TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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May 3, 2019
A recent criminal justice reform bill that recently passed Congress has inspired hope in many people in the U.S. who are in prison. The bill ends automatic life sentences under the three-strikes penalty system, which led to significant growth in the prison population. Some are proposing that life sentences should be abolished altogether, particularly for juvenile defendants. Their arguments against life sentences include high costs, racial disparities in sentencing, and doubt about their effectiveness in deterring crime. Listen to hear more about life sentences in the U.S. and debate: Should life sentences be abolished?
May 2, 2019
A new book makes the case that the data pool informing medicine, industrial design, digital technology, and a wide variety of other sectors reflects a clear, if unconscious bias towards men. The book provides examples of how this data bias plays out in women’s health and safety and in other aspects of life. Listen to this interview with the author to hear about the impact of this implicit cultural bias and her recommendations for addressing it.
May 1, 2019
A Washington, D.C. tutoring program is based on a unique concept for helping struggling students learn to read. In the Reach program, high school students tutor elementary school students in reading, and both benefit from the experience. Listen to this story to learn how both elementary and high school students are benefiting from this program.
April 30, 2019
The Notre Dame Cathedral has stood as one of the most celebrated landmarks in Paris for more than 800 years. While much of the world famous monument survived a recent fire, portions of it, including the spire, were engulfed in flames for hours, while many people watched in helpless horror. Listen to hear from a Parisian journalist about how much Notre Dame means to Paris and how people are coming together to restore the beloved cathedral.
April 29, 2019
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London after officials in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been living since 2012, said they would no longer provide protection for him as a political refugee. In 2010, WikiLeaks hacked into U.S. government computers and published classified information, posing a national security threat, according to many officials. Assange argued that he was operating as a journalist, exposing U.S. government actions that should not be kept secret from the public. Listen to this story to hear about the impact on national security and diplomacy of the unauthorized release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.
April 26, 2019
Do you like riddles, puzzles, or detective stories? Get out your figurative magnifying glass and try our Listenwise Media Literacy Scavenger Hunt. This game invites you to apply your media literacy skills to identify facts and fakes. As you take this quiz, you will be given clues to find Listenwise stories related to the theme of media literacy. (Scavenger hunt stories will have a special icon so that you know you found the right one.) Once you have found the right stories, listen to them carefully, and hunt down the answers to the related questions. We recommend working with two tabs or windows open at once–one for the quiz, and one for the stories. Explore Listenwise, learn about media literacy, and have fun!
April 26, 2019
Lockdown drills to prepare for safety threats have become increasingly common in U.S. schools. Mental health experts worry about the negative effects these drills might be having on vulnerable children. Others believe that lockdown drills in schools make people feel safe and prepared. Listen to this story to hear more about the ways that lockdown drills affect students and debate: Should schools have lockdown drills?
April 25, 2019
U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith has a new podcast called “The Slowdown,” in which she reads and reflects on a poem by a different poet each weekday. In the podcast, she shares personal thoughts and experiences related to themes that the poems address. Listen to this interview with Smith to learn how she thinks poetry can help people listen to and connect with each other, even across cultural and political divides.
April 24, 2019
If Uber and other transportation technology companies have their way, people who use ride-hailing apps will soon be able to order flying taxis. These futuristic vehicles would quickly transport passengers from location to location, traveling high above traffic on the ground. Listen to find out how and when the dream of flying cars may become a reality, and what issues need to be considered before then.
April 23, 2019
Historically, genocides follow predictable patterns. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has established the Early Warning Project to investigate warning signs of mass killings, or genocide, to inform policymakers where such atrocities seem likely. Genocide Watch is another organization that aims to predict and prevent genocide. Listen to this story to learn about how these groups track data about conditions that may precede genocide and what they have learned from their research.
April 22, 2019
In a very close race, Benjamin Netanyahu was elected to his fourth consecutive term (and fifth overall) as prime minister of Israel. Since he was first elected in 1996, Netanyahu has taken different positions on the issue of trying to establish a separate Palestinian state, known as a “two-state solution.” Listen to this interview with a former U.S. ambassador to Israel to learn more about the history of this proposal for resolving the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
April 19, 2019
The United States Supreme Court recently faced a case that tested the idea of “separation of church and state” that is a core tenet of American democracy. The case considered whether a giant memorial cross on public land might be unconstitutional. The justices heard a variety of arguments for and against the use of religious imagery in a public memorial. Listen to hear some of those arguments and debate: Can public memorials include religious imagery?
April 18, 2019
Would you like to eat apples that never turn brown? Scientists hoping to genetically modify plants for crop development think they may have found a solution to a major problem they have been facing. The cell walls of plants make it difficult to insert genetic material into plant cells to change how those plant cells work. The solution–carbon nanotubes–was discovered by accident. Listen to learn about the discovery and implementation of this nanotechnology solution and how it could change the way scientists breed new crop varieties.
April 17, 2019
A blind runner recently completed the New York City Half Marathon with his guide dogs. He has run many marathons with human guides, but completing this race was an important accomplishment for all involved. Listen to this story to learn about this courageous runner and his helpful dogs and find out what he hopes to do next.
April 16, 2019
The Grand Canyon National Park recently celebrated its 100th birthday. A park ranger there created a “pop-up project,” placing an old typewriter on an overlook more than six miles into the canyon and inviting people to write notes reflecting on the moment. Listen to learn what inspired the project and hear some of the writing that hikers left behind.
April 15, 2019
Mental health professionals worry that the trauma of the recent terrorist attacks at New Zealand mosques is not healthy for young Muslims who face intolerance on a daily basis. Muslim teens face racism and prejudice in their everyday lives, especially growing up in the era of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Listen to this story to learn about students’ experiences growing up Muslim in the U.S. today and what people are doing to support healthy identity development.
April 12, 2019
The U.S. women’s national soccer team, which is the number one ranked team in the world, has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation because the players on the women’s team are paid less than their counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team. Opponents argue that comparing the two national teams is not really possible because of differences between men’s and women’s soccer internationally. Listen to this story to hear more about the details of the case and Debate: Should U.S. national soccer team players all get equal pay?
April 11, 2019
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious gangsters during the Great Depression. The Barrow gang robbed banks and stores, led prison breaks, engaged in gunfights, and were constantly on the run from the law until they died in a shootout in their 20s. Surprisingly, Bonnie and Clyde also wrote poetry, and their original poems were recently put up for auction, along with some photographs. Listen to hear excerpts of their poetry and reflections on what it reveals about the legendary criminals.
April 10, 2019
Scientists are curious about how humans evolved to help each other, which is different from the typical behavior of other animals. To investigate social behaviors such as helping and sharing, researchers have performed experiments to see how willing other primates are to share food and supplies. Listen to learn about their research on how other primates approach sharing and how that differs from human behavior.
April 9, 2019
In a small town in Texas, near cattle pastures and crop fields, is the Nokona baseball glove factory. The family-owned business is now the only baseball glove manufacturer left in the U.S. While Nokona gloves are not as well known as some other major brands, Nokona does have a respected and established position in the youth baseball market. Listen to hear more about the last baseball glove factory in the United States of America.
April 8, 2019
For years, China bought plastic waste from the U.S. in great quantities, but they are no longer doing so. Now the U.S. must find alternatives to exporting plastic waste to China. Listen to this story to hear about why the recycling landscape has changed, what happens to the plastic that Americans throw away, and what can be done to address this mounting problem.
April 5, 2019
For years, parents have commemorated major moments in their children’s lives with a camera. These personal photos and videos often end up on social media, shared with wide audiences. Some kids like this exposure, while others do not. Listen to this story to hear a reporter with The Atlantic magazine talk about this social media phenomenon and then debate: Should parents share about their kids on social media?
April 4, 2019
Dr. Seuss is well known for his popular children’s books full of fanciful rhymes and whimsical illustrations. His earlier cartoons, however, include many racist and anti-Semitic images, which the artist later regretted. Listen to this commentary by another children’s book author and illustrator who reflects on the importance of explaining Dr. Seuss’s evolution as an artist and a person in an exhibit of his work at the Dr. Seuss Museum.
April 3, 2019
When a young diver found thousands of golf balls underwater, she decided to collect them and ask a scientist about the risks they might pose to the marine environment. They began investigating the situation together. Listen to find out what they learned and why the diver thinks “people would be shocked.”
April 2, 2019
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, the first two NFL players to kneel on the field during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, have reached a settlement with the NFL. Kaepernick and Reid alleged that NFL teams were working together to keep them out of the league and filed grievances with the NFL. Listen to hear from a sports writer about what the players may have won in the settlement and what impact their actions have had.
April 1, 2019
Special counsel Robert Mueller led a two-year investigation into Russain interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. The inquiry has ended, and the team’s report has been submitted to the federal Justice Department. Although the full report has not been released to the public yet, a summary of its conclusions has been shared. Listen to this story to learn about the questions that framed the investigation and what the Mueller team found.
March 29, 2019
The U.S. military is an all-volunteer force. However, when American men turn 18, they are required to register with the Selective Service, which means they are eligible to be drafted to serve in the military if the U.S. goes to war and needs more soldiers than the all-volunteer military force can provide. Recently, a federal judge ruled that requirement should not be limited to men in response to a lawsuit arguing that restriction was unconstitutional. Listen to hear different views about whether the U.S. should require both men and women to register with Selective Service and debate: Should women be drafted?
March 28, 2019
A recent scandal has exposed multiple cases of bribery and fraud in college admissions. A number of wealthy parents paid to falsify test scores and applications and bribe coaches to get their children admitted to competitive colleges. While these actions are clearly illegal, there are other ways in which privileged students have been able to influence the college admissions process that feel unfair to students who have had to earn their place without those advantages. Listen to hear college students talk about their reactions to the scandal and their views about inequities in the college admissions process.
March 27, 2019
Governor Gavin Newsom of California has issued a suspension of capital punishment in his state. While it has been years since a death row inmate was executed in California, voters have rejected proposoals to abolish the death penalty on recent ballot measures. Critics of the governor say that his action betrays the will of California residents. Newsom says that this decision to end the death penalty is the right one. Listen to hear the governor’s rationale and why this decision has many people talking.
March 26, 2019
Millions of American children do not have a home. When families are not able to afford housing, some live in homeless shelters, but there are many hardships facing students in those circumstances. Listen to this interview with an Idaho teenager and his grandmother about their experience of homelessness, how it has affected them, and how they find support in handling their daily challenges.
March 25, 2019
The recent massacre of worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand was perpetrated by a white nationalist extremist. A counterterrorism expert draws parallels between these right wing extremists and Islamic extremists, explaining how the growing international network of right wing extremists has been engaging in practices that mirror those of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamic extremist groups. Listen to hear about why this former FBI agent believes that more attention must be paid to white nationalist terrorism and the threat it poses worldwide.
March 22, 2019
A clinic in Kiev, Ukraine is offering a controversial experimental procedure that allows parents experiencing infertility to have babies with three genetic parents. While this type of genetic engineering is allowed in some countries, it has been banned in the U.S., as there are many concerns in the medical community about the procedure’s safety and its ethical implications. Listen to this interview with the mother of one of a handful of three-parent babies that have been born and debate: Should three-parent babies be allowed?
March 21, 2019
The world famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place annually in March. Sled dog teams and their human mushers travel 938 miles through the Alaskan wilderness. This year’s competitors include a rookie team led by musher Blair Braverman, whose large fan base is known as the “ugly dogs.” Listen to this interview with Braverman to learn about some of the stars of her sled dog team, their preparations for the race, and how the “ugly dogs” got their name.
March 20, 2019
North American football has become well known to many people as a sport with serious injury risks. This growing awareness of the dangers of football has led to a general decrease in participation, but not for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. A recent report suggests that the rate of participation for low-income children is on the rise. One reason that low-income children continue to play football may be the possibility of opportunity offered by the popular sport. Listen to hear more about this increasing participation gap, the reasons for it, and the implications for children and society at large.
March 19, 2019
Mattel’s world famous “Barbie” doll turns 60 this year. The toy company that first released the popular doll in 1959 has introduced a line of Barbie dolls designed to honor accomplished women from around the world. The dolls are intended to inspire girls by honoring role models whose accomplishments represent a variety of fields. However, the dolls do not fully resemble the women they are designed to honor. Listen to this conversation between two journalists about whether these role model Barbies are as empowering to girls as they could be.
March 18, 2019
The recently proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexican border would not be the first of its kind. In 2006, Democrats and Republicans passed a bill to construct a secure fence across part of the border. To build the fence, the government took land from private property owners, which is allowed through a power known as eminent domain. In such cases, the government is not required to ask owners for permission to claim their land. Listen to hear about the laws that allow this kind of land seizure, how they impact landowners, and how issues related to eminent domain might resurface with the current border wall proposal.
March 15, 2019
What identifies a person as Native American? Is it tribal citizenship? Is it ancestry? If so, how much? The fact that Senator Elizabeth Warren registered as “American Indian” with the State Bar of Texas in 1986 has generated public discussion about who can call themselves Native American. The U.S. census indicates significant growth in the number of people identified as Native American over the last sixty years, estimated at 2% of Americans in 2010. Listen to this story to learn about the complexities associated with identifying as Native American, and then debate: Should tribal citizenship define Native American identity?
March 14, 2019
Michelle Obama, whose marriage to President Barack Obama brought her into the national spotlight, has written a memoir titled Becoming. In the book, she tells the story of her journey from childhood to the White House and beyond, sharing reflections on challenges she faced along the way and on how she has forged her identity over the course of her life. Listen to this story to hear some of Obama’s insights into her experience of becoming who she is today.
March 13, 2019
An astronomy writer has written a new book about “hazards to life in our universe,” in which he describes exploding stars, nuclear meltdowns, viral epidemics, natural disasters, and other phenomena with potentially cataclysmic impact on earth. Listen to this interview with the book’s author to hear what he learned from his research about past, present, and future threats to life on earth.
March 12, 2019
Freedmen’s communities were started by newly freed slaves following the Civil War. One such community was ‘Little Egypt’ in Dallas, Texas. The neighborhood got its name from a nearby church that is still open today, though in a different location. By the 1960s, many community residents had been bought out, and Little Egypt became part of Lake Highlands, a major suburb of Dallas. Listen to this story to hear what it was like to live in Little Egypt in years past and learn about how historians at Richland university uncovered the buried history of a southern freedmen’s community.