Current Issues Blog & More


The Close Up Current Issues Blog, updated weekly throughout the school year, helps teachers connect current events to their students and classrooms. We know that teaching the news can be time-consuming; by the time you find important issues and identify how to teach them, they are old news. That’s where our blog comes in: unpacking issues in the headlines by providing relevant context, links to classroom-ready news items, and suggested prompts for thoughtful discussion.

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Ammar Awad/Reuters

Teaching and Discussing the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Post | October 25, 2023

In last week’s post, we provided some background about what is happening in Israel and Gaza. In this week’s post, we offer some additional resources that could help students and teachers understand what is happening. Axios gathered a list of people, places, and terms that could help people engage with news stories about the conflict. U.S. […]


The Israel-Hamas War

Post | October 18, 2023

The Hamas Attack Launches On the morning of October 7, 2023, the militant Palestinian nationalist group Hamas unleashed an unprecedented terrorist attack against Israel. Over 5,000 rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip (one of two semi-autonomous regions of Israel designated for Palestinian residents). These rocket attacks were immediately followed by thousands of Hamas fighters […]

Young Americans’ Views on the 2024 Presidential Election

Post | October 13, 2023

Over the last two weeks, we have explored results from American University’s Reimagining the American Dream Survey, conducted in partnership with Close Up, the Generation Lab, and the Millennial Action Project. This third and final post will examine Gen Z’s 2024 election views and ideas. As a reminder, the survey from American University’s Sine Institute […]

Young Americans’ Views on Politics and Political Engagement

Post | October 5, 2023

Last week, we introduced the results of American University’s Reimagining the American Dream Survey, conducted in partnership with Close Up, the Generation Lab, and the Millennial Action Project. The survey explored “what the American Dream actually means for young Americans, who are trying to sort through the churning dynamics shaping their lives, including: spiraling technological […]

For Young Americans, the “American Dream” Resonates Differently

Post | September 29, 2023

How has the “American Dream” changed over time? In September, the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics at American University released the results of a survey of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. The poll, which was conducted in partnership with Close Up, the Generation Lab, and the Millennial Action Project, explored “what […]

Should There Be an Age Limit on Public Officials?

Post | September 19, 2023

Several recent incidents have caused the public, members of the media, and some elected officials to raise alarm bells about the advanced age of several government officials. President Joe Biden (age 80),1 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.; age 81),2 and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.; age 90)3 have all had moments in which they appeared […]

Climate Emergency: Wildfires

Post | September 8, 2023

The summer of 2023 saw record-breaking temperatures across the United States and a global average temperature hotter than any time in the past 120,000 years.1 Along with the heat, regions across the globe—including 33 U.S. states—are experiencing drought conditions.2 The combination of severe heat and drought creates ideal conditions for wildfires. In June and July, […]

Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 3: Examining the Impact of Prison Education

Post | July 1, 2023

In Part 1 of this series, we saw that more severe approaches to school discipline—including “zero-tolerance” policies—have been statistically linked to higher rates of incarceration, especially among Black boys. This is seen as a key contributor to mass incarceration, which Part 2 showed has grown substantially since the final decades of the 20th century. In […]

Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 2: The Debate Over Mass Incarceration

Post | June 22, 2023

Should We Decarcerate? Since the start of the War on Drugs, the United States has adopted and enforced policies that have led to mass incarceration, with nearly half of all incarcerations due to drug crimes.1 According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the rate of incarceration in the United States outpaces every other nation on earth, […]

Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 1: Defining the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Post | June 14, 2023

What Do People Mean When They Talk About the School-to-Prison Pipeline? For decades, many researchers who study the public education system have discussed the impact of the “school-to-prison pipeline”: escalating punishments, primarily in “high-poverty, high-minority schools,” intended to deter unwanted student behaviors leading to missed class time, a lost sense of belonging within the school, […]

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