In recent years, at least 70 districts have experimented with mixing low-income children into more-affluent classrooms. But with savvy parents volunteering their kids, it has been hard to draw larger conclusions about the success of these efforts.
Like tuition, college credit-card debt is on the rise. Half of college students have four or more cards, according to a 2009 Sallie Mae survey, and only 17 percent report regularly paying off their balance. As the school year begins, parts of 2009’s credit-card reform bill will finally begin to protect the young from their own spending habits. For starters, students will no longer see card issuers offering giveaways on campus. And for the first time, they won’t be able to sign up for a credit card if they’re younger than 21 unless they can find a cosigner or prove a source of income.
The largest egg recall in U.S. history has consumers scrambling for locally bred and organic alternatives, while Tyson Foods just recalled more than 350,000 pounds of Walmart deli meat. Are factory farming and mass-produced foods really to blame for making America's food supply less safe?
In the wake of 9/11, when anthrax attacks were startling a shellshocked country, researchers rushed to study potential biological-weapons agents. But nearly a decade hence, the real threat isn’t white powder in an envelope, says author Kenneth King.
Lawmakers love to talk about hard choices. But as states have tried to bridge at least $100 billion in budget gaps, politicians are making choices of a different variety: dumb ones. California furloughed thousands of tax collectors, although they would have earned the state an estimated seven times what they cost. New Jersey (along with at least six other states) canceled funds to help people quit smoking, though tobacco-related illnesses already cost the state an estimated $4.7 billion. And Kentucky even shuttered its Long-Term Policy Research Center, foreclosing a mission to “report on trends affecting the state’s future.”
The financial-reform bill signed into law last week includes a section on dangerous mortgages, with a provision for educating the elderly, the poor, minorities, those with language barriers, and “other potentially vulnerable consumers.” Who’s not mentioned but should be? The young. Among unemployed Americans ages 18 to 29, more than a quarter are behind on mortgage payments, one 2009 study found, and this group also has soaring credit-card debt and bankruptcy rates.
Face the fact: the fish are dying. Half popular history, half environmental manifesto, Paul Greenberg’s book exposes the dire straits of our favorite seafood. Solving the problem means more than just skipping the tuna sashimi. It’s going to take big politics, smart ocean management, and plain old restraint (no!) to forestall a tragedy of the commons.
President Obama has called for a “national mission” to end America’s dependence on oil. Perhaps the biggest hurdle, however, isn’t national will—a majority of Americans now back an energy overhaul—so much as finding a workable template. Could Hawaii fill the void? The archipelago is more than twice as oil-dependent as the U.S. at large, drawing about 90 percent of its energy from imported crude. And because of the exorbitant transport costs, it also has the highest gas and electricity rates in the country—and some of the most ambitious plans for keeping them down.
A major goal of health-care reform is affordable treatment. To achieve it, however, the Obama administration may temporarily upset another aim: effective care. The trouble extends from the president’s pledge to make the new reforms “deficit-neutral.” That will require billions of dollars in funding cuts, primarily at hospitals, which stand to lose $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cash during the next few years.