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for Grades 9-12

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For Grades 9-12 , week of Oct. 14, 2019

1. Impeachment Showdown

The U.S Constitution created the three branches of the federal government and made the executive, legislative and judiciary branches co-equal in power. The Constitution also gave the legislative branch the authority to hold the executive branch accountable and in check through the impeachment process. When the U.S. House launched an impeachment investigation of the actions of President Trump, it set off a constitutional confrontation with the President and the executive branch. Now the President has responded by saying he and his administration will not cooperate with the impeachment investigation. Through his lawyers, the President called the investigation “partisan and unconstitutional.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by telling the President “You are not above the law. You will be held accountable.” The confrontation between President Trump and the U.S. House is unprecedented in the history of the United States. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about how this confrontation is different from those involved with impeachment efforts in the past. Use what you read to write an editorial outlining how you think future historians will view this confrontation, and what precedents it may set for the future.

Common Core State Standards: Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information; reading closely what a text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

2. Age and the Presidency

With five candidates more 70 years old, the 2020 presidential race has focused more on age and fitness than in the past. That topic got renewed attention last week when 78-year-old Bernie Sanders suffered a heart attack and had to cut back his campaign schedule. Sanders, who is the oldest of all the candidates, had been running a vigorous campaign for the Democratic nomination and had drawn wide support from young voters. He said he had been “dumb” for not paying attention to symptoms indicating a health problem. Sanders’ heart attack renewed attention to the health and fitness of the other candidates over 70: Democrat Joe Biden (76), Republican Bill Weld (74), Republican Donald Trump (73) and Democrat Elizabeth Warren (70). Trump was 70 when sworn into office in January 2017, the oldest first-term president in the nation’s history. Age is just one of the issues being raised in the Democratic race for president. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about issues the Democratic candidates are talking about. Pick one issue and write a political column or commentary comparing the positions of two or more candidates on the issue.

Common Core State Standards: Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly; citing specific textual evidence when writing.

3. Milestone Election

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, the state of Alabama was a fierce opponent of equal rights and equal opportunities for African Americans. Now the Alabama city of Montgomery has made history by electing its first African American mayor. The election of Steven Reed broke a 200-year-old tradition of only electing white mayors in Montgomery, which is also the capital city of Alabama. Reed decisively defeated businessman David Woods by earning 67 percent of the vote. Montgomery has long been a focal point in the struggle of African Americans for civil rights and equal opportunity. It was the first capital city of the Confederate States during the Civil War and later the site of key protests by African Americans seeking civil rights. It was where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man and the location of marches for voting rights led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. After the third march for voting rights, it was where Dr. King famously declared: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The election of Steven Reed was a milestone for African Americans in politics. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read stories about other African Americans breaking new ground in politics. Use what you read to write a letter to the editor detailing the successes African Americans have achieved, and challenges they face that white candidates may not. Discuss ideas as a class.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

4. Migrant Crackdown

When President Trump took office, he vowed to crack down on illegal immigration. Statistics just released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reveal he is making good on that promise. While the number of families arriving at the southern U.S. border tripled last year, CBP apprehended nearly one million people and ruled they were “inadmissible” for entry into the United States, the agency announced last week. That rate of apprehension is 88 percent higher than the previous fiscal year, the agency said. In addition to cracking down on illegal immigrants, the Trump administration is making it harder for immigrants to seek asylum from violence or threats in their countries. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration’s plans to significantly limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum. Immigration issues continue to generate debate and discussion across the nation. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read commentaries offering different opinions on the topic. Use what you read to prepare a short oral report summarizing the most common arguments and who is making them.

Common Core State Standards: Reading closely what written and visual texts say and to making logical inferences from them; citing textual or visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.

5. Homecoming Royalty

Say goodbye to the King and Queen. High schools are dropping the gender specific titles for occasions such as Homecoming or Winter Carnival. At Milford High School in Milford, Ohio, the move was prompted by voting in this year’s homecoming race. When the ballots were counted, the school discovered that both the “king” and “queen” were female students. In response, the school decided to make the titles gender neutral, calling the honorees “Homecoming Royalty.” “This change in terminology was made to reflect the voice of Milford’s student body and to ensure all students have the opportunity to feel included,” CNN News reported. Milford High School’s decision to change the titles of its “Homecoming Royalty” reflected a change in the attitudes and views of its students. In the newspaper or online, find and closely read a story about another action or decision that reflects a change in attitudes. Use what you read to write an essay or short paper examining why it is important to be open to change when attitudes shift.

Common Core State Standards: Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to the task; citing textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions.