Your Child Left Behind: A new ranking shows that even privileged kids in our best public-school systems do poorly compared with their peers in other countries. A blue-ribbon panel decides that teachers should be trained the same way we train doctors — through clinical practice. Contrary to conventional wisdom on the right — and now the left — teachers' unions have actually been at the forefront of education-reform efforts. Efforts to adjust school start times face logistical and political obstacles concerning after-school activities, transportation schedules and sporting events. Can provision of free school uniforms harm attendance? Heather Horn on the trouble with for-profit education. The corporate takeover of American schools: The trend for appointing CEOs to the top jobs is symptomatic of a declining commitment to public education and social justice. Should students be rewarded for citizenship, hard work and organization, or should grades represent only a mastery of the material? The constant stream of stimuli offered by new technology poses a profound new challenge to focusing and learning. What’s the best way to grade teachers? Gates Foundation research found that students who rated their teachers highly also scored better on standardized tests than their peers. An interview with two education experts about the promise and betrayal of diversity in the charter school movement. The fate of Ross Global Academy shows that charter schools are suddenly susceptible to the rules of political gravity.

Ioan Alexandru Tofan (UAIC): On the Possibility of Mystery: Philosophy and Esotericism. A geneticist's cancer crusade: James Watson says the disease can be cured in his lifetime — he's 82. The world doesn't need more entrepreneurs — it needs more people for entrepreneurs to hire. "Imagine Better": Can Harry Potter change the world? How military campaigns get their names: Research shows the names of Israeli military campaigns are cleverly designed to push the citizenry’s emotional buttons. Outbreak agents: Officers in the Epidemic Intelligence Service expend shoe leather and stamp out disease. Prohibition ended more than 90 years ago, but it lives on in our palates. No tree, no gifts, no family visits — bah, humbug, or a perfect Christmas? From The Exiled, meet John Agresto, the corrupt neocon labeled a “mediocrity” by 16 academic organizations. Drawn to the mud: Jack Anderson's obsessive coverage of Nixon marked the beginning of our modern scandal culture. The fact-checking explosion: In a bitter political landscape marked by rampant allegations of questionable credibility, more and more news outlets are launching truth-squad operations. Don’t count on global governance: Everybody agrees that the world economy is ill, but the diagnosis apparently depends on which corner of it you happen to inhabit. An interview with Frederik Ramm, author of OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World.

Margaret A. Berger and Lawrence M. Solan (Brooklyn): The Uneasy Relationship between Science and Law. From Spectrum, G. Pascal Zachary on why engineers must try to save the world — and scientists also should heed the messianic impulse; and Henry Petroski on how engineering is not science — and confusing the two keeps us from solving the problems of the world. How to buck up the science ladies: Amanda Schaffer on an easy way to boost women's scores in physics. From The Science Creative Quarterly, an article on science's best jokers. A look at five of science history's most bizarre hoaxes and delusions. A look at 5 famous scientists dismissed as morons in their time. An excerpt from They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness and the Scientists Who Pushed the Limits of Knowledge by John Monahan. From Popular Science, a look at five contests that recognize the science achievements of the everyman. Campaigns against "inconvenient" science can succeed in sowing doubt — and nothing works quite like playing the man and not the ball. An interview with Adam Hart-Davis on popular science. Stephen Hawking’s radical philosophy of science: Is Hawking right to claim that reality is dependent on the model used to describe it? (and more on God's equations) David Berreby on political orgasms and the scientific method. Evolving the scientific method: Kevin Kelly on how technology is changing the way we conduct science. The truth we'll doubt: Does the "decline effect" mean that all science is "truthy"?

A new issue of Commentary is out. Jeremy Waldron (NYU): Secularism and the Limits of Community. From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on the Year in Ideas 2010. The Top 10 Everything of 2010: In 50 wide-ranging lists, Time surveys the highs and lows, the good and the bad, of the past 12 months. From FT, an interview with Rachel Maddow. What makes one team of people smarter than another? A new field of research finds surprising answers. In the Time of Not Yet: Marina Warner on the imaginary of Edward Said. Aside from a small cadre of foreign policy scholars, a few foreign national intelligence services, and Jon Stewart, who benefits from the Wikileaks release? We might not like Mark Zuckerberg or Julian Assange, but we’re going to have to learn to live in the world they’re making. In Defense of DDoS: Denial-of-service attacks are just another form of civil disobedience. If an island state vanishes, is it still a nation? Twenty-five years after his death, Michael Bywater revisits the sacred texts of the pulp science writer turned prophet L Ron Hubbard. The David Epstein incest case: If homosexuality is OK, why is incest wrong? MFA vs. NYC: America now has two distinct literary cultures — which one will last? It's a great time to be rich: The next two years will be the best in living memory for many wealthy Americans to shield their income and fortunes. Why Hollywood hates bad sex: That which the MPAA would have you not see.

A new issue of Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements is out. From New Proposals, William K. Carroll (Victoria) and R. S. Ratner (UBC): Social Movements and Counter-Hegemony: Lessons from the Field; and Arpad Kovacs (Oulu): Learning a Lesson: An Anarchist's Defence of Marxism-based Socialism. From Counterfire, an article in praise of the Far Left. From Platypus, Osha Neumann, Mark Rudd, Tim Wohlforth, Alan Spector on rethinking the New Left; and an interview with Max Elbaum, author of Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao, and Che. From the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Gloria La Riva on why we continue to defend the Soviet Union. The left cannot ignore China’s achievements, but neither can it be too celebratory. From News & Letters, Kevin Michaels on Raya Dunayevskaya's place in the history of the Left. Elitist revolutionary strutting: The Coming Insurrection was greeted by two of Germany's leading feuilletons as exhiliarating, important left-wing theory — but it is an anti-modern, right-wing re-import. A review of The Socialist Alternative by Michael Lebowitz. Isabel Parrot assesses the continuing relevance of In and Against the State. Andy Lewis on anarcho-primitivism vs. peace, justice, and the Christian Left. A review of The Enigma of Capital: and the Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey. A review of In and Out of Crisis by Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch. The crisis now, and possible futures: John Steele attends the Global Crisis: Rethinking Economy and Society conference.