Background and Context
These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Government & Elections 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 Policymakers
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 | June 5, 2019
The 2020 United States Presidential election is on Tuesday, November 3, and there are 20+ Democrats who have announced their campaign to run. As promised in our earlier post (found here), this post will be the first of several where we take a closer look at a few candidates—who they are and their stances are on […]
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 | May 14, 2019
This past Friday, President Trump announced a new round of tariffs on $200 billion dollars’ worth of goods from China, increasing the rate from 10% to 25%. On Sunday, China announced retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion dollars’ worth of US goods increasing to a rate of 20-25%.1 The so-called ‘trade war’ between the US and […]
Post | April 17, 2019
In the midst of economic policy debates on tariffs and trading gaps, one policy debate has continued for years in many different iterations: Paid Family Leave. This week, the Senate introduced Bill 1174 as a companion bill to the House’s 2019 Federal Employees Paid Leave Act. Both bills support 12 weeks of paid leave for federal […]
Post | March 26, 2019
The United States is one of a few nations in the world to have no official language designated. While the Constitution gives no reasoning for this, many reasons have been suggested by experts. Several bills have been introduced in Congress to designate English as the national language, but none have ever been successfully passed into […]
Post | March 19, 2019
On Feb. 28, the day he introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, (S.597) Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “The failed War on Drugs has really been a war on people—disproportionately criminalizing poor people, people of color & people with mental illness. I’m reintroducing the #MarijuanaJustice Act to begin reversing our failed federal drug policies.” The views expressed by Sen. Booker […]
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 | March 5, 2019
Every ten years, the federal government conducts a census to count people residing in the United States. The information gathered helps the federal, state, and local governments plan and create public policy, identifies regional and national trends, and, most importantly, is used in apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the U.S. population […]