All Social Studies

Donkey

Current Event November 22, 2019

Debate: Should Political Ads Be Allowed on Social Media?

Politics Technology

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook disagree on what to do with political ads. Twitter recently banned all political advertising, saying it could not fact-check the claims made by politicians and did not want to spread misinformation. But defining what counts as a political ad is tricky. Facebook continues to run political ads without fact-checking them, citing free speech. Critics claim that political ads on social media can be particularly misleading. Listen to hear an expert discuss these issues and then debate: Should political ads be allowed on social media?

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S fowler

Current Event November 26, 2019

Counting Homeless Youth

Health Class Youth

Every year, volunteers from Youth Count comb the streets of Dallas looking for homeless youth. The group’s goal is to accurately count the number of young people living on the streets and collect data to help the city better meet their needs. Listen to hear a young woman describe how it felt to be homeless and discover how Youth Count aims to help end the problem.

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Venice flood

Current Event November 25, 2019

Rescuing Venice from the Floods

Climate Change International European History

The worst flood in 50 years has hit the historic Italian city of Venice. The 6-foot high floodwaters damaged buildings, art, books, and other precious objects, and volunteers are streaming into the city to help. Listen to hear volunteers explain why they flocked to Venice after the flood and learn what is involved in saving the city’s valuable treasures.

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Jeff sessions

Current Event November 19, 2018

Attorney General Resigns

Politics Civics/Government

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently resigned at the request of the president. Sessions was one of President Trump’s earliest political supporters, but Trump has been critical of Sessions since appointing him to lead the Department of Justice. Listen to hear about what preceded the president’s request for Sessions to resign and why many people consider it to be a significant development with implications for the ongoing investigation into Russian election interference.

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Cupcakes

Current Event November 16, 2018

Debate: Should Teachers Reward Students with Junk Food?

Education Health

Many teachers use food to reward students, but often these foods are unhealthy. Since childhood obesity is a growing problem nationally, there is concern that celebrating with junk food at school may be contributing to students’ poor health. Listen to hear why one California school district is discouraging the use of edible prizes in school and debate: Should teachers reward students with junk food?

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Statue outside the nmai

Current Event November 15, 2018

National Native American Veterans Memorial

Culture War

The Smithsonian has selected a design for its National Native American Veterans Memorial to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The artist is Harvey Pratt, a Native American veteran from Oklahoma, and his design is called “Warriors’ Circle of Honor.” It aims to engage all Americans in appreciating and learning about the tradition of Native American service. Listen to hear the artist’s reflections on the meaning of his design, how he hopes people will experience it, and why honoring veterans is an important part of his heritage.

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Sahara desert

Current Event November 14, 2018

Preventing Expansion of the Sahara Desert

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Human Impacts Energy Earth Systems

The Sahara Desert is expanding due to cycles of drought. A scientist at the University of Maryland who studies the earth’s atmosphere has proposed a solution to this problem involving solar panels and windmills. Listen to learn how her proposed solution could change the future climate of the Sahara region and harness energy at the same time.

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Congress steps

Current Event November 13, 2018

Election Results Split Congress

Civics/Government politics

The recent midterm elections had especially high voter turnout. While each of the major political parties claimed some victories, one of the most significant election results was a shift in Congressional power. The Democrats gained a clear majority in the House of Representatives, while the Republicans reinforced their Senate majority. Listen to this story to hear about this significant change to the U.S. Congress, where Republicans had previously held a majority in both the House and the Senate.

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Lime scoot

Current Event November 9, 2018

Debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

Technology Transportation

Electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in big cities where traffic is congested and public transportation can be unreliable. Some companies are offering electric scooters that can be unlocked via mobile app, ridden, and dropped off anywhere in the city. This may be convenient for some people, but it can be hazardous for others. Listen to this story to learn about the controversy caused by electric scooters and debate: Should electric scooter rentals be allowed in cities?

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Sears

Current Event November 8, 2018

Sears and American Shopping Habits

Culture

After 130 years in business, the department store Sears has filed for bankruptcy. Sears began as a catalog company and was an historically important innovation in shopping that offered many people opportunities to buy products that were not available to them locally. Sears department stores made one-stop shopping a common practice in many communities around the country. However, recent shopping trends have had a negative impact on Sears. Listen to this story to learn what made Sears a dominant influence in shaping American shopping habits and what changes have contributed to its downfall.

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Current Event July 19, 2016

Police Shootings

Protest Violence

Americans have been shocked and saddened by the targeted killing of 5 Dallas police officers in apparent retaliation for the many police shootings of black men. The Black Lives Matter movement has organized peaceful protests to bring awareness to these events. Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet and children’s author who touches on the themes of love, education and race, reflects on the shooting of the officers and the killing of two black men by police - Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Listen to hear about how he communicates with kids, and why he thinks it’s important for students to think outside of themselves to understand these events.

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Teennews

Current Event September 26, 2019

News for Teens, by a Teen

Politics Journalism

Many teens care about what is happening in the world, but they typically hear news from an adult perspective. One California teen is changing that. Fifteen-year-old Olivia Seltzer publishes a daily newsletter in her own voice, targeting issues important to youth. She brings in diverse viewpoints through an editorial team comprising teens from around the world. Listen to hear why one young person gets up at very early every morning to offer her generation an alternative to mainstream news media.

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The bsoton globe

Current Event August 29, 2018

Editorials on Importance of Journalism

Politics Ethics Journalism

President Trump recently called the news media “the enemy of the American people.” Now, one news publication has started a movement to respond to this claim. Over 300 news publications have decided to support the effort and run editorials about the importance of a free press. Listen to learn more about one journalist’s project to defend the free press.

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Student

Current Event November 21, 2019

Student Loan Debt Grows

Education

Some students are questioning whether the rising cost of a college degree is worth it. As the government reduces funding to public colleges, students and families are paying more. Many students graduate with crushing debt that limits their future choices. At the same time, the earning potential of college graduates compared to non-graduates has continued to climb, making a college education seem more important than ever. Listen to hear financial planning experts explain the pros and cons of a college education and ways to make college more affordable.

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Plant

Current Event November 20, 2019

The Secret Language of Plants

Sound Plants

What does corn sound like when it grows? How does a cactus respond when you touch its spines? A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden allows visitors to hear the sounds plants make and answer those questions for themselves. Listen to find out what we can learn by paying attention to what plants are saying.

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Internment

Current Event November 19, 2019

What Japanese Americans Lost During WWII Internment

Politics Race World War II

Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the relocation of thousands of Japanese Americans to detention centers. The order grew out of fear that these innocent citizens could become spies. Around 117,000 Japanese Americans were sent to incarceration camps, many losing their jobs, homes, and property. The internment of Americans of Japanese descent is now viewed as one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. Listen to hear a Japanese American woman recall the experience of being uprooted from her home and how a neighbor helped her family.

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Congress

Current Event November 18, 2019

How Impeachment Works

Politics Democracy Branches of Government U.S. Constitution

Congress has launched an impeachment inquiry. Impeachment involves an investigation by the House of Representatives into potential wrongdoing by the president and, if they find it, a vote on whether to impeach. If a majority of House members vote yes, the president is impeached. His case then goes before the Senate for a trial to determine whether to remove him from office. Listen to hear a reporter clarify the steps in the impeachment process and explain what to expect as the impeachment of President Trump proceeds.

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Bus.square

Current Event September 1, 2014

The Economics of an Early School Day

Civics/Government Economics Education

High School students often begin class between 7 and 8 a.m. despite medical recommendations that schools start later to give student more time to sleep. The negative effects of sleep deprivation, including lower academic performance, has pushed some experts to argue that this is one of the least expensive ways to increase student performance. However, efforts to push back start times have a big roadblock: bus schedules. Listen to today’s public radio story to learn more about why the economics of an earlier school day might not work.

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Current Event April 22, 2016

Debate: Should Spain Scrap the Siesta?

Culture Elementary

In Spain, Italy and other Mediterranean countries, it was a tradition to rest after the mid-day meal. The siesta was created to escape the heat of the day. Over time this has turned into a two or three hour lunch break, where errands are done or people simply continue working. However, they are expected to still work until 8 or 9 p.m. Recently, the acting Prime Minister of Spain proposed skipping the mid-day break and ending the work day at 6pm. This news has been reported in ways that highlighted negative stereotypes of Spain. Listen and debate the pros and cons of getting rid of the afternoon nap in Spain.

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