this is not achieved, then School Choice becomes just another piece in an already dysfunctional puzzle.

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2017-05

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Ending Homelessness in Phoenix: How Investments in Housing First Could End Homelessness in the Valley

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Homelessness is one of the most visible and tragic problems facing Phoenix today. As Tucson cut its homelessness count nearly in half over the past six years, Phoenix only saw a reduction of 25%. The question remains: what is the

Homelessness is one of the most visible and tragic problems facing Phoenix today. As Tucson cut its homelessness count nearly in half over the past six years, Phoenix only saw a reduction of 25%. The question remains: what is the best solution for Phoenix to reduce and eventually eliminate homelessness? This paper examined costs and benefits as well as examples in other cities and states of Housing First solutions' effectiveness at reducing the number of people suffering from homelessness. It was found that Housing First solutions, namely Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Re-Housing, would be highly effective in combating the homelessness experienced by those in the Phoenix area.

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2017-05

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Social Impact Bonds to Address Phoenix Homelessness

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Social impact bonds (SIBs) are a multi-year contract between social service providers, the government, and private investors. The three parties agree on a specific outcome for a societal issue. Investors provide capital required for the service provider to operate the

Social impact bonds (SIBs) are a multi-year contract between social service providers, the government, and private investors. The three parties agree on a specific outcome for a societal issue. Investors provide capital required for the service provider to operate the project. The service provider then delivers the service to the target population. The success of the project is evaluated by outside party. If the target outcome is met, the government repays the investors at a premium. Nonprofit service providers can only serve a small community as they lack the funding to scale their programs and their reliance on government funding and philanthropy leads to a lot of time focused on raising money in the short-term and inhibits them from evolving their programs and projects for long-term strategic success. Government budgets decline but social problems persist. These contracts share risk between the government and the investors and allow governments to test out programs and alleviate taxpayer burdens from unsuccessful social service programs. Arizona has a severe homelessness problem. Nightly, 6000 people are homeless in Maricopa County. In a given year, over 32,000 individuals were homeless, composed of single adults, families, children, and veterans. Homelessness is not only a debilitating and difficult experience for those who experience it, but also has considerable economic costs on society. Homeless individuals use a number of government programs beyond emergency shelters, and these can cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year. Rapid rehousing was a successful intervention model that the state has been heavily investing in the last few years. This thesis aimed to survey the Arizona climate and determine what barriers were present for enacting an SIB for homelessness. The findings showed that although there are many competent stakeholder groups, lack of interest and overall knowledge of SIBs prevented groups from taking responsibility as the anchor for such a project. Additionally, the government and nonprofits had good partnerships, but lacked relationships with the business community and investors that could propel an SIB. Finally, although rapid rehousing can be used as a successful intervention model, there are not enough years of proven success to justify the spending on an SIB. Additionally, data collection for homelessness programming needs to be standardized between all relevant partners. The framework for an SIB exists in Arizona, but needs a few more years of development before it can be considered.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Arizona State Senate: First Hand Accounts of the Female Political Experience in Arizona

Description

In Arizona's early history, Females garnered more independence than most other women in the United States because they were forced to build a completely new life in settlements with little to no infrastructure. Now, Arizona has achieved a level of

In Arizona's early history, Females garnered more independence than most other women in the United States because they were forced to build a completely new life in settlements with little to no infrastructure. Now, Arizona has achieved a level of equality that no other state has yet to achieve in regard to gender representation. Yet, we have yet to achieve total equity. This paper looks to analyze responses that female senators from the Arizona State Legislature gave while being interviewed by the author. With questions derived from previous research conducted on women in politics at the state and federal level, this paper will delve into the personal experiences of six female senators. Although their personal narratives differ, their stories seem to reflect a collective tie that unites the female members together, beyond party allegiance. Each of the responses given by the senators had some aspects that showed trends supporting the majority of the hypotheses. Moving forward, in order to achieve 50% equality, two more senators would need to be elected and replace male senators.

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Date Created
2016-05

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LGBT Recognition in Arizona: A Honnethian Analysis of Gay Rights in Arizona's Recent History

Description

Although significant progress has been made in terms of LGBT rights in the United States, the topic has still remained one of the most prevalent and divisive issues in recent history. In Arizona, this prevalence and divisiveness has been illustrated

Although significant progress has been made in terms of LGBT rights in the United States, the topic has still remained one of the most prevalent and divisive issues in recent history. In Arizona, this prevalence and divisiveness has been illustrated through the state's civil rights and legislative history. Additionally, the importance of this issue is highlighted by the incidents of discrimination and bullying towards LGBT students in Arizona's schools. With this in mind, it was critical to conduct an exploratory historical analysis of LGBT rights in Arizona to better understand the recent history and current climate towards the LGBT community in the state. To explore this issue, the data consisted of reports on the fiscal impact of adopting LGBT-friendly policies, reports on LGBT health and well-being, reports on the school climate, court cases, pieces of legislation, opinion polls, news articles, and opinion pieces. This data on LGBT rights in Arizona was then codified, summarized, and analyzed using Axel Honneth's theory of recognition. Through the application of Honneth's theory to the data, it was possible to examine the history of recognition and misrecognition towards the LGBT community in Arizona. In total, there were six identifiable areas that emerged in which recognition and misrecognition exists: LGBT identity and well-being, marriage recognition, LGBT youth, rights and partner benefits, allies of the LGBT community, and opponents of LGBT rights. This project examined those areas through the lens of Arizona's history and provides insights into the current status of LGBT rights in Arizona.

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2016-05

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Water: Are We Using it Wisely? A comparative analysis of water demand management trend and strategies in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona

Description

As Arizona enters its fifteenth year of drought and Lake Mead hits historic lows, water management and policy planning will become increasingly important to ensure future water security in the Southwestern region of the United States. This thesis compares water

As Arizona enters its fifteenth year of drought and Lake Mead hits historic lows, water management and policy planning will become increasingly important to ensure future water security in the Southwestern region of the United States. This thesis compares water demand trends and policies at the municipal level in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona over the time period from 1980-2010. By analyzing gallons per capita per day (GPCD) trends for each city in the context of population growth, drought, and major state and local policies over the twenty year period, reasons for declines in per capita water demand were explored. Despite differences in their available water sources and political cultures, both the City of Phoenix and the City of Tucson have successfully reduced their per capita water consumption levels between 1980 and 2010. However, this study suggests that each city's measured success at reducing GPCD has been more a result of external events (supply augmentation, drought, and differing development trends) rather than conservation and demand reduction regulations adopted under the auspices of the Groundwater Management Act.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Twitter Use by Arizona Politicians: A Case Study and Analysis

Description

In the past ten years, social network services have expanded from a digital method in which the public connects with only their friends and families. Social network services have evolved to a highly-accessible, convenient, cost-effective tool to engage with communities

In the past ten years, social network services have expanded from a digital method in which the public connects with only their friends and families. Social network services have evolved to a highly-accessible, convenient, cost-effective tool to engage with communities beyond one's frequented social circle on a local, national, and global scale. Many politicians have adapted in order to use social network services to connect directly with their constituents. Politicians have begun to use their profiles on social network services as their own privately owned publicity channel, publishing raw "material" like political opinions or legal advocacy, appearances at events and media like photos, videos or links to maintain transparency and accessibility to their constituencies. The content analysis investigates the use of a social network service (Twitter) by five different Arizonan politicians from different municipal, state and federal offices over the period of six months. All posts on Twitter were recorded, evaluated, and categorized by content into one of seventeen different divisions: Constituent Connection, Correction, Culture, Economy, Education, Environment, Healthcare, Humanitarianism, International, Military, Operational, Personal, Political Activity, Reply to Constituent, Security, Social Issues or Sports. The date, category, content, media type and engagement (replies, retweets, and favorites) were also recorded. Understanding how political figures connect and engage with their constituencies contributes to understanding modern campaigning and modern government; politicians are now finding it imperative to have and maintain a social media presence in order to gain relevance, transparency and accessibility with their constituencies. This study examines how politicians are currently utilizing these micro-blogging sites.

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Date Created
2018-05