Politics, Moderate



We can't let robots steal all our jobs

CHICAGO -- In a world that seems in constant danger of going over the edge, why isn't more effort going into making sure robots don't steal every last job and leave our kids fighting, cage-match style, for whatever's left?

Jobs are a key measure of how well the economy is ticking along, but they have become a partisan battleground.

The elites ...Read more

Census racial data can unite instead of divide

CHICAGO -- According to conservative thinkers Ward Connerly and Mike Gonzalez, the Census Bureau should stop collecting data about race and ethnicity.

Writing in a Washington Post op-ed titled "It's time the Census Bureau stops dividing America," they argue that the classifications are divisive and amount to "arbitrary racial straitjackets."

...Read more

Curb your digital addiction with these resolutions

CHICAGO -- You know internet addiction is a real thing when you pick up a magazine targeted at young men and you find a "My Digital Detox" confessional.

Writing in Men's Health, author Joel Stein describes addiction to screens so profound that people have neglected showering for weeks or been kicked out of their homes for not doing anything ...Read more

School successes prove demography isn't destiny

CHICAGO -- As we prepare to bid farewell to 2017, let's end the year on a few high notes from the world of education.

First up, some stats to celebrate: There was an uptick in diversity in the majority-white ranks of America's teacher corps. This is important because most of the public-school students they teach have been nonwhite since 2014.

...Read more

Working class must break free of caricatures and speak for itself

CHICAGO -- Let's play a quick association game: When you hear the term "working class," what word springs to mind?

If you thought "white," as in "the white working class," you guessed correctly.

Since Donald Trump's election to the presidency, a million think pieces, reports, polls and news analyses have dissected whether white working-class ...Read more

Democrats have a pattern of bungling immigration issues

CHICAGO -- In the past week, journalist inboxes across the country have been flooded with memos, reports and fact sheets screaming for Democrats to move quickly on passing a Dream Act before Congress' Christmas break. The urgency is to protect the nearly 1,000 "Dreamers" each day who will lose their protection from deportation beginning next ...Read more

Using The Force to spread the love of ballet

CHICAGO -- On Friday, I will be subjected to several hours of inscrutable "pew-pew"-ing when I flock, reluctantly, with my husband, my son and a substantial portion of America to the new "Star Wars" movie, "The Last Jedi."

Enduring another installment of a movie franchise that seems to have no end in sight (especially now that it has mastered ...Read more

Why teacher preparation programs are crucial for our children

CHICAGO -- One of the most important yet frequently overlooked and misunderstood components of public school education is the system of teacher-preparation programs.

The national network of higher-education institutions that select, train and oversee the mentorship of the country's new teachers holds in its hands the immense power to shape ...Read more

Remember: Racism cuts both ways

CHICAGO -- A few recent headlines could be filed under the category "Racism Is Bad and Wrong."

First up, a controversy in which an African-American nurse working at the Indiana University Health system posted this screed on Twitter: "Every white woman raises a detriment to society when they raise a son. Someone with the HIGHEST propensity to ...Read more

Diverse characters bring range of cultures to life

CHICAGO -- This is my seventh year of highlighting books that are diverse, but not about diversity. In other words, stories featuring people who are not the usual protagonists of mainstream novels but aren't interesting solely because of their race, gender or ethnicity.

It's a genre that is a bit difficult to describe.

For instance, I ...Read more

Women must band together to achieve true equality

CHICAGO -- If there's any lesson that jumps out after weeks of reactions to revelations of sexual misconduct by powerful men, it's that the "sisterhood" we've been hearing about since the women's lib movement emerged is dead.

There's hand-wringing and enmity among women about whether Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken's alleged sexual ...Read more

Preschool doors should be open to all

CHICAGO -- My mom likes to tell the story of my first day of kindergarten: When we arrived, she had to restrain me from running off to join the crowd of kids pouring through the front door.

She always caps her story with: "I couldn't stop crying and you didn't even want to say goodbye to me because you were in such a hurry to get into school." ...Read more

This Thanksgiving, give others a helping of gratitude

CHICAGO -- Let's be real: Sometimes it's just plain hard to give thanks.

It may be because of personal issues like a job loss, a death in the family, the end of a relationship or an illness. Or it could be the accumulation of terrible events in the world whether it be natural disasters, mass shootings, the daily drumbeat of sexual assault news ...Read more

John Hodgman's new memoir is a delightful escapade in 'white-privilege mortality comedy'

CHICAGO -- There's a moment in John Hodgman's new book, "Vacationland," when we find the author and comedian at his cabin in the great disappearing emptiness that is the woods of Maine, impaled on a hook on a barn door.

For anyone who's ever sustained a serious injury -- when you realize that you're going to need immediate medical attention -- ...Read more

Racism against Asians should not be tolerated

CHICAGO -- If you think there's no one on the planet who doesn't understand that yanking up the corners of your eyes is offensive to people of Asian descent, well, you're absolutely wrong.

The most recent examples come from one of the most diverse and integrated corners of society -- professional sports. The first, in late October, occurred ...Read more

Targeting teacher tax credit hurts students

CHICAGO -- Last week, I spent about $2 on a tube of ChapStick lip balm for one of my students who showed up to school with a mouth so dry and cracked that his bottom lip was bloody.

The week before that, I witnessed Halloween classroom celebrations at my elementary school -- where 98 percent of students come from low-income homes -- in which ...Read more

Food banks need help battling holiday hunger

CHICAGO -- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is down to 4.1 percent -- about as near to full employment as it gets. And according to the Pew Research Center, the overall national poverty rate dipped to 12.7 percent last year, almost to its pre-Great Recession level.

But things are never as sunny as suggested by averaged,...Read more

Moby-Dick and the whale's tale of America's destiny

CHICAGO -- There are few things in life that inspire more joy than being exposed to the enthusiasm of someone who is deeply in love.

Such it is with "Why Read Moby-Dick," a slim, 2011 volume by Nathaniel Philbrick that not only convinces you that the classic whale tale is worth the read, but romances you into taking it on.

Truthfully, it's ...Read more

Pick presents that come with the gift of time

CHICAGO -- If you're in the mood to get away from adult concerns and feel young again, just spend some time with this year's toy catalogs.

Several showed up in my mailbox last week, and it was nostalgia-inducing to browse the offerings for the upcoming Christmas buying season. Old classics like Easy-Bake Ovens (now in an "Ultimate" version that...Read more

Teachers' perceptions can become reality for students

CHICAGO -- If it's true that perception is reality, then perceptions can be both advantageous and burdensome when applied to education.

This occurred to me as I played a "Flocabulary" video for a group of fourth-grade students who struggle with math. Ostensibly, it was about how easy it is to multiply by ones and by zeroes, but the creators ...Read more

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Steve Benson Chip Bok Steve Breen Clay Bennett Nick Anderson Jeff Danziger