Topic outline


pre u

Cambridge Pre-U Program

Ms. Caine


Course Description:

Today’s students live in a rapidly changing world, confronted by a multiplicity of competing ideas, arguments and information. They need to be able to deal with information and ideas critically and constructively if they are to be successful.

Global Perspectives encourages the ability to follow and deconstruct arguments and assertions, to separate fact from opinion, and to assess and evaluate the truth of claims. Related skills involve knowing where to look for information, how to construct arguments, and how to assemble and handle evidence. This seminar-based course takes key themes of global relevance that are of interest to young people, and encourages students to explore them in an open, critical, disciplined way. The course at Eastchester High School will focus on the themes of Economics and Politics and Culture.

Cambridge Pre-U prepares students with the skills and knowledge they need to make a success of their subsequent studies in college.

Cambridge Pre-U is underpinned by a clear set of educational aims:

  • Encouraging the development of well-informed, open and independent-minded individuals

  • Promoting deep understanding through subject specialization, with a depth and rigor appropriate to progression to higher education

  • Helping learners to acquire specific skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, team-working, independent learning and effective communication

  • Recognizing the wide range of individual talents and interests

  • Promoting an international outlook and cross-cultural awareness

Global Perspectives: the critical path:


Detailed analysis of a point of view


Identification and evaluation of evidence for and against competing points

of view


How have the student’s own views been affected by the enquiry?


An opportunity to address an issue holistically and in detail

Assessment Objectives:


Critical analysis and evaluation of a particular perspective


Critical analysis and interpretation of the context of an argument


Presentation, communication and collaboration


Dispositions: judgment, reason, self-reflection, empathy








Written Paper

1 hour, 30 minutes



Reconstruction and Reflection

Externally Assessed 1500 Word Essay




Multi-media presentation based on

Pre released material (maximum 15 minutes).

Externally assessed


Evaluation/Grading Policies:

The policy for grading in this class is simple – the total number of points you receive divided by the total possible points for those assignments. One additional grade will be a class

participation/discussion/presentation grade. In order to receive credit for all work, it must be submitted when it is due. I will deduct 10% off the original grade you would have received for each of the first three days after the original due date. After that time you will receive a zero. You may have one “lifeline” or late assignment without penalty! (Be careful to use it wisely!) Assessments missed due to absences will be taken within three days of returning to school. Although the culminating assessments for the Cambridge Pre-U program are all externally driven, there will be local formative assessments throughout the year.

The International Assessments:

The Cambridge Pre-U assessments are based upon the student’s self-selected path for research within the topics of Economics and/or Politics and culture. Students will sit for the various portions of the assessments in May 2011. Results are mailed to the student’s home during the summer of 2011. The course is designed and scheduled to prepare students to successfully master the assessments. Although a large portion of the course is designed around independent study, the teacher is always available to provide structure and support.

Preparation for the Cambridge Pre-U assessments, however, is the student’s responsibility. These are most challenging assessments, and preparation is an on-going effort beginning in September; nevertheless, students should be aware that demands on their time may be greater in March, April and May.

Suggestions for Students and Parents:

Student success in this class and on the Cambridge Pre-U assessments is important to all of us. The single most important contributor to a student’s success in this class is whether he/she completes each reading/research assignment and its accompanying work. There is no substitute for reading and research. Other aspects of preparation enhance understanding and learning, but a student must read to be prepared for this class and for the types of assessments and evaluations that go with it. Attendance is very important in the Cambridge Pre-U course. Students should avoid scheduling appointments during this class period when possible.

Parents are encouraged to discuss the course with students - the more a student discusses the material, the better he/she will understand it. Students and parents should feel comfortable contacting me whenever I might be of help to answer questions, or respond to concerns. I am available for extra help after school on most days. Please check with me and we will find a mutually convenient time.  

This is a challenging course that makes high demands on students - but it is also a very rewarding course in terms of both short and long-term benefits. I consider it a privilege to teach this course and look forward to this year with great anticipation!

Contact Info:  - 914-793-6130 ext. 4478



Immigration Unit

Cambridge Pre-U

Ms. Caine


* Your assigned country to research is: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________

* Together with your partner, create a list of questions that will guide your research. 

* Be sure to address the following issues: Immigration patterns, Countries of Origin, Current Issues with immigration, Current laws regarding immigration, Ways countries are considering to deal with the issues faced.

* Research your assigned country. Be sure to keep a list of sources used for your “List of Works Cited.”

* Together with your partner write an in-paper addressing the key factors with immigration in your assigned country. The paper is due on _____________________

* Compile your research into a presentation for the class. (Please….no “death” by Power Point! J)

* Presentations will begin on __________________________________

* When all presentations are completed, we will work together to compare issues faced by the various countries and the methods that they are using to deal with them.

ü All students are individually responsible for an out-paper at the end of the unit addressing the question, “To what extent does immigration impact a given society?” Consider political, economic, social, environmental and ethical impacts. (Be sure to use at least 3 different countries in your analysis.)

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Is Microcredit the “cure” for poverty?

Perspectives in Government and Economics

Fall 2010

Book List

On a separate sheet of paper rank the following books in order of your preference. (1-6)

Please turn in _______________________. The lists will be posted _____________________.

“The Blue Sweater” by Jacqueline Novogratz

Novogratz combined her twin passions for banking and philanthropy after she left a lucrative corporate banking position to work with women's groups in microfinance, the pioneering banking strategy that won Muhammad Yunus a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Her work merging market systems with development and social empowerment led her to create the Acumen Fund for entrepreneurs in developing nations, which she describes as the opposite of old-fashioned charity. Novogratz also focuses on her own developmental path as she charts her evolving views of capitalism and how she will change the world. Unfortunately, she stumbles when she strays into biographical territory, relying on clichés to bolster her professional decisions through a personal lens. The book is most interesting when it touches on the difficult decisions that Novogratz and her team must make about financial empowerment—should they charge interest on loans to poor women? Can working women find acceptance in a patriarchal society?—but these dilemmas are facilely glossed, keeping the book in an uncomfortable limbo between a personal narrative and a primer on globalization.

Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus 

Economics professor Yunus claims he originally became involved in the poverty issue not as a policy-maker, scholar, or researcher, but because poverty was all around me. With these words he stopped teaching elegant theories and began lending small amounts of money, $40 or less, without collateral, to the poorest women in the world. Thirty-three years later, the Grameen Bank has helped seven million people live better lives building businesses to serve the poor. The bank is solidly profitable, with a 98.6% repayment rate. It inspired the micro-credit movement, which has helped 100 million of the poorest people in the world escape poverty and earned Yunus (Banker to the Poor) a Nobel Peace prize. This volume efficiently recounts the story of microcredit, then discusses Social Business, organizations designed to help people while turning profits. French food giant Danone's partnership to market yogurt in Bangladesh is described in detail, along with 25 other businesses that operate under the Grameen banner. Infused with entrepreneurial spirit and the excitement of a worthy challenge, this book is the opposite of pessimistic recitals of intractable poverty's horrors.

“The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs

Sachs came to fame advising "shock therapy" for moribund economies in the 1980s (with arguably positive results); more recently, as director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, he has made news with a plan to end global "extreme poverty"--which, he says, kills 20,000 people a day--within 20 years. While much of the plan has been known to economists and government leaders for a number of years (including Kofi Annan, to whom Sachs is special advisor), this is Sachs's first systematic exposition of it for a general audience, and it is a landmark book.For on-the-ground research in reducing disease, poverty, armed conflict and environmental damage, Sachs has been to more than 100 countries, representing 90% of the world's population. The book combines his practical experience with sharp professional analysis and clear exposition. Over 18 chapters, Sachs builds his case carefully, offering a variety of case studies, detailing small-scale projects that have worked and crunching large amounts of data. His basic argument is that "[W]hen the preconditions of basic infrastructure (roads, power, and ports) and human capital (health and education) are in place, markets are powerful engines of development." In order to tread "the path to peace and prosperity," Sachs believes it is encumbant upon successful market economies to bring the few areas of the world that still need help onto "the ladder of development." Writing in a straightfoward but engaging first person, Sachs keeps his tone even whether discussing failed states or thriving ones. For the many who will buy this book but, perhaps, not make it all the way through, chapters 12 through 14 contain the blueprint for Sachs's solution to poverty, with the final four making a rigorous case for why rich countries (and individuals) should collectively undertake it--and why it is affordable for them to do so. If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it.

“Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus 

It began with a simple $27 loan. After witnessing the cycle of poverty that kept many poor women enslaved to high-interest loan sharks in Bangladesh, Dr. Muhammad Yunus lent money to 42 women so they could purchase bamboo to make and sell stools. In a short time, the women were able to repay the loans while continuing to support themselves and their families. With that initial eye-opening success, the seeds of the Grameen Bank, and the concept of microcredit, were planted.

After earning a Ph.D. in economics at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Yunus returned to Bangladesh to settle into a life as a professor. But a famine in 1974 ravaged the country, leading Dr. Yunus to alter his thinking and his life profoundly: "What good were all my complex theories when people were dying of starvation on the sidewalks and porches across from my lecture hall?.... Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me." Armed with little more than a lofty dream to end the suffering around him, he started an experimental microcredit enterprise in 1977; by 1983 the Grameen Bank was officially formed.

The idea behind the Grameen Bank is ingeniously simple: extend credit to poor people and they will help themselves. This concept strikes at the root of poverty by specifically targeting the poorest of the poor, providing small loans (usually less than $300) to those unable to obtain credit from traditional banks. At Grameen, loans are administered to groups of five people, with only two receiving their money up front. As soon as these two make a few regular payments, loans are gradually extended to the rest of the group. In this way, the program builds a sense of community as well as individual self-reliance. Most of the Grameen Bank's loans are to women, and since its inception, there has been an astonishing loan repayment rate of over 98 percent.

Banker to the Poor is an inspiring memoir of the birth of microcredit, written in a conversational tone that makes it both moving and enjoyable to read. The Grameen Bank is now a $2.5 billion banking enterprise in Bangladesh, while the microcredit model has spread to over 50 countries worldwide, from the U.S. to Papua New Guinea, Norway to Nepal. Ever optimistic, Yunus travels the globe spreading the belief that poverty can be eliminated: "...the poor, once economically empowered, are the most determined fighters in the battle to solve the population problem; end illiteracy; and live healthier, better lives. When policy makers finally realize that the poor are their partners, rather than bystanders or enemies, we will progress much faster that we do today." Dr. Yunus's efforts prove that hope is a global currency.

A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking, and The Business Solution for Ending Poverty by Phillip Smith and Eric Thurman 

A bold manifesto by two business leaders, A Billion Bootstraps shows why microcredit is the world's most powerful poverty-fighting movement-and an unbeatable investment for your charitable donations.

A Billion Bootstraps unearths the roots of the microcredit revolution, revealing how the pioneering work of people such as Dr. Muhammad Yunus-winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize-is giving hope to billions. Philanthropist and self-made millionaire Phil Smith and microcredit expert and consultant Eric Thurman provide a riveting narrative that explores how these small loans, arranged by “barefoot bankers,” enable impoverished people to start small businesses, support their families, and improve local economies. By paying back their loans instead of simply accepting handouts, men and women around the world are continually giving others the same opportunity to change their futures.

Smith and Thurman also examine why traditional charity programs, while providing short-term relief, often perpetuate the problems they are trying to alleviate, and how applying investment principles to philanthropy is the key to reversing poverty permanently.

A Billion Bootstraps explains how ordinary people can accelerate the microcredit movement by investing charitable donations in specific programs and then leveraging those contributions so the net cost to lift one person out of poverty is remarkably low. You'll discover how to get more for your money by donating with the mind-set of an investor and calculating measurable returns-returns that will change lives and societies forever.

“The Economics of Microfinance” by Beatriz Armend Airiz 

The microfinance revolution, begun with independent initiatives in Latin America and South Asia starting in the 1970s, has so far allowed 65 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. This comprehensive survey of microfinance seeks to bridge the gap in the existing literature on microfinance between academic economists and practitioners. Both authors have pursued the subject not only in academia but in the field; Beatriz Armendáriz founded a microfinance bank in Chiapas, Mexico, and Jonathan Morduch has done fieldwork in Bangladesh, China, and Indonesia.

The book provides an overview of microfinance by addressing a range of issues, including lessons from informal markets, savings and insurance, the role of women, the place of subsidies, impact measurement, and management incentives. It integrates theory with empirical data, citing studies from Asia, Africa, and Latin America and introducing ideas about asymmetric information, principal-agent theory, and household decision making in the context of microfinance.

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Poverty Unit

Cambridge Pre - U

Research with Reason!


· Select one main point that you have identified for your research

· Locate valid resources representing supportive and contradictory evidence

· Save all resources to favorites…or make a hot list.

· Notate and analyze your resources individually

· Deconstruct the arguments/reasoning presented in resources

· Evaluate your research data analyzing both points of view

· Reconstruct your argument based on the deconstruction of the evidence

· Draw your conclusions based on the reconstruction of your argument

· Be prepared to “walk” the class through your research and reasoning process beginning Wednesday, November 3rd!

· Constructive discussion following the presentation will help direct/redirect your research process

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