teach for america

Educational equality is a hot topic right now. Schools are failing, and everyone from Bill Gates to Rahm Emanuel has an answer for how to fix them. I went to public school for my entire K through 12 career so, naturally, I too have opinions on the myriad issues in this complicated system. Yet, again and again, the conversation boils down to one thing: bad teachers. Just look at Time Magazine’s most recent cover story: “Rotten Apples: The War on Teacher Tenure.” Sure, I had a few duds in my day, but the number of dedicated, intelligent, hardworking and even life-changing teachers far outnumbered the “dead weight.” Indeed, I felt so inspired by some of the teachers who opened my mind, pushed me to work harder and filled me with a love for learning, that I realized somewhere along the line that I would like to do the same for others. As an aspiring teacher, I have of course been asked repeatedly whether I plan on applying to Teach for America. My answer is no, and this is my reason why.
Continue reading “THE WHITE GIRL’S BURDEN”

Google Gone Wild


As the fear of death continues to plague the human consciousness, innovative Google CEO Larry Page believes that we can literally defeat death. Well, at least that’s what Calico, the latest beneficiary of Google’s investment, aims to do. In an official press release this September, Page expressed tentative hope regarding the project, explaining, “With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.” Continue reading “Google Gone Wild”

Scary Censorship

Who decides what’s appropriate for child eyeballs?


When Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was first published in 1981, conservative parents across the country protested its content so much that the book, along with its subsequent sequels, became the most contested book series of the nineties. The consensus of those protesting was that the book targeted an audience much younger than appropriate for its “mature” content and imagery. 20 years or so after this controversy, HarperCollins released a new edition of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in 2010. The stories (thankfully) went unchanged, but Alvin Schwartz’s beloved preadolescent novel lost the key component of its popularity: Stephen Gammell’s graphic, disturbing illustrations. The startlingly surreal black-and-white pencil drawings by Gammell were replaced with Brett Helquist’s less scary, more cartoonish story depictions, and this has sparked a controversy amongst fans of the childhood classic—those who grew up reading the book under covers with a flashlight, terrified by the pictures, but excited nonetheless. Parental groups have always tried to lobby support for censorship, especially regarding content that includes violence, death, or grotesque imagery, but in their excessive concern over appropriate visual media, they neglect the interests of their children. Continue reading “Scary Censorship”

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave

Exploring the deep web 


Need a hitman? Fake social security card? How about some mail-order heroin? Thanks to the Deep Web, you can obtain any of these with complete anonymity. Accessed through a browser called TOR, the Deep Web, has two distinct implications as it seeps into mainstream usage . On one hand, it’s a way for people to have unrestricted, anonymous access to the web; it allows people to access a vastly greater amount of data and utilities than is available on the “surface Web.” For some, the Deep Web represents freedom of information and anti-censorship, which is especially important in countries with extreme Internet restriction and control of information. On the other hand, the inability to be traced fosters pretty much every type of criminal behavior imaginable, and provides users with a possibly false sense of security. Continue reading “Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave”

Al Franken is a U.S. Senator?


As a nation, we value freedom, independence, and most importantly, validation. Though we claim to want qualified leaders, deep down we really just want them to be cool. Sure, we could prove our superiority to other countries through strong, thoughtful policy, but it’s easier and more fun if we just shove a cool, down-to-earth guy in their faces. This tendency may not be as bad as it seems. Continue reading “Al Franken is a U.S. Senator?”