FROM Valarie Lewis
New Orleans, Charter Schools and the Education Reform Charter schools are being touted as the free-market alternative for parents whose kids are stuck in failing institutions, especially in inner cities. In the aftermath of Katrina, with 53% of its public-school students enrolled in charter schools, New Orleans has embraced so many charter schools it's become "ground zero" for the entire movement. It's the logical place for this week's conference of the National Alliance for Public School Charters . We ask New Orleans' superintendent and others what works and what doesn't. Are entrenched bureaucracies being overcome? Are teachers' unions coming around? Most important: are charters upgrading student achievement?
Time to Reform No Child Left Behind? No Child Left Behind is called President Bush's crowning domestic achievement, and it passed five years ago with support from liberal Democrats in both houses of Congress. NCLB is supposed to make every American kid "proficient" in reading and math by 2014, but after five years that sounds like a pipe dream. Proficiency standards differ wildly from state to state, and some tests are being made easier so that scores will improve. Schools that have not improved are not being held accountable and angry parents in many places have gone to court. Is it time for national standards? Are test scores the best measures? What about merit pay for teachers?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.