Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.
Every year, thousands of high school students spend months focused on the art of self presentation. They cram for standardized tests, pen soul-baring essays, and join clubs to beef up their resumés. College applications force students into the daunting task of reducing their lives and accomplishments to a series of checkmarks, numbers, and writing prompts. For gay and lesbian students, the process is further fraught by the decision of whether to identify as gay -- and if so, how to indicate it on the application. Do you write your application essay about coming out? Or will admissions officers get the point if you list the Gay-Straight Alliance under your activities?
Democrats have long had trouble understanding why certain people who stand to benefit from the social safety net vote for Republicans. Many chock it up to "values" and identity interests trumping economics. Last year, Tom Jacobs at Alternetargued that conservatives live in a different "moral universe" from liberals, which makes them immune to liberal rhetoric.
Today, Obamatold members of the National Governor's Association that his administration plans to require states to adopt "college and career-readiness" standards to qualify for $14.5 billion in Title 1 funding, which supports school districts with a high percentage of low-income, high-minority students. Under No Child Left Behind, schools had to meet state standards, but these were adopted with little input from the federal government. Because NCLB penalized schools that failed to meet the self-imposed standards, many just lowered them.
Far away from the hullabaloo and homophobia of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), gay-rights supporters and culture warriors gathered at the Cato Institute for a more sustained debate about the place of gay people in conservatism. In one corner, bewhiskered blogger titan and gay conservative Andrew Sullivan. In the other, National Organization for Marriage president and anti-gay crusader Maggie Gallagher.