Controversial Issues in the News

Designed to help students develop a greater understanding of current events.

Twice a month, we publish a new Controversial Issues in the News resource, highlighting policy issues featured in the news. Issues are framed by a central question, historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions. This allows students to move quickly from reading to discussing and debating the issue.

What kinds of topics does this library explore?

View a sample of our 2019-20 topics. 


student voices 2020 Shadow

Engage with Controversial Issues – Election 2020

Building on the Controversial Issues in the News resources, Close Up’s Student Voices: Election 2020 virtual program allows students to meet, interact, and deliberate with a diverse group of peers from other parts of the country. This program explores three major election issues:

Health Care and COVID-19: How can the government best address the COVID-19 pandemic? Which health care reforms, if any, are needed?

The Economy: Which government policies would most effectively put Americans back to work and get the economy back on track?

Criminal Justice: How should the government address issues related to criminal justice in this country?

Capitol Hill DC Shadow

What are the additional resources included for teachers?

  • Debate formats to shape productive classroom discussions
  • Assignments to move students from conceptual understanding to the practical application of ideas
  • Project outlines for in-depth research and multi-tiered civic action
  • Thematic lesson plans for tying it all together


Are Close Up’s resources designed as a supplement or as a full curriculum?
What kind of courses do Close Up's resources supplement?
Are Close Up’s resources designed for a particular grade level?
Are Close Up’s resources nonpartisan?
How are Close Up’s resources aligned with the C3 Framework, Common Core, and state standards?
What makes Close Up’s resources unique?
I’m new to Close Up’s resources and methodology – where is the best place to get started?
What additional resources does Close Up offer and how do I subscribe?


For more information, please contact us at or 703-706-3410.




Controversial Issues in the News

Develop a greater understanding of current policy issues with two new discussions each month. Learn More >

Public Policy In-Depth

Explore multiple sides of broad policy areas and how they connect to longstanding tensions in our democracy. Learn More >

Historical Perspectives

Connect historical events to current controversial issues through primary sources, video, virtual reality, and more. Learn More >