For the felon in your life

A new series of greeting cards have been getting rave reviews from prison officials: designed specifically for receipt by inmates, they don't fold up or have any pop-ups that could hide contraband -- and the messages are bluntly straightforward:

The company that designs them is called Three Squares Greetings (you can order the cards from their website), and they trade on a niche that's clearly been overlooked by the Hallmarks of the world. "Wish you weren't there!"kids.jpg
The company's founder, Terrye Cheathem, might've thought these cards were a little funny herself ten years ago -- before her brother-in-law ended up in jail. She was asked to write him, but never knew what to say, and Hallmark cards were "way too cheerful." According to an LA Times article, Cheatham is having some trouble selling the cards in stores; people seem reluctant to make a public acknowledgment that a loved one is behind bars. But when she starts selling the cards online November 1, she expects business to pick up.notyou.jpg

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "I MUST be next," but then again, I'm not quite sure what I'd write. Luckily, I've never had to think about it. Anyone else ever had a little writer's block while penning a note to a loved one in prison? (Feel free to comment anonymously, if you feel like it.)

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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