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How the Cold War Space Race Led to U.S. Students Doing Tons of Homework

August 13, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

After a period of shunning homework at the turn of the 20th century, the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1 spurred an urgent U.S. focus on schoolchildren’s workloads.

Middle-schoolers who trudge home each day with a 50-pound backpack and hours of homework would have had an easier time in 1901. That’s when the anti-homework movement was at its peak and the state of California actually banned all homework for grades below high school.

From the late 19th century through the warned in Cold-War terms of the potential fallout from a failed education system.

“…[T]he educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people,” wrote the report’s authors.

Schlossman says that this second academic excellence push did little to move the needle significantly on homework, flattening out at around 12 percent of high-schoolers clocking two or more hours a day by the mid-1980s.

“The homework movement of the 1980s was cast as a character reform movement, almost like a moral enterprise,” says Schlossman. “It didn’t have the intellectual expectations of the 1950s and 1960s.”

In more recent times, a 2016 analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics found that U.S. high school students spent an average of 7.5 hours on homework each week—averaging about 1.5 hours per day. While that was up from an average of 6.6 hours in 2012, it remained an easier lift that what students took on during the heady days of the Cold War.

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First enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown, setting the stage for slavery in North America

August 13, 2019 in History

By Editors

On this day in 1619, “20 and odd” Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrive in the British colony of Virginia and are then bought by English colonists. The arrival of the enslaved Africans in the New World marks a beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in North America.

Founded at Jamestown in 1607, the Virginia Colony was home to about 700 people by 1619. The first enslaved Africans to arrive there disembarked at Point Comfort, in what is today known as Hampton Roads. Most of their names, as well as the exact number who remained at Point Comfort, have been lost to history, but much is known about their journey.

They were originally kidnapped by Portuguese colonial forces, who sent captured members of the native Kongo and Ndongo kingdoms on a forced march to the port of Luanda, the capital of modern-day Angola. From there, they were ordered on the slave ship San Juan Bautista, which set sail for Veracruz in the colony of New Spain. As was quite common, about 150 of the 350 captives aboard the ship died during the crossing. Then, as it approached its destination, the ship was attacked by two privateer ships, the White Lion and the Treasurer. Crews from the two ships stole up to 60 of the Bautista’s slaves. It was the White Lion which docked at Virginia Colony’s Point Comfort and traded some of the prisoners for food on August 20, 1619.

READ MORE: Details of Brutal First Slave Voyages Discovered

Scholars note that the arrivals were technically sold as indentured servants. Indentured servants agreed, or in many cases were forced, to work with no pay for a set amount of time, often to pay off a debt and could legally expect to become free at the end of the contract. Many Europeans who arrived in the Americas came as indentured servants. Despite this classification—and records which indicate that some of them did eventually obtain their freedom—it is clear that the Africans arriving at Point Comfort in 1619 were forced into servitude and that they fit the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ definition of enslaved peoples.

The arrival at Point Comfort marked a new chapter in the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which began in the early 1500s and continued into the mid-1800s. The trade uprooted roughly 12 million Africans, depositing roughly 5 million in Brazil …read more


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Trump’s Latest Immigration Proposal Has One Goal: Keep Immigrants Out

August 13, 2019 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

President Trump’s administration
rolled out
its most significant change yet to immigration
policy Monday: the “public charge” rule. This regulation will ban
legal immigrants if government bureaucrats believe that they might
use welfare. Officials claim the rule will protect taxpayers and
make immigrants self-sufficient, but the rule isn’t designed to
meet these goals. It’s just designed to keep immigrants out.

In the late 19th century, when Congress first passed the law on
which the regulation relies, a “public charge” meant a ward of the
state — someone whom the government had the primary
responsibility to care for. These people lived in “almshouses” and were entirely dependent on the
government for their subsistence. Congress rightly decided it
wanted only immigrants who could support themselves or be supported
by family or private charity.

As almshouses disappeared and the modern welfare state emerged,
implementation of the public-charge standard fluctuated arbitrarily
depending on the administration. Finally, in 1999, the Immigration
and Naturalization Service introduced a clear definition of a
public charge: anyone who receives most of their cash income from
the government. This standard accounted for both the receipt of
benefits but also how much the immigrants were supporting

But the Trump administration rejects this
historic understanding. Its rule will ban immigrants if they might
- again, in the future – use any welfare at all (including noncash
programs such as Medicaid) for more than 12 months in any 36-month
period. Using four different programs for three months would count
as 12 months of use, making anyone who falls on hard times for even
the briefest period a “public charge.”

Far from helping to
‘protect taxpayers’ and requiring self-sufficiency, the
public-charge rule will harm the economy by turning away
hard-working immigrants who are contributing to the United

The real problem with the public charge’s new
definition is not that it’s harsh; immigrants can certainly survive
without welfare. The problem is that it’s economically misguided.
No one who cares about public finances would design a rule that
entirely ignores the degree to which the immigrants support
themselves. Mere use – projected by a bureaucrat in any amount -
would trigger a public-charge denial, even if it was a tiny
fraction of the person’s income.

For example, a government adjudicator could
estimate that that an immigrant would receive
95 percent of their income from private sources and just 5 percent
from the government, yet that (projected) 5
percent would require the applicant be denied. Long gone are the
days when public charges were people almost entirely dependent on
the state. Now, this administration wants us to believe that people
almost entirely independent from the state are …read more

Source: OP-EDS