Ideas for Teachers

Nov 19, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for December 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Cryptocurrency
Congress.gov: H.R.4813 “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act”               
Facebook Newsroom: Calibra Wallet/Libra Currency Press Release          
cryptocurrencyfacts.com: “Cryptocurrency Pros and Cons”                  
finextra.com: “Should Private Companies Be Able to Create Currency?”           
House.gov: “Facebook CEO to Testify Before Financial Services Committee”       
techcrunch.com: “Lowlighhs from Zuckerberg’s Libra Testimony in Congress”      
                
Issue 2: Subminimum Wage
Department of Labor: “Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Subminimum Wage”   
National Conference of State Legislatures: “States Weigh Options - Subminimum Wage”   
Congress.gov: “H.R.873 - Transformation to Competitive Employment Act”       
Disability Scoop: “Lawmakers Call for End of Subminimum Wage”               
Forbes: “The Truth of Disability Employment That No One Talks About”          
shrm.org: “Minimum-Wage Bill Ends Low Pay for Workers with Disabilities”       
American Community Survey Disability Statistics, National and by State           

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Cryptocurrency

  1. Read the text of Congress.gov: H.R.4813 “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act” (link above). Is this bill the right solution? What alternative solution(s) might you propose?
  2. Should private companies like Facebook be allowed to create their own cryptocurrency? Why or why not?
  3. Compare and contrast the pro and con arguments in the “Cryptocurrency Pros and Cons” (link above). Do you think the benefits of cryptocurrency outweigh the drawbacks? Why or why not?
  4. What is your opinion of Facebook’s intention to headquarter the Libra Association in Switzerland? Do you think it should be headquartered in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  5. Read the cryptocurrency “pro” and “con” quotes on p. 3. Whose opinion to you agree with more and why?

Issue 2: Subminimum Wage

  1. Do you think the current law that allows disabled people to be paid a wage below the national minimum wage is fair? Why or why not?
  2. Some employers with 14(c) certificates separate disabled workers from other workers. How might this practice affect disabled workers psychologically?
  3. Why do you think that people with disabilities are the only population that can be paid less than the minimum wage and it’s seen as acceptable?
  4. Do you think the decision on whether to allow employers to pay a subminimum wage to disabled workers should be made at the federal or state level? Why?
  5. Read the text of the bill H.R.873 or “Transformation to Competitive Employment Act.” Do you feel this is the best solution to resolve the subminimum wage issue? Why or why not?

Oct 18, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for November 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: E-Cigarettes
CDC: “Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping”       
H.R.4425 “Quell Underage Inhaling of Toxic Substances Act of 2019” or QUITS Act  
ProCon.org: “Is Vaping with E-Cigarettes Safe?”                       
The Hill: “Trump Takes Heat from Right Over Vaping Crackdown”               
The Verge: “Everything You Need to Know About the Vaping Health Crisis”       
FTC: “Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2017”              
                
Issue 2: Vaccines
S.1619 VACCINES Act                                  
ProCon.org: “State Vaccination Exemptions: Medical, Religious and Philosophical”   
CDC: “Global Measles Outbreaks”                               
Medscape: “Close Call – US Can Still Officially Claim Measles Eliminated”           
Reuters: “Alarming Upsurge in Measles Has Devastating Impact, WHO Warns”              
Vaccines.gov: “Vaccine Safety”                               


CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: E-Cigarettes

  1. Read the text of H.R.4425 or the “Quell Underage Inhaling of Toxic Substances Act of 2019” (link above). Is this bill the right solution to the problem of underage vaping? What alternative solution(s) might you propose?
  2. Do you agree that banning flavored e-cigarettes is the right thing to do? Why or why not?
  3. Compare and contrast the pro and con arguments in ProCon.org’s “Is Vaping with E-Cigarettes Safe?” article (link above). Where do you stand on vaping and why?
  4. How important is the issue of underage vaping in the U.S.? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem? Why or why not?
  5. Some conservative groups are critical of President Trump’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes. They say this is an overreach that will violate free-market principles. Do you agree or disagree with this criticism? Why?

Issue 2: Vaccines

  1. Currently, mandatory vaccine laws are left to the states to decide. Should there be a national law for vaccines? Why or why not?
  2. Check ProCon.org’s “State Vaccination Exemptions” page (link above) to see which kind of vaccine exemptions are allowed in your state. Do you agree or disagree with your state's exemptions? Why?
  3. Which is more important for the issue of vaccines—individual rights or collective rights? Why?
  4. What are the risks associated with vaccines and do those risks outweigh the benefits? Why or why not?
  5. If vaccines are not mandatory, will the public health be endangered? Why or why not?

Sep 18, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for October 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Prescription Prices
S.2387 “We Protect American Investment in Drugs Act"                  
Vox: “The Bipartisan Senate Bill Aimed at Baking Big Pharma Lower Drug Prices”      
Study: “Contribution of NIH Funding to New Drug Approvals 2010–2016”          
The Hill Op-Ed: “Republicans Face Critical Test of Integrity on Drug Price Controls”   
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Endorsement of We PAID Act       
FactCheck.org: “Pinning Down Prescription Drug Prices”                   
                
Issue 2: Alaska Drilling
H.R.1146 “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act”              
NRDC: “U.S. House Passes Legislation to Protect Arctic Refuge in Historic Vote”       
Courthouse News: “House Approves Ban on Oil Drilling in Arctic Refuge”           
Alaska Public Media: “Democrats on U.S. House Committee Move Anti-Drilling Bill”   
Natural Gas Intelligence: “House Passes Bills to Block Trump Offshore Drilling Plans"   


CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Prescription Prices

  1. Read the text of S.2387 or the “We Protect American Investment in Drugs Act” (link above). Is this bill the right solution to the problem of high prescription prices? What alternative solution(s) might you propose?
  2. Read the AARP endorsement of S.2387 (link above). How important is the issue of high prescription drug prices in the U.S.? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem? Why or why not?
  3. Read The Hill Op-Ed (link above), which offers a counter viewpoint to proponents of S.2387. How does the writer’s opinion agree or disagree with your own?
  4. Do you agree that price controls on prescription drugs are ultimately bad for American consumers? Why or why not?
  5. Compare and contrast the pro and con arguments on p. 3 of the newsletter. Where do you stand and why?

Issue 2: Alaksa Drilling
1.    Should the United States suspend oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge? Why or why not?
2.    Read the text of H.R.1146 “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act” (link above). Is this bill the best solution to the problem of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge? What other solution(s) might you propose?
3.    Does the money that can be made from drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Refuge outweigh the importance of the environment? Why or why not?
4.    What alternatives (such as renewable energy, etc.) might you propose to the need for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge?
5.    Do you think the decision on whether to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge should be made at the federal or state level? Why?

Aug 16, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for September 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Debt Ceiling
Congress.gov: H.R.3877 “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019”                  
Congressional Budget Office: “The 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook”          
Peter G. Peterson Foundation: “Debt Ceiling Update: What’s at Stake”          
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Everything to Know About Debt Ceiling”  
Bipartisan Policy Center: “The Debt Limit—What You Need to Know”           
Investopedia.com: “Debt Ceiling”                               
                
Issue 2: Reparations
Congress.gov: H.R.40 Summary and Text                           
Constitutional Rights Foundation: “Reparations for Slavery Reading”           
The Atlantic: “The Case for Reparations”                          
Oxford University Press: “Postconflict Reparations”                       
Axios: “The World’s Long History of Reparations”                      
CNN: “People Are Talking About Reparations. But It’s a Complex and Thorny Issue.”   
 

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Debt Ceiling

  1. What do you think about Congress’s decision to suspend the debt ceiling for two more years? What alternative solution(s) would you propose? Explain your reasoning.
  2. Read the Congressional Budget Office’s 2019 budget outlook (see link above). What is the long-term projection for the federal debt? How will this affect your future?
  3. When governments create budgets, they prioritize some programs over others (such as health care or defense). What types of trade-offs should be made, in your opinion, to reduce the national debt?
  4. How important is the issue of the national debt? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem? Why or why not?
  5. Looking at the "Buck Stops Here: What It Takes to Fund Our Nation” infographic, do you agree with the 2017 budget allocations? What would you change and why?

Issue 2: Reparations

  1. What are the arguments for and against reparations for slavery in the United States? Where do you stand, and why?
  2. Do you agree that some of the problems faced today by the African American community are the “legacy of slavery?” Why or why not?
  3. How are reparations for black slavery similar to, and different from, the reparations paid by the U.S. government to Japanese Americans interned in prison camps during World War II?
  4. What might a government program of reparations look like? How would you design it?
  5. Morally speaking, do you think a person can owe a debt based on the actions of previous generations? Why or why not?

Apr 18, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for May 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Green New Deal
Congress.gov: H.Res.109 - Green New Deal (Text)                   
Fox News: “Green New Deal Would Cost Up to $93 Trillion Over 10 Years”   
Vox.com: “The Green New Deal, Explained”                       
Heritage Foundation: “GND Would Barely Change Earth’s Temperature”       
FactCheck.org: “The Facts on the ‘Green New Deal’”              
NPR: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline”                                  

Issue 2: Capitalism vs. Socialism
Christian Science Monitor: “GND: Saving America or Turning It Socialist?”       
American Center for Law & Justice: “Truth About Socialism & Green New Deal”   
The Balance Small Business: “Differences Between Capitalism and Socialism”   
Investopedia.com: “Capitalist vs. Socialist Economies: What’s the Difference?” 
Corporate Finance Institute: “What Is Socialism vs. Capitalism?”           
Roll Call: “The Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate”                  


CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Green New Deal

  1. Read the text of the Green New Deal resolution (link above). Is the Green New Deal a step in the right direction or an example of government overreach?
  2. Why does the GND resolution include issues like jobs, health care and human rights? How do these issues connect to climate change?
  3. What crisis was Roosevelt’s New Deal responding to in the 1930s? What modern-day crisis is the Green New Deal responding to?
  4. What kind of a congressional proposal is the Green New Deal? If it was approved by Congress, what would happen?
  5. How important is the issue of climate change? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem?

Issue 2: Capitalism vs. Socialism

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of capitalism and socialism? Which economic system is more effective and why?
  2. Should property and the means of production (factories) be owned by businesses and individuals (capitalism) or the government (socialism)? Why?
  3. It is commonly argued that socialism is un-American. What are some arguments for and against this position?
  4. Should the government be involved in the economy? If so, to what extent?
  5. Who is responsible for a person’s well-being, the government or the individual?

 

Mar 20, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for April 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: National Emergency
White House: “Presidential Proclamation Declaring National Emergency”        
Sen. Lamar Alexander Statement on Trump’s Emergency Declaration        
Sen. Thom Tillis OpEd: “I Would Vote Against Trump’s National Emergency”    
ushistory.org: “The Powers of Congress”                       
USA Today AGs OpEd: “Trump’s Emergency Declaration Constitutional”         
                                        
Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture
Supreme Court Decision on Timbs v. Indiana                        
Institute for Justice: “Policing for Profit – The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture”    
Department of Justice Statistics on Equitable Sharing Program Proceeds       
Forbes: “Indiana Claims It Can Forfeit Cars For Speeding, Minor Drug Crimes”   
Heritage Foundation: “7 Things You Should Know About Civil Asset Forfeiture”    
National Conference of State Legislatures: “Evolving Civil Forfeiture Laws”   


CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: National Emergency

  1. Review President Trump’s national emergency declaration (link above). Do you agree with his decision to declare an emergency? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think the Constitution’s framers created a system of checks and balances and separation of powers for the government? Is the system working as the framers intended? Why or why not?
  3. What are the powers demonstrated by the legislative branch and the executive branch in this situation?
  4. Which branch of the government do you think has the most power? Why?
  5. Read the statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander on Trump’s emergency declaration (link above). Do you agree with him that Trump’s declaration sets “a dangerous precedent?” Why or why not?

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

  1. Should law enforcement agencies be allowed to take money and property from people who haven’t been charged or convicted of a crime? Why or why not? 
  2.  In your opinion, does the practice of civil asset forfeiture violate citizens’ constitutional rights? Why or why not?
  3. Read the Supreme Court’s decision on the Timbs v. Indiana case (link above). Do you agree with the court’s conclusion? Why or why not?
  4.  What is your position on civil asset forfeiture laws? Are they in need of reform? Why or why not?
  5. What protections does the Constitution provide for people who are charged with a crime? Should these same protections be guaranteed to people whose property is taken via civil asset forfeiture? Why or why not?
     

Feb 15, 2019

Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for March 2019 Issues

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Gun Control Laws
Congress.gov: Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 Bill                   
Congress.gov: Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019 Bill   
ProCon.org: “Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted in the U.S.?”       
Newsweek: “States Take Matters in their Hands as Stalemate in Congress”    
The Atlantic: “Democrats Are Newly Emboldened on Gun Control”           
NRA ILA: “Supreme Court Takes a 2nd Amendment Challenge to Gun Law”       
                                            
Issue 2: Vaccines
World Health Organization: “10 Threats to Global Health in 2019”           
U.S. News: “Public Confidence in Vaccines Sags, New Report Finds”      
Immunize for Good: “Fact or Fiction: Benefits vs. Risks”               
Dr. Lauren Feder: “Vaccine Pros and Cons” (More Cons than Pros)           
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “State Vaccination Requirements”   
ProCon.org: “Should Vaccines Be Required for Children?”               

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Gun Control Laws

  1. Are you for enacting stricter gun-control laws or expanding gun-control rights in the U.S.? Which would ultimately be better for the U.S. and why?
  2. How do you interpret the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
  3. How is the United States different now than it was in 1789, when the Second Amendment was written?
  4. Would enacting stricter gun-control laws help prevent school shootings? If so, why? If not, what would?
  5. Do you think there should be a law banning U.S. citizens from buying and possessing automatic weapons? Why or why not?

Issue 2: Vaccines

  1. Should the government have the right to compel vaccines for children? Should parents have the right to refuse them?
  2. What are the risks associated with vaccines and do those risks outweigh the benefits?
  3. Currently, mandatory vaccine laws are left to the states to decide. Should there be a national law for vaccines? Why or why not?
  4. Which is more important — individual rights or the collective good? Why?
  5. If vaccines are not required, will the public health be endangered? Why or why not?

 

Jan 08, 2019

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for February 2019 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Troops in Syria
NYT: “Trump Withdraws U.S. Forces from Syria”                    
Reuters: “Trump Starts Withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Syria”          
Forbes OpEd: “U.S. Troops Don’t Belong in Syria”                  
The Nation: “Why We Can’t Afford to Send More Troops to the Middle East”  
Resignation Letter of General Mattis, Former Secretary of Defense        
The Guardian OpEd: “Donald Trump Has a Point”                  
                                                
Issue 2: Food Stamps & Work Requirements
USDA’s Proposed New Rule Strengthening SNAP Work Requirements        
USA Today: USDA OpEd by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue         
National Conference of State Legislatures SNAP Fact Sheet            
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “SNAP Requirements Won’t Work”
USDA’s SNAP (Food Stamps) Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool            
Urban Institute: “The Anti-Poverty Effects of SNAP”                

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Troops in Syria

  1. What information would you need to make a decision about whether to keep troops on the ground in Syria?
  2. What are the differences between the opposing viewpoints in the pro/con congressional quotes on p. 3?
  3. Do you think that withdrawing troops from Syria would ultimately be better or worse for the U.S.? Explain your reasoning.
  4. How would you compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of keeping U.S. troops in Syria?
  5. Read Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s resignation letter to President Trump (link above). What are the major points or “big ideas” in the letter?

Issue 2: Food Stamps & Work Requirements

  1. Do you agree that the U.S. should set stricter work requirements for recipients of SNAP food stamps? Why or why not?
  2. Read the USDA OpEd by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (link above). What ideas would you add to his reasoning and how would these ideas change his conclusions?
  3. How do you think a food stamps recipient would react to the proposed USDA rule for stricter work requirements for SNAP?
  4. What solutions could you suggest to the problem of food scarcity in the U.S.? How would they differ from the current SNAP food stamps program?
  5. What information would you need to make a decision about whether to establish stricter work requirements for SNAP food stamps recipients?

 

Nov 13, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for December 2018 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Birthright Citizenship
Rep. Steve King: “Ending Birthright Citizenship Does Not Require an Amendment”    
The Federalist: Trump Sends Birthright Citizenship Trial Balloon                
Politico: “Can Trump Revoke Birthright Citizenship? Nearly All Say No"          
National Review: “Birthright Citizenship – A Nutty Policy We’re Probably Stuck With”    
The News & Observer OpEd: “Executive Order Clarifying the 14th Amendment”        
CNN OpEd: “Revoking Birthright Citizenship Is Un-American”                
                                                        
Issue 2: Balanced Budgdet Amendment
Investopedia: What Is a Balanced Budget?                          
Peter G. Peterson Foundation: Balanced Budget Amendment Pros and Cons        
Motley Fool: Advantages and Disadvantages of a Balanced Budget                
Balanced Politics: Yes/No Arguments on Balanced Budget Amendment            
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Risks”    
Center for American rogress: “Reflections on the Congressional Budget Act”        

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1: Birthright Citizenship
What is your interpretation of the 14th Amendment? Does its language grant citizenship to those born in the U.S. whose parents are undocumented? Why or why not?
Do you agree with Rep. Steve King’s interpretation of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Why or why not?
Do you believe the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment ensures citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants? Why or why not?
Do you think that ending birthright citizenship would resolve our immigration challenges? Why or why not?
What qualities do you think should define whether or not someone is a U.S. citizen?

Issue 2: Balanced Budgdet Amendment
1.    Do you think a balanced budget amendment is necessary in order for Congress to not spend more than it receives in revenue? Why or why not?
2.    What impact would a balanced budget amendment have on fiscal policy during a recession?
3.    Are you in favor of a balanced budget amendment? Explain why or why not.
4.    How would a balanced budget amendment affect the balance of power between the President and Congress? Between the federal courts and Congress?
5.    Should entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security be cut in order to reduce the national debt? Why or why not?

 

Oct 16, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for November 2018 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Smoking Age

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: States & Localities That Have Raised the MLSA to 21    
National Academy of Sciences: “Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco”   
American Heart Association: “Tobacco, No Minor Issue” Fact Sheet           
American Lung Association: “Tracking Progress Toward Raising Minimum Sale Age”   
Study: “Raising the Tobacco Sales Age to 21: Surveying the Legal Landscape” (2016)   
Worth It: Tobacco Facts                                  
Tobacco 21: Tobacco 21 Fact Sheet                               

Issue 2: Tech Regulations

The Hill OpEd: “Regulate Social Media Just Like Other Media”               
Washington Post OpEd: “Don’t Regulate Facebook”                      
PBS: “Stopping Foreign Meddling in U.S. Elections Via Social Media Is Enormous Task”   
Senate.gov: Honest Ads Act (S. 1989) Section by Section                   
Debate.org: Should the Internet Be Regulated by the Government?           
The Conversation: “Government Regulation of Social Media Would Be Worse”       

 

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1:  Smoking Age

  1. Should the U.S. make it illegal for anyone under 21 to buy tobacco products in all states? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think increasing the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products infringes on young people’s rights? Why or why not?
  3. If cigarettes and other tobacco products were more difficult to obtain in stores, do you think teenagers would be less inclined to want them? Why or why not?
  4. What do you think is the appropriate minimum age for purchasing tobacco products? Why?
  5. What are the arguments for and against raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products? Which position do you agree with and why?

Issue 2: Tech Regulations

  1. Do you think the government should regulate tech companies like Facebook and Google? Why or why not?
  2. Read for pro and con congressional quotes on raising the smoking age on p. 3. Whose opinion do you agree most with, and why?
  3. Are social media platforms like Twitter subject to the First Amendment?
  4. Is there a right to free speech on social media owned by private tech companies?
  5. Do you trust social and search companies like Facebook and Google to regulate themselves? Why or why not?

 

Sep 18, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for October 2018 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Minimum Wage

U.S. Department of Labor: State Minimum Wage Laws               
National Conference of State Legislatures: State Minimum Wage Laws       
Economic Policy Institute: Minimum Wage Tracker                   
The Guardian: “How Much Is an Hour Worth? The War Over Minimum Wage”   
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Living Wage Calculator           
Forbes: “McDonald’s Says Goodbye Cashiers, Hello Kiosks”               
 

Issue 2: Fuel Efficiency Standards

Federal Register: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from EPA and NHTSA       
EPA: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle           
InsideClimateNews: “How Pruitt's EPA Is Weakening Clean Air Rules”        
Reuters: “U.S. States Vow to Fight Trump Rollback on Auto Emissions”       
Washington Post: “Trump Administration Says Weaker Fuel Standards Saves ..."   
EPA: Estimate Your Carbon Footprint Calculator                   

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1:  Minimum Wage

  1. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor link above to 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 gender and race?

  3. Use the Living Wage Calculator (link above) to calculate your living wage. Should the U.S. should establish a “living wage” standard? Why or why not?

  4. Do you support or oppose raising the minimum wage? If you were speaking to a person who disagreed, what is the strongest argument in support of your position?

  5. Do you think that if the minimum wage was raised, it would ultimately help or hurt workers?

     

Issue 2: Fuel Efficiency Standards

  1. Does the responsibility to slow down or stop climate change belong to humans? Why or why not?

  2. Using the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator (link above), calculate your carbon footprint. What does the term “carbon footprint” mean? Why do people care about their carbon footprint?

  3. On an individual level, what can you do to limit your “carbon contribution” to the environment?

  4. Are greenhouse gases a natural part of the earth’s climate system? Why or why not?

  5. Do you think the U.S. should weaken their fuel-efficiency standards? Why or why not?

     

 

Aug 17, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for September 2018 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Supreme Court
supremecourt.gov: About the U.S. Supreme Court                   
Georgetown University: Supreme Court Nomination and Confirmation Process   
Supreme Court Historical Society: How the Court Works               
landmarkcases.org: Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court           
NYT: “10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know”               
CNN: “Where Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stands on the Issues”                                              

Issue 2: Bullying Laws
stopbullying.gov: List of State Laws on Bullying                   
Text of Pennsylvania State Rep. Frank Burns’ House Bill 2217           
Bully Police USA: Watchdog Reporting on State Anti-Bullying Laws       
Huffington Post OpEd: “Why Criminalizing Bullying Is the Wrong Approach”   
Crisis Prevention Institute: 5 School Bullying Misperceptions           
Psychology Today OpEd: "Anti-Bullying Laws Punish the Tax Payer"           
cyberbullying.org: Cyberbullying Statistics                       

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1:  Supreme Court

  1. Do you think Supreme Court justices should take an active role in politics? Why or why not?
  2. What defines a “conservative” or “liberal” Supreme Court justice?
  3. What is a justice’s responsibility when their personal opinions are in conflict with the rule of law in a case?
  4. Should the people be allowed to approve Supreme Court appointments instead of, or in addition to, the U.S. Senate? Why or why not?
  5. Read the “10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know” article (link above) and explain how the Supreme Court affects your life personally?

Issue 2: Bullying Laws

  1. Do you think parents should be fined if their child bullies? Why or why not?
  2. What kind of interventions can young people use to prevent or stop bullying? List three things you could do to defuse a bullying situation.
  3. Do you think you’ve ever bullied someone? If so, why? What made you stop or continue to bully?
  4. Do you think bullying is a serious problem in your school? Why or why not?
  5. What can be done to make schools safer and more inclusive?

 

Apr 19, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for May 2018 Topics

RESEARCH LINKS

Issue 1: Digital Privacy
The Guardian: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica"           
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Original Text of the Senate CLOUD Act Bill           
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA): Press Release on CLOUD Act Passage           
Electronic Frontier Foundation: “Responsibility Deflected, the CLOUD Act Passes”   
European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Key Changes       
Phys.org Fact Check: Facebook Makes Shaky Privacy Claims               
            
Issue 2: Trade War
Roll Call: “China Trade Tariffs Stir Support, Fears and Retaliation Threat”           
White House: “President's Actions Responding to China’s Unfair Trade Practices”   
Statement from Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) on President Trump’s Tariffs           
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer’s Statement on President Trump’s Tariffs       
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report on “Made in China 2025” Plan               
New York Times: “If There’s a U.S.-China Trade War, China May Have Weapons”        

 

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

Issue 1:  Digital Privacy

  1. In your opinion, does Facebook respect the privacy rights of its users? What, if anything, should be done to protect FB users’ personal data in the future?
  2. Some states have laws that provide privacy protections for citizens who live there. Do you support the inclusion of privacy protections in your state’s laws? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think Congress should strengthen privacy protections for U.S. citizens? Why or why not?
  4. If a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution was added to specifically protect Americans’ right to privacy, how would you word it?
  5. Do you think that the right to privacy is a fundamental freedom, like freedom of religion? Why or why not?

Issue 2: Trade War

  1. Do you feel President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China will ultimately help or hurt the U.S.? Justify your position.
  2. Will China surpass the United States as the world’s superpower? Why or why not?
  3. Should the U.S. view China as a threat or an opportunity?
  4. What role should Congress play in easing tensions between the U.S. and China and facilitating greater cooperation?
  5. What is the difference between “absolute advantage” and “comparative advantage?” What “absolute advantage” does China have over the United States and what “comparative ad-vantage” does the U.S. have over China?

 

Mar 21, 2018

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for April 2018

Ideas for Teachers for April 2018 SGAP Program

Feb 16, 2018

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – March 2018

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: Offshore Drilling Heritage Foundation: How Offshore Oil and Gas Production Benefits the Economy  Oceana Report: Safety Measures Will Not Make Offshore Drilling Safe  Press Release from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke Announcement  National Ocean Industries Association Offshore Energy Industry Publications  Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Statistics and Facts  U.S. Department of Energy Report “Today in Energy” 

Jan 17, 2018

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – February 2018

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: Net Neutrality H.R.4682 “Open Internet Preservation Act” (Text) FCC: “Restoring Internet Freedom” “In Protests of Net Neutrality Repeal, Teenage Voices Stood Out” NYT Article “The Case for Net Neutrality Repeal” Article “What the End of Net Neutrality Means for You” Time Article Fox Video: “FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality”

Nov 08, 2017

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – December 2017

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: Charter Schools

Oct 18, 2017

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – November 2017

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: North Korea

Sep 20, 2017

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions – October 2017

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: War in Afghanistan

Aug 09, 2017

Research Links & Critical-Thinking Questions - September 2017

RESEARCH LINKS Issue 1: Dreamer Immigrants

Apr 20, 2017

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for May 2017 Issues

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

Mar 20, 2017

Research Links & Critical Thinking Questions for April 2017 Issues

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

Feb 20, 2017

Links & Critical Thinking Questions – March 2017

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

Jan 19, 2017

Ideas for Teachers (Links & Critical-Thinking Questions) – February 2017

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

Nov 22, 2016

Ideas for Teachers (Links & Critical-Thinking Questions) – December 2016

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

Oct 20, 2016

Ideas for Teachers (Links & Critical-Thinking Questions) – November 2016

LINKS

Sep 21, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical-Thinking Questions – October 2016

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

Aug 18, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical-Thinking Questions – September 2016

LINKS For further research, here are some good places to start. SGAP makes a concerted effort to provide links to reliable sources, and to include a balance of left- and right-leaning sources. Links have been shortened for your convenience.

Apr 13, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical-Thinking Questions – May/June 2016

LINKS

Mar 22, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical-Thinking Questions – April 2016

LINKS Apple vs. FBI Los Angeles Times Washington Post USA Today Washington Post (hearing recap) CNN NPR

Feb 26, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical-Thinking Questions – March 2016

LINKS Presidential Authority Brookings Institution Constitution Daily Cornell University Law School Smithsonian Magazine New York Times HowStuffWorks Washington Examiner

Jan 22, 2016

Ideas for Teachers/Critical Questions – Feb. 2016

LINKS

Nov 19, 2015

Ideas for Teachers/Critical Questions - Nov./Dec. 2015

Links:

Nov 09, 2015

Ideas for Teachers - October 2015

Resources for additional study:

Oct 06, 2015

Ideas For Teachers - September 2015

Websites and videos for additional study:

Sep 15, 2015

Ideas for Teachers - August 2015

Websites and videos for additional study:

May 06, 2015

Ideas for Teachers - May 2015

Websites and videos for additional study:

Apr 02, 2015

Ideas for Teachers - March 2015

Websites and videos for additional study: 

Mar 04, 2015

Ideas for Teachers - February 2015

Feb 02, 2015

Ideas For Teachers - January 2015

Websites and videos for additional study: The Constitution and President Obama's Executive Orders

Oct 09, 2014

Ideas for Teachers - October 2014

Websites and videos for additional study:

Sep 11, 2014

Ideas for Teachers

Websites and Videos for Additional Study

Jun 03, 2014

Ideas for Teachers - May 2014

Websites and videos for additional study:   Gun-Free School Zones