Background and Context
These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Civil Rights & Individual Liberties and make connections between historical events, current conversations, and current policy proposals surrounding the issue. This section includes all of the context and content previously included in Close Up’s public policy chapters.
Current Issue Debates
Current Issue Debates are framed by a central question and followed by historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions to facilitate deliberation in the classroom.
Videos from Policy Makers
Brought to you by ASP HOMEROOM, through a collaboration between Close Up Foundation and A Starting Point, these supplemental videos are an introduction to policy areas that provide an opportunity for students to hear different perspectives directly from lawmakers.
These ready-to-use lesson plans can be utilized in conjunction with any of our resources to enhance the quality of student discourse in the classroom. Our supplemental Civic Readiness Guide provides a recommended lesson plan sequence for using our Current Issues resources.
Post | November 15, 2019
On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.1 The Court’s decision will determine how difficult it will be to bring future cases regarding possible racial bias to trial.2 Facts of the Case Byron Allen, an African American, owns Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which operates […]
Post | August 27, 2019
In January 2019, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) introduced H.R. 40: The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act.1 Reparations for slavery, Jim Crow, and systematic segregation and racism in major U.S. institutions is not a new idea, but it has never gained the type of traction that it currently has. […]
Post | August 22, 2019
On August 15, the Department of Labor published proposed changes that would expand federal contractors’ ability to claim a religious exemption to equal opportunity and anti-discrimination rules.1 The proposed rule change, as written, could allow employers with federal contracts to fire or refuse to hire LGBTQ employees, and could even be used to fire unmarried […]
Post | May 29, 2019
If you visit Washington, DC, one of the things you may notice is the license plates on local vehicles. While the inhabitants of the District of Columbia pay federal taxes, they do not have voting representation in Congress – just one delegate whose votes do not count. So since 2000, after approval by the Mayor […]
Post | March 12, 2019
Last month, a federal judge in Texas ruled that an all-male draft is unconstitutional.1Current laws demand that all males must register for Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday, or face prosecution, fines and prison time. If an American male over 18 is not registered, he is not eligible for federal student aid, cannot […]
Post | February 20, 2019
“Yes Virginia, there is an ERA” “One State to 38!” These slogans adorned the banners and signs that ERA supporters brought to the Virginia State Capitol at the beginning of the General Assembly’s legislative session this January. ¹ ERA activists are hoping that this year’s session would include a floor vote on ratification of the […]
Post | December 11, 2018
Just when you thought it was safe to declare the 2018 midterm elections over… Historically, the results of elections have always been honored, even when the fairness of a given contest is debatable. In recent history, for example, some people questioned to what extent the elections of John F. Kennedy1, Richard Nixon2, Ronald Reagan3, George W. Bush4, […]
Post | October 25, 2018
One of the most fundamental rights of citizens in a representative democracy is the right to vote—the right to decide who should govern and give input on key policy decisions. In recent years, conservative policymakers have raised concerns over voter fraud and its potential to influence the outcome of elections. President Donald Trump continues to claim that […]