Randomly selected articles from this year's issue

Dear Landlord

JOANNA SCHRECK, Queens College Student / Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Letters for Change Writing Contest.


Dear Landlord, For six long years you have collected my rent check, your smile genuine. The first time money exchanged hands we each had trash in the other. The last time, we were preparing for the warmer days ahead with a driveway car wash. Your hose had been punctured and I lent you duct tape for a temporary solution. Though our encounters have been few and far between due to our opposite schedules, they have left a superficially pleasant impression. It is because of this that I find it hard to approach you face-to-face regarding the topic on which I write to you today. You are kind. You have delivered to my door my mail, you have offered me your weekday paper as you know I subscribe only to Newsweek due to cost. You have fed me leftovers and offered idle ...

Common Core Standards

Kathryn O’Donoghue, Queens College Faculty, Doctoral Candidate in English


“Nothing’s wrong,” the school social worker says, which is the first lie. She wants to talk to me about my oldest daughter. Desi reverses her letters, transposes words, neglects punctuation, writes sentences that, with their randomized use of capitals, look like ransom notes. “Her teacher is concerned about her,” the 
social worker continues, which is the second lie. Next year Desi will take the third grade standardized tests in English and Math, along with every other public school student in the country. Her school won a prestigious national award this year and ranks in the top-ten of city elementary schools. Since the citywide school rating system subtracts points for lack of improvement, the new principal is eager to distinguish himself by raising the 
exacting standards of his predecessor. 
Moreover, teacher evaluation now rests upon the test scores of students. The ...

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