While the rest of the country was agonizing over the vagaries of March Madness and the end of the Miami Heat's winning streak, Nation interns were keeping tabs on the ups and downs of activism and politics (while also trying to win the office NCAA pool). Their picks are full of protest and fighting words, from Chicago teachers' fight against school closings to the topless activists of Femen to the Canadian aboriginal youths who snowshoed 1,000 miles in support of Idle No More.
— Alleen Brown focuses on education.
“Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Michigan Ban on Race-Conscious Admissions,” by Peter Schmidt. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2013.
The US Supreme Court added another affirmative action case to its docket Monday. This one's from Michigan, where plaintiffs are calling unconstitutional a voter-approved ban on using race as a deciding factor in college admissions. With Justice Elena Kagan recused, the case will be decided by a 5 to 3 conservative majority.
— James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.
“Civil Disobedience Planned in Chicago to Oppose Unprecedented Mass School Closings,” by Jaisal Noor. The Real News Network, March 27, 2013.
You may have heard that Chicago is planning to close over 50 schools; you may have also heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel say some baldly racist things about it; and you guessed right that Emanuel's arch-enemy, the militant, community-centered Chicago Teachers Union, is not taking it sitting down. Left missing in most coverage of education politics, though, are students, parents and allies who have known racism since long before Emanuel appointed his rubber-stamp Board of Education. "I don't want an iPad…if they can't prove I'll be safe walking to school," says a Latina student in Jaisal Noor's documentary about mass resistance to the closings. Noor does the hard work of interviewing students and community activists—as well as Chicago's shameless schools CEO. It's a must-watch.
— Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“Uganda's oil: lessons on governance and the resource curse,” by Ben Shepherd. The Guardian, March 20, 2013.
The discovery of Uganda’s vast quantities of oil has sparked off a strong debate in the country over how to avoid the “resource curse” that plagues other African countries, such as Nigeria. Indeed, resource management is a “daunting challenge” and often the problem lies in poor governance, corruption, the lack of transparency and the political concentration of power. However, as the author of this article points out, “the resource curse can be overcome if Ugandans work together and look to the long term.” This would enable the government to use the oil revenues to promote sustainable human development.