Tonight, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad kicked off the Center for the Study of American Democracy’s conference with a keynote address on the question of whether or not the United States should promote democracy abroad. Khalilzad, an international relations expert, served as the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations, Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush administration. He focused most of address on how questions of democracy promotion relate to our most recent conflicts in the middle east.
In the past few years, two documentary films have been released that paint contrasting portraits of the state of American education. In Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for Superman, low-income, prominently minority students long for educational opportunity, but are trapped in failing schools where teachers unions serve as a bulwark to reform and accountability. The solution: the style of education reform endorsed by George W. Bush that emphasizes greater flexibility in the hiring and firing of teachers, longer hours and public school choice particularly with charter schools. The second film, Race to Nowhere, not so subtly alludes to Obama’s marquee educational policy. Upper middle class students struggle with the high stakes of standardized testing and the college admission process, pressure that drives students to physical illness and even suicide. The solution: less emphasis on the sort of high stakes tests and data driven reforms that Waiting for Superman so passionately advocates. Continue reading
Last night, Agora, the Kenyon Democrats and the Kenyon Observer hosted a great discussion ahead of next week’s Center for the Study of American Democracy conference, entitled “should America promote democracy abroad?”
The interesting and informal conversation asked both that question itself as well as what that question means: what do we mean by democracy? Continue reading
The A.V. is TKO’s occasional foray into politics via multimedia.
On top of being an Academy Award nominated actor and occasional indie rock singer, Ryan Gosling is also quite the political activist. He’s campaigned against slaughterhouse cruelty, supported the clean up after Hurricane Katrina, and is now narrating and producing a new documentary about political apathy amongst today’s young people. The film, called #ReGENERATION, will be released in May and deals with this generation’s social and political frustration that lead to the Occupy Wall Street movement. I’ve posted the trailer above and it’s worth checking out, if only to see a parade of radical and conservative luminaries like Noam Chomsky, Andrew Bacevich, and the late Howard Zinn bemoan the current state of cynicism among today’s youth and ponder the factors that contributed to that cynicism. Continue reading