The first set of pieces chosen by this spring's class of Nation interns runs the gamut of what's been in the media, but a few topics cropped up repeatedly. Educational issues were under the microscope, with articles questioning the presence of armed security in schools, the job description of NCAA athletes and the efficacy of corporate partnerships and standardized testing.
Alleen Brown focuses on education.
“Standardized test backlash: Some Seattle teachers just say 'no,’” by Dean Paton. The Christian Science Monitor, January 11, 2013.
Teachers at Seattle's Garfield High "fired the first salvo of open defiance against high-stakes standardized testing in America's public schools," Christian Science Monitor reported, by announcing that they would not administer the district-mandated MAP test. It's the latest manifestation of backlash against standardized tests that is "percolating" across the country, in states like New York, Maryland and Texas.
James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.
“NCAA Withdraws Financial Support for Its Scholarly Colloquium,” by Brad Wolverton. The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 15, 2013.
Are college athletes students, athletes or both? If the former, why would the NCAA put an end to its "scholarly colloquium," which encourages critical inquiry on college sports by the players themselves? If the latter, why don't athletes get paid? For a rent-seeking corporation that goes by the euphemism, "National Collegiate Athletic Association," these questions go hand-in-hand.
Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security, African and French politics and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“The bombing of Mali highlights all the lessons of western intervention,” by Glenn Greenwald. The Guardian, January 14, 2012.
Mali has become the new battleground for the war on terror as the French government has launched a military intervention in the country, aimed at restoring Malian state authority and fighting terrorism in the region. The French campaign in Mali is yet another example of western intervention, from which we can draw five lessons. First, the instability in Mali has been caused by NATO’s intervention in Libya as western interventions inevitably lead to further interventions in an endless cycle of violence. Second, the US has trained and armed Malian soldiers who defected, which shows that western powers are at war with those they trained and financed. Third, the intervention in Mali is going to fuel anti-western sentiments in the Muslim world. Islamists have already threatened France to carry out revenge attacks on French soil. Fourth, western “democracies” wage these wars in a complete anti-democratic way, without any transparency and accountability. Finally, the propaganda used to justify these wars—the fight against terrorists—has become so effective that many western citizens support unquestioningly the actions of their governments and the over-simplified rhetoric of good versus evil.