Impromtu jury duty

Judging from Maggie's How To Get Out of Jury Duty & David's dispatches from jury duty (maybe: "How to Get Into Jury Duty"?), we at mental_floss definitely haven't shied away from how to cope with the litigious life. I haven't actually had to/had the pleasure to serve on a Los Angeles jury yet, but I did cast the syndicated "Jury Duty" television show last year...Maybe there's some viable conflict of interest there that would get me off the hook.

But at least I haven't yet encountered "emergency jury duty"--as the people of Greeley, CO have recently:

After 161 out of 200 people failed to show up for jury duty, the Greeley courts resorted to what they refer to as "emergency jury duty subpoenas" — picking 50 random people off the street and forcing them to participate in jury duty. Citizens were approached on the sidewalk, in the supermarket and even at the local gym.

But these people didn't just happily volunteer their sweaty armpits and grocery bags full of spoiling milk to sit through a riveting trial. Instead, they were threatened with contempt of court citations if they refused to drop the day's plans for a seat in the jury.

And that's the third time in the last two months they've had to launch such surprise attacks! The best quote was from Karen McMillan:

s By early Wednesday afternoon, more than 50 people had reported to emergency jury duty, many perturbed that they had to drop everything to possibly serve on a jury.


"I have like 5 tons of stuff to do at work," McMillan said.

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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