What is Close Up?

Close Up is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education organization that educates and inspires young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Since 1971, Close Up has served over 850,000 students and teachers through experiential programs and classroom resources. Close Up’s classroom resources provide the context, facts, and primary source documents to engage middle and high school classrooms in informed debate and discussion about pressing public policy issues. Ultimately, we seek to help young people better understand various viewpoints and come together to address shared challenges in their communities.

I’m new to Close Up in Class — where should I start?

If you are interested in talking about current issues with your students, you are in the right place. The best way to get familiar with these resources is to browse our libraries and request a sample. If you are teaching a specific course, grade level, or topic, please contact us at! We have lessons that address a wide range of issues and themes, from specific policy debates (in areas like immigration, health care, environment), to overarching questions about the role and structure of government.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you preview the site and share more information with you about our Professional Development opportunities for teachers.

Are Close Up in Class resources designed as a supplement or as a full curriculum?

Schools and teachers have used Close Up in Class resources in a variety of ways. Some teach Current Issues courses for which the Public Policy In-Depth library is the main curriculum. Many others use our libraries as a supplement to their Government, History, or English courses, selecting the discussion topics that are most relevant to their syllabus. A few of our teachers use Close Up in Class as the guiding materials for specific civic engagement projects or persuasive argumentation units.

Are Close Up in Class resources designed for a particular grade level?

Typically, the Public Policy In-Depth library fits best in a high school classroom, although some middle schools use these resources for in-depth Civics units. The Controversial Issues in the News library is available in two reading levels - middle school and high school, and is generally the best starting point for both a middle and high school classroom.

What kinds of courses do these resources supplement?

Close Up in Class resources are generally used as a supplement to a Civics, Government, United States History, Foreign Policy, English, Debate or Humanities course.

What makes the Close Up in Class resource libraries unique?

Rooted in Close Up’s experiential approach to civic learning, Close Up in Class is designed to move students from passively reading and processing facts about an issue to actively discussing, debating, and engaging with members of their community. All materials are:

  • Based on real-world debates: Our resources draw on the opinions of political leaders, activists, journalists, and other experts to help students understand who actually influences decisions in the policymaking process.
  • Balanced: Our resources always take a multipartisan approach to major issues facing policymakers.
  • Easy to Use: Our online libraries are fast and simple to navigate, and the variety of resources in each library allows teachers flexibility to integrate lessons into their curriculum as best fits their needs.

How do you ensure your resources are non-partisan?

Close Up in Class offers students a balanced and bi-partisan look at controversial issues by using a selection of primary sources (speeches, op-eds, videos, current legislation) drawn from decision-makers and experts on both sides of the aisle. We frame each issue around a central question drawn from a real-life policy proposal, and provide students with a synopsis of arguments for and against the proposal in question. By encouraging students to carefully consider both sides of a debate before developing their own opinion, we aim to foster a culture of civility, respect, and understanding.

How are your resources aligned with the Common Core Standards and the C3 Framework?

The National Council for the Social Studies’ C3 Framework is based on core ideas about what citizens can and should do to understand and address public problems. Close Up in Class supports each dimension of the C3 Framework:

  • Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries: Close Up in Class materials make connections to longstanding tensions in American government, encouraging students to investigate the root cause of unresolved issues in today’s society.
  • Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools: Our lessons coach students to use democratic principles as they debate and deliberate on current issues with their peers.
  • Evaluation Sources and Using Evidence: Using Close Up in Class, students develop an ability to analyze arguments and make well-founded claims about their political world.
  • Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action: Close Up in Class includes resources for students to actively engage with their communities and express their views to leaders and decision-makers.

Close Up in Class also fulfills several significant Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, and state standards across the nation. Our resources are aligned with a number of College & Career Anchor Standards:

  • Key Ideas and Details: Close Up in Class asks students to examine the evidence in their readings and use it to develop their own persuasive arguments.
  • Integration and Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Students must analyze the reasoning on both sides of a central question to evaluate which are the strongest arguments.
  • Comprehension and Collaboration: Close Up in Class helps teachers facilitate productive classroom discussions and collaborative deliberation on diverse viewpoints.

If you would like more details on how Close Up’s curriculum meets your state standards and supports the C3 framework, please email us at

Do you send out sample resources?

Yes, we provide sample resources. Please click here to request a free sample resource.

How do teachers and students access the libraries?

Upon purchase of a library, you will receive an email with separate teacher and student login credentials, and a link to access the Close Up In Class login page.

How many teachers and students at my school will get access upon purchase?

Access will be granted to all teachers and students at an individual school. For example, if you purchase one library, multiple teachers and students in different courses will be able to use that library at the same time.

How long does access last?

Access will be granted for one year from the time of purchase.

Do you offer any discounts or special pricing?

Please click here to read about our pricing and packages.

What are the technical requirements to access and use the online libraries?

The Close Up in Class libraries can be viewed in any web browser or printed for easy use.

Close Up Foundation. 1330 Braddock Place, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314  |  703-706-3300  or  800-CLOSE UP  |  © CLOSE UP. All rights Reserved
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