FROM Lyndsey Layton
Is It Time to Reform Education Reform… Again? It could be a rare compromise in a sharply divided Congress. Democrats and Republicans want to get rid of No Child Left Behind . The likely replacement would be called Every Child Succeeds — with less standardized testing and more power to states and local districts. But, conservatives complain there’s still too much federal involvement; liberals worry the rights of low-income and minority students will be ignored. We hear details of efforts to thread the needle between teachers, advocates of school choice, civil libertarians and many other interested parties.
Who Shapes American History? The College Board designs advance placement courses for high-school students, providing what critics call a monopoly on American History. But historians disagree about slavery, the rationale for various wars, the nature of government and what’s called "American Exceptionalism." College Board standards set last year were called "unpatriotic" by conservatives, including the Republican National Committee, which accused the Board of a "radically revisionist view…the emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects." Now they have been revised--but the controversy is not going away. Is "neutrality" even possible?
Congress Considers Reforms to No Child Left Behind In this age of political polarization, bipartisanship is a rarity on Capitol Hill. But one Senate bill has the support of Republicans Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander — along with Democrats Patty Murray and Elizabeth Warren. It would revise a relic of the presidency of George W Bush, the education law called No Child Left Behind . Lyndsey Layton, national education reporter for the Washington Post , has the story.
Universal Pre-School Education: Poverty and Politics A few states subsidize pre-school for all their four-year olds, with the red state of Oklahoma leading the way. In last year's State of the Union address, the President called for early education to be made universal. The idea went nowhere in Congress. This year, he repeated the request , arguing that 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own because, as he put it, "we can't wait." Polls show 60% of Republican voters in favor nationwide, along with 84% of Democrats. But the federal cost would be $75 billion. Will Congress give it a chance? Faced with long odds, the President says he'll build his own coalition of business leaders and others. Meantime, we talk with a parent in Oklahoma and others about the benefits of early education, including the impact on poverty.
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?
Food Safety Bill Makes It through the Senate Recent outbreaks of food poisoning from eggs, peanuts and spinach have killed more than a dozen people and sickened thousands more. Last year, the House voted vast new power for the Food and Drug Administration and yesterday the Senate followed suit, on a vote of 73 to 25, approving the biggest overhaul to FDA laws since the 1930's. What caused an unusual spasm of bipartisanship? What new powers will the agency have? Lyndsey Layton covers food safety for the Washington Post .
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.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.