This lesson introduces students to the controversy over Justice Kennedy’s retirement and Trump’s role in reshaping the Supreme Court. The first reading reviews Kennedy’s career and highlights the significance of his role as a swing vote on the court. The second reading examines possible consequences of a Kavanaugh appointment and examines how a variety of groups are resisting Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Protests across the country reflect widespread outrage over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies. In this lesson, students learn about the controversy over the administration's policies to separate and/or detain families who are seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
This lesson uses the example of a bidding war by cities to become Amazon's second headquarters to explore the question of providing public subsidies to private companies. Students also learn about and discuss ways cities can ensure that companies like Amazon hold up their end of the bargain through strategies such as "clawback" rules and "tracking" for public subsidies.
In this lesson, students step back from the debate over a "border wall," and consider the moral arguments for and against “no borders."
Students explore the controversy over the Trump administration's proposal to add a question about citizenship to the census — and learn about the history and purpose of the U.S. census.
In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, many have called for increased "school security" measures. In this lesson, students consider whether such measures make schools safer and discuss their impact on young people and the school climate.
Students learn what gerrymandering is and why it poses a problem for U.S. democracy, and consider recent attempts to combat the practice.
Fifty years after Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign, a coalition of multiracial groups has announced that it is launching a new Poor People’s Campaign aimed at addressing divisions in the United States, from racism to economic and gender inequality. In the this lesson, students learn about the original Poor People’s Campaign and the new one, and discuss how the two drives are similar and different.
The U.S. has more people detained while awaiting trial than any other country in the world. In this lesson, students explore the issue of cash bail, why some criminal justice reform advocates argue for ending it, and what has happened in cities and states that have ended cash bail.
America is in the grips of a nationwide opioid epidemic. In this lesson, students think critically about the opioid crisis, its origins, and potential solutions.
The Republicans have introduced one of the largest tax overhaul plans in many years. In this lesson, students consider what taxes do and why Americans pay them; and examine the Republicans' proposed tax reform and how analysts are projecting it will affect the country.
Threats by Donald Trump and by North Korea have stoked worries about nuclear war. In this lesson, students learn about the work of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and about past social movement campaigns that have worked to avert war and promote nuclear disarmament.
In two readings and discussion, students explore the meaning and history of DACA, including the social movement activism that won DACA during the Obama years and prospects for future action.
When President Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, governors and mayors across the country announced that they were still on board and would continue their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and . In this activity, students read about and disucss how cities and states are leading by example when it comes to climate change.
Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow changed the conversation about race, racism, and incarceration in this country. In this activity, students explore Alexander’s argument that our criminal justice system has relegated millions of people of color to a permanent second–class status, and examine how people are challenging the policies mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow.
With Republicans gaining control of all three branches of the federal government, unions are under increasing attack. For students, this raises some pertinent questions: What are unions? Why are they important? And how will the attack on unions affect working people in our country?
Questions loom over whether President Donald Trump can avoid conflicts between his business interests and the interest of the people he represents. In two readings and discussion, students consider how past presidents have tried to prevent conflicts of interest, how Trump has addressed this concern, and challenges Trump is already facing over potential conflicts.
Donald Trump has said that climate change is a "hoax." His appointee for Secretary of State is a former Exxon Mobil executive who now says he believes climate change is a serious threat. In two readings and in discussion, students explore what the Trump administration might mean for climate change and for those who are concerned about it.
Students learn about and discuss the president's power to name leaders within the executive branch of government and consider two of president-elect Trump's most controversial appointments: Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Steve Bannon for chief strategist and senior counselor.
What are sanctuary cities, and why are they girding for conflict in the wake of Trump’s election? Students explore the concept of "sanctuary" and learn about efforts by advocates to defend undocumented immigrants.
Polls show that a high percentage of voters are dissatisfied with the 2016 presidential nominees of both major parties. And yet, as in past years, third parties have struggled to gain a foothold. In this lesson, students learn about U.S. election laws that make it difficult for third parties to emerge, and discuss reforms activists have proposed to give voters more choices.
Hillary Clinton stands on the brink of becoming the country's first female president. In the lesson, students learn about women who have run for president in the past and consider the significance of having a woman as president of the United States.
Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign has reopened discussion about what would it take to get truly universal healthcare in the U.S. This lesson, which includes two student readings and discussion questions, examines the debate over Sanders' proposal for a "single-payer" national healthcare system, and efforts by states to adopt a single-payer program.