Declare Yourself a Saint (And Win a Book About Your Peers)

[We'll start the judging at 8am Eastern Time Friday morning. Get in those last-minute entries overnight.]

Last month, the fine folks at Quirk sent us a copy of Thomas J. Craughwell's This Saint's For You! 300 Heavenly Allies for Architects, Athletes, Brides, Bachelors, Babies, Librarians, Murderers, Whales, Widows, and You. After being assured holding this giveaway didn't mean parting with my copy, Mangesh and I came up with these contest rules:

1) Declare Yourself a Saint. Tell us in the comments about the obscure area over which you'll preside and hover. The more obscure "“ and the more funny "“ the better. But remember, patron saints already exist for all sorts of random topics, including advertising professionals, beekeepers, lost objects, poets, rabbits, riots, makers of playing cards, the falsely accused, and the physically unattractive.

2) We'll pick our favorite on Thursday and send you the book. Two runners-up will get free mental_floss t-shirts. It's that easy. Well, winning the book is that easy. Recognition as an official patron saint may require additional paperwork.

Here's a little more about information, excerpted from the back cover:

"This Saint's for You! describes the real-life histories of more than 300 saints and explains how they have become associated with certain people, places, and professions. Also included are images of 300 gorgeous full-color holy cards that depict these heavenly allies in all their glory. Whether you're a flight attendant or a stenographer (or an ice skater or a motorcyclist or a Girl Scout...), we guarantee these saints will save your life!"

Let your campaigns for sainthood begin.

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

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North America: East or West Coast?
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