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For Grades 9-12 , week of June 26, 2023

1. SHIPWRECK TOURISM

After a harrowing several-day search, parts of the submersible that disappeared on its way to the wreckage of the Titanic were found, implying that it broke apart from the pressure in the deep water. Scientists have pointed out several issues with the submersible, including that it was made of carbon fiber, which doesn’t buckle or shift under pressure but would instead splinter and break apart. In the midst of the tragedy, families of passengers who lost their lives on the Titanic have come out against the “shipwreck tourism” surrounding the famous shipwreck. Write an opinion piece, detailing your opinion on the idea of visiting the Titanic wreckage and other ways companies have monetized the tragic event.

2. POP STAR SETTLEMENT

Singer-songwriter Ke$ha has settled a nearly 10-year dispute with producer Dr. Luke. She accused Dr. Luke of drugging and assaulting her, while he countered with claims of defamation. The details of the settlement haven’t been made public, but it will avoid the trial that was set to begin this summer. Research the history of the case and write a brief summary of the events that led to this settlement.

3. A DEAL REACHED

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter has made a deal with the Justice Department to plead guilty two counts around filing his taxes late in 2017 and 2018, misdemeanors that will lead to probation. Under the deal, he will not be prosecuted for the purchase of a handgun during a period of time when he was using drugs. He will have to remain drug-free for two years and agree to never own a firearm again for the deal to remain in place. In your newspaper or online, read about the charges against Hunter Biden, then write an article that summarizes the facts and the deal with prosecutors.

4. GANNETT V. GOOGLE

Google is facing a lawsuit from the US’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, which has accused the tech company of operating as a monopoly over the technology publishers use to buy and sell digital advertisements. The lawsuit accuses Google of controlling how publishers sell ads and forcing publishers to sell ad space to Google at lower rates, which created a monopoly against any rivals in the digital ad space. Google is now facing several lawsuits for its ad practices; research the other cases and write an article summarizing your findings.

5. SCORES IN DECLINE

Among 13-year-olds, reading and math scores are at their lowest since 2004 and 1990, respectively, with declines seen regardless of race, gender, and location. However, vulnerable populations did see greater decreases, with widening gaps based on gender and race for math. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona cites the disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2019-2020 school year for the recent drop in scores, especially when comparing to pre-pandemic years. Write a plan for how you would suggest addressing the education gaps for more vulnerable populations, like students at underfunded schools and those without access to technology and other resources at home.

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