What We Want In Our Next Intern(s)

Last week, we hung our 'Help Wanted: Interns' sign. Lots of strong and amusing responses thus far, but also several requests to extend the deadline, which was originally tomorrow. We have no objections, so the new deadline is December 31st.

Here are some of the things we're looking for:

"¢ Good writers with great story ideas
"¢ Utility players willing to edit, proofread, fact-check, search for images and format blog entries in WordPress
"¢ People who've mastered the witty email
"¢ Tireless internet surfers always able to find funny links
"¢ Future event planners (or campaign advisors) up for throwing mental_floss events on your campus or in your community

Basically, a right-hand (wo)man to make sure nothing (well, less stuff) falls through the cracks. We have a lot of exciting adventures planned for 2008, (possibly) including a dedicated floss-y links page, a daily lunchtime quiz and lots more giveaways. If you think you can help manage some of that, plus churn out great stories for the blog, send us an email making your case -- floss.intern@gmail.com. Here is the interview assignment:

1) Come up with three ideas for stories. Here are links to some of our greatest hits.
2) Turn one of those ideas into a fascinating article.
3) Come up with two ideas for mental_floss quizzes. See our quiz archive for inspiration.
4) Suggest one idea for a recurring column, like Andréa's "˜Feel Art Again.' We probably won't ask you (or force you) to actually write it, but you never know.

One last thing -- in the original post, the hyperlink to the email address omitted the period between 'floss' and 'intern.' I guess it was I who did that, not the hyperlink. Anyway, if you sent your application to flossintern instead of floss.intern, can you email it again?

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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