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.
Close Up’s Election Recap
November 17, 2022
By the end of the day on Election Day, 47 percent of eligible voters in the United States had cast a ballot in the 2022 midterm elections.1 After a week of waiting with several races still uncalled, heading to a runoff, or requiring a recount, it looks like Republicans will have a slim majority in […]Read More >
Will the Supreme Court End Affirmative Action?
November 03, 2022
On October 31, 2022, the Supreme Court heard two cases regarding the use of race in college admissions.1 Rulings on these cases could force many universities to reshape their admissions processes.2 The History of Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court The present-day context of the term “affirmative action” grew from executive orders by Presidents John […]Read More >
Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness: Too Much, Not Enough, Just Right, or Beyond the President’s Authority?
October 25, 2022
In August, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a student loan forgiveness plan which would cancel up to $10,000 in debt for most borrowers and up to $20,000 for some borrowers.1 Current federal student loan borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year (less than $250,000 per household) can have up to $10,000 forgiven and those […]Read More >
Despite White House Push for Updated COVID-19 Boosters, Americans Are Slow to Roll Up Their Sleeves
October 18, 2022
Last Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration expanded eligibility for updated COVID-19 booster shots to include children as young as five. Prior to this announcement, the revised Pfizer vaccine was restricted to those 12 and older and the Moderna vaccine was restricted to those 18 and older.1 These updated booster shots address the BA.4 and […]Read More >
Does Religious Freedom Guarantee Abortion Access?
October 12, 2022
On October 6, three Jewish women filed a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky claiming that the state’s current abortion restrictions are vague and violate their religious freedom.1 Kentucky’s state legislature passed a series of bills in 2019 that banned abortion from fertilization, only allowing for abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. There […]Read More >
The Voting Rights Act Goes to Court, Again
October 06, 2022
On October 4, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Merrill v. Milligan. In that case, the Court is considering whether the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should apply to Alabama’s recent congressional redistricting. One section of the Voting Rights Act requires that states provide minority voters with “an equal opportunity to […]Read More >
Understanding the Iranian Hijab Protests
September 30, 2022
In recent days, Iran has been gripped by a series of mass protests that have gained international attention. The protests, largely led by women, are somewhat unprecedented. While both protest and women’s participation in protest in Iran are not new, the protests of the past two weeks are remarkable as the first of such scale […]Read More >
The Water Crisis in Jackson, Mississippi
September 21, 2022
On August 29, 2022, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency for Jackson, the state capital, which was in the midst of an ongoing water crisis.1 Heavy rainfall caused the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir to flood, which in turn overwhelmed two water treatment plants that were already strained.2 Low water pressure […]Read More >
A Renewed Labor Movement?
September 14, 2022
The year 2022 has seen a historic surge in labor organizing and union activity. While union organizing at Starbucks and Amazon has garnered the most media attention, the labor movement has also been active on university campuses, at newspapers and other publishers, and in the high-tech industry at Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other companies. This […]Read More >
Ranked-Choice Voting: A Curiosity or Coming Reform?
September 06, 2022
In August, Democrat Mary Peltola won Alaska’s lone seat in the House of Representatives in a special election to replace Don Young (R), who passed away in March 2022.1 Peltola defeated two Republicans, former Governor Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III. Peltola becomes the first Alaska Native person to be elected to Congress.2 This election […]Read More >