Commentary

Kathleen Knauth has had a rough school year. The principal of Hillview Elementary, near Buffalo, New York, has spent so much time typing teacher evaluations, entering data, and preparing for standardized testing, she barely had a minute to do what she used to do in her first 12 years of being a principal—drop in on classes, address parents’ concerns, or get to know students. When a school social worker stopped by her office a few months back to get Knauth’s take on which children might need her help, she realized she had hit a new low.

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Next summer will mark the 100th anniversary of the chain of diplomatic missteps that led to World War I. In light of recent economic blunders, this also should be the opportunity to revisit the war’s aftermath, when miscalculations seeded the conditions that led to World War II.

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Republicans in both Houses of Congress are becoming more and more flagrant in their strategy of holding the governing process hostage for far-right demands not shared by most voters. And the pity is that the strategy is mostly working.

The more that the Obama Administration tries to meet the Republicans half way, the more extreme and implacable their demands become.

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Why do tickets to popular Broadway shows command premium prices, while movie theaters charge the same price for popular films as for clunkers? Things in high demand generally command higher prices, so why not blockbuster films?

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As we contemplate the possibly bright future of pre-K laid out in Obama’s state of the union address this year, in which the feds work together “with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America,” along comes a sobering glimpse of what public preschool looks like now. It’s not quite as rosy.

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The Huffington Post

In this, the fifth year of a prolonged downturn triggered by a financial crash, the prevailing view is that we all must pay for yesterday’s excess. This case is made in both economic and moral terms. Nations and households ran up unsustainable debts; these obligations must be honored — to satisfy creditors, restore market confidence, deter future recklessness and compel people and nations to live within their means.

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The shocking allegations against four more elected officials in New York are depressing — but they provide an opportunity for bold action by our state leaders. Gov. Cuomo has proposed a new, comprehensive campaign finance law, including the creation of a voluntary, small-donor public financing system and an independent enforcement unit.

Martin Smith, an Emmy-winning correspondent for PBS’Frontline, is worried about his retirement — and yours.
 

Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause, the citizen’s lobby group, died suddenly this morning, just a month shy of his 70th birthday.

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