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For Grades 5-8 , week of Sep. 11, 2023

1. NEW PROFESSOR

Former secretary of state, First Lady, and US Senator Hillary Clinton is now teaching a class on foreign policy at Columbia University in New York City, nearly 50 years after she last taught at University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville. She’s also helping to establish an Institute of Global Politics at the school, where a group of fellows will work with students to address social and political problems facing the world. Among the inaugural group are Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former candidate for governor of Georgia; Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google; and Marie Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine. Would having a famous person like Hillary Clinton be a benefit or a distraction to a learning environment? Write an opinion piece about your thoughts.

2. TONIGHT SHOW TROUBLE

Last week, more than a dozen former and current employees accused Jimmy Fallon of creating a toxic work environment at The Tonight Show. Reports accuse Fallon of snapping at crew members and belittling staff members, creating an environment where many said their mental health was impacted. Fallon has since apologized to the staff and NBC, the network behind the show, has said they’ve investigated and taken action where appropriate. Look up Jimmy Fallon’s apology online, then write an article comparing his response with other celebrities who have faced similar accusations in recent history, such as Lizzo and Ellen DeGeneres.

3. PARENT PROBLEMS

Teachers in South Korea are protesting harassing behavior from parents in the country known for its highly competitive schools. Tens of thousands of teachers took a coordinated leave of absence to protest across the country last week, finding a way around South Korea’s law against going on strike. Among their demands are clear disciplinary guidelines and a revision to the Child Welfare Act, which is meant to protect children from abuse but currently is used by some parents to file or threaten child abuse charges against teachers who discipline students. As such, students are able to misbehave in the classroom without any repercussions, while teachers face harassing calls and texts from parents about their students’ performance. Brainstorm how you would write the guidelines in South Korea to help teachers while still protecting children. Share your ideas with your classmates.

4. PUBLIC HEALTH FAILURE

A new report exposed widespread issues at two state-run veterans’ homes in New Jersey during the Covid-19 pandemic. The two homes in Menlo Park and Paramus saw dozens of deaths early in the pandemic because of a lack of communication and staff competency, according to the report. The virus was able to spread because infected people were allowed to be around uninfected people and they didn’t properly use personal protective gear. The report also criticized the state for a lack of oversight, though they did try to improve conditions. Starting with reading the report, how would you go about writing an article about this topic? Write down the steps you would take, including information you would research, who you would interview, and what questions you would ask them.

5. BALLOT BUSTER

A lawsuit could keep Donald Trump off the ballot in at least one state. Six voters in Colorado filed a lawsuit under the 14th Amendment, which says anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution after taking an oath to defend it is ineligible to hold office. They allege that his actions surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was engagement in insurrection and would therefore disqualify him. However, even if the lawsuit is upheld, an appeal would go to the Supreme Court, which has a conservative supermajority. Read more about this lawsuit in your newspaper or online. Then, write an article summarizing what the lawsuit is about and why the 14th amendment could apply to Donald Trump in this case.