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For Grades 9-12 , week of Jan. 22, 2024


The Justice Department released its much-anticipated report on the 2022 shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas. The review looked at the widely criticized approach police took during the active shooter situation at the elementary school, and the Justice Department concluded there were significant missteps by police. The biggest they identified was not treating the situation as active and engaging the shooter; instead, they treated it as if the gunman were contained (like barricaded into a room) and focused on evacuating other nearby classrooms instead of those who were in more immediate danger. The report concludes that if best practices had been followed, more lives could hav been saved. Read more about the Uvalde report from at least two different sources. Then, write at least a paragraph drawing your own fact-based conclusions about the police response.


Ahead of New Hampshire’s primaries, election officials worry that the state’s aging ballot scanners could create an opportunity for conspiracy theories about election accuracy and security. While there was no evidence of widespread fraud in past presidential elections, it’s been a pervasive concern among voters. Some of the state’s scanners are more than 15 years old and finding replacement parts is an increasingly difficult task, which means some ballots may need to be counted by hand after Election Day. Malfunctions and hand-counting have been the target of conspiracy theories in the past, but in this case, the ballot itself only contains the single race for the presidential primary, so hand-counting wouldn’t take long. Write an opinion article that recommends what New Hampshire election officials could do to encourage confidence in their election process, despite the aging machines.


As the primary season kicks off, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis indicated he would be turning his efforts to South Carolina, skipping over New Hampshire in the race to become the Republican candidate—or at least the candidate most likely to challenge former President Donald Trump’s significant lead. New Hampshire’s primary takes place on January 23 before South Carolina’s on February 24. He’s hoping to challenge Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, in her home state. The same day he began his efforts to move his campaign staff to South Carolina, DeSantis’ super PAC, Never Back Down, began laying off employees. Research what a super PAC is and how they affect elections. Then, write an explainer article that educates the public on PACs.


The Supreme Court is poised to take on another controversial—but lesser known—case that could change the way the legislative and executive branches regulate business. The case in question is Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which created an important legal precedent in 1984. The decision establishes that “if part of a law Congress wrote to empower a regulatory agency is ambiguous but the agency’s interpretation is reasonable, judges should defer to the agency,” the New York Times summarizes. It has been used as a framework for federal judges to address challenges to regulations, including in a case where owners of commercial fishing vessels have to pay the cost of monitors who prevent overfishing, according to a regulation by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The courts have upheld the ruling based on the Chevron precedent, and the case has now made its way to the Supreme Court. If changed, it could rewrite the precedent set in Chevron and take power from the agencies under the executive branch. Using further research to understand the case at hand, write an opinion article about how the Chevron precedent does or doesn’t maintain the balance of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.


Iran launched missiles into neighboring Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria last week, asserting a military show of strength. The country stopped short of a major escalation in the tensions in the Middle East, but their actions were a show of support for Hamas, the militant group occupying Gaza that’s currently at war with Israel. Pakistan retaliated with air strikes in Iran a day after the missile attack, which Iran said targeted militant camps. In response, Pakistan struck seven locations about 30 miles inside the Iranian border, according to officials. It was the first time since the Iran-Iraq war three decades ago that another country had launched an attack into Iran’s airspace. Both countries claimed they were addressing terrorist threats and maintained their governments are still allies with one another. Read more about the escalating tensions in the Middle East from at least three sources. Then, write your own article summarizing the current standing of each of the countries involved.