9 Things You Should Know About the People and Places That Make Our Clothes

by Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where Am I Wearing?

In the past I didn't give much thought to where my clothes were made or who made them. But after riding a roller coaster with garment workers, bowling with them, meeting their families, and sharing bowls of rice prepared over gas stoves during power outages, I can't help but care. But let's back it up a bit.

On my global quest to answer the question "Where Am I Wearing?" I picked my favorite items out of my wardrobe and traced them back to where they were assembled. I went to Bangladesh to visit the factory where my underwear was made, Honduras for my favorite T-shirt (it's got a pic of Tattoo from Fantasy Island), Cambodia for my all-American blue jeans, and China for my flip-flops.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing some of my experiences. But first, let's get some basics out of the way"¦

1. 97% of our clothes are made abroad.

2. Eighty-five people have a hand in making a single pair of our blue jeans.

3. The garment industry accounts for 75% of Bangladesh's and Cambodia's exports.

4. Those frayed edges and holes in your pants that give them that cool worn look are the result of a twenty-something girl sitting all day at a powered grinding stone.

5. The average garment worker in Cambodia earns $50/month and supports seven people.

6. Garment workers don't like bowling. (More about that later this week.)

7. Over half of the world's footwear is made in China "“ eight billion pairs.

8. One-third of American consumers are willing to pay more for clothes produced under good working conditions.

9. You only get one honeymoon. Don't take your new bride to a garment factory on yours. Trust me.

Learn more about Kelsey at whereamiwearing.com. You can pick up his fascinating new book from Amazon.com. A PDF of the first chapter is available here.

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]

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