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The Science of Citizenship

The writer, who was a K-12 educator for 10 years, on the decline of science education in the classroom and how it's affecting students and the way they view the world:

Sometimes we planted seeds and bulbs in paper cups and left them to sprout on the windowsill, but mostly I didn’t worry about science. I was teaching them to read; I was working on their cultural literacy.

But science is cultural literacy, a fact that became apparent when a friend teaching in the same school told me about getting her fifth graders ready for their statewide science test. Preparation was hurried, last-minute, cursory: their scores would not be held against our Adequate Yearly Progress, after all. My friend, however, did not want her students to feel blindsided by the test, so she had photocopied some handouts and sample questions. “I was trying to explain photosynthesis,” she said, “and one of my kids asked me, ‘How does a plant make their food? Do they use a microwave?’ What do you say to that?”

PUBLISHED: Nov. 4, 2013
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4498 words)

Our Longreads Member Pick: 'For the Public Good,' by Belle Boggs

This week’s Member Pick is from a brand new publication, The New New South, which has just published a new ebook by Belle Boggs, who’s been featured on Longreads in the past for pieces including 2012’s “The Art of Waiting.” Her latest, “For the Public Good,” looks at forced sterilizations that occurred in the United States and the story of victims in North Carolina.

Read an excerpt here.

Become a Longreads Member to receive the full ebook.

PUBLISHED: Aug. 22, 2013
LENGTH: 61 minutes (15377 words)

The Art of Waiting

The writer confronts her inability to have children and explores how humans' behavior with reproduction compares with other animals:

"Like ours, the animal world is full of paradoxical examples of gentleness, brutality, and suffering, often performed in the service of reproduction. Female black widow spiders sometimes devour their partners after a complex and delicate mating dance. Bald eagle parents, who mate for life and share the responsibility of rearing young, will sometimes look on impassively as the stronger eaglet kills its sibling. At the end of their life cycle, after swimming thousands of miles in salt water, Pacific salmon swim up their natal, freshwater streams to spawn, while the fresh water decays their flesh. Animals will do whatever it takes to ensure reproductive success."
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4159 words)

Homecoming

[Fiction] An urban teen moves to Virginia and tries to stay out of trouble:

"When Marcus’s mother and her boyfriend and just about everybody they knew were put in jail for possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, Marcus went to live with his aunt for a while. Marcus was sixteen, a hurdler and sprinter on the track team at Boys and Girls, a solid B student. A good boy, everyone said. Even as a baby, his mama liked to say, he wasn’t any trouble. He cried so little that she would forget all about him.

"His aunt Tiff was twenty-two and good-hearted, but no one could say that she was good. Ever since Marcus could remember, Tiff was always deciding between boyfriends, and the May when Marcus moved into her apartment was no exception."
SOURCE:At Length
PUBLISHED: Nov. 1, 2009
LENGTH: 57 minutes (14448 words)