CRF Blog

In the News Magazines

by Bill Hayes

This week, quite a few articles of interest appear in the weekly news magazines.

In Newsweek:

The cover stories, following the ongoing crisis in Japan, look at disasters. How to Save California examines how prepared California is for an earthquake that could endanger its two nuclear reactors. Simon Winchester has two articles: America’s Deadliest Nuke Disaster and Swallowed by the Sea.

In Obama’s War on Schools, Diane Ravitch takes the president to task for supporting No Child Left Behind. Historian Ravitch is the author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, a book we have mentioned previously in this blog.

A special titled “Ignorance in America” focuses on how Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship Test and 38 percent failed. How Dumb Are We? looks at the test results. The test itself is here. The Mindless Middle talks about how conservatives and liberals did well on the test, but not those in the middle. Finally, in How to Get Smart Again, Harvard historianNiall Ferguson offers his ideas on how to teach history. His key paragraph:

Here are three positive suggestions to make high-school history more engaging and thereby more memorable. First, replace those phone-book-size tomes with Web-enabled content. Second, make the new stuff more interactive. (There’s solid evidence that well-designed games and simulations hugely improve learning.) And third, ask more exciting questions.

Most of Ferguson’s suggestions, by the way, align with the Six Promising Approaches from the Civic Mission of Schools and describe CRF materials.

In Time:

The cover stories look at the unfolding disaster in Japan. Devastation features James Nachtwey’s pictures from Japan. Another article looks at How Japan Will Reawaken after the catastrophe. In a related article, The Real Cost of Nuclear Power examines the state of the nuclear industry in the United States.

A special section, “The 10 Ideas That Will Change The World — For The Better” has the following articles: Sweet Bird of Youth! The Case For Optimism, Why Afghanistan Is Far from Hopeless, Relax: You Don’t Need to Worry About Meeting E.T., Fix the Deficit? We Can Do That, Your Next Job: Made in India or China, Think of Your Airport As a City — but Nicer, How Stem Cells Are Changing the Way We Think About Disease, Today’s Smart Choice: Don’t Own. Share, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Tweet The Ways, and Using Business Savvy to Help Good Causes.