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WEEK OF OCT 22, 2013

Journalism Professor Releases Captivating New Book

All Photo Credts & Captions will go in the photo and the font is Calibri Photo by Amazon By Nancy Elias


ournalism professor Robin Fisher, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestseller released her newest book Oct. 22 Fields of Grace: Faith, Friendship, and the Day I Nearly Lost Everything. The novel tells the story of Hannah Luce, daughter of the renowned youth evangelist Ron Luce, who on a plane ride en route to a Christian youth rally with five others was one of two to survive when the plane plummeted into a field in Kansas. Author of After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival, The Woman Who Wasn’t There, and The Boys of the Dark: A Story of Betrayal and Redemption in the Deep South. Unlike After The Fire, which was a book written as

Photo by Simon and Schuster Fisher spent nine months in a burn tionally invested in their lives. I’m how you form your own style. unit alongside two young men, this not capable of flying in and out of Reading will teach you how to book is written from Luce’s perspecsomeone’s life, but it’s so rewarding write.” Fisher said. “When I was tive, using her words. Fisher had to because I love writing so much and stuck during my writing, I would spend time getting to know Luce’s reporting so much. I get the privilege pick up The Glass Castle and read feelings and personality enough to be of parachuting into someone’s life at a a chapter just to clear my mind and able to feel comfortable enough to tell critical moment.” I would be so inspired that I would her story. get right back to writing after readBeginning her career in ad“It’s a kind of story that I like vertising, Fisher realized that she had ing.” to write about…one from tragedy to a profound fascination for journalIn love with journalism, recovery. It gives hope,” said Fisher. ism. When the opportunity came up Fisher was offered to work at to work for a daily paper, Fisher took Rutgers-Newark in 2008. In 2010, More than just tell the story the little job and a few years later was she took over as the coordinator of of Luce’s survival and the events offered a job at the Star Ledger, where the Journalism department. Now a that transpired that day, Fields of she would work for fifteen years. full time professor, she finds teachGrace tells the story of Luce’s road ing a privilege. to recovery and how the tragic event “I’m so curious about everychanged the 22 year-old’s perspective thing. I see someone walking down “One of the things I’m most on everything she thought she knew the street and I want to know their proud of is this journalism program. in life. story. It’s the key to journalism,” said I’ve watched it grow and move into Fisher. the future with so many interest The novel took months to students,” said Fisher. complete. Fisher began in January and “Read, read, read, read!” the first draft was due in April. Fisher advised young writers. Writing, said Fisher, “is emo“If you want to be a writer, tionally draining. I become emoyou need to read other writers. It’s

U.S. Falling Behind in Education By Zeinab Said


ccording to Washington University’s The Student Life, the U.S. has been; in a national comparison, falling behind in primary and secondary education. For decades, the U.S. once had the best public education system, but has attempted to climb back to the top. One major step taken on this quest was the congressional passing of the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ under President George W. Bush. This was the most successful education-reforming program since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 ‘Elementary and Secondary Education Act.’ But to give credit where it’s due the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ is merely a “reauthorization and revision” of the 1965 Act according to PBS. PBS also reported that “[The ‘No Child Left Behind Act’] dramatically increases the role of the federal government in guaranteeing the quality of public education for all children in the United States -with an emphasis on increased fund-

ing for poor school districts, higher achievement for poor and minority students, and new measures to hold schools accountable for their students’ progress.” The U.S.’s intentions were to bring all students to grade-level proficiency. After a decade of implementation, the program has proven to be unsuccessful; as it has only increased the level of improvement in test scores, but not in comparative proficiency with other nations. The reinstatement of this act is still in question according to the New York Times. In addition to the lack of national-ranking improvement, many graduating high school students were not entering college with the proper tools to succeed. In order to address these dilemmas, a new system was established called the ‘Common Core Curriculum.’ The Common Core is a stateled initiative, now adopted by 45 of 50 states, that lays out the Mathematics and English goals for K-12 educators to prepare their students for a college education, according to the Common Core Website. In order to evaluate the college-ready effectiveness of the

Common Core, some states such as Wisconsin, have created committees that are required to compare the old curriculum with this new curriculum. According to The Student Life, the Common Core focuses on a standardized education. [This strategy] raises the standards and therefore the difficulty of the subjects involved” The Student Life said. “The other major complaint about the Common Core is the difficulty of the curriculum. New York, which is generally thought to have one of the best public education systems in the country, recently observed a dramatic decline in the number of passing students.” Under the old curriculum, aproximately 65 percent of third or eighth graders passed English, and 55 percent passed English, and after the implementation of the new curriculum, only 31 percent passed each of the subjects. This new curriculum also intends to teach students to think conceptually and become analytical writers in all subjects provided, but the main goal of this curriculum is to reach outlined national goals, and that is what has mainly caught the atten-

tion of educators and parents across the country. “It’s no wonder why, over the last thirty years, our government has made several attempts to set a more nationwide curriculum. Whether this program is called outcome-based education, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind or Common Core, these initiatives do not benefit all children. Instead, they streamline children straight into failure,” Samantha Poetter, a writer for Kansas State University’s The Kansas State Collegian said.

The U.S.’s intentions were to bring all students to grade-level proficiency. After a decade of implementation, the program has proven to be unsuccessful; as it has only increased the level of improvement in test scores, but not in comparative proficiency with other nations.