FROM John Covington
Can Schools Aim High When Budgets Are Low? Educators and Governors in all states — except Alaska and Texas — have agreed on uniform, national standards for teaching English and Math in grades K through 12. The goal is to raise expectations for what kids should learn. The hope is to keep America competitive in the global economy. The Obama Administration has signed on, and promoters boast that the states are leading the federal government in education reform. But a project of years is being unveiled at a time of financial crisis for schools all over the country. Do they have the time or resources to make reforms now? What's the evidence that setting standards enhances performance? Is there a downside? Does one size really fit all?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.