""Your Goverenment, Your Taxes, Your Choice: A Curriculum on Advocacy for ABE StudentsMCAE""
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student intro


Teacher Introduction

Who is this curriculum for?

The curriculum is designed to be accessible to as many students as possible. The language is geared for adults at the mid-beginning ESL language level, and is also appropriate for students at higher language levels, including GED. In addition, supplementary activities appropriate for students at the beginning and advanced levels are included in the Enrichment/Extension Activities section.

What topics does this curriculum cover?

This curriculum addresses services the state provides, taxes people pay and issues of fairness, and advocacy. The authors feel it is just as important to give students the information to knowledgeably go about acting for change as it is to give them the skills to do it. 

What is the approach of the lessons?

Students are seen as partners in their learning, and so the lessons are largely participatory.  Students often work in small groups, and their viewpoints and feedback are encouraged throughout.  The authors also strove to make the material accessible to as many learners as possible by creating multi-sensory activities. Further, lessons offer a variety of activities to help ensure that authentic learning takes place.

How can I use the different features of this curriculum?

  • Goals and objectives: Use these to understand the aim of the activities and see how they may fit with your larger lesson.
  • Preparation and materials section: Use to aid you in quickly preparing for the lessons/activities.
  • Teacher scripts: Use for ideas on how to present the material.
  • Enrichment/Extension Activities: Use for ideas on how to customize the lesson for beginning or more advanced students or for reinforcement of content.
  • Assessments: Use to help yourselves and your students stay on track with goal achievement. It's recommended that you review these assessments with the students at the start of each lesson when the objectives are presented. This will allow both of you the opportunity to monitor the learning. Students can complete them at the end of each lesson, and you can review them.

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The Short Version

If you have limited class time, the authors recommend using Unit 2 as an alternative to the full curriculum. By participating in this unit, students will quickly become aware of what government services they use, what kinds of taxes they pay for these services and how they can go about contacting the people who make decisions about these services and taxes. Alternatively, teachers can select the unit(s), lesson(s), and/or activity(s) that fit in with their larger lessons/goals. See Short version.


Please note: At the time of printing, the information in this curriculum was accurate. Please check the website of the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education for updates, to replace lost materials, and to get on their listserv to receive updates on advocacy efforts (see Resources).

We would really appreciate your feedback on the curriculum so incorporate your revisions as we update it. Could you send us your suggestions? Please email Kenny Tamarkin at ktamarkin@mcae.net


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Student Introduction

Discuss with class:

    • What is the connection between the government's money and services you or your family may use? Examples of services are the military, education, and firefighters.
    • Sometimes the government gives more money for a service, and sometimes it gives less money for a service. How can this change life for you and your family?
    • In the past, did you write letters/call/visit legislators to ask for money to support a service? Did you go to a rally? Why? Explain how you prepared. Explain your experience and any results from your actions.
    Tell students: The government pays for many services you and your family get. Every year the government decides how much money it will give to the different services. It can be especially hard when the government has money problems. You may be worried that they will not give enough money for the services important to you. This course will give you basic information about this. You will learn where money for these services comes from. You will learn who decides how to use money, and why there often is a problem with money for services. Then we will think about what we would like to do about this.

    A note about the different levels of government in the U.S.A.:
    The United States has three different levels of government: local, state and federal government.  Each level of government provides different services to the people living in the United States, collects different money (taxes) from the people and has different leaders.  Sometimes money from more than one government level pays for services people use.  For example, police and fire protection are paid for with state and local tax money.

    In this curriculum we will learn about the state level of government, the Massachusetts state government.  We will learn about the services we receive from the state government, the taxes we pay to the state government and the leaders of the state government.  We will also learn about how we can help decide what services we get, what taxes we pay and who our government leaders are.     

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    Table of Contents | Introduction | Unit 1 | Unit 2 | Unit 3 | Resources