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.
Current Issues Blog
C-SPAN Cameras on the House Floor
January 25, 2023
When the 118th Congress convened on January 3, what is usually a quick procedural vote for speaker turned into a contentious five days of voting on the floor of the House of Representatives.1 The frustrations, negotiations, and heated debates were on display on C-SPAN. Since the House could not adopt rules without a speaker—members-elect could […]Read More >
A New Rule Results in Cost-Of-Living Reimbursement for House Members
January 18, 2023
An under-the-radar rule change proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives in the waning days of 117th Congress could potentially increase members’ yearly compensation. The provision, approved by the House Administration Committee, would allow reimbursement for a number of living expenses, including lodging, food, and travel in Washington, D.C. How Much Do Members of […]Read More >
The Supreme Court Weighs the First Amendment and Minority Rights
December 16, 2022
The case of a Christian website designer from Colorado who opposes same-sex marriage reached the Supreme Court on December 5. Because the Court said it would only address freedom of speech issues, the hearing pitted concerns over discrimination against freedom of artistic expression.1 Why Did This Case Reach the Supreme Court? Lorie Smith wants to […]Read More >
The Debate Over the Respect for Marriage Act
December 07, 2022
The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act on November 29, and the House of Representatives is expected to pass it this week. President Joe Biden has already said he will sign it. The bill is the result of months of work by congressional leaders to create legislative protections for same-sex married couples. The History […]Read More >
A Close Supreme Court Case Entangles Indigenous Children, Tribal Sovereignty, States’ Rights, and Race
December 02, 2022
What began as a child custody lawsuit evolved into a lengthy hearing of four consolidated cases before the Supreme Court on November 9, 2022.1 The law in question is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Court’s eventual ruling on it could impact laws about race, states’ rights, and the sovereignty of Native American […]Read More >
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 affirmative action cases could force many universities to reshape their admissions processes. The History of Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court The present-day context of the term “affirmative action” grew from executive orders by […]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 >