ELA High School
“The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 14-century, and is widely considered to be one of the influential works of early European literature. It is a “frame story” containing a collection of tales told by a fictional group of religious pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer made specific use of real locations to root his stories in the world of his time. Listen to hear about how the Canterbury Road has influenced other famous writers, and about how the locations of Chaucer’s tales have changed over the centuries.
Current Event September 11, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. This program was established by executive action during the Obama administration to grant people under 16 who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents a temporary reprieve from deportation. Immigration officials will stop taking new applications, and will decide on renewals on a case by case basis. Listen to hear more about the ending of the DACA program.
Current Event August 25, 2017
Illegal immigration has been a topic of political debate in America for generations. Trump’s administration has brought a harsher tone to cracking down on illegal immigrants in the United States, not only at the border, but also arresting non-criminal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrests of non-criminals have increased sharply across the country. Immigrant advocates claim this is worsening community relations. ICE agents say they are “misunderstood and that they simply want to enforce the law”. Listen to this story to hear from both sides of the issue and then debate: Are ICE agents just doing their jobs or going too far?
ELA High School
Children of immigrants can often feel like they’re never completely accepted either in their adopted home country or their parents’ country of origin. The author Jhumpa Lahiri was born to Indian parents in London and raised in Rhode Island. She is an author of many books, including "The Namesake" and "The Interpreter of Maladies." But she says she’s struggled to feel like she belonged in America. Mixed feelings about identity form a central theme in her work. Listen to hear how Jhumpa Lahiri has dealt with the difficulties of immigration and the struggles of tradition and how these themes have influenced her writing.
Current Event August 15, 2017
With the number of deportations of Mexican-American families increasing, schools across Mexico are struggling to address the unique challenges posed by incoming students who are fluent in English, but not Spanish. One school in Tijuana has seen great success by pairing incoming students with native Spanish speakers in the classroom and offering them one-on-one tutoring. Listen to learn more about how these children have been adjusting to life in the country their parents once called “home”.
Current Event August 7, 2017
A young Dallas couple has decided to open their doors to refugee children in their neighborhood. They don’t run a daycare or an afterschool program, but host refugee children at their home for games, movies, and even homework. Their home has become a popular place for kids in this diverse neighborhood. Listen to this story to hear exactly how this family began helping refugee children and what kind of impact they have on their community.
Current Event May 25, 2017
Some high schools give special recognition to students who can speak and read in two languages. At graduation, these students receive a bi-literacy seal on their diplomas that recognizes not only test scores but also the value of learning two languages. This distinction shows appreciation for cultural perspectives and celebrates diversity, along with making these students ready to succeed in a global environment. Listen to learn more about this new movement to honor fluency in a second language.
Current Event April 25, 2017
In the last few months, many refugees have crossed illegally from the United States into Canada. Refugees who cross the border this way are violating the Safe Third Country Agreement. This agreement says people must take refuge in the country where they first arrive. However, refugees are so unsure of their future in the U.S. that many are willing to enter Canada illegally because they know if their papers and background checks are cleared, they will be allowed to apply for asylum. Listen to learn more about how and why refugees are crossing illegally into Canada.
Current Event April 14, 2017
The U.S. Census Bureau is set to announce the proposed questions for the 2020 census. Many are concerned that under the Trump administration, Latinos will be less likely to respond for fear that immigration enforcement will use their answers against the Latino community. As a result, these communities may be undercounted, leading to less political representation and federal funding for these areas. Listen to learn more about the concerns around the politicization of the U.S. Census.
Current Event February 6, 2017
Last week President Trump issued an executive order banning refugees for from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for a 90 day period. The order also prevents all refugees from entering the country for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Some experts fear this policy will have a strongly negative impact on foreign affairs, sending the message that the United States is at war with Islam and willing to restrict immigration based on religious beliefs. Listen to learn more about Trump’s refugee ban and its potential foreign policy consequences.
Current Event December 13, 2016
Recently, Austria held a runoff election for president and Italy voted on changes to its constitution. The countries voted on different things, but the underlying issue was the future of Europe. After the Brexit vote, where Britain voted to leave the European Union, Austria predicted a victory for a far-right, anti-immigration candidate. In their election upset, the leftist leader won the vote. In Italy, the country’s position in the European Union was challenged and a growing anti-establishment mood won the election, rejecting the changes to its constitution. As a result, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned, and asked the government to carry out its mission faithfully. Listen to hear more about these important elections.
Current Event November 21, 2016
Immigration was a big issue in the U.S. presidential election and president-elect Donald Trump has said he definitely plans to build a barrier on the U.S. border with Mexico. He said he will prioritize deporting unauthorized immigrants with criminal records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates about 2 million undocumented immigrants fall into this category, but the majority are not drug dealers or murderers, but charged with nonviolent crimes such as shoplifting. Listen to hear more about the potential plans of the incoming Administration.
Current Event November 17, 2016
More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. These refugees are fleeing violence, persecution and natural disasters in their countries. The journey is often dangerous. Doctor’s Without Borders, an international humanitarian aid organization, created an exhibit to help Americans understand what it’s like to be a refugee. Listen to hear how visitors reacted to this experience.
ELA Middle School
Anne Frank’s diary of her family’s life in hiding from the Nazis is one of the most famous accounts of World War II. Less known is how her father, Otto Frank made many attempts to get his wife and two daughters, Margot and Anne, out of Nazi Germany to safety. In 2005, several letters and documents written by Otto Frank were discovered. Despite the support of several wealthy and powerful friends in the United States, he was unable to acquire the necessary visas. The U.S. was making it more and more difficult for immigrants to enter the country and, after Germany declared war on the U.S., Cuba rescinded the visas it had originally offered. Listen to learn more about the powers that kept the Frank family in Europe, where they were eventually discovered, arrested and almost all murdered by the Nazis.
Current Event September 30, 2016
Vermont is the new home of many refugees from Somalia and other countries that have become dangerous to live in. Some residents in towns with large concentrations of refugees are concerned that the newcomers will be a burden on taxpayers. For the most part, however, refugees are contributing to the well-being of the communities they have become a part of. The local residents in one town in Vermont, welcome them. Listen to hear about the experiences of residents of Winooski, Vermont and the refugees who have recently moved there.
Current Event September 20, 2016
Immigrants living in the United States have a lot to learn when they first arrive. Parents must learn how the school system works in the United States so that they can ensure their children are successful. There are often cultural differences as well as language barriers, which make it difficult to adapt. An organization in Rhode Island helps immigrant parents navigate the school system by providing classes that are translated into several languages. Listen to hear what kinds of challenges immigrant parents face.
Current Event September 12, 2016
One of the big issues of the 2016 presidential election is immigration. The two major party candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have opposing viewpoints on the subject. As Trump launched his campaign, he promised to build a wall to keep Mexicans out, and then later stated that he would prevent Muslims from entering the United States. Clinton has proposed comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. She sees immigrants as contributing to American society and the economy. Listen to hear more details about each candidate’s policy on immigration.
Current Event June 27, 2016
The European Union is a political and economic partnership of 28 countries that’s been in place for more than four decades. In what has been named “Brexit,” the United Kingdom voted by a slim margin to exit the EU. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, campaigned to stay in the EU and stated that leaving would be disastrous for Britain. He is now announcing his resignation. Those who voted to leave the EU stated resentment about immigration, as well as economic and cultural costs of belonging to the EU. Listen to hear more about the economic repercussions as well as political effects of this decision.
Current Event May 20, 2016
The Obama administration promised to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country this year, but it has made little progress toward this goal. A top refugee official explains how the U.S. will keep working to fulfill this promise. Citizens and politicians alike have strong opinions on refugee issues. Some people think we must invite those in trouble into our country, while others worry that welcoming refugees could threaten our safety. Government officials hope to listen to all concerns as they work to protect people’s safety at home and abroad. Listen to this story and then have your students debate America’s responsibility to Syrian refugees.