Rebuild Your Community
Procedures for Teachers is divided into two sections:
- Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
- Steps -- Conducting the lesson
- Computer Resources:
- Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
- Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above. Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
- Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM
- Software: Any presentation software such as Power Point or Hyperstudio (optional), and word processing programs like Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, ClarisWorks, AppleWorks, etc.
Teachers will need the following supplies:
- Board and/or chart paper
- Video or newspapers/magazines with images of hurricane devastation as well as efforts to rebuild communities
- A screen on which to project the Web-based video clips.
- Handouts of Web resources if computers are not available in the classroom [required element; please include.]
- Rebuilding Organizer .doc
Students will need the following supplies:
- Computers with the capacities indicated above
- Notebook or journal
- Rebuilding Organizer .doc
CLASS SESSION 1 (ANALYSIS OF PRIORITIES)
Goal: Examine opportunities for economic revitalization in a post-disaster setting. As an introduction play the embedded video. Become acquainted with the different priorities of a community, including the need to bring back original residents. Consider the role of the community in the distribution of government funds.
- Discuss the role of government spending in communities. Taking responses from students, make a list on the board of different priorities communities may have. Be sure to include the following:
Play the embedded video and discuss the need to bring residents back to a post-disaster community. Ask students what it would take to bring them back if they had been victims of Hurricane Katrina. Use this opportunity to introduce the concept of economic revitalization, explaining that it's possible to rebuild a community so that it can become more prosperous than it was before it was struck by disaster.
- Have students discuss why economic revitalization is an important factor to consider when rebuilding the community.
- Finally, discuss how a community of people can come to a consensus on these issues, and the types of analysis that must be performed by both the community and the government when looking at financial decisions. Use this opportunity to introduce the following economic terms, writing their definitions on the board:
- Cost-benefit analysis: Evaluates a project by comparing its benefits as a whole with the costs of undertaking it.
- Opportunity costs: The amount of goods and services that must be given up in order to obtain any good or service.
Goal: Introduce the financial issues at play in rebuilding New Orleans. Become acquainted with different rebuilding options, and their impact on economic revitalization.
Watch the "Galveston/Charleston" embedded segment to consider different concepts of rebuilding communities.
- As students watch the video, ask them to answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
- How did each community react to the devastation?
- Which community came through the storm in better shape?
- What factors helped in Charleston's economic revitalization?
- Could those factors be utilized in other similar scenarios?
- Have a discussion about the primary factors that impacted Charleston's economic revitalization after its disaster scenario. Ask students to begin to think which factors might apply in rebuilding New Orleans.
Goal: Come to a conclusion, without yet considering the financial picture, about rebuilding priorities, including the need to bring residents back to their neighborhoods, and provide some kind of economic boost to the region. Work in teams to develop effective rebuilding plans.
- Have students break into six teams: Housing, Education, Employment, Healthcare, Culture, and Infrastructure. Students can determine which area they have the most interest in, or can be assigned by the teacher.
- Each group should come up with a list of rebuilding priorities in that area. Students should use the "Rebuilding" organizer to help generate ideas for this list.
- Each group should record their findings on a piece of chart paper which will hang on the wall, and choose a representative to present their findings to the class.
- Ask students to listen quietly while each group representative presents its findings to the class.
CLASS SESSION 2 (COST OF REBUILDING)
Goal: Determine a framework based on economic principles that will eventually be used to determine the rebuilding priorities of the disaster community. Students will learn economic concepts, and will be able to apply them to a real-life situation.
- Reintroduce the concepts of opportunity costs and cost-benefit analysis. Ask students to provide examples of each from their own lives. Possible scenarios:
- Opportunity costs—The opportunity cost of watching a football game on TV is that there will be less time to do homework.
- Cost-benefit analysis—The benefit from watching football game is that a person has fun, whereas the benefit of homework is learning, good grades, and a better chance of getting into college.
- Have a brainstorming session as a group about how those concepts relate to the rebuilding of the Gulf. Specifically, talk about the six areas already pinpointed that will need funding: housing, education, employment, healthcare, culture, and infrastructure. Explain to the students that there will not be an unlimited pool of financial resources to cover all of the priorities.
- Reintroduce the priority lists developed in the previous lesson, and ask students to begin to brainstorm how those priorities could fit into an economic framework of decision-making. Specifically, ask students to consider if some of the items on the list will have greater benefits, or costs that outweigh the benefits. Remind them again that ultimately, there will not be resources to pay for everything that is needed for rebuilding the New Orleans neighborhood.
Goal: As a group, students will become acquainted with the terms opportunity costs and cost-benefit analysis in the context of allocating resources in rebuilding the New Orleans neighborhood.
- Cost-benefit analysis: For each category, each group should make a list of the costs and benefits of each initiative on another piece of chart paper. On the paper, have the groups make two columns: "Costs" and "Benefits." Have them rate each line item with "high," "medium," or "low" based on the amount of benefit that will be provided for that cost. Hang the paper on the wall next to each priority list.
- Discuss as a group which factors should carry the most weight in the overall analysis, including economic revitalization so that residents can afford to raise families in the neighborhood, and making sure that there are the services needed that will encourage residents to actually move back to the neighborhood.
Goal: In groups, students will develop a framework for utilizing the economic concepts of opportunity costs and cost-benefit analysis to allocate resources in rebuilding the New Orleans neighborhood. Students will vote on the best framework.
- Develop a framework with the class to assess these factors. In determining which rebuilding options should be carried out in a scenario of limited resources, students need to consider the overriding objectives of 1) economic revitalization; and 2) incentives for residents to return.
- Given these determining factors, the student groups need to revisit their cost-benefit ratings and see if the benefit ratings are the same in the context of the overriding objectives above.
- Have the six groups present their cost-benefit analysis frameworks. Ask students to discuss whether they agree with the groups' analyses, including any changes that need to be made.
- Have each group come up with final rebuilding priority lists for their area, based on the class discussion.
CLASS SESSION 3 (FINAL ANALYSIS)
Goal: Introduce the economic role of government in rebuilding communities.
- Review the previous two days' classes by discussing the priorities that were established in rebuilding the New Orleans neighborhood, and the cost-benefit framework that was developed.
- Discuss with the students the role of government in a disaster. Specifically, government is in charge of the allocation of scarce resources, which includes determining where the resources should be spent. In the U.S., the government is meant to be a representative body, and makes decisions based on needs and priorities of the communities it serves.
- Ask the students to divide into their six groups from the previous two lessons. Each group should then elect one member to be part of the government group.
Goal:Utilize the cost-benefit framework created in the previous lesson. Students learn that the allocation of scarce resources means that some priorities do not receive funding. Have students play community and government roles, and work in teams to find solutions.
- Each of the six neighborhood groups should choose one representative to present their rebuilding priorities to the government group, utilizing the cost-benefit framework established. Students should be encouraged to take their roles very seriously, and to act within them.
- The government group meets to discuss the rebuilding options and the overall cost-benefit analysis of each. The government group can only choose two items from each list.
- Have one member of the government group meet with each community group to discuss the resource issue, meaning that only two priorities can be chosen. The government representatives need to try to come to a solution given this interaction with the community groups.
Goal: Determine a final plan for both rebuilding and revitalizing the New Orleans neighborhood, balancing costs and needs. Community members and government work together to determine the outcome.
- Ask the students to return to the six community groups, and the government group.
- The government group presents to the community groups their final determination of which rebuilding priorities will receive funding.
- Each community group should then determine if they agree with this allocation of scarce resources. The class votes on the final plan that the government group has determined.
- If the plan passes by a majority, the final plan is announced. If not, the government representatives meet again with the community groups, and rework the final plan so that it can pass with a majority of votes.