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For Grades 9-12 , week of May 20, 2024

1. TIKTOK CRACKS DOWN ON DIET POSTS

TikTok is rolling out new regulations to help curb content about diet and weight loss fads on the app. Last week, TikTok put into place policies that restrict content that promotes “extended intermittent fasting,” “rapid and significant weight loss” exercises, and medications or supplements that promote weight loss or muscle gain from appearing on users’ “For You” feed. The change comes after years of research shows that young people are particularly susceptible to body dysmorphia and the development of eating disorders from harmful messaging on social media. Researchers have found that TikTok hashtags that linked to what their study classified as eating disorder content had over 13.2 billion views; 29 million Americans experience a clinically significant eating disorder in their lifetime. Write an article that summarizes TikTok new polices and eating disorder statistics and risk factors in the United States, using research from reputable organizations and agencies.

2. SUPREME COURT RULES ON BUREAU

The Supreme Court recently announced a decision in a case against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a regulatory agency created after the 2008 financial crisis to monitor consumer finance opportunities like mortgages and car loans. The case was brought by payday lenders, or companies that offer short-term, high-cost loans that allow people to borrow earnings from an upcoming paycheck; these lenders objected to a CFPB rule that limits their ability to withdraw directly from borrowers’ bank accounts. The case centered on the agency’s funding, which comes directly from the Federal Reserve instead of Congress’ annual budget. A lower court ruled that this violated the Constitution and kept the agency from being under Congress’ supervision, but the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that the funding was not a violation of the Constitution. Research what the CFPB does for consumers in the United States. Then, write an article that summarizes the agency, why it was started, and how this court case could have affected it and the American public.

3. DIPLOMATIC ACCORD

The United States is moving toward a diplomatic relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel through a three-part agreement. A defense treaty between Saudi Arabia and the US is in the works but won’t be finalized unless Saudi Arabia and Israel can establish a diplomatic relationship. The third part of the deal would pave the way for a Palestinian state; no part of the package can move forward without the other two. However, Israel has been resistant to the idea of independence for Palestine and a cease-fire in Gaza, which could endanger the other parts of the deal. Read more about the different parts of the agreement and how it would change relations for the US and in the Middle East. Then, write an article that summarizes what you learned.

4. BARGE HITS TEXAS BRIDGE

Last week, a barge collided with a bridge in Galveston, Texas, and caused an oil spill into the busy waters. The affected bridge is the only road from Galveston into the small Pelican Island. While the accident shut down the shipping channel so crews could clean up the spill in the affected area, it was unlikely to cause significant disruptions because it’s one of the area’s lesser used waterways. Pelican Island is home to Texas A&M University at Galveston and some 200 students were on campus when the collision happened, but they were eventually allowed to drive over the bridge to leave the island. The Texas Department of Transportation was already scheduled to begin a project to replace the bridge in 2025. Write an outline of who you would contact and what questions you would ask each source if you were tasked with writing an article about this event.

5. SPEECH STIRS CONTROVERSY

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is facing backlash from a commencement speech he delivered to Benedictine College, a private Catholic liberal arts school. In the speech, Butker criticized the LGBTQ+ community’s Pride month, comparing it to pride in the context of the seven deadly sins in Christianity, as well as President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion. A significant portion of the speech was aimed at the women in the audience, with Butker saying: “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” The NFL released a statement that his views do not reflect those of the organization. Do you think it’s appropriate for a commencement speaker to present polarizing views? Write an opinion article, expressing your views on the topic, using research to back up your claims.