Theodore R. Sizer: Beacon Press Mourns the Loss of an Educational Reformer, Author, and Friend
Nancy Gift: Weed Fight Lands Me in the Principal’s Office

Link Roundup: Rural Youths, A Picnic in North Korea, Sexual Assault in the Military

Review of Hollowing Out the Middle on the Daily Yonder blog:

Most impressively, the authors keyed into what concerns rural youths about their adult lives and how these quandaries fuel the exodus of young people from rural places. Their dilemma, in short, is between remaining as adults in rural communities where they sacrifice educational or economic opportunities or leaving beloved rural places for expanded options in urban areas. Rural kids find that they must negotiate between their commitment to place and their commitment to the American ideal of individualist achievement, an ideal increasingly difficult to reach as the economic foundations of many rural communities continue to crumble. “When moving up implies moving out,” what should young people do?

In this weekend's New York Times, Marie Myung-Ok Lee (author of the novel Somebody's Daughter) discussed a recent trip to North Korea with her mother.

We sweltered through customs at the hands of men in gray Mao suits and women in neutral “Mad-Men”-era outfits, every heart topped by a pin of Kim Il-sung. Then over the next few days we were shown carefully presented slices of Pyongyang: the subway, for example, which we rode for a single stop, where elaborate murals of a workers’ paradise were lighted by chandeliers. We went to endless museums and parks but were sternly instructed not to speak to any locals. We took meals at restaurants where we were the only customers, and the food seemed to come from the same Western-facsimile kitchen: bread with swirls, bland fried flounder, mayonnaise-based salad served in a martini glass. Finally my mother, weary of the utter weirdness of the place, told our tour guide in Korean that we needed to try some real North Korean food.

Penny Coleman poses a difficult question: does military service condition men to commit sexual assault?

Yet for decades, in spite of the terrible numbers, the military has managed with astonishing success to get away with responding to grievances like Krause's with silence, or denial, or by blaming "a few bad apples." But when individual soldiers take the blame, the system gets off the hook.

And it can be shown that the patterns of military sex crimes are old and widespread -- for generations, military service has transformed large numbers of American boys into sexual predators.

Interfaith Youth Core founder and Obama faith advisor Eboo Patel was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report; documentary photographer and journalist David Bacon was named an Utne Reader Visionary. Beacon Press sends out its congratulations to both of them for these much-deserved accolades.