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Making better teachers: the fight over "value-added" evaluations

Making better teachers: the fight over "value-added" evaluations

When it comes to trying to improve student performance in public schools, many factors come together. One of the major issues is teacher performance and how best to judge teacher effectiveness. The “value-added” approach attempts statistically to show how an individual teacher can make a difference – positively or negatively – in how students do, [...]

Much I DO about nothing

Much I DO about nothing

According to a recent poll conducted by TIME magazine in association with Pew Research Center, 40% of Americans believe that marriage is obsolete. Yes, you read that correctly – obsolete. Eight times as many children are born out of wedlock today than in 1960, those without a college education are increasingly less likely to get [...]

Putting the (computer) screen – into screenplay

Putting the (computer) screen – into screenplay

Every aspiring movie writer knows the well-worn path to success: submit a script to the studio and pray for a green light. Sometimes, many deals and drafts later, the finished product finds its way to a theater near you. Now online retail giant Amazon.com aims to apply digital technology to the arcane process of pitching [...]

Amy Sedaris brings you back to simpler times

Amy Sedaris brings you back to simpler times

Amy Sedaris can probably make you laugh, but did you know she can also make you a tea cozy? Well maybe she can’t, but she’s written a book about craft-making for you anyway! <i>Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People</i> has a little something for everyone. With chapters like “Unreturnable Gift Giving,” “The Joy of Poverty,” [...]

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Biographers usually choose to profile people. Simon Winchester is taking on the Atlantic Ocean. Applying Shakespeare’s seven stages of life—infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood—to his subject, the New York Times bestselling author chronicles the life and times of a massively important body of water in his latest book. From its geographical [...]

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Bipartisan Lessons for the Current Congress

Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Bipartisan Lessons for the Current Congress

One of America’s most illustrious politicians, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, wrote mountains of words but never an autobiography. He did leave a voluminous correspondence and through a carefully selected collection of letters author/ editor Steven Weisman has compiled a vivid record of Moynihan’s life. And what a life it was! Before his four terms as senator [...]

Could babies cure bullies?

Could babies cure bullies?

Bullying has been around for a long time, but with the advent of social media, it’s harder than ever (or impossible) for kids to escape. Suicides linked to cyber-bullying get a lot of media attention, but not much is said about treatment options for the bullies themselves. The usual response is to get tough and [...]

The OTHER debt commission takes its turn forcing America to stare down its indebted reality

The OTHER debt commission takes its turn forcing America to stare down its indebted reality

It’s a rare feat in American politics to make proposals that are equally condemned by Republicans and Democrats, which is exactly what President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform managed to do last week with recommendations on reducing the nation’s multi-trillion-dollar debt. From drastic cuts in defense spending to tough reform of heritage [...]

Statistics are facts, right?

Statistics are facts, right?

In a world filled with opinions, many of us are starved for facts. And statistics seem like a pretty reliable place to turn for sustenance. Take these for example: “diet and brain-teasers will make you 40% smarter;” “blonds will be extinct by the year 2202;” “new moisturizer delivers 70% more moisture in every drop.” These [...]

Talk dirty to me: breaking down the messy political language of the midterm election

Talk dirty to me: breaking down the messy political language of the midterm election

Are you tired of those <i>Astroturf wing nuts</i>? Let down by the <i>Lame-stream media</i>? Feel unseen by those pushing for <i>Obama-care,/i>? Are you frustrated by <i>Islamophobia</i>? Man-up. <i>Great Recession</i>. <i>Tea-Party</i>. <i>Grass Roots</i>. <i>Climate Change</i> and <i>Global Warming</i>. <i>Housekeeper-gate</i>. <i>Aqua Buddha</i>. <i>Shellacking</i>. Calm down, we aren’t talking about the 2012 elections. This last mid-term election, just [...]