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.
Record Numbers of Unaccompanied Minors Are Seeking Asylum in U.S.
April 13, 2021
Last month, nearly 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children were stopped at the U.S.-Mexican border, a record since documentation began in 2010, beating a previous record set in May of 2019.1 Currently, the Biden administration is allowing only children traveling alone to stay in the U.S. while their asylum claims are being evaluated, a process that can […]Read More >
Time to Reform the Filibuster?
April 06, 2021
The Senate is again considering changing its rules regarding the filibuster, a parliamentary procedure that gives individual senators the power to shape—and even block—legislation. The filibuster is “a loosely defined term for action designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill, resolution, amendment, or other debatable question.”1 The filibuster is […]Read More >
Women: A Majority in the United States, A Minority in U.S. Government
March 29, 2021
The year 2021 has already been a ground-breaking one for women in national politics. Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman and person of color to hold the office, the 117th Congress includes the largest number of female members in U.S. history, and President Joe Biden’s cabinet will ultimately include 11 women, setting a […]Read More >
The 50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment
March 22, 2021
Congress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971; it was ratified by the states and signed by President Richard Nixon by July of that same year.1 The amendment lowered the voting age to 18. It reads: Section 1 The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to […]Read More >
How Can We Overcome Vaccine Skepticism?
March 16, 2021
There’s been a lot of good news in the fight against COVID-19. The United States has authorized three vaccines for emergency use and drastically ramped up the distribution to states while increasing the administration of doses.1 More than 107 million shots have already been given, with an average of 2.3 million per day.2 President Joe […]Read More >
Restoring Confidence or Destroying Democracy? The Fight Over Access to the Ballot
March 08, 2021
The past several election cycles have seen high-stakes fights over access to the ballot and the rules that govern elections. In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act, thus making it easier for states to change their voting laws.1 In the years since, conservatives in Congress and in state legislatures have […]Read More >
Addressing Economic Inequality: Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Proposal
March 04, 2021
During her 2020 presidential bid, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., put forward a tax on the wealthiest Americans—a so-called ultra-millionaire tax—as one of her central proposals.1 And on March 1, 2021, Warren introduced the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would “create an annual tax of 2 percent on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 […]Read More >
156 Years and Counting: Reparations for Slavery in 2021
February 24, 2021
In the wake of this past summer’s demonstrations and civil unrest spurred by accusations of wrongful police killings and systemic racism, Congress is considering legislation regarding reparations to Black Americans who are descended from enslaved people. The bill, H.R. 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, was introduced by Representative […]Read More >
The 14th: Why A Reconstruction-Era Amendment is in the News
February 23, 2021
Now that former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has concluded with another acquittal, some lawmakers and voters remain unsatisfied with the results.1 Had President Trump been found guilty by the Senate, he would have been barred from holding federal office again in the future. With an acquittal, President Trump remains eligible to run once […]Read More >
The Debate Over School Resource Officers and the #CounselorsNotCops Campaign
February 16, 2021
The debates over defunding or reforming the police and addressing the school-to-prison pipeline have merged to focus on the issue of police officers in schools. School resource officers (SROs) are career law enforcement officers who work in one or more schools.1 According to the Department of Justice, SROs are “responsible for safety and crime prevention […]Read More >