February 15, 2013

Five links that made us think this week.

Times are a-changin, not just at the Vatican, but also at Teach For America! The Board of Directors named CEO and Founder Wendy Kopp as board chair, succeeding Walter Isaacson, who will become chair emeritus after more than seven years of service. Kopp will continue her role as founding CEO of Teach For All. The board appointed Matt Kramer and Elisa Villanueva Beard co-CEOs of Teach For America, effective March 1. Villanueva Beard has already gotten some twitter love this week (just in time for Valentine's Day!) for becoming one of the few Latina CEOs in the country. Others took to the blogosphere to thank Kopp for her legacy. Here’s to the exciting org evolution!

For all you stargazers, it looks like something odd is happening in outer space. This morning, a meteorite weighing around 10 metric tons hit Russia’s Ural Mountains. Onlookers captured video footage of the meteorite streaking across the sky and exploding. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just a spectacle. Almost 1,000 people ended up seeking medical attention, some got injured from broken glasses, and around 3,000 buildings suffered damages. Many are wondering if this meteorite presages the Olympic-swimming-pool-sized asteroid passing near Earth later today, but scientists believe this is just a “cosmic coincidence.”  Hmmm.

Photo by C m handler via WikiCommons

This week Obama spoke at the State of the Union about working with states to “provide access to a high-quality preschool.” New York Times columnist David Brooks believes than when children grow up in broken, failing families, early education is the only path to “instilling achievement values where they are absent.” He discussed the importance of early education in a child’s development in a recent Op-Ed. Brooks went on to investigate Obama’s proposal and determined that the President has taken on this big challenge in a “realistic and ambitious way.”

Speaking of the State of the Union, it looks like David Brooks wasn’t the only one who walked away impressed. Many are calling President Obama’s speech “audacious,” and the address was just as big on social media as it was on TV. For many listeners, Obama’s talk about the “war on inequality” called to mind Lyndon B Johnson’s “war on poverty” statement in the 1964 State of the Union address. If Tuesday's performance reminded us of Obama’s talent as an orator, Marco Rubio's "Water-gate" flub has us wondering whether he should be asking POTUS for some public speaking advice.

This week’s murder-suicide shooting near the University of Maryland-College Park has once again cast a spotlight on student mental health. Police say the shooter, Dayvon Green, suffered from a history of mental illness. We keep hearing about the role of mental illness in shootings at schools. I wonder when are we actually going to create a platform for mental health awareness so we can address students’ mental health needs in the early prevention stages in hopes of preventing tragedies like this from occurring?

That’s it for this week. Have a great long weekend, everyone! Pura Vida.

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Category: The Friday Five

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We believe education is the most pressing issue facing our nation. On Pass the Chalk, we'll share our takes on the issues of the day, join the online conversation about education, and tell stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation.

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