Federal Policies for Native Peoples

Federal policy toward the Native Americans has  a long history of inconsistency, reversal, and failure. In the late 1700s, the United States government owned and operated factories, exchanging manufactured goods for furs and horses with the hope that mutual satisfaction with trade would result in peace between Native Americans and the rush of settlers who were moving west. At the same time, the government supported missionary groups in their efforts to build churches, schools, and model farms for those tribes that permitted them to live in their midst.

By the 1800s, federal negotiators were trying to convince many tribes to sell their land and move out of the line of frontier expansion, a policy that culminated in the forced expulsion of the major Southeastern tribes to the west. Over protests by Congress and the Supreme Court, President Andrew Jackson ordered the Native Americans to be removed to that is now Oklahoma. On the forced march, which the Cherokee Nation refers to as the “Trail of Tears,” many Native Americans died of disease, exposure and hunger.

By the end of the 1800s, the government had discovered that some of the land allocated as permanent reservations for the Native Americans contained valuable resources. Congress passed the Dawes Severalty Act, and for the next forty years Indian agents and missionaries attempted to destroy the tribal system by separating the members. It was during this time that the government boarding schools were established to educate Native American youth outside of the home environment.

Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, scattered tribes were encouraged to reorganize their tribal government. Anti-Indian sentiment resurfaced only ten years later, and by the 1950s relocation centers to move Native Americans from the reservations to urban areas were established.

Today, government policies are unclear. Many officials want to remove the federal government completely from Native American governance. Others believed that the government should support Native American efforts to maintain their culture. Not surprisingly, the Native Americans themselves are ambivalent about the role of the federal government in their affairs.

 

(taken from TOEFL Practice, by Baron, page 124)

 

Prison Reform

In the United States today there are more than half a million criminals serving time in jails or prisons. Most prisoners are male high school dropouts between the ages of 18 and 29. Even more shocking is the fact that the number and rate of imprisonment has more than doubled over the past twenty years, and the recidivism- that is, the rate for rearrest-is more than 60 percent.

Although the stated objective of the criminal  justice system, on both federal and state levels, is to rehabilitate the inmates and reintegrate them into society, the system itself does not support such a goal. Although most jails are located within the community, prisons are usually geographical or psychologically isolated and terribly overcrowded. Even in the more enlightened prisons, only one-third of the inmates have vocational training opportunities or work release options. Even fewer have access to qualified counselors, psychologists, or social workers.

If prisons are indeed to achieve the goal of rehabilitating offenders, then the prisons themselves will have to change. First, they will have to be smaller, housing no more than five hundred prisoners. It has been shown that crowding in large facilities is not conducive to behavior modification. Second, they will have to be built in or near population centers with community resources available for gradual reintegration into society. This must include social and psychological services. Finally, prison programs must be restructured to provide work release and vocational and academic training for all inmates to prepare them with skills that carry over into their lives after release. In addition to parole terms and community supervised work release, successful models for such collaborative efforts between the criminal justice systems and the community already exist in several hundred half-way houses throughout the country where inmates complete their sentences while beginning to reestablish their lives as productive members of society. Studies suggest that imprisonment as it is currently administered must be viewed as punishment rather than reform. Until we approach the problem in terms of changing behaviors rather than segregating offenders, prisoners who are released will probably return to a life of crime.

 

(Practice Exercise for Reading by Baron)

 

Endangered Species

There are three valid arguments to support the preservation of endangered species. An aesthetic justification contends that biodiversity contributes to the quality of life because many of the endangered plants and animals are particularly appreciated for their unique physical beauty. The aesthetic role of nature in all its diverse forms is reflected in the art and literature of every culture, attaining symbolic status in the spiritual life of many groups. According to the proponents of the aesthetic argument, people need nature in all its diverse and beautiful forms as part of the experience of the world.

Another argument that has been put forward, especially by groups in the medical and pharmacological fields, is that of ecological self-interest. By preserving all species, we retain a balance of nature that is ultimately beneficial to humankind. Recent research on global ecosystems has been cited as evidence that every species contributes important or even essential functions that may be necessary to the survival of our own species. Some advocates of the ecological argument contend that important chemical compounds derived from rare plants may contain the key to a cure for one of the diseases currently threatening human beings. If we do not protect other species, they cannot protect us.

Apart from human advantage in both the aesthetic and ecological arguments, the proponents of a moral justification contend that all species have the right to exist, a viewpoint stated in the United Nations World Charter for Nature, created in 1982. Furthermore, if humankind views itself as the stewards of all the creatures on Earth, then it is incumbent upon human beings to protect them, and to ensure the continued existence of all species. Moral justification has been extended by a movement called “deep ecology,” the members of which rank the biosphere higher than people because the continuation of life depends on this larger perspective. To carry their argument to its logical conclusion, all choices must be made for the biosphere, not for people.

 

(taken from Practice Exercise for Reading, by Baron)

 

 

Definition/Illustration for Reading Comprehension Text

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse was not Walt Disney’s first successful cartoon creation, but he is certainly his most famous one. It was on a cross-country train trip from New York to California in 1927 that Disney first drew the mouse with the big ears. Supposedly, he took his inspiration from the tame field mice that used to scamper into his old studio in Kansas City. No one is quite sure why he dressed the mouse in the now-familiar shorts with two buttons and gave him the yellow shoes. But we do know that Disney had intended to call him Mortimer until his wife Lilian intervened and christened him Mickey Mouse.

Capitalizing on the interest in Charles Lindbergh, Disney planned Mickey’s debut in the short cartoon Planet Crazy, with Minnie as a co-star. In the third short cartoon, Steam Boat, Mickey was whistling and singing through the miracle of the modern soundtrack. By the 1930s Mickey’s image had circled the globe. He was a superstar at the height of his career.

Although he has received a few minor changes throughout his lifetime, most notably the addition of white gloves and the alterations to achieve the rounder forms of a more childish body, he has remained true to his nature since those first cartoons. Mickey is appealing because he is nice. He may get into trouble, but he takes it on the chin with a grin. He is both good-natured and resourceful. Perhaps that was Disney’s own image  of himself. Why else would he have insisted on doing Mickey’s voice in all the cartoons for twenty years? When interviewed, he would say. “There is a lot of the mouse in me.” And that mouse has remained one of the most pervasive images in American popular culture.

 

(taken from Practice Exercises for Reading by Baron)

 

Narrative/Sequence for Reading Comprehension Skill

Basketball

Although he created the game of basketball at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. James A. Naismith was a Canadian. Working as a physical education instructor at the International YMCA, now Springfield College, Dr. Naismith noticed a lack of interest in exercise among students during wintertime. The New England winters were fierce, and the students balked at participating in outdoors activities. Naismith determined that a fast-moving game that could be played indoors would fill a void after the baseball and football seasons had ended.

First he attempted to adapt outdoor games such as soccer and rugby to indoor play, but he soon found them unsuitable for confined areas. Finally, he determined that he would have to invent a game.

In December of 1891, Dr. Naismith hung two old peach baskets at either end of the gymnasium at the school, and using a soccer ball and nine players on each side, organized the first  basketball game. The early rules allowed three points for each basket and made running with the ball a violation. Every time a goal was made, someone had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball.

Nevertheless, the game became popular. In less than a year, basketball was being played in both the United States and Canada. Five years later, a championship tournament was staged in New York City, which was won by the Brooklyn Central YMCA.

The teams had already been reduced to seven players, and five became standards in the 1897 season. When basketball was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, it quickly spread throughout the world. In 1906, a metal hoop was used for the first time to replace the basket, but the name basketball has remained.

 

(Practice Exercise for Reading, Baron, p. 120)

Reading Passage 2

In seventeenth-century colonial North America, all day-to-day cooking was done in the fireplace. Generally large, fireplaces were planned for cooking as well as for warmth. Those in the Northeast were usually four or five feet high, and in the South, they were often high enough for a person to walk into. A heavy timber called the mantel tree was used as a lintel to support the stonework above the fireplace opening. This timber might be scorched occasionally, but it was far enough in front of the rising column of heat to be safe from catching fire.

Two ledges were built across from each other on the inside of the chimney. On these rested the ends of a “lug pole” from which pots were suspended when cooking. Wood from a freshly cut tree was used for the lug pole, so it would resist heat, but it had to be replaced frequently because it dried out and charred, and was thus weakened. Sometimes the pole broke and the dinner fell into the fire. When iron became easier to obtain, it was used instead of wood for lug poles, and later fireplaces had pivoting metal rods to hang pots from.

Beside the fireplace and built as part of it was the oven. It was made like a small, secondary fireplace with a flue leading into the main chimney to draw out smoke. Sometimes the door of the oven faced the room, but most ovens were built with the opening facing into the fireplace. On baking days (usually once or twice a week) a roaring fire of “oven wood,” consisting of brown maple sticks, was maintained in the oven until its walls were extremely hot. The embers were later removed, bread dough was put into the oven, and the oven was sealed shut until the bread was fully baked.

Not all baking was done in a  big oven, however. Also used was an iron “bake kettle,” which looked like a stewpot on legs and which had an iron lid. This is said to have worked well when it was placed in the fireplace, surrounded by glowing wood embers with more embers piled on its lid.

Reading Comprehension Passage 2

Composers today use a wider variety  of sounds than ever before, including many  that were once considered noises. Composer Edgard Varese (1883-1965) called thus the “liberation of sound … the right to make music with any and all sounds.” Electronic music, for example-made with the aid of computers, synthesizers and electronic instruments-may include sounds that in the past would not have been considered musical. Environmental sounds, such as thunder, and electronically generated hisses and blips can be recorded, manipulated, and then incorporated into a musical composition. But composers also draw novel sounds from voices and nonelectronic instruments. Singers may be asked to scream, laugh, groan, sneeze, or to sing phonetic sounds rather than words. Wind and string players may lap of scrape their instruments.

A brass or woodwind player may hum while playing, to produce two pitches at once; a pianists may reach inside the piano to pluck a string and then run a metal blade along it. In the music of the Western world, the greatest expansion and experimentation have involved percussion instruments, which outnumber strings and winds in many recent compositions.

Traditional percussion instruments are struck with new types of beaters; and instruments that used to be couriered  unconventional in Western music-tom-toms, bongos, slapsticks, maracas-are widely used. In the search for novel sounds, increased use has been made in Western music of Microtones. Non-Western music typically divides and interval between two pitches more finely than Western music does, thereby producing a greater number of distinct tones, or micro tones, within the same interval. Composers such as Krzysztof Pmderecki create sound that borders on electronic noise through tone clusters-closely spaced tones played together and heard as a mass, block, or band of sound. The directional aspects of sound has taken on new importance as well Loudspeakers or groups of instruments may be placed at opposite ends of the stage, in the balcony, or at the back and sides of the auditorium. Because standard music notation makes no provision for many of these innovations, recent music scores may contain graphlike diagrams, new note shapes and symbols, and novel ways of arranging notation on the page

Reading Comprehension Practice 1 for TOEFL 2

Although he created the game of basketball at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. James A. Naismith was a Canadian. Working as a physical education instructor at the International YMCA, now Springfield College, Dr, Naismith noticed a lack of interest in exercise among students during the wintertime. The  New England winters were fierce, and the students balked at participating in outdoor activities. Naismith determined that a fast-moving game that could be played indoors would fill a void after the baseball and football seasons had ended.

First he attempted to adapt outdoor games such as soccer and rugby to indoor play, but he soon found them unsuitable for confined areas. Finally, he determined that he would have to invent a game.

In December of 1891, Dr. Naismith hung two old peach baskets at either end of the gymnasium at the school, and using a soccer ball and nine players on each side, organized the first basketball game. The early rules allowed three points for each basket and made running with the ball a violation. Every time a goal was made, someone had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball.

Nevertheless, the game became popular. In less than a year, basketball was being played in both the United States and Canada. Five years later, a championship tournament was staged in New York City, which was won by the Brooklyn Central YMCA.

The teams had already been reduced to seven players, and five became standard in the 1897 season. When basketball was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, it quickly spread throughout the world. In 1906, a metal hoop was used for the first time to replace the basket, but the name basketball has remained.

 

taken from TOEFL Practice, Baron.

 

Reading Materials for TOEFL 2

Passage One

Romantic Music of the nineteenth century differed greatly from the classical music of the eighteenth century. Classical music was primarily concerned with strict form and style. Romantic  composers, however, wanted to express their feelings and thoughts through music. Their music was less structured than the music of classicists; its goal was to fill the listener with emotion, with thoughts of beauty, wonder, and nature, and with poetry.

Passage Two

In American colonies, Benjamin Franklin worked as a printer; from his work, he clearly understood how difficult and costly it was to make books. However, he and his friends really enjoyed reading and wanted to get hold of as many books as they could.

One of Franklin’s good ideas, and he had many good ideas,  was to set up a club where people could share their books. The 50 members who joined the club when it was started in 1732 donated books and also pooled their money to buy additional books. Anyone who wanted to could stop in and read the books, club members were also allowed to take the books home with them, provided they returned them on time. This ‘club’ became American’s first circulating library.

Passage Three

The Hopi are part of the Pueblo Indian culture. Today they live mostly in northeastern Arizons, at the edge of the Painted Desert. Something  that sets the Hopi culture off from other cultures is that it is in some senses a maternal than a paternal culture.                                                                                    The Hopi are divided into clans, or families, along maternal lines, and as a result a child becomes a member of the mother’s clan rather than the father’s. In addition, ownership of property, such as land and houses, passes from mother to daughter instead of from father to son, as it does in other Native American cultures. However, women do not have all the power in this culture. Societal authority still rests in the hands of men, but that authority does pass to men from their mothers.

(taken from TOEFL Longman)

 

Reading Comprehension Practice for TOEFL 2

The stylistic innovation in paining known as Impressionism began in the 1870s. The impressionists wanted to depict what they saw in nature, but they were inspired to portray fragmentary moments by the increasingly fast pace of modern life. They concentrated on the play of light over objects, people, and nature, breaking up seemingly solid surfaces, stressing vivid contrast between colors in sunlight and shade, and depiction reflected light in all of its possibilities. Unlike earlier artists,  they did not  want to observe the world from indoors. They abandoned the studio, painting in the open air and recording spontaneous Impressions of their subjects instead of making outside sketches and then moving doors to complete the work form memory.

Some of the Impressionists’ painting methods were affected by technological advances. For example, the shift from the studio to the open air was made possible in part by the advent of cheap rail travel, which permitted easy and quick access to the countryside or seashore, as well as by newly developed chemical dyes and oils that led to collapsible pain tubes, which enabled artists to finish their paintings on the spot.

Impressionism acquired its name not from supporters but from angry art lovers who felt threatened by the new painting. The term “Impressionism” was born in 1874, when a group of artists who had been working together organized an exhibition of their painting in order to draw public attention to their work. Reaction from the public and press was immediate, and derisive. Among the 165 paintings exhibited was one called Impression: Sunrise, by Claude Monet (1840-1926). Viewed through hostile eyes, Monet’s painting of a rising over a misty, watery scene seemed messy, slapdash, and an affront to good taste. Borrowing Monet’s title, art critics extended the term ‘Impressionism” to the entire. In response, Monet and his 29 fellow artists in the exhibit adopted the same bane as a badge of their unity, despite individual differences. From then until 1886 Impressionism had all the zeal of a ‘church’, as the painter Renoir put it. Monet was faithful to the Impressionist creed until  his death although many of the others moved on to new styles.

 

(TOEFL Practice Test by Alvina Kusuma, p. 42)