Current Event November 7, 2017
Schools are finding creative ways to encourage kids to read. In Fort Worth, Texas, barbershops are giving kids a chance to read while they get their hair cut. Some barbers are doubling as reading coaches—asking kids if they understand what they are reading, helping them with difficult words, and listening as they read aloud. This effort started in Texas with the city schools and similar programs are starting in cities across the country. Listen to hear more about how kids are being encouraged to read by their barbers.
Current Event October 31, 2017
On Halloween, many children come home with bags full of candy. Some is eaten right away, some is left in the bag for later, and some is traded for more desirable candy. Some people rank their favorite candy based on texture or according to the proportion of ingredients such as the ratio of chocolate to caramel. What candy would be on your favorite list? Listen to this story to hear about one person’s ranking of Halloween candy based on her preferences.
Current Event September 6, 2017
The Caste systems plays a major role in Indian society. It a system that divides people into categories, giving privileges to higher castes and denying them for lower castes. The family you are born into can determine your job, where you live, and whom you marry. Even after discrimination based on the caste system was banned in the 1950s, it has certainly not been forgotten. One woman born into the untouchable caste, the lowest caste in Indian society, moved to America and became a subway conductor in New York. Listen to her story of discrimination and how the caste system still follows her.
Current Event July 7, 2015
In June a 21-year-old white man entered a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, attended the bible study, and then shot and killed nine of the black church members. The alleged shooter was later identified as Dylann Roof, a self proclaimed white supremacist who photographed himself with a Confederate flag and hoped to start a race war. Listen to this story to learn how the attack has reignited the debate about the role of the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern heritage.
Update: South Carolina Governor signed a bill that removes the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds on July 9, 2015.
Current Event April 24, 2015
In Medieval England, King John was at war with a group of English Barons because he extracted money from them to fight a war with France. To appease the Barons, the King wrote the Magna Carta, which essentially says the King cannot arbitrarily collect taxes from Barons. This revolutionary document, signed in 1215, limited the power of the monarchy and outlined the basic principles of the modern judicial system. The Pope invalidated the document just ten weeks later, but its ideas have lived on and served as the basis of portions of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Listen to learn how the British library is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Current Event November 6, 2017
The Presidents of the United States honor members of the military who have lost their lives in service to the country. The tradition of offering condolences has varied due to circumstances and are different for each president. From Lincoln to Trump, presidents have written letters, called families of the armed services member, and held ceremonies for the families of the fallen. The First Ladies have also found ways to honor service members. Listen to hear examples of this tradition and how it has changed over time.
Current Event November 11, 2012
On this Veterans Day take time with your students or children to share some voices of soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam. This is a compelling story using old reel to reel recordings of a US Marine in the Vietnam War. Note: You can stop playing at 7:46 and still have a very good sense of the story.
Current Event October 24, 2017
For the first time in 38 years, Angola has a new president. José Eduardo dos Santos had ruled Angola since 1979, soon after its independence from Portugal in 1975. He handpicked his successor, João Lourenço, who was the former Defence Minister. Lourenço won the presidential election and faces the challenge of bringing change to the country. Half of Angola’s citizens live in poverty and the hope is that Lourenço will fight corruption in the country. Listen to hear more about this peaceful transition of power.
Current Event October 13, 2017
The football field has become a field for demonstrations. American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial injustice consisted of kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have knelt during the anthem, other athletes were inspired to kneel as well, while others locked arms and stood during the anthem. One point of view is that those who kneel are disrespecting the flag, veterans, and America and another is that politics should be removed from football games, and another is that Kaepernick is not showing disrespect and he has the right to protest injustice. Listen to this story and then debate: What do the national anthem protests mean?
Current Event October 18, 2017
The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA in August brought hundreds of people carrying shields, guns, and torches who marched while shouting racist chants. Many people shared photos of these marchers to publicly identify them as racists. But there was at least one person misidentified. A university professor was flooded with people threatening him online because he looked like someone who attended the rally. This event highlights the fact that most people are not experts at identification. Listen to this story to hear the consequences of being mistaken for someone else in the era of social media.
Current Event October 27, 2017
Neighborhoods are often chosen by real estate prices and schools, and now they might be chosen by politics. Some people can feel like outsiders if they are living among others who don’t value or believe what they do. One idea is to create conservative Republican enclaves, where everyone shares the same values and feels connected to each other. Others think we should figure out how to exist together with different types of people. Listen to this story and then debate: Should we surround ourselves with people who have the same values and beliefs?
Current Event October 20, 2017
Middle and high school students can spend a lot of time on their phones. Teens use technology to communicate and share information and a new study by the Pew Research Center finds this is helping teens be more creative and collaborative. But many teachers say students are taking shortcuts to writing and finding it difficult to understand longer material. Listen to this story and then debate: Does technology help or hurt writing skills?
Current Event October 16, 2017
In Las Vegas, a man shot hundreds of rifle rounds into a crowd at a concert in the deadliest mass shooting in recent history. This has reopened the debate about gun control. Owning guns, hunting and recreational shooting are part of the culture in parts of Nevada. The state gun laws are less restrictive and difficult to enforce. Listen to this story about federal, state and local gun laws.
Current Event October 23, 2017
About a month after Hurricane Maria, almost 90% of Puerto Rico is without power and many residents have become dependent on generators. Hospitals, restaurants, air traffic control towers and other businesses are now operating with generator power. The dependence on generators has introduced a new level of division between the privileged and the poor for these U.S. citizens. Listen to hear the concerns about generator power and how people in Puerto Rico are surviving after the hurricane.
Current Event October 30, 2017
Raqqa is a city in northeastern Syria. ISIS leaders made Raqqa its operations hub and training ground more than three years ago, claiming it as an Islamic caliphate. Recently, after four months of airstrikes, ISIS no longer controls Raqqa. Syrian Democratic Forces, the American-backed militia group made up of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, took control of the city. Many of the people who joined ISIS were attracted by the idea of a physical Islamic state, and without this territory, ISIS may go back to being an underground terrorist organization. Listen to hear more about what might be next for the Islamic State.
Current Event October 11, 2017
One of the most famous presidential pardons came when President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon. Recently, a former sheriff in Arizona and was found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining immigrants on suspicion that they were in the country illegally. President Trump pardoned the sheriff, which means he was forgiven of his crime and excused from punishment. Listen to hear the historical context for presidential pardons and about this pardoning, which has prompted questions about ethics and political procedures.
Current Event October 25, 2017
Most people want to buy new phones with the latest technology, but new devices lead to electronic waste, or e-waste, when old phones are discarded. Phone companies used to offer free phones with contracts, which meant people got new phones every two years. Now contracts are changing and there are new ways people are thinking about phones. One way is the modular approach, where the components are detachable and replaceable. Another is to create longer-lasting phones that are better for the environment. Listen to this story about how new technology can help eliminate electronic waste.
Current Event November 3, 2017
One of the newest trends in coffee shops is welcoming animals. The way these cafes work is that people pay to enter and get a free drink. People who don’t have time or room for a pet can come and spend time with animals, without having to own them. Most people come to pet the cats, rabbits, sheep, or owls in the cafe. But some cafes might be going too far. In South Korea, one cafe welcomes raccoons, a typically wild animal that can be dangerous. Listen to hear about a visit to this cafe and then debate: Should animals be allowed in cafes?
Current Event October 12, 2017
The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards given to people who make outstanding contributions in the areas of science, culture, or academics. This year the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was given to three U.S. scientists for their discoveries about how internal body clocks govern human biology. Our daily rhythms, our sleep and awake cycles, are related to the cycles of the sun. We typically get tired in the evening and feel awake during the day. Listen to hear more about this discovery about how our internal clocks work.
Current Event November 1, 2017
There is widespread support for infrastructure spending from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Funding roads and bridges is good for the economy. It creates jobs, fuels growth, and helps Americans travel more quickly and safely. President Donald Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan as a part of his campaign as well as his presidency. Trump’s new budget has allocated $200 billion in federal money for infrastructure over 10 years, but also cuts programs he calls wasteful, including water facilities and airports. Listen to hear questions and concerns about where the money is going to come from.