“Communities that Don’t Bowl in the Fog” (Contexts, Winter 2009)
is a great article to use when teaching students about community indicators and similar statistics. Below are some questions and activities that can be paired with the article.
1) Community indicators summarize important information in a single statistic. Can you think of other statistics that are commonly used to represent aspects of groups or nations? What information is conveyed in these statistics? What is left out?
2) What are the benefits of viewing an entire community as a whole? Are there drawbacks as well?
3) The authors mention “community well-being” often. In your opinion, what indicators should be included in the definition of community well-being? Are some more important than others? Can you think of other aspects of well-being that might be more difficult to measure?
Information needs to be both relevant and implementable for communities and their leaders. Find information from one of projects mentioned in the article to put together a one-page advisory memo on people in that community for one of the following groups: activists calling for a Hispanic community clinic; a multi-national company thinking of moving its headquarters to the city; or a school district considering a proposal for a new elementary school for students with disabilities.