Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein, a former associate editor and writer at the Prospect and The Daily Beast, is a Spencer Fellow in education reporting at Columbia University. Her work on politics, women’s issues, and education has appeared in BusinessWeek, Slate, The New Republic, and The Nation.

Recent Articles

At G-20 Spouses Events, Husbands are No-Shows...Again.

During the last G-20 meeting, in April, I noted that the husbands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner were no-shows for the big spouse photo-op . Well, they've done it again: According to Sandra McElwaine at The Daily Beast , neither gentleman will be appearing at a two-day "spousal program" hosted by Michelle Obama to coincide with this week's Pittsburgh G-20 meeting. (There's no word yet on whether India's First Gentleman, former politician Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat , will attend the spouse-only festivities.) Eighteen wives will meet at Rosemount, the country estate of Theresa Heinz Kerry . They'll be entertained there by the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Orchestra’s Jazz Trio and are expected to dine on organic, locally grown produce. During the trip, the wives will also meet cellist Yo-Yo Ma and visit the Andy Warhol Museum, whose director plans to open one of the artist's famous time capsules in front of the dignitaries. It sounds like fun!...

The Inspiring Story of the Murdered Census Worker.

You may have heard about the Kentucky Census worker, Bill Sparkman , whose body was found in a state park with the word "fed" scrawled on it -- on Sept. 12, the same day as nationwide "tea party" protests against President Obama 's health reform effort. Well, the story is even more tragic: It turns out Sparkman was a single father who recently survived cancer and earned a college degree through online correspondence courses. In addition to working a few days a month for the Census, he was a substitute teacher. One of Sparkman's Western Governor’s University professors found his story so inspiring that Sparkman was asked to travel to Salt Lake City to address his graduating class. The local paper wrote a story about the event. "There are no failures," Sparkman said in his speech, "just teaching moments.” -- Dana Goldstein

At the U.N., Comparing Obama and Bush.

Obama's entire address to the United Nations this morning is worth a read, but I just want to highlight this section on Israel/Palestine: We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. The time has come to re-launch negotiations – without preconditions – that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security – a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. Note the choice of language: not just "a state" for Palestinians, but one that is "viable," "independent," and "contiguous" -- code words for an end to Israeli army checkpoints in the...

Real Talk on Taxes.

In a Washington Post op-ed this morning, some refreshingly direct rhetoric on taxes from Creigh Deeds , Virginia's Democratic candidate for governor. Deeds wants to overhaul the state's transportation system, with new investments in high speed rail, bus rapid transit, and road and bridge upkeep. Theoretically, Deeds' opponent, Bob McDonnell , agrees on the priorities. But McDonnell won't raise taxes to fund improvements. Democrats across the country should take a lesson from Deeds, who writes frankly, "We can't solve this problem without new revenue." Let me be clear regarding taxes. I will sign a bill that is the product of bipartisan compromise that provides a comprehensive transportation solution. As a legislator, I have voted for a number of mechanisms to fund transportation, including a gas tax. And I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation -- even if it includes new taxes. It takes some guts to say this at a time when the conservative...

Coalition of States Releases National Edu Standards.

This summer, the National Governors Association partnered with the standardized testing industry and 47 states to create national education standards for high school students. Yesterday the coalition released its initial draft standards in English/language arts and math. On English/language arts in particular, it would be too generous to call the results a "curriculum;" the draft focuses more on skills than knowledge, and in some ways, is even vaguer than predecessor efforts. For example, 35 states already roughly align their standards through the American Diploma Project. That program calls for students to write at least one six to 10 page research paper before graduating from high school. But the new Common Core standards only require that students "gather the information needed to build an argument, provide an explanation, or address a research question." In writing, they must be able to "sustain focus on a specific topic or argument," but there's no word on what "sustain" really...

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