Education: The Challenge and Promise of Common Core

Larry Aubry

In order for California’s new Common Core education standards to succeed, districts and the state must address the needs of these students. Common Core is a new set of standards in English language arts and mathematics designed to assess and instruct students, placing greater emphasis on critical thinking and analysis. Instruction is to be more interactive and project-based. Textbooks will have less of an emphasis on rote exercises and more on abstract reasoning. 

The Rise and Fall of Humanities Studies

Angelo Franco

A recent report released by Harvard University, “Mapping the Future,” found that the number of students who earned a humanities degree in the United States halved in the past four decades.  Headlines proclaiming the fall of humanities from favor as a global crisis are reported throughout major news outlets.  Some argue that students are simply no longer interested in humanities, while others ascertain that the changing landscape of women in the workplace is the reason to blame.   

Saving the Chicago School System

Alex LaFosta

In June 2013, the Chicago Public Schools made the decision to close 49 schools -- one of the largest closing of schools in any American city in years. The CPS made the tough decision facing a near $1 billion budget deficit, which they are still scrambling to contain. After the announcement of the school closings, it was evident that mass layoffs were inevitable. Later in the month, the Chicago Sun Times reported that of the 48 schools to be closed, 420 teachers and 1,005 school staff were to be subsequently fired. 

Zimmerman Attorney’s ‘Literacy’ Test for Jeantel Takes Us Back to 1865

Yohuru Williams

Although clearly not barred from providing testimony in the Trayvon Martin case, it seems that many in the public sought to hold Rachel Jeantel to the same “racialized” standard. While the ridicule and mockery cut across racial lines, it is hard to believe that critics would shower such harsh treatment on a white witness of similar speech and disposition. While her language and demeanor may not have been palatable to some, neither should impugn either her credibility or integrity as a witness. 

10 Questions That Should Have Been Asked During the Obama - Romney Debate

NAM Staff

As President Obama and Mitt Romney squared off in the second presidential debate, New America Media editors posed 10 questions that have largely gone unasked -- and unanswered – in their campaigns: The Federal Poverty Line (FPL) masks U.S. poverty at a time when more Americans are struggling to make ends meet. What will you do to see that government figures are more honest--such as the new measure by the National Academy of Science? And what would you say to the growing numbers of people who aren't considered poor enough to qualify for assistance, but who are struggling just to get by?

Tapping into America’s Future

Mark Bizzell

Aaron Hurst of New York started Taproot in 2001 with a vision to build a “Pro-Bono Nation.”  He said that he knows Americans want to help, to use their professional skills to improve the plight of the poor.  “We have just launched a program called Powered by Pro Bono, which offers nonprofits the tools and training to attract professional volunteers on their own.”  It is to Taproot’s credit that they teach nonprofits to be independent of their organization.  Taproot receives funding from corporations and foundations that see good in what they do.

Obama v. Romney: Impressions of the Presidental Debate

NAM Contributors

When the first presidential debate was televised in September of 1960, Americans chose Jack Kennedy over the more knowledgeable Richard Nixon mainly because Nixon's upper lip was sweaty and Kennedy looked gold-dusted in an expensive suit and he seemed serene. (Kennedy wore make-up; Nixon refused it.) Presidential debates, ever since then, have been about who "looks" more presidential or makes the snappier zinger or doesn't look bored (by glancing at his watch). 

Fate of Affirmative Action Rests on Supreme Court Decision

Khalil Abdullah

On October 10 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could upend affirmative action policies nationwide. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is suing the state over her rejection for admission into the University of Texas, which considers race in allotting a percentage of available seats after the top 10 percent of high school seniors are admitted. Fisher, who is white, did not place in the top 10 percent. She contends the race-based portion of the institution’s admission policy is a violation of her constitutional rights

Longevity Gap Between the 'Two Americas' Links to Education

Paul Kleyman

The longevity gap between “two Americas” has widened since 1990, says a new study. One America is mostly white and well educated, and the other is ethnic or undereducated  and dying about a decade sooner than their more affluent counterparts. The gap between college-educated whites and African Americans who did not complete high school is “simply unbelievable,” stated S. Jay Olshansky, lead author of the extensive new analysis published in the August issue of the prestigious health policy journal Health Affairs

Why ‘Fighting Poverty’ Is No Longer a Theme in This Year’s Election

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

One report on an AP survey shows that the poor are not only getting poorer, they are also more numerous than any time in the last half-century. The other report from the Tax Justice Network finds that the super-rich are not only getting richer, they are also squirreling tens of trillions in offshore tax havens, far outside the reaches of the U.S. and other nation’s tax collectors. Wealthy Americans are amply represented among the offshore tax evaders. This money could bankroll business startups, expand businesses, fatten federal and state tax revenues, and create thousands of new jobs.


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