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Politics

TV shows depicting alternate histories can teach us something about our reality today

CHICAGO -- There's a scene in episode nine of the first season of "The Man in the High Castle" -- Amazon's show based on Philip K. Dick's novel -- that seems designed to induce giddiness in a series that, up to that point had been serious, restrained and often drab.

A disillusioned high-ranking Nazi official who trades secrets with the Japanese...Read more

Why having a diverse teaching corps matters

CHICAGO -- When it comes to diversifying America's teaching corps to better reflect the increasing number of Hispanic students, there's a big question: If Latino public school students rarely see a Hispanic teacher, how will they ever come to see teaching as an attractive profession?

It's not a trivial concern.

While there's no specific ...Read more

America's shockingly poor dental care system

CHICAGO -- I've given birth to three babies, shattered my wrist, broken my tailbone twice, gotten tattooed, and, once, when I was suspected of having contracted West Nile Virus, had two consecutive spinal taps (one failed) in the name of advancing medical students' knowledge while securing a diagnosis.

But never have I suffered worse from deep,...Read more

Growing disgust with the ethos of college campuses does not mean a rejection of higher education

CHICAGO -- A recent survey on the public's view of national institutions elicited headlines that suggested a tale of backwardness and ignorance. One example: "Majority of Republicans Think Higher Education is Bad for America."

The reality is more complex.

What the Pew Research Center actually found is that for the first time on a question ...Read more

Does 'executive function' play a role in how likely police officers are to use deadly force?

CHICAGO -- The concept of "executive function" was popularized by social science research showing that young children who can control their impulses, pay attention, remember details, manage their time and plan are more likely to be successful in school.

According to an article recently published in the journal Police Quarterly, executive ...Read more

For those struggling with anxiety, harness the power of positive writing

CHICAGO -- Two years ago, anxiety was keeping me up at night, threatening to spiral out of control. Meanwhile, my husband with his easy confidence -- never seeing a raincloud without a silver lining, always constructing the best possible scenario when confronted with a set of hazy details -- slept like a baby. I decided I wanted that kind of ...Read more

Chicago's crime wave stems from immoral public leadership

CHICAGO -- Following a tweet last week by President Trump about the epidemic of crime and killing in Chicago, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "I think that the problem there is that it's a crime problem. I think crime is probably driven by morality more than anything else."

She's right, in a way.

It is, in fact,...Read more

My mom finally became a U.S. citizen, thanks to Donald Trump

CHICAGO -- Thank you, thank you, thank you, President Trump.

I offer my gratitude because after years of being the last of my immigrant family members to undertake the naturalization process, my mother just took the oath to become a U.S. citizen.

It finally happened after 10 years of prodding and needling and of painting doomsday scenarios ...Read more

Take this taco and make it your own

CHICAGO -- Picture this: Taco fixins in a tortilla cone. A flour tortilla cone, no less.

It comes to you courtesy of a new Food Network explainer video titled "Taco Cones are the New Tacos" in which a young Asian-American woman demonstrates how to "eat two tacos at the same time" by baking tortillas into an ice cream cone shape, filling ...Read more

How can we lift the tension between law enforcement and motorists of color?

CHICAGO -- My brother-in-law, a volunteer constable in a small Arkansas town, once said that the answer to the tensions and violence between motorists of color and the police was for law enforcement to treat those they are sworn to protect with respect and politeness.

The interactions between police and those who feel mistreated by them are ...Read more

By all means, take issue with 'The Bell Curve.' But read it first.

CHICAGO -- When "The Bell Curve" by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein was published in 1994, I was a junior in college and didn't know anything about the book except that it had my white literature professors in an uproar. A few of them inveighed against the book's premise -- the very notion of intelligence as something people possess in ...Read more

Kindergarten is the new first grade

CHICAGO -- Recently, I spent some time observing two math classes -- one kindergarten and one second-grade -- comprised of students who were performing on the low end of the spectrum relative to their peers.

The shocking part was not that many of the kindergarteners had difficulties with creating correct number sentences when provided with an ...Read more

Rather than heading to the silver screen, take a moment this summer to look inward

CHICAGO -- Last week, I packed my husband and two sons off to enjoy their much-anticipated viewing of the new superhero movie "Wonder Woman."

I used to partake in such outings to the summer action blockbuster, but by the time "Wonder Woman" came out, I was already sick and tired of being browbeaten by countless feminine-power "hot takes" and "...Read more

Latinos tend to look on the sunny side, including about education

CHICAGO -- It is often said that Hispanics suffer from fatalism -- the belief that whatever happens to them is inevitable. But far less often acknowledged is that Latinos also tend to look on the sunny side of life.

Over the past decade, various national surveys have shown that U.S. Latinos have a positive view of their lives and the future, ...Read more

The real costs of social media

CHICAGO -- In the wake of the deadly London attacks, Facebook made yet another statement in which it reaffirmed its desire to be a force for good and not a platform for hatred.

Facebook wants to "provide a service where people feel safe. That means we do not allow groups or people that engage in terrorist activity, or posts that express support...Read more

A postcard from 'forgotten America'

DU QUOIN, Illinois -- Here, in one of the many small towns dotting the southernmost tip of Illinois, what can only be described as rural decay has gripped communities that bustled back when coal mining provided a steady middle-class living.

But as with so many tiny hamlets dependent on coal or manufacturing, Du Quoin -- a town I've visited ...Read more

Teacher-prep programs are giving an incomplete lesson

CHICAGO -- Good news: According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), when it comes to the core subjects of reading and math, high school teachers-in-training are well-prepared to teach the content.

This is largely because teacher candidates are required to have an undergraduate major in these subjects or pass a licensing test. ...Read more

No, America is not facing a race war

CHICAGO -- For the past decade, the narrative of an upcoming Hispanic demographic tsunami has been alternately energizing and scaring people into believing that America will eventually become Latinized beyond recognition.

Don't worry, it isn't going to happen.

I recently attended a Latino studies forum at an urban university boasting a student...Read more

Parents, leave this distracting menace off your school-supply list

CHICAGO -- Every late May and early June, tired and harried teachers get some relief. But this year, summer can't come soon enough because teaching this spring was like wrangling slow-witted zombies. And for this we can thank the worst enemy to public education I've seen in a long time: the fidget spinner.

If you've not run into one of these ...Read more

The perils of assuming anything about the Latino vote

CHICAGO -- At the outset of their new book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes note that adviser David Plouffe prioritized three goals for Clinton to win: "It was important to have the right culture and mission, to manage Bill Clinton, and to effectively target Latino voters."

We know how well ...Read more

 

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Ken Catalino Signe Wilkinson Mike Lester Michael Ramirez Chris Britt Lisa Benson