Hurricane Irene caused flooding and destruction in 13 states as it charged violently up the east coast last weekend. New York City shut down its famous subway system, and millions were evacuated from their homes. While some argued that cities and towns overreacted in their storm preparation, over 45 people were killed as a result of the hurricane. Some cities are still completely flooded and without power. Were you affected by Hurricane Irene? Learn more .
From earthquakes to hurricanes to tornadoes to flooding, nearly every region of the United States has recently suffered from natural disasters. And repairs for these disasters don't come cheap. Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is struggling to keep up with the costs of disaster aid. FEMA has less than $800 million dollars left to help citizens in need. Do you think that Congress should increase FEMA's budget in light of the recent disasters? Learn more .
August was the first month since the United States entered Iraq that no U.S. troops were killed. But it is not yet time to celebrate. Sixty-six American service members were killed in Afghanistan this August, the deadliest month since the U.S. entered the country in 2003. And violence is still widespread across both Afghanistan and Iraq. Do you think that the continued violence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a reason for U.S. troops to stay in the Middle East or is it a reason to return home? Learn more .
Things were looking up in Atlanta last year, as the state celebrated award-winning gains on state tests. But the supposed success gave way to scandal. An investigation has revealed that at least 178 teachers and principals cheated to increase test scores. Some say that this cheating is a result of intense pressure on schools and students to pass standardized tests. Do you think that the United States should reconsider its approach to standardized testing in light of this scandal? Learn more .
New Jersey introduced a new law called the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights" to crack down on bullying in schools and online. The law is considered to be the strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country. Schools must now spend six periods teaching about bullying each year and encourage students to report bullies to the police. While everyone agrees that bullying is wrong, some New Jersey principals and administrators are concerned that they don't have the resources to enforce the new law, especially when it comes to cyberbullying. Do you think schools have a responsibility to fight bullying and cyberbullying that happens off school grounds? Learn more .
A new Missouri law prevents teachers from interacting with students on Facebook and other social media sites. The law was introduced after reports of inappropriate messages between teachers and students. A Missouri teachers' union is fighting the law, though, because they say that social media sites allow teachers to most easily communicate with students for assignments. The teachers also claim the law violates their constitutional right to free speech. Do you think that teachers and students should be able to communicate on Facebook and other social media? Learn more .
AT&T recently purchased T-Mobile USA in a $39 billion deal. The United States Justice Department believes that the merger will reduce necessary competition between the two large wireless companies. To fight the merger, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the merger. Why do you think the U.S. government cares about sustaining competition between large companies? Learn more .
NASA decided to end its space shuttle program. This summer, the space shuttle landed safely back on earth after its final visit to the International Space Station. Private companies are now working on sending people into space, but that probably won't be possible for at least a few years. In the meantime, the future of American space travel is unclear. How much would you pay to take a trip into space? Learn more .
In 2004, Boston schools banned sugary drinks from cafeterias in an effort to curb childhood obesity. Critics balked, arguing that the city had created an unnecessary law, and that kids would just buy soda outside of school. But the sweet-talkers were wrong; Boston was onto something. Since the soda ban went into effect, Boston teens are consuming 45 fewer calories per day. And that daily diet change adds up to less teen obesity. What role do you think schools should play in fighting childhood obesity? Learn more .
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