The twisted incentives behind the Atlanta Public Schools cheating case
This month, verdicts were handed down in one of the largest standardized test cheating scandals in a public school system to date. Eleven out of twelve defendants ranging from test administrators to teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public Schools system were convicted for racketeering, making false statements, and other crimes. An investigation led by former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers discovered that more than 250,000 wrong answers were changed in thousands of students’ standardized tests since 2001. Yet as staggering as the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal seems to be, perhaps the real crime here lies in high-stakes standardized testing, which is blindly mandated across the board without attention to the unique contexts surrounding individual school districts.
WEIGHING NET NEUTRALITY VS. THE DIGITAL DIVIDE:
Today, over two-thirds of the world’s population remains without access to the Internet. It is crucial to an increasingly global economy to bridge this vast digital divide by connecting the billions of people now without a voice. And, at first glance, organizations like Facebook’s Internet.org seem to strive to do just that. To date, their service has provided free access to a handful of cherry-picked web applications to thousands of users in parts of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. But underneath the lofty goal to connect the rest of the world to the Internet, perhaps Internet.org has an ulterior, more manipulative motive that completely opposes the basic tenets of net neutrality.
The Charlie Hebdo shootings and Islamophobia
Since the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, people of all ages and beliefs have stood together to condemn the terrorists’ actions in what has proved to be an unprecedented global response. The hashtag “#JeSuisCharlie” quickly erupted on Twitter, trending at a peak of 6,500 tweets per minute the day following the massacre. On the Sunday after, presidents, prime ministers, and an estimated one million individuals participated in a solidarity rally that spanned the streets of Paris, all in support of Charlie Hebdo.