Topic: Civics/Government

Current Event January 26, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Gentrification

Civics/Government US History II Geography

Gentrification holds a negative connotation for many people, who believe it pushes the less fortunate out of their homes to benefit the more affluent. However, recent studies have shown that gentrification may actually benefit lower income families. Listen to learn more about the history of gentrification and its possible benefits for low income families.

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Current Event January 24, 2014

Mexican National Executed in U.S.

Civics/Government Immigration

There are 48 Mexican nationals on death row in the United States. The third Mexican national was executed this week in Texas, despite push back from Secretary of State John Kerry and the Mexican government. Listen to this story to learn why this precedent could be risky for US citizens living abroad.

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Current Event January 16, 2014

Political Parties Agree to Help Poor

Civics/Government Politics Economics

This month, 50 years after a war on poverty was declared by President Lyndon Johnson, politicians are still fighting over how to help alleviate poverty. This week the two major political parties in the U.S. agreed they need to do more to help the poor, but differ on how. Republicans call to repeal state aid and Democrats claim that those safety nets saved the economy.

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Current Event January 13, 2014

War on Poverty

Civics/Government US History II

50 years ago President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” The President and Congress created Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start and other programs for low-income Americans. But did we win the war on poverty? Listen to this story and then explore the question with your class.

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Current Event January 10, 2014

Prison Loaf as Punishment

Civics/Government Psychology Ethics

Food shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment, but some prisons do it. In some prisons, “the loaf” is a bland form of food, given to disruptive inmates. Is this ethical? Listen to this story and discuss the merits of this form of discipline.

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Current Event January 8, 2014

Drivers Still Texting Despite Ban

Civics/Government

More than 41 states have laws against texting and driving, but thousands of people are still using their cell phones while they drive. So does imposing a texting ban while driving actually decrease auto accidents? The data says no, listen to this story to learn why not.

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Current Event January 2, 2014

Flood Insurance

Civics/Government

The federal government provides discount flood insurance. But after paying out many insurance claims in flood prone areas, the program is deeply in debt. So in 2012 Congress raised the flood insurance rates. But there was such an uproar that now Congress wants to roll back the increase. Listen to this story about the complex obligations behind flood insurance.

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Current Event November 29, 2013

Understanding Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Civics/Government US History I Civil War

On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech to honor those who had died at the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought in July of that year. After a two hour speech by politician Edward Everett, Lincoln spoke for just over two minutes. In just 272 words Lincoln explicitly linked human equality and democracy to the Union war effort. This statement of purpose has lived on and remains one of the most famous speeches of the Civil War. Listen to hear the Gettysburg Address and learn more about the historical context in which it was delivered.

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Current Event November 24, 2013

The Secret Service and JFK’s Assassination

Civics/Government US History II

The United States Secret Service has grown and evolved since its creation in 1865. Originally tasked with suppressing and investigating counterfeit money, the Secret Service took on the responsibility of protecting the president after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, had an equally dramatic effect on the way the Secret Service provided protection. Listen to learn more about the lapses in security that lead to the assassination and the changes implemented since.

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Current Event November 23, 2013

Why Dallas? The Setting for Assassination in 1963

Civics/Government US History II Psychology

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 shocked the nation, but the setting of his assassination was less surprising. Dallas, Texas was the center of the anti-Kennedy movement in the United States. Powerful business men, elected officials and Baptist preachers had all joined together to call for the overthrow of President Kennedy for treason. They had whipped up an atmosphere of hate and hysteria in the large southern city. It was into this atmosphere that President Kennedy rode in an open motorcade and was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald from an abandoned building along the route. Listen to learn more about the setting of the assassination.

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Current Event November 1, 2013

The Science Behind Video Game Addiction

Civics/Government Technology

From the early days of Pong to the current obsession with Minecraft, the pull to video games has never wavered; if anything, it has strengthened through the targeted efforts of the video game industry. As players sit at home, researchers are gathering data about your habits and interests from each action you make in the game, so they are literally "getting into" the minds of players as well as their wallets. Listen to this story to see how they do it.

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Current Event October 31, 2013

The Income Gap, Illustrated with Candy Corn

Civics/Government Economics Elementary Mathematics

In the last 30 years the rich have become richer. Lower-income earners gained 18%, the middle class earned 40%, and the top 1% of wage earners gained 275%. What's a good way to illustrate to students how the gap as widened? Candy Corn! Listen to this story to hear an audio graph of the income gap. Then discuss with students what it means for an economy and society with a large income gap and possible alternatives to redistribute wealth more evenly.

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Current Event October 22, 2013

Malala Yousafzai Continues Fight for Girls' Education

Civics/Government Gender World History II Civil RIghts

Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in the Swat Valley of Pakistan because she campaigned for education for girls. After recovering from her injury in England, she has now released a book, met with President Obama, and been considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala's father compares her fight for equal education to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s own battle for equal rights. Listen to her interview to start a discussion about advocacy, rights, and education.

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Current Event September 19, 2013

No Guns With Coffee

Civics/Government Constitution

Starbucks Coffee has a new policy. While the coffee shop used to allow guns, it’s now saying that they’re no longer welcome. Starbucks is not explicitly banning these weapons, but instead just asking customers to leave them at home. This new policy has been met with mixed reactions. Click here to listen to this story about how the gun debate is mixing with coffee.

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