Our Current Issues blog helps teachers connect news stories to their classrooms and students. Teaching the news is time-consuming and complicated; by the time you are able to find and process important issues and identify how to teach them, they are old news. This blog will be updated weekly, with links to classroom-ready news items, relevant context, and suggested discussion questions for teachers. Additionally, we help connect teachers to resources from partners across the civic education world, such as AllSides for Schools and our partners at the Teaching for Democracy Alliance.
Universal Basic Income: Pipe Dream or Proactive Policy?
February 28, 2020
On November 6, 2017, businessman Andrew Yang began a presidential campaign centered on a signature policy, Universal Basic Income (UBI).1 If put in place, this UBI or “Freedom Dividend” would give every adult American $1,000 a month, no questions asked.2 The idea captured some voters’ imaginations; although Yang ultimately suspended his campaign after a poor […]Read More >
Understanding Ideological Labels
February 20, 2020
During campaigns and elections, candidates use political labels, such as liberal, moderate, progressive, conservative, and libertarian, to position themselves in relation to each other and as a shorthand for their worldviews and policy preferences. This presidential election cycle features candidates from across a wider political spectrum than most elections in recent years. In the United […]Read More >
Is It a Crime When Politicians Lie?
February 05, 2020
“There’s a clear difference between politics and a crime,” Michael Levy told the Supreme Court in January,1 when he made arguments in a case about New Jersey’s “Bridgegate” scandal. As the justices considered whether or not a public official commits fraud by obfuscating the “real reason”2 behind a decision, they asked both sides tough questions […]Read More >
Primary Voting Begins: Iowa and New Hampshire
January 29, 2020
What Should You Watch for in the Democratic Primaries? The next month features four nominating contests: the Iowa caucuses (February 3), the New Hampshire primary (February 11), the Nevada caucuses (February 22), and the South Carolina primary (February 29).1 A great deal of polling has been done to determine voters’ favorites in these contests, particularly […]Read More >
How Would You Vote in the Senate Impeachment Trial?
January 17, 2020
Editor’s Note: This week, we created a longer post to provide some background on both the process and substance of President Donald Trump’s impeachment and Senate trial. This post includes more substantial teaching strategies, including a role-playing approach, that can be used to explore the issues at the heart of the impeachment and Senate trial. […]Read More >
U.S.-Iranian Relations Following the Death of Qasem Soleimani
January 13, 2020
On January 2, 2020, it was announced that an air strike ordered by President Donald Trump had successfully targeted and killed Qasem Soleimani, chief of the Quds Force, at Baghdad International Airport. The Quds Force is regarded as the elite unit of Iran’s military; it handles overseas operations and is classified as a foreign terrorist […]Read More >
Should Eligibility for Food Stamps Be More Restrictive?
December 11, 2019
Upon releasing new rules that will make it more difficult for “able-bodied” adults to receive food stamps, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue explained, “Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work. This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the […]Read More >
The Death Penalty: A Just Punishment?
December 04, 2019
On November 15, 2019, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals suspended the execution of Rodney Reed and sent his case back to trial, due to new witness testimony that pointed to his innocence and raised concerns about how evidence was handled during the initial trial.1 Since 1977, at least 166 inmates have been released from death […]Read More >
Political Ads on Social Media
November 25, 2019
On October 30, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that, effective November 22, Twitter would ban all political advertising on its platform. Dorsey justified the decision by explaining that political ads present “entirely new challenges to civic discourse.”1 Twitter’s sweeping decision was not an arbitrary one; it was the result of a new wave of scrutiny […]Read More >
Vaping: Free Market vs. Consumer Safety
November 19, 2019
On September 11, 2019, President Donald Trump told reporters that his administration was considering a ban on flavored vaping products.1 This announcement came after a sometimes-fatal, vaping-related illness began appearing across the United States. On November 18, the Trump administration seemed to reverse course under pressure from constituents2 and corporate donors,3 announcing that no new […]Read More >