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. Additionally, we help connect teachers to resources from partners across the civic education world, such as AllSides for Schools and our partners at the Teaching for Democracy Alliance.
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 >
Youth Voting: Is It the Issues?
October 08, 2018
Why do young people vote at lower rates than other groups? There are a number of possible reasons. Today, we will look at one possible factor: that the political arena does not address the concerns of young voters. Below, you’ll find a discussion guide and a few resources to help students think about the decision […]Read More >
Tracking the Election
September 30, 2018
A few ways to keep students engaged with the midterm elections include tracking public opinion polling in your state, keeping track of national trends, and monitoring important Senate, House, and gubernatorial races. Begin by visiting the following links: Vox outlines the stakes in the midterm elections Explore RealClearPolitics’ Senate, House, and gubernatorial maps Some questions […]Read More >
Teaching the 2018 Midterms
September 30, 2018
The 2018 midterm elections are upon us and control of Congress is at stake! For most people, the election will be less than 75 days away when the school year starts, and state primaries may already be over. Preparing new voters In the months leading up to Election Day, we will use this blog space […]Read More >