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Monday, February 27: Free Choice (No GB Meeting)
Sam shares a report of the effectiveness of charter schools...
Amidst the contentious confirmation hearing of Secretary of Education Betsy Devos (in an unprecedented manner, Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate) there is a renewed interest in education reform. This renewed interest is something to be encouraged, as education policy is often overshadowed by geopolitics and economic issues. For this week’s blog post, I wanted to share a comprehensive report and set of data regarding the effectiveness of charter schools. This non-partisan Stanford study shows detailed assessments of charter school performance and examines key areas such as charter school impact on impoverished and minority students. As one might see from reading the study, the results are far from conclusive but underscore that the country needs to continue experimenting solutions to the tremendous inequalities that pervade public education in the United States.
Link to study: http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Final%20Draft.pdf
Kris recommends FiveThirtyEight’s series “Earth to Mars…”
This week, I want to share FiveThirtyEight’s article series, “Earth to Mars.” The venture aims to look at the costs and benefits of “history of human space exploration to the technology it will take to get to Mars, to sex and reproduction of hypothetical colonists.” So far, the series includes a look into whether the US prioritization of Mars exploration should stop ventures from happening and the cost (literally the monetary cost) of sending astronauts to the big red planet. Space exploration continues to be an interesting conversation, especially in the context of where it stands in relation to climate change. As we start understanding the new President’s priorities outside of cabinet nominations and repealing policies, it will be interesting to see whether he and his administration choose to prioritize space in the political world or if privatized space endeavors like Elon Musk’s SpaceX take the lead. https://fivethirtyeight.com/tag/earth-to-mars/.
Hannah offers some fun ways to learn about the debate concerning the environment…
If the weather this past week has yet to scare you on behalf of our planet’s sake, this week I offer some fun sources on an issue we all need to care more about: the environment.
This past Monday, Bill Nye (of Science Guy fame) and Senator Bernie Sanders got together to discuss climate change. The brief 30-minute episode begins with Sanders telling it like it is – we have a president who thinks climate change is a hoax and an EPA head trying to dismantle key environmental regulations. What follows is perhaps the only thing the 2016 campaign cycle was missing: an in-depth conversation on the state of our environment.
If you’re looking for more concise statistics to pull out at your next family dinner, NASA has the page for you! NASA keeps up to date findings on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, sea levels, and general trend information. The best part is NASA is one of the least politicized federal agencies, so you’re sure to get the unseasonably warm hard truth.
Rosie reports on news outlets’ response to President Trump’s military budget increase...
After President Trump called for a sharp increase of $54 billion in the U.S. government’s military budget, several news sources were quick to respond with their predictions for what consequences might result from such a drastic change in government spending.
Michael D. Shear, in The New York Times, suggests that the proposed changes in budget, though likely to face intense challenges in Congress by both Democrats and Republicans, would result in huge cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare and Social Security, if implemented.
Aljazeera News reports that such an intense increase in military spending would result in reductions to both foreign aid and domestic agencies. The article emphasizes the fact that the United States’ military budget already immensely surpasses that of any other country.
Abby Phillip and Kelsey Snell, in The Washington Post, point out that while it remains unclear what specific changes will be made to the existing budget if the suggested increase in military spending were actually put in place, spending on foreign aid and nearly all domestic programs in the current government budget would need to be reduced drastically.