Daily Video

October 20, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Congress considers funding for student mental health and more


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC.

Summary: Leading child health care groups — including the American Academy of Pediatrics — said Tuesday the pandemic has triggered a “national state of emergency” in mental health among U.S. youth, and policy makers need to act. The Education Department issued new guidance for how to address the crisis in K-12 schools and bolster mental health. Secretary Miguel Cardona joins Amna Nawaz with the details.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is interviewed in this piece and what is his role in government?
  • What are some of the concerns experts have about student mental health?
  • When might Congress vote on legislation that would provide more funding for schools?
  • Why is “social emotional learning” or SEL a top priority of the secretary of education, and how does he think it can be expanded?
  • How might federal funding help address some of the challenges in schools brought on by the pandemic?

Focus question: What do you think your school is doing well to address student well-being and mental health? What is one action your school could take that you think would improve the mental health and well-being of students, staff and teachers?

Media literacy: NewsHour reporter Amna Nawaz asks Secretary Cardona challenging questions about initiatives of the department of education to address student health and education costs. Do you think he adequately answered the questions? What did you learn that you might not have if Nawaz hadn’t asked challenging questions?

Additional resources:

  • The report that the department of education put out on supporting student mental health and well-being can be found here. Starting on page 53, browsers can examine programs that the report claims have been effective where implemented. As a class, consider discussing which programs might make good models for your own school.
  • What do students themselves think about the new school year and the mental health toll the pandemic has taken? Watch the following piece produced by Student Reporting Labs for some perspectives.


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