FROM Angeline Lillard
Is Pre-school Education Being Oversold? In his State of the Union speech, President Obama made a proposal that hasn't been tried since the Nixon Administration: federally funded assistance for pre-school education. The President says universal pre-school education will boost high-school graduation, while reducing teen-pregnancy and violent crime. He's using the red states of Georgia and Oklahoma to demonstrate that it's working. But critics say benefits fade away quickly and don't work long enough. Would the program really be "universal" if it's aimed at the poor with means testing to filter out kids in upper- and middle-income families? State and local governments account for most education spending. Would a preschool program help Washington level the playing field in an era of growing inequality?
Is 'Sponge Bob Square Pants' Bad for Little Kids? SpongeBob Square Pants is an animated sponge that lives under the sea. It's fast-paced, "fantastical" and hugely popular with kids, aged two to 11. What's the immediate impact on attention span, memory, problem solving and other skills associated with success in school? Angeline Lillard is one of two psychologists at the University of Virginia who wanted to find out.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.