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 | November 5, 2018
What’s Up? The members of the House of Representatives represent citizens on the basis of population. Representatives (who are elected to two-year terms) have many duties, but their most important ones are to make and pass federal laws by introducing bills and resolutions, offering amendments, serving on committees, and voting to represent their constituents. Tomorrow, […]
Post | October 31, 2018
The 2018 election is easily going to be the most expensive midterm election in history. There are estimates that campaigns, parties, and interest groups will spend about $5.2 billion by the time it’s all over—about 35 percent more than was spent on the 2014 midterms. Some of this money is spent on supplies, signs, the hiring of […]
Post | October 29, 2018
The hate-based mass shooting in Pittsburgh and the attempted assassinations of prominent Democrats and media figures are among the most recent and startling signs that the divides in the country are getting deeper and more dangerous. This post is intended to help teachers and students explore the sharp political divides that exist in the United States. It is also important […]
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 […]
Post | October 22, 2018
While many Americans are concerned about low rates of voter turnout, particularly among young people, there is growing evidence that voter turnout is not the only element of American democracy that shows signs of unhealthy behavior. Yoni Appelbaum argues in The Atlantic that “Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore.” Appelbaum writes that democracy is an “acquired habit” that develops slowly […]
Post | October 17, 2018
What’s Up? There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs in 2018 (including two—Minnesota and Mississippi—that are up for special election). Of those 35 seats, 26 of them are currently held by Democrats. The Current Situation Republicans currently hold the majority (51 seats) in the Senate; Democrats hold 47 seats and independents hold two seats. […]
Post | October 11, 2018
As we continue to debate the role that hacking played in the 2016 election, government officials and others are grappling with the future of American elections,especially next month’s midterm elections. People who are concerned with the long-term civic and political health of the United States understand that free and fair elections are a fundamental component […]
Post | October 8, 2018
Why do young people vote at lower rates than other groups? There are a number of possible reasons. Today, we will look at one possible factor: that the political arena does not address the concerns of young voters. Below, you’ll find a discussion guide and a few resources to help students think about the decision […]