Randomly selected articles from this year's issue

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 ...

We Know

Saygun Gökarıksel, Writing Fellow, Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology


“When will they stop writing such letters,” thought the public administration officer. He had been working in the department responsible for answering the citizen’s complaints for more than a decade. Reading about other people’s problems, complaints, and life stories was a learning experience for him. When the letter was sufficiently attractive, he would then dream about what the author might look like. He spied on many strange faces, eavesdropped on many secret conversations, and recorded many previously unfamiliar stories to his diary as “words from friends.” He befriended those words that reminded him of the society he lived in even during his most solitary hours spent at his desk in the office. But how about this newly arrived letter? “Today everyone seems to be in ridiculously inflated debt with no prospects of repayment,” he thought. What was there to say ...

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