The 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.
Should There Be an Age Limit on Public Officials?
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 […]Read More >
Climate Emergency: Wildfires
September 08, 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, […]Read More >
Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 3: Examining the Impact of Prison Education
July 01, 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 […]Read More >
Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 2: The Debate Over Mass Incarceration
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, […]Read More >
Reversing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”? Part 1: Defining the School-to-Prison Pipeline
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, […]Read More >
History and Civics Scores Drop in The Nation’s Report Card
June 02, 2023
At Close Up, building civic proficiency and comprehension is at the heart of everything we do. Learn more about how we support students, teachers, and civic literacy through our programs, professional development, curriculum, and classroom resources. On May 3, the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released its civics and U.S. history data […]Read More >
What Is Happening in Sudan?
May 25, 2023
On April 15, fighting broke out in Sudan between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), the country’s national army, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group. The RSF is the largest paramilitary group in Africa, created in 2013 out of the Janjaweed militias that have been accused of war crimes and genocide in Darfur, […]Read More >
The Debt Ceiling Fight
May 19, 2023
Recently, the Republican-led House of Representatives has been at odds with the Democrat-led Senate and President Joe Biden over raising the national debt ceiling. This issue touches on one of the fundamental powers of Congress—setting the budget for the federal government. Disagreements over spending have led to the current divide between the Republican and Democratic […]Read More >
Drag Bans: A Violation of the First Amendment?
April 26, 2023
Last month, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a first-of-its-kind law banning “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in any location where people under 18 could be present. Senate Bill 3, commonly known as the “drag ban,” in part defines these performances as “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient […]Read More >
Where to Go? America’s Shortage of Public Restrooms
April 10, 2023
The United States lacks public restrooms. It’s a problem you might only notice when you need to go. Those with chronic conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, parents with young kids, and older Americans with weaker bladders may be most affected by this shortage, though anyone who just drank a large iced coffee can find themselves […]Read More >