As we kickoff 2018, the media is already reporting upon key issues that will define the new year. These issues include women's rights, sexual harassment, DACA, the tax code, healthcare, unions, prescription drug abuse, cryptocurrency, and many others. As secondary English teachers, an important role we play in educating our students is to involve them in thinking through these issues to formulate sound opinions and support their ideas with valid evidence. After all, our students are our future leaders who will be participating in what our world will become. As teachers, we serve a crucial role in shaping their ability to think critically and harness language to affect change.
The following list contains FIVE argumentative and persuasive essay topics to use with our students in order to get them interacting with key issues facing our nation this year.
1. DACA & DREAMERS
One of the key issues facing the U.S. Congress during the first part of this year is whether or not to deport the so-called "Dreamers." The Dreamers are made up of individuals who were brought into this country illegally as minors. President Trump has repealed DACA which provided protection for this group of individuals, but the question still remains if, when, and how this group of people will be affected by the legislation yet to come.
2. Social Media Regulation
Troll farms have made waves in the press over the past year-- specifically in regard to their roll in interfering with the 2016 Presidential election. The U.S. government is beginning to investigate possible propaganda spread through both Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to understand the scope of the issue and how best to take action in the future.
3. The Year of the Woman
The press is calling this year the "Year of the Woman," punctuated by the powerful speech delivered by Oprah Winfrey at the 2018 Golden Globes. I have included a FREE listening and analysis lesson for Oprah's speech at the bottom of this article to use with your students. But the question remains: why now? How did this revolution come about? And is this "new horizon" for women legitimate? Is it the mark of real change? Lots to consider on this issue!
4. Sexual Harassment
Over the past year, victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault across industries have come forward to tell their stories and speak their truths. These cases have historically been taboo to share and discuss, but "the time is up" to keep these secrets hidden in the past. Questions still remain about how we can stop these incidences from occurring in the first place.
5. Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse remains the number one killer among all other drugs-- legal and illegal. While this problem has flatlined over the past year, it still continues to remain a chronic issue. Most recently, the use of synthetic opioids has shot upwards, and the need to fund drug addiction treatment is at an all-time high. But how can we stop prescription drug abuse altogether? Students can weigh in on this topic and share their solutions to this epidemic.
What other issues will you ask your students to write about this year? We'd love to hear from you!
About the Author
Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting.org and Bespoke ELA. She has taught high school English for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City and holds a M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas. Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups.