Newsletter #180: This Too Was History

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What should students learn about in their U.S. History class? That’s the question at the heart of this week’s lead article, which explores Chicago’s striking decision to require teachers to cover the long history of police abuse in the city. Not everyone agrees.

Also in today’s issue, read about the heavy burden of student loans, the tragic loss of young lives to gun violence, and the epic rise of alternative milks. (Poor cows.)

Pop-Up Article Club was a huge success! Last Sunday, 7 loyal readers joined me at The Highlighter Retreat Center in Oakland. They didn’t know who was going to be there, nor the article we were going to read and discuss. But they trusted that beauty and glory would ensue. They were correct. Sign up now for the next Pop-Up: Saturday, April 13, 2-4 pm.

The Battle Over Teaching Chicago’s Students About Police Torture and Reparations

For nearly 20 years, from 1972 to 1991, Chicago police commander Jon Burge led a team that tortured suspects in order to extract confessions. Four years ago, the Chicago City Council passed Resolution SR2015-256, which condemned the torture, set up a $5.5 million reparations fund, and offered psychological services for the victims. In addition, the ordinance mandated that all eighth and 10th graders in Chicago, in all 644 schools, learn about the history of Chicago police abuse. In this outstanding article, Peter C. Baker gets into classrooms and tells the story of Reparations Won, the bold curriculum that has sparked controversy in Chicago. (42 min)

Why So Many Americans Feel Cheated By Their Student Loans

We tell young people to go to college to gain a ticket to the middle class. But the average college student owes $37,000 by the time they leave. As a result, millennials are postponing marriage, parenthood, and homeownership. Meanwhile, they’re being blamed for having trouble paying off their loans. Anne Helen Petersen (#175) writes, “If education doesn’t elevate you, and your children and grandchildren, to the middle class—instead saddling you with debt—is it actually worth it?” (35 min)

Still paying off your student loans? Hit reply and share your story.

Since Parkland

One year ago, 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since then, states have passed 123 new gun laws, ranging from banning bump stocks to raising the age to purchase a firearm. In the same time, 1,200 American children have lost their lives to gun violence. This poignant website, a masterwork by Akoto Ofori-Atta and 200 teen reporters, tells their stories and shares their voices. (20-60 min)

White Gold: The Unstoppable Rise of Alternative Milks

Why get your milk from a cow when you can squeeze almonds, coconuts, cashews, or quinoa instead? Once considered a superfood, milk’s healthy reputation has plummeted, with its “share of throat” down 40 percent over the past 40 years, and its reputation waning. Now wellness upstarts (OatlyRebel KitchenRipple Foods!) urge us to switch to drinking juiced oats and peas in order save the world’s 274 million cows—and ourselves. (22 min)

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