Close Up in Class: Current Issues is a library of interactive resources and classroom units for exploring national and international policy debates. Close Up’s curriculum is designed to expose students to the historical foundations, institutional structures, and government processes necessary to engage in informed discussion about controversial issues.

The Close Up in Class: Current Issues curriculum is closely aligned with Common Core Standards and the C3 framework – our resources help students to build critical thinking skills; develop an understanding of history and current events from multiple perspectives; draw connections between historical tensions and current controversial issues; evaluate, synthesize and debate key democratic principles; and apply new knowledge through actual civic engagement in the community.

Our nonpartisan resources examine critical public policy questions on a variety of levels:

  • Foundational Units review the U.S. Federal government, U.S. Foreign Policy, and several longstanding tensions within American Democracy.
  • Current Issues Units (on topics like Education and Arab-Israeli Conflict) give students an introduction to the complexities of each topic, and outline arguments on current related controversies (such as School Choice and Negotiations with Iran). Please click here for a list of topics.
  • Monthly Discussions examine current bills in Congress, Supreme Court cases, and relevant controversial issues in the news.
  • Teacher Resources include a variety of lesson plans, out-of-class assignments, project outlines, and community engagement activities that challenge students to develop a point of view and practice active citizenship.

Close Up’s online library allows students and teachers to access these resources enhanced with interactive tools, supporting links, and up-to-date information as it becomes available throughout the year. The corresponding Current Issues textbook includes central Foundational and Current Issues units to support classroom discussions and research.

For more information or to order Close Up in Class: Current Issues please contact us at or call us at 703-706-3665.


"It has been shown that civic education—especially when it is interactive and involves a discussion of current issues—is an important method of developing the skills that young Americans need to succeed in the 21st century workforce."

Educating for democracy since 1971