Trivia & Quiz Answers – December 2017

Charter Schools

1. Which state passed the first laws allowing charter schools in what year?

a.    California, 1985

b.   Minnesota, 1991

c.   Oregon, 1995

2. New Orleans is the only city in the U.S. where the majority of students attend charter schools.

a.   True

b.   False

3. According to the Center for Education Reform, charter schools receive about _____of the amount per student that public schools receive from the state.

a.   35 percent

b.   52 percent

c.   61 percent

4. Currently, which states allow for-profit companies to manage charter schools?

a.   California, Massachusetts, Ohio and Texas

b.   Arizona, California, Michigan and Wisconsin

c.   Arizona, Oregon, North Carolina and Texas

5. According to the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, less than ______of all charter schools are run by for-profit companies.

a.   13 percent

b.   19 percent

c.   22 percent


Debt Ceiling

1. As of July 31, 2017, the United States federal government’s total debt was _________, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

a.    $11.43 trillion

b.   $15.59 trillion

c.   $19.84 trillion

2. Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling ____ times in the last 53 years.

a.    33

b.   51

c.   74

3. Moody’s, the credit ratings agency, has suggested that the U.S. should eliminate the debt ceiling to reduce uncertainty for bond holders.

a.    True

b.   False

4. As of June 2017, China held about ___ of the United States’ total debt, making China the top foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities.

a.    5.8 percent

b.   8.3 percent

c.   9.7 percent

5. Four health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and ACA (Obamacare) marketplace subsidies —accounted for ___of the federal budget in 2016.

a.    15 percent

b.    20 percent

c.    26 percent

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – December 2017


Issue 1: Charter Schools

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools “About Charter Schools”

National Center for Education Statistics on Charter School Enrollment Statistics

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Facts 

Center for Education Reform Charter School Facts

NPR: Just What Is a Charter School Anyway? 

Issue 2: Debt Ceiling

U.S. Department of Treasury on Debt Limit 

Congressional Budget Office Report: Economic Outlook for 2017-2027 

U.S. Social Security Administration Fact Sheet 

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?

Politifact: So What Is the Debt Ceiling All About Anyway?



Issue 1: Charter Schools

  1. Do you think funding charter schools with tax dollars hurts traditional public schools? Why or why not?
  2. Proponents of charter schools believe they encourage school competition and innovation. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  3. What are the arguments for and against charter schools? Where do you stand on the issue?
  4. Compare the Democrat and Republican congressional quotes for Issue 1 (charter schools). Whose opinion more closely matches your own view?
  5. What is your position on “school choice?” Do you agree or disagree with the idea?

Issue 2: Debt Ceiling

  1. Do you think Congress should raise or eliminate the debt ceiling, or refuse to raise it yet again? Why?
  2. Compare and contrast the pro/con congressional quotes on p. 3 of the newsletter. Whose opinion do you agree with the most, and why?
  3. Read the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of where our taxes go (see link above). Do you agree with the current budget allocations? Why or why not?
  4. When governments create budgets, they prioritize some programs over others (such as health care or national defense). What types of trade-offs might need to be made in your opinion?
  5. Read the Congressional Budget Office Report on our country’s economic outlook (see link above). What is the long-term projection for the federal debt? How will this affect your future?

Trivia Answers – November 2017 Newsletter

North Korea


1. North Korea has the fourth largest military in the world, with an active duty army numbering_______, and a total of _______ active, resource, and paramilitary personnel.

a.    525,000; 2.49 million

b.    900,000; 5.49 million

c.    1.2 million; 9.49 million


2. _____ is North Korea’s official state ideology of national self-reliance.

a.    Chondoism

b.    Juche

c.    Songun


3. North Korea officially describes itself as a ______ nation; however, most countries regard North Korea as a totalitarian dictatorship.

a.     Socialist

b.    Democratic

c.    Communist


4. What is the name of the capital city of North Korea?

a.    Seoul

b.    Daegu

c.    Pyongyang


5. North Korea bases its calendar on Kim Il Sung’s  date of birth, which was April 15, 1912.

a.    True

b.    False


Paris Climate Agreement


1. The term “climate change” refers to statistical changes in a climate system over a period of time.

a.    True

b.    False


2. Lawmakers and others who disagree that human activity is the main cause of global climate change argue:

a. Earth’s climate has always warmed and cooled, and the rise in global temperature is within the bounds of natural temperature fluctuations.

b. Some scientists disagree that human activity is primarily responsible for global climate change.

c. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide do not necessarily cause global warming.

d. All of the above.


3. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014, the top carbon dioxide emitters were roughly China at __% , the U.S. at __% and the European Union at ___%.

a.     25%, 12%, 10 %

b.     30%,15%, 10%

c.     35%, 25%, 15%


4. The chief goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is to:

a. Limit global warming to less than two degrees

b. Verify that human activity is the cause of climate change.

c. Reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, particularly methane.


Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – November 2017


Issue 1: North Korea

RAND Corporation’s “Striking First: Preemptive Attack in U.S. National Security”

The Hill: “How Trump’s Military Options with North Korea Could Play Out”

The U.S. Army’s Backgrounder: “The Korean War: 1950-1953”’s Pros and Cons of Military Intervention

CNBC Column: “Here’s the Only Way to Fix North Korea”

Issue 2: Paris Climate Agreement

Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord (June 1, 2017)

Wikipedia: Global Warming Controversy

2014 National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program

PBS Column: “Why the U.S. Should Remain in the Paris Climate Agreement” 

The Guardian: Best Arguments from Climate Scientist Skeptics 


Issue 1: North Korea

  1. Do you support the position that the U.S. should strike against North Korea preemptively? Why or why not?
  2. Read the U.S. Army’s historical backgrounder on the Korean War (see link above). Do you think North Korea’s stringent dislike of the U.S. is fair? Why or why not?
  3. Read’s Pros and Cons of Military Intervention (see link above). Do you agree more with the pros or the cons? What are the reasons for your position?
  4. It’s estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 North Koreans live in prison camps where as many as 40% of the camps’ prisoners die from malnutrition. Why do you think Kim Jong Un does this to his people?
  5. Read the RAND Corporation’s “Striking First” commentary (see link above). Do you agree with the author’s reasoning? Why or why not?

Issue 2: Paris Climate Agreement

  1. What is your position on climate change? Do you think it is caused by human activity or not? Outline your arguments and defend your position.
  2. Compare and contrast the pro/con congressional quotes on p. 3 of the newsletter. Whose opinion do you agree with the most, and why?
  3. Do you support the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement? Why or why not?
  4. According to the Wiki article on “Global Warming Controversy” (link above), disputes over the key scientific facts of global warming are more prevalent in the U.S. than globally. Why do you think this is so?
  5. Read the PBS opinion piece (link above). Do you agree or disagree with the assertions made in the article? Why or why not?

Trivia Answers – October 2017 Newsletter

War in Afghanistan

1. Since 2002, Congress has appropriated more than ____ for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, representing the largest expenditure to rebuild a country in the United States’ history.

a.    $30 billion

b.    $117 billion

c.    $1.4 trillion

2. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the population of Afghanistan is around ____ as of 2016 and the country is slightly smaller in size than which U.S. state?

a.    33 million, Texas

b.    24 million, Kansas

c.    49 million, Oregon

3. What is the name of the largest city and capital of Afghanistan?

a.    Damascus

b.    Islamabad

c.    Kabul

4. Which ethnic group is the largest in Afghanistan?

a.    Uzbek

b.    Pashtun

c.     Shia

d.    Sunni


Surveillance Law


1. Which of the following was not cited among the constitutional rights concerns in the 2014 Report on Section 702 Surveillance by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board?

a. Number of U.S. citizens whose communications have been collected by the NSA is unknown and likely vast

b. NSA’s practice of sharing any evidence of U.S. citizens’ criminal behaviorwith the FBI

c. NSA’s use of “about” collection of U.S. persons’ communications that aren’t to or from a foreign target

d. NSA’s querying of the information collected to search the communications of specific U.S. persons

2. Which U.S. service providers participate in the NSA’s PRISM program, which collects users’ emails and other personal data directly from their servers?

a. Google and YouTube

b. Apple and Microsoft

c. Facebook, Yahoo and Skype

d. All of the above

3.  Data collected under PRISM is an example of “upstream” collection.

a.     True

b.     False

4. What is the name of the intelligence-sharing agreement the United States has with other nations, including the United Kingdom and Canada?

a.     Boundless Informant

b.     Five Eyes

c.     Optic Nerve


Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – October 2017


Issue 1: War in Afghanistan

Remarks by President Trump on the Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Report to Congress

CIA World Factbook on Afghanistan

Brookings Institute Article, “America’s Afghanistan Problem”

Heritage Foundation Commentary, “Trump Lays Out Winning Strategy for Afghanistan”

Issue 2: Surveillance Law

Letter from Attorney Gen. Sessions Urging Congress to Reauthorize FISA Section 702 

Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board 2014 Report on FISA Surveillance Program 

Center for Democracy & Technology, “Section 702: What It Is & How It Works” 

April 28, 2017, Statement from NSA on Stopping of Certain Section 702 Activities

Sen. Rand Paul’s Call for Amendment to End Warrantless Searches of U.S. Citizens 

CQ Online Article, “Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law” 



Issue 1: War in Afghanistan

  1. Do you support continuing to have a military presence in Afghanistan? Why or why not?
  2. Read President Trump’s remarks on his strategy for Afghanistan (see link above). Why do you think he chose not to give specifics such as how many troops he will send or state an estimated withdrawal date? Do you agree or disagree with this strategy?
  3. Read the Heritage Foundation commentary (see link above). Do you agree with the author’s reasoning? Why or why not?
  4. Compare and contrast the pro/con congressional quotes on p. 3 of the newsletter. Whose opinion do you agree with most on this issue, and why?
  5. Why do you think President Trump changed his mind on sending more troops to Afghanistan, despite earlier criticizing President Obama for doing so when he was in office?

Issue 2: Surveillance Law

  1. Read the NSA’s April 28, 2017, statement announcing it will no longer include “about” communications in its intelligence gathering activities. Does this assuage any concerns you may have? Why or why not?
  2. Does FISA Section 702 need to be amended to strengthen protections of Americans’ constitutional and privacy rights? Or should Congress permanently reauthorize it as is? Justify and defend your position.
  3. Why do you think some legislators are concerned about the potential for abuse of power among employees and/or contractors of the NSA, FBI and/or CIA?
  4. Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Sept. 7, 2017, letter to Congress (see link above). Do you agree with his reasoning? Why or why not?
  5. Carefully read the wording of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Are Americans’ constitutional rights being violated under the NSA’s current interpretation of FISA Section 702? Why or why not?

Trivia Answers – September 2017 Newsletter

Dreamer Immigrants

1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released data that showed more than ____ Dreamer immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created.

a. 2 million

b. 750,000

c. 450,000

2. To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet all the following criteria except:

a. Must have arrived in the U.S. prior to age 16

b. Must be currently enrolled in school, have graduated high school or obtained a GED

c. Must qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps)

d. Must not have been convicted of a felony or multiple serious misdemeanors

3. Although DACA offers Dreamers a way to apply for a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit, it does not provide a path to U.S. citizenship.

a. True

b. False

Civil Asset Forfeiture

1. Which state’s civil forfeiture law requires that people be criminally convicted before their property is seized and that forfeiture proceeds go to a general fund vs. directly to the agency that seized the assets?

a. California

b. Florida

c. New Mexico

2. On March 29, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report on the DOJ’s cash seizure and forfeiture activities, which concluded:

a. During the past 10 years, law enforcement agencies under the DOJ (such as the FBI) have seized more than $28 billion in forfeiture assets.

b. Between 2007 and 2016, the DEA seized approximately $3.2 billion in cash forfeitures.

c. The vast majority of asset seizures were forfeited without a criminal proceeding.

d. The DEA conducts cash seizures that may pose risks to citizens’ civil liberties.

e. All of the above.

3. Although asset forfeitures happen often, most people do not try to get their property back because they can’t afford to file a lawsuit against the agency that seized it.

a. True

b. False

Bill of Rights Matching Game

H___ First Amendment
C____Second Amendment
G____Third Amendment
F____Fourth Amendment
B____Fifth Amendment
I____Sixth Amendment
J ___ Seventh Amendment
D___ Eighth Amendment
E___ Ninth Amendment
A___ Tenth Amendment


A. Powers reserved to the states.
B. Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy.
C. Right to keep and bear arms.
D. Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
E. Other rights of the people.
F. Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
G. No quartering of soldiers.
H. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
I. Right to a speedy and public trial
J. Right of trial by jury.


Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – September 2017


Issue 1: Dreamer Immigrants

Dream Act of 2017 Summary

Side by Side Comparison of the 2010 and 2017 Dream Acts, and DACA

New York Times’ Collection of Dreamers’ Stories

“Why I oppose the DREAM Act” Editorial

“The Dream Is Now” Documentary Video by Organizing for Action 

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Statement (July 19, 2017)

Summary of Report on the DOJ’s Cash Seizure & Forfeiture Activities

FOX News Article, “Sessions opens door for police to seize assets”

Washington Post Column by George Will, “When Government Is the Looter”

“Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture” Report

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Civil Asset Abuse


Issue 1: Dreamer Immigrants

  1. Who are the Dreamers and why are they called Dreamers? If you were in their situation, would you keep your status private at school? Why or why not?
  2. View to view a map of state laws on access to higher education for undocumented immigrants. Find your state and read its policies. Do you feel these policies are fair, unfair or just right?
  3. Read the “Why I Oppose the DREAM Act” editorial (see link above). Do you agree or disagree with this stance? List your arguments and defend your positions.
  4. Watch “The Dream Is Now” video (see link above). Compare and contrast your own dreams and the dreams described by the young people in the video. What are the similarities and differences?
  5. Read the Dream Act of 2017 summary (see link above). If you were a member of Congress, would you vote yay or nay on this legislation? Why?

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

  1. Civil asset forfeiture is one of the few bipartisan issues on which right-leaning Republicans and left-leaning Democrats agree. Why do you think this is so?
  2. In your opinion, does civil asset forfeiture violate citizens’ constitutional rights? Why or why not?
  3. Read the summary of the DOJ report (see link above). Do the findings challenge or support your position on civil asset forfeiture?
  4. Read Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement on July 19, 2017 (see link above). Do you agree with his reasoning? Why or why not?
  5. According to the Fifth Amendment, “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Why do some people see civil asset forfeiture as a violation of the “due process” clause?

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for May 2017 Issues


For further research, please see the links below. Links have been shortened for your convenience.

Issue 1: Syrian Missile Strikes

Statement by President Trump on Syria

Bernie Sanders’ Opposition to Missile Strikes

Visual Guide to Missile Strikes on Syrian Airbase

Heritage Foundation on Missile Strikes Video

Brookings Institute Pros & Cons to Missile Strikes

Issue 2: Minimum Wage

U.S. Department of Labor – Minimum Wages by State

Raise the Minimum Wage

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Article

National Women’s Law Center on Minimum Wage

CNBC Article on Universal Basic Income

Congressional Budget Office Report


Help students develop their critical-thinking skills on legislative issues with these essay questions.

Issue 1: Syrian Missile Strikes

  1. Please read the pro and con arguments in the Brookings Institute article (link above). Which side do you agree most with, and why?
  2. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict? Why or why not?
  3. Does the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians justify the U.S. missile strikes?
  4. What could potentially go wrong as a result of the U.S. missile strikes on the Syrian airbase? What could go right?
  5. Should the U.S. intervene in Middle East controversies such as the Syrian Civil War? Where should we draw the line?

Issue 2: Minimum Wage

  1. Using the U.S. Department of Labor link above, see if your state has a minimum wage law. How does your state compare to other states? Do you think it should be higher or lower than it is?
  2. How does the minimum wage issue relate to income, gender and race inequality?
  3. Please read the CNBC article (link above). Should the U.S. should establish a “universal basic income?” Why or why not?
  4. If you worked at a job that paid the current minimum wage of $7.25, you would work one hour and receive about enough money to pay for a fast food combo meal. Is that fair?
  5. Do you think that if the minimum wage was raised, it would ultimately help or hurt workers?

Trivia Answers – May 2017 Newsletter


1. During the U.S. missile strike, 59 _____ cruise missiles were launched from the guided-missile destroyers USS Ross and Porter in the eastern Mediterranean.

a.  Harpoon

b.  Tomahawk

c.  Javelin

2. The airfield that was targeted in the U.S. missile strike is near which city in Syria?

a.  Aleppo

b.  Damascus

c.  Hom

3. The missile strike carried out by the Trump administration marks a significant shift in U.S. relations with Syria from the Obama administration.

a.  True

b.  False

4.  The first large-scale use of chemical weapons was during World War II.

a.  True

b.  False


1. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is ____ an hour and hasn’t been raised since 1991.

a.  $2.13

b.  $4.02

c.  $5.45

2. Opponents of raising the minimum wage say because of the law of ____, some workers will lose their jobs or have their hours cut if businesses are forced to pay them more.

a.  diminishing returns

b.  supply and demand

c.  lean manufacturing

3. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly a quarter (24%) of people at or below the federal minimum wage are teenagers (ages 16 to 19), as of 2013.

a.  True

b.  False

4. In 2012, the richest 1% of the U.S. population earned 22.83% of the nation’s income, resulting in the widest gap between the rich and the poor since the 1920s.

a.  True

b.  False