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.
Migrant Detention and Congressional Oversight
September 16, 2019
Immigration policy and enforcement continues to be a major area of conflict between congressional Democrats and the executive branch. Currently, Congress is considering many bills related to immigration, asylum, migrant detention, and family separation. This week, we will look at two bills that Democrats are advancing; next week, we will look at two bills that […]Read More >
Reparations and the Demands of Justice
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. […]Read More >
Religious Freedom or the Right to Discriminate?
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 […]Read More >
Democratic Candidate Highlights: Part 1—The Early Announcers
June 05, 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 […]Read More >
Should Washington, DC Become a State?
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 […]Read More >
Trade War: What Is It Good For?
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 […]Read More >
A Flood of Democratic Candidates
April 30, 2019
The 2020 United States Presidential election is on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 (or 553 days from the publishing of this post) and already there are 21 Democrats who have formally begun their campaigns. Over the next several months, we will take a dive into who the candidates are and what they prioritize. In each candidacy […]Read More >
Should Public College Be Free?
April 23, 2019
College has not only gotten expensive, but the cost becomes a burden for years. When graduating an undergraduate program, the average student leaves with over $37,000 in student loan debt. This is a $20,000 increase from 20 years ago. Over 70% of students today graduate with a significant amount of loans with an average of […]Read More >
Shifting Debate over Paid Family Leave
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 […]Read More >
Should the US designate an official language?
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 […]Read More >