Current Event September 30, 2016
Across college campuses, the idea of "trigger warnings," giving a heads-up to students before uncomfortable topics are discussed, and creating safe spaces for students to feel comfortable talking about their experiences, is gaining traction. Some people think this provides support for people who have been victimized and prevents triggering a recurrence of past trauma. Others people think this makes it possible for students to avoid certain topics and different perspectives that make them feel uncomfortable. The University of Chicago has decided not to give ‘trigger warnings’. Listen to this story to understand why and then debate the different perspectives on this policy.
ELA High School
The play "Hedda Gabler" by Henrik Ibsen was written in 1891. It features a female protagonist who feels trapped and bored by her loveless marriage and the rules of Victorian society, and relieves her frustration through manipulating others. A play called "Heddatron," is a comedic reinterpretation of "Hedda Gabler." The producers of "Heddatron" updated the play for a 21st century audience by incorporating robots into the cast. As new forms of technology are showing up in unexpected places, the integration of robots in this play challenges our thinking about the role of technology in our culture and our society. Listen to this story to learn why the producers decided to bring robots into a century-old play, and what challenges they faced in bringing their reinterpretation to the stage.
ELA Middle School
The United States declared war on Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But Afghanistan had already been a troubled and war torn country for many, many years. In 1996, the Taliban seized control of the country, imposing strict rule over all of its citizens. This story focuses on how the strict rules of society in Afghanistan continue to affect its people--especially children and girls. Listen to this interview with the author of “The Kids of Kabul” and learn more about the challenges faced by Afghan children and women, especially in the area of education.
Current Event June 23, 2016
This story follows a Saudi Arabian teenage girl over two years. It’s a personally narrated audio diary of a young woman who is in college and dreams of being a scientist and getting her PhD. While she is keeping this audio diary, she interviews her family and friends and explores her dreams and beliefs. Listen to hear scenes from her life.
Current Event June 13, 2016
For the first time in U.S. history, a woman will be a nominee for President. Hillary Clinton has become the first woman to be the presumptive nominee of an American political party. No other woman has made it this far in climbing the political ladder to the presidency. In marking the moment, Clinton delivered a speech from a hall with a glass ceiling and reflected on how the metaphorical glass ceiling has held women back in politics.
Current Event May 24, 2016
The White House, along with the departments of Justice and Education, say schools must let transgender students use the bathroom they identify with. Conservative leaders in Texas responded by denouncing it. They see this directive as divisive, unsafe, and immoral. Others call this a big step for civil rights and applaud the anti-discrimination policy. In Texas, the Fort Worth school superintendent announced their public schools would accommodate transgender students. That led to Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, calling for the superintendent’s removal. Listen to hear more about how politics and public school bathrooms are related.
Current Event April 25, 2016
The $5, $10, and $20 bill are all due for an update, and there has been a big push to honor a woman on the face of U.S. currency. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill. Jackson will be moved to the back of the bill. The change came after the US Treasury Secretary invited the public to submit their own ideas of which female from US history should be featured. Tubman not only escaped slavery but created the Underground Railroad through connections and networks, bringing people together to reach a goal. Listen to learn more about the changes in store for U.S. currency.
Current Event April 15, 2016
There are a number of young teens getting married in the United States. They include teens of every race and ethnicity and teens who are not being forced into arranged marriages. Most states set the minimum age for marriage at 18, but there are ways to get around this law, such as providing a note from the teens’ parents. Some states are taking steps to close all loopholes in this law. Advocates of new laws say child marriage endangers girls' health, and undermines their education and economic opportunities. Some say teens should be allowed to decide for themselves. Listen to this story and debate whether there is an age at which someone is too young to get married.
Current Event April 13, 2016
Grace Hopper played an important role in creating the tech world. She left her job as a college professor and joined the Navy Reserve during World War II. Later, she was on the team at Harvard that wrote the first programmable computer code language. She succeeded in a number of male-dominated fields and became an icon in the computer world. Listen to hear more about the woman who helped start the computer revolution.
Current Event March 23, 2016
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court in 1981. Her selection came as a surprise to some, as she was not well known in the world of judicial writing. Despite struggles early on as she learned her role in federal court, O’Connor had a long and successful career until her retirement in 2006. Listen to learn more about O’Connor’s path to the Supreme Court and her experiences as a woman in law and politics.
Current Event March 23, 2016
Amelia Earhart attempted to become the first female airplane pilot to circumnavigate the globe. Her plane disappeared during her flight 80 years ago. Although human remains believed to be Earhart’s have been found on an island off of Hawaii, the wreckage of her airplane has never been discovered. Now, the Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery is using new technology to map the ocean floor off the island and search the area for parts of the plane. Listen to learn more about the search expedition and Amelia Earhart’s legacy.
Current Event March 23, 2016
As part of Native American Heritage night, a women’s high school basketball team wore traditional Navajo hair styles. They wore a tsiyeela—a bun tied with yarn. Then a referee told them they couldn't play because he believed the hairstyle broke regulation. The students ended up taking out their buns. After the team received an apology, they wore their traditional hairstyles at the next game. And so did many in the audience. Listen to hear more about this event that highlights the issue of cultural sensitivity.
Current Event March 17, 2016
Many of the characters in books written for students are white males. They don’t reflect everyone’s background. One girl became frustrated when she couldn’t connect to the characters. In response, she began to gather books about black girls and then give these books to schools. Now that she has exceeded her original goal and collected almost 4,000 books, the girl has started to consider how to impact schools in an even larger way. Listen to the story hear more about this remarkable campaign.
Current Event March 14, 2016
Countries such as Germany, the Philippines, Argentina and Great Britain have elected women leaders, but the United States has never elected a woman president. Sexism and legal discrimination have stopped women from gaining leadership positions for the past 200 years, but things have changed recently. Women have been supporting each other to gain elected positions, and have proven that women are capable leaders. Listen to hear more about the history of women leaders in the United States.
Current Event February 23, 2016
As we head into Women’s History month in March, one woman stands out as an early pioneer for women’s rights, Susan B. Anthony. Her birthday is remembered this month, but she is known for a November day in 1872, when she and other women registered to vote. When Anthony attempted to vote, she was arrested and convicted of the crime of illegal voting. She was also an anti-slavery activist and joined forces with abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. Although it wasn’t legal for women to vote until 1920, Susan B. Anthony led the campaign to for women’s suffrage. Listen to hear more about her legacy as an advocate for women’s rights in the United States.
Current Event January 14, 2016
Child care is at the center of economic policy in Japan. As Japan’s population ages and shrinks, the country is looking to give the economy a boost by attracting more women to the workforce. The problem is young mothers have a difficult time finding daycare due to limited child care options. And Japanese culture sees caretaking and household duties as women’s domain, so parents typically do not share the work at home equally.The government is taking steps to help more women join the workforce.
Current Event January 4, 2016
In an historic election for women in Saudi Arabia, women won 20 seats out of about 2,000 seats available on local councils. It was historic because even though women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, they were allowed to vote and be candidates for the first time. Women had to be creative in their campaigning to work around rules about women traveling unaccompanied and forced segregation of men and women. Since Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, the royal rulers make all the important political decisions and smaller decisions are left to local councils. Even considering the restrictions on women, this is a step toward women having a voice in Saudi Arabia.
Current Event December 11, 2015
All ground combat jobs in the U.S. military will be open to women starting next year. The U.S. Defense Secretary said that it made no sense to exclude half the American population from serving in combat. He believes the individual contributions of women will enhance combat effectiveness. There is opposition to this decision from Marines who wanted infantry jobs closed to women. Listen to this story about the pros and cons of this decision. Then debate with your students: Should women hold combat roles?