Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 8:32 pm
What do the Common Core State Standards have in common with congressional Democrats and the Chicago Cubs?
They all had a really rough year.
Of the 45 states that first adopted the academic standards, many spent 2014 talking about repeal. In Oklahoma (as well as Indiana and South Carolina), it wasn't just talk. The Legislature voted to drop the Core in May. And Gov. Mary Fallin, a longtime champion of the Common Core, signed the repeal in June.
Imagine a democracy where the children of former public officials had a leg up for winning an elected office themselves — a 10,000-vote head start, perhaps, or a seat on the county council reserved especially for them.
Most Americans rightly would scoff at a system that so brazenly allocated rewards based on who your parents are. And yet most American colleges and universities do just that.
Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:17 pm
As a boy, Daniel Majook Gai fled the civil war in Sudan, running miles by himself to safety and leaving his family behind. He was one of the so-called Lost Boys — a name given to children separated from their families during that conflict.
After years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, Gai landed in the United States, reunited with his family and got an education. In 2011, he returned home to the newly independent country of South Sudan.
But war came back in 2013 and split the new nation.
Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 1:29 pm
Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., Jason Zimba begins a math tutoring session for his two young daughters with the same ritual. Claire, 4, draws on a worksheet while Abigail, 7, pulls addition problems written on strips of paper out of an old Kleenex box decorated like a piggy bank.
If she gets the answer "lickety-split," as her dad says, she can check it off. If she doesn't, the problem goes back in the box, to try the following week.
Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:20 pm
Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?
"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."
Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm
Florence Allen Jones used to teach in Washington, D.C., before coming back home to Liberia.
Now she's part of the education ministry's teaching-by-radio team. Working with UNICEF and another nonprofit, Talking Drum, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the government aims to provide lessons to children across the country, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Most schools closed this past summer and will likely remain closed for months.