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.
As the National Education Association wraps up its annual meeting today in New Orleans, the rift between the Obama administration and the teachers unions is becoming ever more apparent. As the Times reports , this year's meeting included no token speaker from the Department of Education, which has sparked disagreement from the unions over programs like "Race to the Top," a $4.5 billion competitive-grant fund that requires teachers to be judged based on student test scores. But the administration is just riding the recent "reform" wave that's adopted teachers and teachers' unions as a scapegoat for all the failures of the American education system. Sure, as Steven Brill 's much-discussed article in The New Yorker about New York City's "rubber rooms" demonstrates , union-negotiated hiring and retention practices in some districts have shielded bad teachers from being fired. But it's worth noting that, historically, teachers' unions have actually been at the forefront of accountability...
The five TAP pieces that have made a stir around the web this week. " A Guide to the Kagan Smears " " Sargent on Weigel " " The Obama Era's Climate Fight " " Chait Bait: World Cup As Popular As World Series " " Another Culture War? No Thanks "
Elena Kagan when she was dean of Harvard Law School, seated next to Sandra Day O'Connor , the first female justice of the Supreme Court, October 2008. Kagan completed her Senate testimony for her Supreme Court nomination this week. ( Flickr/ The Harvard Law Record )
Annie Tsao talks to the founder of Wolfe Video, the largest distributor of gay and lesbian films in North America. What is your take on the state of gay and lesbian representation in the media, and how do you envision it changing in the future? You know, the fact that we've had success doesn't represent success throughout the media. I think, as gay people, we don't really have proportional representation on television. Maybe there's a couple of shows, like Will and Grace or something, but 99 percent of TV viewing and acting has been all straight. We're making headway in terms of people understanding that being lesbian and gay is just a part of life, but I think we still have work to do. KEEP READING. . .
Libertarian Brink Lindsey critiques a call from the right for a showdown on economics: Let me make it clear at the outset: When it comes to specific questions of economic policy, Arthur Brooks and I probably agree on a great deal. Indeed, I'd bet that my opinions are much closer to his than they are to the typical reader of The American Prospect . I thought that the stimulus bill was, by and large, a waste of money, and the takeover of General Motors and Chrysler, a travesty. I opposed the recent health-care legislation and the climate bill and card-check legislation. Hey, I'm a vice president at the Cato Institute, so none of this should come as a big surprise. KEEP READING. . .