Politics, Moderate



White-Knuckled Fear of Sugar isn’t the Sweetest Solution to Our Overconsumption

CHICAGO -- The buzz about activist journalist Gary Taubes’ new book “The Case Against Sugar” is that it’s both a muckraking expose detailing how the processed food industry has hushed research about sugar’s threat to our health and a call to arms against the nutrient that Taube considers a “toxic substance.”

This is accurate. But ...Read more

No Wonder There Are So Few Minority Journalists

CHICAGO -- Shaun King, a civil rights activist and senior justice writer for the New York Daily News, had to preface his response to the recent hate crime committed against a disabled Chicago-area man with four full paragraphs of disavowal before making this point:

“I see thousands of white folk online asking me why I’m not speaking out ...Read more

The Road to Achieving Your Goals is Paved with Persistence

CHICAGO -- Last year I learned that hard work, and not innate talent for a skill, is the key to mastering a difficult task.

In their book, “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” authors Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool (best known for quantifying the “10,000 hours” estimate for attaining mastery in a field) say that ...Read more

The Joy of Diversity in Food

CHICAGO -- It was like an object lesson from a training film about cultural competency: There I was, sitting on a fluffy rug in my classroom surrounded by 20 native Spanish-speaking first-graders. I’d just read aloud the English version of “Too Many Tamales,” Gary Soto’s children’s story about mischievous Maria’s secret angst after ...Read more

The System for Evaluating Teachers is Getting a Failing Grade

CHICAGO -- You know something in education is broken when both ends of the political spectrum are saying the same thing about it. The hot-button issue of teacher evaluations is a duel between the left, which believes they are ineffective in identifying excellence or negligence, and the right, which believes that this evaluation dysfunction makes...Read more

Next Monday, the Electoral College Has the Chance to Show its Value

CHICAGO -- Lately, when masses of people don’t like a long-standing rule or tradition, they believe it should be discarded -- until it becomes useful.

After Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away in February and it seemed a Democratic presidential victory was likely, certain Republicans decided that not only should the outgoing ...Read more

Teacher Training Shows Signs of Improvement But Still Has Much Homework to Do

CHICAGO -- As sure as Earth rotates around the sun, college professors condemn high schools for freshmen who can’t write decent papers, high school teachers blame middle schools for passing barely literate students along, and middle school teachers tsk-tsk elementary school teachers for kids who aren’t comfortable with the basics of ...Read more

The Media Are Still Looking Down on Working-Class America

CHICAGO -- Long ago in a faraway land called Post-Election East Coast, the major media companies published mea culpas about having overlooked “real people” with economic anxieties not reflected in aggregate national unemployment and GDP numbers. After incorrectly projecting that Hillary Clinton had the presidency in the bag, they vowed...Read more

America Needs to Expand Women’s Access to Affordable Birth Control

CHICAGO -- It looks as though president-elect Donald Trump is getting serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act, which means that the gains women made in access to birth control are as up-in-the-air as the vitriol-inducing requirement to pay a fine for opting to not get health insurance.

But before fretting about what might be taken away,...Read more

Fake News is a Cancer on Education

CHICAGO -- Fake news is on people’s radar like never before, due to speculation about what role it may have played in the past election. And not a moment too soon; the lack of media literacy in this country is becoming an epidemic -- one that, like so many other public health threats, is particularly harmful to children.

Recently, ...Read more

Barrier-Breaking Books That Are Diverse -- But Not About Diversity

CHICAGO -- This is my sixth year highlighting favorite books that are diverse but not about diversity. I get a lot of raised eyebrows and questions about this peculiar genre.

Well, there are a lot of books out there that are diverse and about diversity -- meaning that they are written by an author from a minority group and are ...Read more

The Problem of Hunger Persists in All Corners -- Even in Silicon Valley

CHICAGO -- Thanksgiving is upon us again and Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, estimates that one in seven people in our nation utilizes its network of food banks.

This number applies even in one of the richest places in the world -- Silicon Valley -- where the tech explosion has fueled ...Read more

In this Election, the Media's Latino Coverage Came Up Short

CHICAGO -- My recent, unscientific survey of Latino journalists across the country found a near-unanimous belief that the media failed Hispanics in the run-up to the presidential election.

Their reasons for criticizing the mainstream media (as opposed to Latino-focused English-language media or Spanish-language media) were varied -- from ...Read more

A Spellbinding New Chronicle of Hitler's Rise to Power is Eerily Familiar

CHICAGO -- You wouldn't have expected much from the modest young man who moved to the big city from his backwater country home and ended up in an artsy halfway house peddling hand-painted postcards to pay for his next meal.

He was a late-blooming boy; a congenital late sleeper whose dad thought he was lazy and underachieving (a perception ...Read more

Hispanics Are Sunny About Their Future -- and the Rest of America Should Be, Too

CHICAGO -- If one's perception is, effectively, one's reality, then we can expect life to get better soon. That's because despite the media -- and a certain presidential candidate -- battering us with negativity about demographic change, racial strife and political polarization, America's 55 million Latinos are feeling sunny about the future.

...Read more

No Matter Who Wins, Latino Voters Could Stand to Lose

CHICAGO -- In the two weeks before the election, the dueling narratives about the Latino vote are boiling down to this: The "Trump Effect" will propel more Hispanics than ever before to the polls, or "Don't believe the hype."

There's so much uncertainty about what will happen on Nov. 8 that partisans are basically stuck grasping at anything ...Read more

At Long Last, the Cubs Deliver bliss to Their Eternal Fans

CHICAGO -- Like manna from heaven, a small bit of much-needed joy fell upon Chicago Saturday night as the Cubs secured a trip to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

I wasn't watching the game but knew the moment they won because the pure bliss emanated from Wrigley Field many miles out to me as my neighbors burst from their homes ...Read more

Anger and Resentment Stoked by Trump Will persist After Election Day

CHICAGO -- In its trademark satirical style, The Onion nailed it with its stunningly prescient story titled, "Trump Maps Out Plan For First 100 Days Of Not Conceding Election."

Deliciously, the imagined post-election press release from the floundering Republican presidential candidate detailed: "Within my first 10 days, I will introduce a ...Read more

New Regulations for Teacher-Prep Programs Overlook the Need for More Demanding Admissions Standards

CHICAGO -- After years of negotiations and input from education interest groups, teachers and their unions, the U.S. Department of Education recently released its revised Teacher Preparation Regulations, designed to help ensure that students get the best new teachers possible.

The idea is that if teacher-preparation programs transparently ...Read more

The Immense Value that Immigrants Have Always Brought to America

CHICAGO -- In a year in which immigrants have been dragged through the mud and certain politicians have called on them to be driven from this country, it's ironic (and heartening) that six of this year's Nobel laureates are American immigrants.

Five of them were born in Great Britain, the other in Finland, and all are affiliated with top-tier U...Read more

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