Flower

Just in Time for Back-to-School: 9 New Leading Issues from SIRS Issues Researcher

The pro-con format of our Leading Issues helps students pick a topic and understand its context with overviews, essential questions, statistics, global perspectives, viewpoints, supporting arguments, and critical thinking prompts. The editors at ProQuest were busy this summer selecting articles and graphics, creating and updating timelines, and adding new Leading Issues to ensure your students and patrons have the most up-to-date and relevant content on current controversial issues.

Introduce your student researchers to these engaging new Leading Issues:

The Arts: New main category (Sub-issues: Art and Cultural Repatriation, Arts Censorship, Banned Books, Music Lyrics, Popular Culture, Public Funding of the Arts, Violence in Mass Media)

Abortion Funding: Are U.S. policies like the Mexico City Policy, which restrict federal funding to global health organizations that provide abortions or abortion information, a good idea?

Driverless Vehicles: Do the benefits of driverless vehicles outweigh the risks?

Net Neutrality: Are net-neutrality rules necessary?

Prescription Drug Prices: Should the government take steps to lower prescription drug prices?

Public Funding of the Arts: Should the government allocate federal funds in support of the arts and art programs?

Sharing Economy: Should the sharing economy be regulated?

Transgender Children: Should children be allowed to transition to the gender they identify with?

U.S.-Mexico Border Wall: Should the U.S. build a wall along the border with Mexico?

Driverless Vehicles Leading Issue in SIRS Issues Researcher

The following Leading Issues have also been updated, and new Essential Questions added in some cases, to reflect the current focus of the controversy:

Child Care, Digital Media, Dietary Supplements, Epidemics, Human Smuggling, Indigenous Peoples, Pipelines, Poverty, International (main issue), Privacy and the Press, Refugees, Reporters and Shield Laws, School Choice, Social Media, and Women in the Military.

 

Which Leading Issues topics are most popular with your students? Are there any topics you would like to have added? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us with #ProQuest.

ProQuest Guided Research products equip students to think critically about current issues. Free trials are available.

Celebrate Flag Day!

US Flag

Photo credit: Serfs UP ! Roger Sayles via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

 

Teach your students the history of Flag Day and why we honor Old Glory on June 14.

 

“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation.”–Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President, 1856-1924

 

  • The Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777, stated that the flag of the United States should “be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

 

  • The idea of a holiday celebrating Old Glory was first proposed in a newspaper editorial in June 1861 by Charles Dudley Warner, an editor of the Hartford Evening Press, two months after the start of the Civil War.

 

  • Flag Day was first observed on June 14, 1877, one hundred years after the flag was officially adopted.

 

  • Wisconsin school teacher Bernard Cigrand made a public proposal for establishing a holiday to celebrate the American flag.

 

  • Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day in 1916.

 

  • President Harry Truman signed legislation proclaiming June 14 as Flag Day in 1949.

 

Did you know? There have been 27 different versions of the U.S. flag. Our current flag, the 50-star flag, is the longest-used version of the U.S. flag, having been adopted on July 4, 1960, following the addition of Hawaii as our 50th state.

 

Have your students learn more about Flag Day in SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Issues Researcher.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

Spring Ahead?: The Controversial History of Daylight Saving Time

Spring Flowers

Photo credit: Mukumbura via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

 

It’s time to spring ahead! At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, most of us in the United States—unless we live in Arizona or Hawaii—will move our clocks forward one hour. While many people appreciate the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, just as many probably dread heading to work and school in the dark before sunrise.

Daylight Saving Time was first used to conserve energy during World War I. Today, more than 70 countries use Daylight Saving Time in at least part of their country. Researchers may be surprised to learn that Daylight Saving Time has such a confusing and complicated history in the U.S. and that there are many arguments for and against its use. Those in favor of DST argue that it saves energy, encourages more physical activity, and reduces accidents and crime. Opponents of DST say that it is economically disruptive, particularly to farmers, and dangerous for children who have to walk to morning bus stops in the dark.

Here is a brief timeline of legislation regarding time zones and Daylight Saving in the U.S.:

1784: Benjamin Franklin suggests the concept of daylight saving as a way to use fewer candles.

1883: American and Canadian railroads establish national time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of different local times.

March 19, 1918: Congress enacts a law to establish standard time zones and sets summer Daylight Saving Time to begin on March 31, 1918.

1919: The Daylight Saving Time law is repealed due to its unpopularity. It remains a local option and is continued in a few states and in some cities.

1942-1943: President Franklin Roosevelt institutes year-round Daylight Saving Time, also called “War Time”, during World War II.

1945-1966: There is no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time so states and cities are free to choose when it begins and ends. This becomes a source of confusion, especially for the broadcasting industry, railways, airlines, and bus companies.

1966: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Uniform Time Act of 1966 which calls for Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. The law allows any state that doesn’t want to use Daylight Saving Time to pass a state law exempting themselves.

Jan. 4, 1974: President Richard Nixon signs the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 in an effort to conserve energy during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Daylight Saving Time begins on Jan. 6, 1974 and ends on Oct. 27, 1974. Daylight Saving Time then resumes on Feb. 23, 1975, and ends on Oct. 26, 1975.

1986: Congress passes a law declaring that Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. begins at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

2005: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. beginning in 2007.

2007: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 goes into effect with Daylight Saving Time beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ending at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

Find student resources about Daylight Saving Time with these websites, articles, and Research Topics from SIRS Issues Researcher and eLibrary:

Daylight Saving Time

Does Daylight Savings Actually Save Energy?

It’s Not Just a Matter of Time

Research Topic: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Daylight Saving Time Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Leading Issues in the News: Concussions in Sports

“I demand that football change its rules or be abolished. Brutality and foul play should receive the same summary punishment given to a man who cheats at cards! Change the game or forsake it!”

–President Theodore Roosevelt, after the Chicago Tribune reported that 18 college football players had died and 159 were seriously injured during the 1905 season

The escalating violence and the number of injuries and deaths in the early history of American football led to rule changes and equipment improvements aimed at making the game safer, both at the collegiate and professional levels. However, football players—as well as athletes in other sports—continue to put themselves at risk of injury every time they participate in a practice or game.

In the past couple decades the risks associated with repetitive head injuries have come to the forefront. Mike Webster, a Hall of Famer who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974 to 1990, became the first former NFL player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)–a progressive degenerative brain disease–after his death at the age of 50 in 2002. The release in 2015 of the movie “Concussion”, which chronicled the work of forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, who performed autopsies on former NFL players, put the public spotlight directly on this serious issue.

A recent addition to SIRS Issues Researcher’s list of over 340 Leading Issues—Concussions in Sports—is one that any student who participates in sports—as an athlete and/or fan—can relate to. It provides young researchers with an in-depth look at this problem that affects all athletes—from those participating in youth leagues to the professional athlete. The Concussions in Sports Timeline provides a history of the issue and a list of key events that have had an impact on past and current players, and highlights efforts to improve player safety and continue research on concussions and their effects.

 

Screen cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

Screen cap from SIRS Issues Researcher

 

Celebrate Social Media

Social Media Day

Happy Social Media Day!!!

Mashable, the global digital media website, initiated Social Media Day in 2010 as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.

The advent of social media networks in the late 1990s and early 2000s presented both challenges and opportunities for educators and school administrators. As more students obtained smartphones and other mobile devices many school districts developed rules limiting their use in the classroom. Gradually, educators began embracing the new technology and discovered positive applications of social networking. Social media’s impact on communication in education is certainly something to be celebrated.

Lisa Nielsen, a director of digital engagement and professional learning, and the author of the blog, The Innovative Educator, provides a wealth of ideas for connecting through social networks. Her June 15, 2015, post offers “4 Tools to Stay Connected with Families This Summer” and provides a link to her June 16 webinar, “Social Media and Cell Phones–Today’s Tools to Connect with Families This Summer.”

How do you use social media to connect with students, parents, and faculty? How will you stay in touch with them this summer? Tweet us using #ProQuest or comment below.

 

Leading Issue: School Uniforms

Editors for ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher review customer usage of our database on a monthly basis. Inevitably, School Uniforms is among the most searched subject headings and the most viewed pro/con Leading Issues, and this pattern has held true for many years. School uniforms and school dress codes are issues that students are personally interested in and passionate about.

Minis: A Maximum School Worry

“Minis: A Maximum School Worry” by Irv Bubleigh (Los Angeles Times) via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

The School Uniforms Timeline in SIRS Issues Researcher highlights some of the history of this issue. Although students have long rebelled against dress codes that prohibited trendy hair styles and fashion, the 1960s brought increased demands for the right of individual self-expression. Historical newspaper articles like Minis: A Maximum School Worry (see image at right) and OK’s Dress Code for Teens highlight some of the fashion trends of the day and the steps that school administrators took to regulate them.

The 1970s ushered in more student rebellion against restrictions on hair styles (Hair Raises Growing Concern Among Human Rights Groups) and the right of girls to wear pants to school (Girls in Pants Defy School’s Code on Dress).

The push for school uniforms in public schools intensified in the 1990s as school districts sought to limit gang influences in school and reduce crime. President Bill Clinton urged schools to adopt school uniform policies in his 1996 State of the Union Address as a way to keep teens “from killing each other over designer jackets.”

The debate over whether school uniforms have improved the climate in schools and influenced more positive behavior in students is still a matter of debate today for school districts, parents and students. One thing is for certain, though—students will always rebel against restrictions on their freedom of expression, and they can rely on Issues Researcher to provide them with the articles that support their point of view.

2016 Election Issue: Immigration Reform

Immigration is a key issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. Opinions differ on how to secure our border with Mexico, on whether to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in our country, on how to handle the Syrian refugee crisis, and on whether or not to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants.

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher can help students gain a better understanding of issues surrounding immigration with the Immigration Leading Issue. Our editorially-selected articles and graphics provide differing viewpoints on such questions as: Is the anti-immigrant movement racist?, Should migrants and refugees be forced to assimilate into their new country?, Is enhanced border security the best solution for human smuggling?, Should immigrants who are in the country illegally be allowed to remain in the U.S.?, Is employing immigrants who are in the country illegally beneficial to the U.S. economy?, and more.

The Immigration Timeline provides a comprehensive chronicle of events and legislation concerning immigration throughout the history of the U.S., with links to articles, images, and primary source documents that enable students to gain a deeper understanding of how our country evolved.

Photograph from Ellis Island, New York

This photograph from the 1920s shows immigrants being physically examined by inspectors at Ellis Island, New York. Ellis Island was one of the main gateways through which immigrants passed in order to begin their new lives in America. National Archives [public domain] via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

While students may know that our nation was built by immigrants, they may be surprised to learn that anti-immigration feelings pervaded much of our history and were so widespread in the early 20th century that there was even a popular song expressing the sentiment of the time: “O! Close the Gates”. Newspaper articles from this time period, which can be found by searching Primary Sources, also provide a first-hand account of public opinion at the time (Coolidge Proclaims Immigrant Quotas, Intelligence of Our Immigrants).

Encourage your students to use ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher to not only understand the current debate on Election 2016 issues but also to explore the issues from a historical perspective.

 

2015: Commemorating Historical Events

ProQuest’s Share This Blog provides updates on our K-12 products, announces opportunities for product training, and presents a variety of curriculum ideas for all grade levels. Some of our posts commemorate events that played a major role in shaping U.S. history. As we approach the end of 2015, here is a look at a sampling of those events that we remembered in the past year.

50 Years Since the First Spacewalk

Ed White First American Spacewalker

Ed White First American Spacewalker
Photo credit: NASA on The Commons via photopin (license)

 

50 Years Ago: Selma to Montgomery and the Right to Vote

Alabama Police Attach Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers, 1965

Alabama Police Attack Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers, 1965
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

April 19, 1995: Terrorism Hits Home

Oklahoma City Bombing Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Oklahoma City Bombing Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

150 Years Ago: The Nation Loses Its President (April 14, 1865)

Lincoln Assassination

Lincoln Assassination Slide, c. 1900 [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Today in History: The Civil War Ends (April 9, 1865)

Gen. Lee Surrenders to Gen. Grant at Appomattox

Gen. Lee Surrenders to Gen. Grant at Appomattox by Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 70 Years Since the Atomic Bomb

Hiroshima After the Atomic Bomb

Hiroshima After the Atomic Bomb [Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]

150 Years Ago: The 13th Amendment Abolishes Slavery

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

13th Amendment to the U.S. constitution by the National Archives of the United States [Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]

 

 

November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

A 1999 resolution by the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On this day, governments, international organizations and NGOs are invited to organize activities that will raise public awareness of this human rights violation. Violence against women is not limited to impoverished regions—it extends across all cultures and countries. According to the United Nations Campaign, up to 70 percent of women will experience violence in their lifetime.

Women in the United States are not immune to violence. Statistics provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence indicate that a woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S. and that 1 in 3 women will be victims of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Recent accusations and charges of domestic violence against several high-profile professional athletes have raised awareness of the problem and the need for appropriate punishment and increased emphasis on programs aimed at preventing violence against women. However, the problem of violence against women is not a new one in this country. As the headlines below from the December 25, 1904, edition of the Washington Post indicate, wife beating was a serious social issue then. President Theodore Roosevelt even endorsed using corporal punishment—a whipping post—instead of imprisonment for wife beaters.

Historical Newspaper Article from December 25, 1904

1904 Historical Newspaper Article Screencap via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Issues Researcher explores multiple aspects of the problem of violence against women in its Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Leading Issue. Students can find a topic overview, a timeline of key events, statistics, articles that present the global impact of the problem, and primary source documents that include historical newspaper articles dating back to the 1800s that provide rich background and an understanding of the evolution of the issue.

Library Nostalgia

As a child growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, a trip all the way downtown to the public library was a major excursion—and one my siblings and I always looked forward to. “My” library, the Waukegan Public Library, in Waukegan, IL, was one of the 1,679 library buildings built across the United States with funds donated by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in the early 20th century. It was built in 1903 and continued in use as a library until 1966.

Waukegan Public Library, Carnegie Building

“Waukegan Public Library, Carnegie Building” by Nyttend – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

It was a grand, stately old place—all polished floors and gleaming wood tables and those rows and rows of books. For anyone who loved to read as much as I did, being turned loose in that magnificent building—library card in hand—with all those books to choose from was truly exhilarating.

Many years later I discovered that my library sentiments were shared by science fiction/fantasy author Ray Bradbury, a fellow Waukegan native. In fact, Bradbury wrote about Waukegan—pseudonym Green Town—in several of his novels, including Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He even described the Waukegan Carnegie Library in some of his short stories.

His fondness for “our” library is apparent in the following quote:

My idea of living was every Monday to run down Washington Street directly to the library … the Carnegie Library built by Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the century. I loved opening the library door and looking in and listening to all my friends in there. All the books talked to me, they all whispered. The stacks were dark and mysterious and wonderful. —Ray Bradbury in a 2006 interview

AuthorRay Bradbury

Author Ray Bradbury
Alan Light / Foter / CC BY

Bradbury never attended college—instead he boasted about the free education he received in the library, and he was a life-long advocate for libraries everywhere. He never forgot his roots and returned often to visit Waukegan. Bradbury passed away in 2012 and bequeathed his personal book collection to the new Waukegan Public Library.

The old Waukegan Carnegie Library still stands and its future use is uncertain, but in 2014 it was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.