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.
Making Sense of Election Results, Part 2
November 12, 2018
In this post, we will take a look at some important issues that voters weighed in on in last week’s election. Our previous post examined the shift in the national political landscape, especially the change of power in the House of Representatives. This post will take a look at ballot initiatives across the country. For a full […]Read More >
Making Sense of Election Results, Part 1
November 09, 2018
Tuesday’s election strengthened the Republican majority in the Senate, but it is likely that the most significant outcome at the national level is Democrats’ new majority in the House of Representatives. In this post, we will explore some of the trends and data from the midterms as well as some of the implications of divided […]Read More >
A Rumble in the House—What Are the Odds of Republicans Maintaining the Majority?
November 05, 2018
What’s Up? The members of the House of Representatives represent citizens on the basis of population. Representatives (who are elected to two-year terms) have many duties, but their most important ones are to make and pass federal laws by introducing bills and resolutions, offering amendments, serving on committees, and voting to represent their constituents. Tomorrow, […]Read More >
Campaign Ads and Campaign Cash
October 31, 2018
The 2018 election is easily going to be the most expensive midterm election in history. There are estimates that campaigns, parties, and interest groups will spend about $5.2 billion by the time it’s all over—about 35 percent more than was spent on the 2014 midterms. Some of this money is spent on supplies, signs, the hiring of […]Read More >
Anger, Fear, and Polarization
October 29, 2018
The hate-based mass shooting in Pittsburgh and the attempted assassinations of prominent Democrats and media figures are among the most recent and startling signs that the divides in the country are getting deeper and more dangerous. This post is intended to help teachers and students explore the sharp political divides that exist in the United States. It is also important […]Read More >
Election Integrity or Voter Suppression?
October 25, 2018
One of the most fundamental rights of citizens in a representative democracy is the right to vote—the right to decide who should govern and give input on key policy decisions. In recent years, conservative policymakers have raised concerns over voter fraud and its potential to influence the outcome of elections. President Donald Trump continues to claim that […]Read More >
Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16?
October 22, 2018
While many Americans are concerned about low rates of voter turnout, particularly among young people, there is growing evidence that voter turnout is not the only element of American democracy that shows signs of unhealthy behavior. Yoni Appelbaum argues in The Atlantic that “Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore.” Appelbaum writes that democracy is an “acquired habit” that develops slowly […]Read More >
What’s at Stake in the Senate Races?
October 17, 2018
What’s Up? There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs in 2018 (including two—Minnesota and Mississippi—that are up for special election). Of those 35 seats, 26 of them are currently held by Democrats. The Current Situation Republicans currently hold the majority (51 seats) in the Senate; Democrats hold 47 seats and independents hold two seats. […]Read More >
The Kavanaugh Question
October 15, 2018
Although Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment was ultimately successful, the question remains of whether or not it will be an instance of winning the battle but losing the war with regard to the 2018 midterm elections. Some commentators have suggested that had Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation failed, it might have sparked a backlash among voters in both […]Read More >
Hacking and the Midterms
October 11, 2018
As we continue to debate the role that hacking played in the 2016 election, government officials and others are grappling with the future of American elections,especially next month’s midterm elections. People who are concerned with the long-term civic and political health of the United States understand that free and fair elections are a fundamental component […]Read More >