Helping Teachers Teach the News is a project of the Close Up Foundation, a civic education non-profit with 50 years of experience in teaching government, politics, and policy through issue-centered discussions, simulations, and democratic education.
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 site will be updated frequently with links to classroom-ready news items, relevant context, and suggested teaching activities and discussion questions.
State of Uncertainty: Emergency Declaration on the Border
February 26, 2019
Why declare an emergency? On February 15th, 2019 President Trump declared a state of emergency at the US-Mexico border in an effort to secure funding for his long-promised border wall. The move had been predicted for months as a way to avoid a government shutdown if Congress refused to allocate the funding in the annual […]Read More >
So, what is the Green New Deal?
February 20, 2019
In the weeks since Democrats took over the House of Representatives, an idea has been gaining some momentum and media attention: A Green New Deal. According to CNN’s Zachary Wolf, the proposal will likely become a litmus test on the road to the Democratic nomination for the presidency.In this post, we’ll take a look at […]Read More >
ERA Won’t Go Away
February 20, 2019
“Yes Virginia, there is an ERA” “One State to 38!” These slogans adorned the banners and signs that ERA supporters brought to the Virginia State Capitol at the beginning of the General Assembly’s legislative session this January. ¹ ERA activists are hoping that this year’s session would include a floor vote on ratification of the […]Read More >
The Shutdown: It’s Over!…Isn’t It?
January 29, 2019
In 1978, Kenny Roger’s released ‘The Gambler’, a song about which details the sage advice of an avid poker player. The lyrics famously contain the chorus “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run”. Fittingly, the song debuted less than a […]Read More >
H.R. 1 – A Bill to Rescue Democracy?
January 22, 2019
The first bill introduced in the new Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is H.R. 1, informally known as the For the People Act. (The bill’s full title is H.R. 1: To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other […]Read More >
10 Things to Know About the Government Shutdown
January 15, 2019
Why has the government shutdown? As summarized by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Every year, Congress must pass and the president must sign budget legislation for the next fiscal year (FY), consisting of 12 appropriations bills, one for each appropriations subcommittee. When the federal government’s fiscal year began October 1, Congress had enacted five of the […]Read More >
The New Congress and the Government Shutdown
January 08, 2019
On January 3, the 116th Congress was sworn in as directed by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The incoming Congress will be the most diverse in history. Here are some facts about the makeup of the new Congress: In the House of Representatives, Democrats will now be in the majority with 235 members. Republicans will have […]Read More >
Criminal Justice Reform: The First Step Act
December 31, 2018
On December 21st, President Trump signed the FIRST STEP Act of 2018 into law. In addition to being a notable act of bipartisanship, the act will have far reaching implications for the nation’s criminal justice system and will have meaningful impacts on the lives of incarcerated people. The bill, whose title is an acronym for […]Read More >
New Year, New Congress
December 18, 2018
Congress is adjourning for the holiday break and when it comes back in January, the new congressional class will be the most diverse in history. The November elections saw historic wins for women and minority groups that have lacked representatives of their demographics. The 116th Congress will include several notable members: There will be a record […]Read More >
Don’t Like the Election Results? Change Them!
December 11, 2018
Just when you thought it was safe to declare the 2018 midterm elections over… Historically, the results of elections have always been honored, even when the fairness of a given contest is debatable. In recent history, for example, some people questioned to what extent the elections of John F. Kennedy1, Richard Nixon2, Ronald Reagan3, George W. Bush4, […]Read More >