Current Event January 27, 2019
A new group of Florida voters can now participate in the election process. Former felons in Florida were not allowed to vote for many years, but a recent amendment passed by a majority of Florida voters has reinstated this important right of citizenship. Listen to this story to hear more about what this change means for new voters and for the state of Florida.
Current Event January 22, 2019
Since 1994, Americans have observed a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr on the third Monday in January. Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service. One group of volunteers in Dallas, Texas spent the holiday working in a school garden. The garden is part of a school program that involves students’ families in cooking lessons, volunteering, and sharing in the harvest. Listen to this story to learn about how the program serves the community and hear reflections from volunteers about their experience serving on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Current Event January 18, 2019
Three women in their 40s recently entered a famous Hindu temple in India that for centuries has not allowed females between 10 and 50 years old because they are of childbearing age. The temple was targeted by Indian feminists, who have been protesting gender discrimination, and there has been a political backlash among Hindu nationalists. Listen to learn more about how this incident raises issues of both gender equity and religious freedom, and then debate: Should houses of worship decide who may enter?
Current Event January 17, 2019
A newly elected New Hampshire state legislator is only 19 years old. Cassandra Levesque entered politics at age 15 through her efforts to change child marriage laws in her state, which allowed 13-year-olds to marry. Working closely on the issue with a state representative led to deciding to run for office herself. Listen to this interview with Levesque to hear about her path to elected office and what she hopes to do now that she has become a state lawmaker.
Current Event October 31, 2018
The annual MacArthur Foundation Fellowship awards, known as “genius grants,” are a very highly respected prize dedicated to “celebrating and inspiring the creative potential of individuals.” Among this year’s recipients is Reverend William Barber II, whose work aims at increasing awareness of problems such as poverty and racism by using creative approaches to activism. Listen to hear about Barber’s efforts to improve American lives and how he plans to use the grant to support their continuation.
ELA Middle School
The University of Maryland’s Incentive Awards Program celebrated its first group of graduates along with new award winners at a reception in the university president’s backyard. The program awards full scholarships to promising, at-risk, local students who have overcome major obstacles to succeed. The university president who established the program expressed great pride in the success of the program and its students, many of whom are the first in their families to earn a college degree. Listen to hear the stories of several program participants, challenges they faced, personal qualities that helped them succeed, and their aspirations for the future.
Current Event September 28, 2018
Three New England Patriots football players recently moderated a community forum where they asked candidates for district attorney how they would address inequality in the criminal justice system. The forum was part of a national series organized by the Players Coalition, a group that negotiated a $90 million campaign for social justice and racial equality with the NFL. The football players explained that, as citizens, they want to make a positive impact on their communities that is more powerful than protests on the playing field. Listen to hear more about what these football players are doing to tackle injustice and then debate: Should Professional Athletes Get Involved in Politics?
Current Event September 19, 2018
Nike has launched a new sportswear advertising campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, known for protesting racial injustice on the football field by kneeling during the national anthem. Reactions to both Kaepernick’s protests and Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad campaign have been mixed. Listen to hear about Nike’s controversial choice of spokesman, as well as reactions from both supporters and opponents of that choice.
Current Event August 27, 2018
The Trump administration recently established a policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S. border, detaining parents and children in different places, even if they are legally seeking asylum. Although this rule has been reversed, some Americans want to help reunite the families that were separated while the policy was in effect. People who are passionate about this issue have raised more money than anticipated to help these families. Listen to find out how a simple act can snowball into a larger effort.
Current Event August 21, 2018
According to a recent study, Dallas is getting hotter faster than most other cities in America. A few surprising factors make this city an especially bad “urban heat island,” but there are certain, simple things the city can do to combat this effect. Listen to learn more about Dallas’ heat and find out what can cool it down.
Current Event August 20, 2018
The largest fire in California history is currently burning, breaking a record that another devastating fire set a mere eight months ago. Scientists, politicians, and firefighters are currently searching for a better way to handle these increasingly intense natural disasters. Listen to learn about some of their surprising solutions for wildfires.
Current Event July 2, 2018
Around national holidays many visitors come to Washington DC, the capital of the federal government. On the National Mall, a large park surrounded by national museums, they shared what they believe defines patriotism. They noted service, sacrifice and freedom. Listen to hear what patriotism means to some Americans.
Current Event December 18, 2017
Throughout his election campaign, President Trump promised a more populist approach to taxes. He said that wealthier Americans would pay more and the working class would pay less in taxes. However, the tax bill now debated by Congress goes in the other direction and appears to benefit the highest-earning Americans, according to many analysts. Political commentators have mixed opinions on how Trump’s supporters will respond. Listen to hear how this tax bill is different from what was promised on the campaign trail.
Current Event June 3, 2016
Sending someone to jail because they can’t pay a debt is against the law. But often courts in the United States imprison people who cannot pay court fines. For example, homeless people can be ticketed for sleeping in a park and then put into prison for not paying the fine. The city of Colorado Springs is stopping this practice. The city is also paying people who have previously been held in jail under these circumstances. Listen to hear more about this new policy and debate the pros and cons with your students.