Write Your Member of Congress
Through SGAP’s parent company, National Write Your Congressman, you can use the Constituent Opinion Ballot to write your members of congress about key legislation underway. NWYC provides small businesses with nonpartisan information and research on top issues and pending legislation in Congress.
America’s Legacy Book
The Foundation of Freedom
Written for middle and high school students, the new “America’s Legacy” book focuses on the text and history of the United States’ Founding Documents, including the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Additional sections cover the elements of citizenship (how to be a good American citizen); the three branches of government and separation of powers; and excerpts from great American speeches. Interesting “Freedom Facts” and SGAP infographics are included throughout the book.
Established by National Write Your Congressman in 1992, the Student Governmental Affairs Program is a national nonprofit organization headquartered near Dallas, Texas. SGAP brings U.S. government and civics to life through a monthly newsletter that educates K-12 students about current legislation in Congress, presents pro/con perspectives from both sides of the aisle, and asks them to vote on the issues. SGAP supplements classroom instruction with nonpartisan educational materials that teach responsible citizenship through active participation. SGAP’s civics educational program is received by students in all 50 states and D.C., with about four million students having participated since its inception.
In 2019, SGAP received an Honorable Mention in the National Category for the American Civic Collaboration Awards (“Civvys”). Developed by the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, Big Tent Nation, and the National Conference on Citizenship in 2017, the Civvys Awards are among the most high-profile and visible aspects of the civic renewal movement.
Featured SGAP Infographics
“Thank you for this program. It is very helpful for AP Government and Economics Honors and Standard levels. Once I get them hooked, the students ask when is the next one coming?”
Educator in Sanford, FL
“I give the America’s Legacy books to each of my AP Government students as a reward for taking and completing the class. It is something that students have come back years later showing me their copy explaining how helpful it was in their college classes.”
Educator in Prosper, TX
“One of our main goals at DISD is to build civic literacy among our students and build good citizens. Your program teaches them critical thinking, civil discourse, and other skills they will need after they graduate. SGAP is an extension of the social studies standards and provides great information.”
Social Studies Instructional Coordinator, Dallas Independent School District
Issue 1: Minimum Wage
- Do you support or oppose gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $17 an hour? If you were speaking to a person who disagreed with your position, what would you say to persuade them to see your side of the issue?
- Some proponents of raising the federal minimum wage say the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour traps people in poverty. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- If you were a business owner, would you want the minimum wage to increase? Why or why not?
- What is your personal view on whether to raise the federal minimum wage? Use relevant reasons from your life experiences as well as research.
- Who bears the costs of a higher minimum wage? (Hint: In addition to businesses who have higher labor costs, this could also include workers who suffer reduced hours as well as young job seekers who find it difficult to find a job.)
House Elects Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker
ON OCT. 25, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected as Speaker of the House, after weeks of infighting that saw Republicans reject three nominees before turning to Johnson to end the deadlock.
Johnson received votes from all 220 Republicans present. Democrats nominated House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as speaker; he received votes from all 209 Democrats present.
“The people’s house is back in business,” Johnson said in remarks in the House chamber following his election. He thanked Republicans for their trust in him and vowed to work with Democrats where possible.
Issue 1: Gas Cars vs. EVs
- What are the arguments for and against Congress passing a bill to prevent states from banning the sale of gas-powered cars? Where do you stand on the issue?
- How important is giving American consumers the power to choose whether they will purchase a gas-powered vehicle or an electric vehicle?
- What factors might make electric cars more expensive than gas cars initially? What factors might make electric cars more affordable over time?
- Let’s compare the Tesla Model 3 (electric) to the Toyota Camry XLE (gas). Which car do you believe costs more over all (to buy and to drive) over its full lifetime? Why?
- What infrastructure and resources are required to support mass adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S.? Is the cost worth the investment? Why or why not?
McCarthy Ousted as House Speaker, GOP Scrambles to Choose Nominee
ON OCT. 3, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted as House speaker by far-right Republicans along with Democrats, ending his nine months in the position and sending a fractious Congress into further disarray.
The ousting was set in motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who followed through on the threat he made to remove McCarthy if he relied on Democratic votes to pass any spending legislation—as he did to narrowly avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
McCarthy’s ousting marked the first time in U.S. history that a speaker of the House was removed from office.
Issue 1: AM Radio
- What are the arguments for and against Congress requiring automakers to include AM radio in new vehicles? Decide how you stand on the issue, then see if you can argue the other side’s position.
- According to the Nielsen Company, AM radio listeners tend to be older (about one-third of them are over age 65). As a young person, do you think AM radio is still useful? Why or why not?
- Lawmakers say AM radio is a critical source for receiving broadcast emergency information. As Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said, “When the cell phone runs out, the internet gets cut off, or the television doesn’t work because of no electricity or power to your house, you can still turn on your [car’s] AM radio.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Automakers say that cell phones are much better at broadcasting emergency alerts than AM radio. With today’s smartphones, is AM radio still necessary? Why or why not?
- AM radio is free to all drivers of cars that have it. Given this fact, how does AM radio compare to other modes of communication such as cell phone and internet reception?
Federal Deficit Explodes Even as Economy Grows
ON SEPT. 3, budget experts announced that the federal deficit is projected to roughly double this year, as bigger interest payments and lower tax receipts widen the nation’s spending imbalance despite overall economic growth.
After the government’s record spending in 2020 and 2021 to combat the impact of covid-19, the deficit dropped by the greatest amount ever in 2022, falling from close to $3 trillion to roughly $1 trillion. But rather than continue to fall to its pre-pandemic levels, the deficit then shot upward.
The federal deficit will likely rise to about $2 trillion for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates for lower deficits.