Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Higher education's contribution to society rests upon the ability of educators to wrestle with challenging topics, no matter how complex or difficult to discuss. Such is the case with food safety, income inequality, institutionalized racism and a wide range of matters pertaining to public policy, just to name a few. Universities have historically expected the educators themselves to know how best to foster critical thinking about these issues in their classroom; hence we have come in the US to recognize the importance of academic freedom.
No responsible educator would argue that student assessment is unnecessary, but assessment in the United States has taken on a corporate life of its own. Regrettably, publishing companies that represent a billion-dollar-a-year industry have been seducing the US public into believing that national standards and high-stakes tests (including Common Core state tests) are necessary for improving teaching and learning and for making classroom teachers and school administrators accountable for students' achievement.
A lawsuit in the United States has been filed against former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his role in the 2010 Israeli commando attack upon the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in which eight Turkish citizens and one US citizen were executed by Israeli forces and more than 50 Turkish passengers were wounded. The trial will be the first time a former Israeli Prime Minister will be put on trial for reasons of international terrorism.
We've all heard of the Blue Helmets - the United Nations armed peacekeeping wing. But have you heard about the White Helmets, the unarmed peacekeeping and first responders in Syria?
Seeing organized nonviolence in the midst of violent conflict is not expected and not often found, but it's on the increase.
Blackface. Chains. Baggy Pants. There it is again. Another university fraternity party engaging in some classic racism. On October 6, fraternity brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon and sorority sisters of Alpha Phi took part in reproducing racist stereotypes. Just in case you are wondering, yes it is 2015. And yes, the nation is currently engaged in a national Black Lives Matter movement to bring attention to the horrendous and fatal material implications of anti-Black racism. But no matter for University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) students, the party must go on.
Every once in a while, a new technology threatens to fundamentally change life in the US as we know it. But we're living in unprecedented times, and we may be on the verge of two such revolutions at once: the world's tech giants are in the process of building an industry around wearable technology and, meanwhile, Google (and plenty of others) are working to fill our streets with autonomous cars.
"[W]e should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history," marine chemist Ken Buesseler said last spring.
Instead, the US Environmental Protection Agency halted its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima's radioactive plume in May 2011, three months after the disaster began.
Mitt Romney was chastised in the last election for campaigning around Lyme disease in Virginia by reporters like Michael Specter at The New Yorker. But Specter was then bombarded with "millions of pieces of hate mail" and told NPR host Terry Gross that, in his many years of writing controversial articles, he'd never received a response like that. As Specter learned, Lyme disease is a major issue.
I felt empty when I heard that to the north of where I work in Kabul, bombs were dropped on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, for a full hour. Twelve hospital staff and 10 patients were killed, three of them Afghan children. Thirty-three persons are still missing.
Borderfree Afghan Street Kids say that the three Afghan children shouldn't have been killed by a US airstrike on a Doctor Without BordersHospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
Across the South and the rest of the country, workers and their advocates have been fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage, more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. But a new report finds that in many states $15 an hour is not a living wage for a single person, let alone a family.