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  • Ideas for a better world in 2011

    Ideas for a better world in 2011

    In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.

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  • Poll: Americans favor Obama over Romney for strengthening public schools

    Independent voters, however, think Mitt Romney is better suited for that job. The Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa poll also found that Americans identify funding as the biggest problem facing public schools.

  • Ideas for a better world in 2011

    Ideas for a better world in 2011

    In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.

  • Top 5 overlooked stories of 2010

    Top 5 overlooked stories of 2010

    History, it seems, will remember 2010 in the United States as the year of health-care reform, the Gulf oil spill, and the tea party movement. But the most widely covered stories are clearly not the only events that could shape the future of the nation. Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 – developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead.

  • Report: Only 1 percent of 'bad' schools turn around

    Report: Only 1 percent of 'bad' schools turn around

    An examination of poorly performing schools underlines how hard it is to turn them around.

  • Education secretary Arne Duncan: headmaster of US school reform

    Education secretary Arne Duncan: headmaster of US school reform

    As students head back to school, educators nationwide are implementing controversial school reform wrought by Arne Duncan. Pushing competitive market approaches and armed with unprecedented funding and support from the president, he is possibly the most powerful education secretary ever.

  • Race to the Top losers: Why did Louisiana and Colorado fail?

    Race to the Top losers: Why did Louisiana and Colorado fail?

    Louisiana and Colorado, two states lauded for education reform, didn't make the cut in Round 2 of the Department of Education's Race to the Top grants. Some experts were puzzled.

  • Which cities are most willing to tackle education reform?

    Which cities are most willing to tackle education reform?

    A report released Tuesday ranks cities not in terms of best-performing schools but on their openness to outside ideas and education reform.

  • Opinion Final exams at Harvard are so 20th-century

    Harvard University is moving further away from final exams. And that’s a good thing.

  • Uniform education standards: Momentum grows as more states sign on

    Uniform education standards: Momentum grows as more states sign on

    About 40 states will probably have adopted the 'Common Core' education standards by spring. But critics caution that buy-in is just a start.

  • New public school 'core standards': Which states might not sign on?

    New public school 'core standards': Which states might not sign on?

    The core standards unveiled Wednesday would establish a national bar for what students in any state should know when they graduate from high school. But some states are wary.