Teachers Edition: Grades 9-12 (Backgrounders)

  • HNN Teacher's Edition

    HNN’s Teacher’s Edition is designed to help busy grade school and high school teachers build classes around topics in the news. With just a few minutes preparation, you'll be able to teach a class on current events, even if you haven't been in a position to follow the news closely.

  • Syria

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingJuan Cole: The Dilemma over Whether to Intervene in SyriaDaniel Pipes: Fin de Regime in Syria?Wadah Khanfar: Syria Between Two Massacres … Hama's Memory EnduresDavid W. Lesch: What Could Shake Syria's RegimeBackground

  • Iran

    Worth Reading Walid Phares: It's a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World for Iran Juan Cole: How Zoroastrianism Influences the Worldview of Iran's Leadership John T. McNay: The Road Not Taken by the U.S. in 1950s IranBackground

  • Electing the President: How Do You Make Up Your Mind?

    Worth ReadingHNN Hot Topic: Election 2012HNN Hot Topic: Electing PresidentsHNN Hot Topic: The Electoral CollegeShould We Take Away the Voting Rights of 18 Year Olds?BackgroundWhat qualities should one look for in a presidential candidate? Since the advent of television, many Americans seem to have decided that presidents should be selected on the basis of their personality and image: how they come across on television. The way many Americans choose presidents today marks a sharp departure from the past. While personality and image were always important factors, they were usually not decisive until TV came along. Before TV, voters placed a high emphasis on a candidate's resume and political party affiliation.

  • North Korea

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentBackgroundNorth Korea caught headlines at the very end of last year when Kim Jong-il, the supreme leader of the country since 1994, died suddenly but not unexpectedly. The older Kim had been grooming his son Kim Jong-un to take power since June 2010. Before Kim Jong-il came his father Kim Il-Sung (who, after his death, was proclaimed “Eternal President of the Republic”)—a Kim has been supreme leader of North Korea since the end of Japanese rule in 1945.

  • Electing the President: Caucuses and Primaries

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingHNN Hot Topics: 2012 ElectionsHNN Hot Topics: Electing PresidentsHNN Hot Topics: The Electoral CollegeTimothy R. Furnish: Should We Take Away the Voting Rights of 18 Year Olds?Background

  • Occupy Wall Street

    Worth ReadingHNN Hot Topics: Occupy Wall StreetBackgroundOccupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011, when a group of protesters, prompted by a July 13 blog post by the Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters proposed that “20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” borrowing tactics from the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square which toppled the Mubarak regime and the Indignants movement in Spain, especially their use of online social networks like Facebook and Twitter for communication.Though the movement itself has been criticized, even by its supporters, for its lack of specific demands and goals, Occupy Wall Street has indisputably changed the national conversation from the debt and deficit talk of August to a discussion of income inequality and the fading sense of opportunity in modern America, particularly for young people.

  • Tea Party

    Worth ReadingHNN Hot Topics: The Tea Party MovementSimon Hall: The Tea Party, Patriotism, and the American Protest TraditionVote iQ Hot Topics: Tea Party HistoryVote iQ Hot Topics: What's the History Behind the Deficit?BackgroundThe origins of the Tea Party are broad and deep, but the spark that set it off happened on February 19, 2009, when CNBC Business News editor Rick Santelli, in a broadcast from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, called for a “tea party” to dump derivatives into the Chicago River. His call for action went viral and by Tax Day, April 15, over 750 Tea Party rallies were held across the country, with nearly 300,000 people in total participating.

  • Hard Times: The Economy

    Worth ReadingWhen Did the Great Depression Receive Its Name? (And Who Named It?)What Are the Biggest Financial Scandals in U.S. History? Seeing Red:  The Budget Deficit – Past, Present and FutureBackgroundThe economy is bad. In September 2011, the official U.S. unemployment rate stood at 9.1%. That means nearly one person out of every ten can’t find a job. But that’s only the official unemployment rate. That doesn’t count people who do odd jobs or people who’ve given up looking for work entirely. That number is actually 16.2%.The economy isn’t bad just in America—it’s bad in Europe, too. In England, the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since 1994, 17 years ago. In Spain, nearly one in two persons under the age of 25 can’t find a job.