Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

July 31: U.S. Education (again)

Recent articles triggered by a recent study of educational progress by elementary and middle-school students, such as this one in the New York Times, has motivated us to revisit the subject of our education system: where is it succeeding, where is it falling short, and what can be done about it?

We’ll be joined on Monday by Marc Tucker, former President and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy and now a resident of Brooksville. Needless to say, he should be well positioned to provide some experience-based content (and context) to our musings about how education can be improved.

Marc prepared a PowerPoint presentation, attached, to get us started. Please review it before Monday…we’ll probably start with this as a focus for discussion.

See you Monday!

7/24: Up for grabs

Tomorrow’s Beyond Labels discussion will have no predetermined topic, so we can be as freewheeling as the participants would like.

Next week’s discussion will be about education in the U.S., in particular, the recent declines in math and reading scores amongst eighth-graders (the age at which, I guess, we do comprehensive testing).

More to come on that subject in the next few days.

Whither China?

Last week, after we discussed where Russia might be headed after the Prigozhin/Wagner Group mutiny, we said we might talk this coming Monday (17 July) about “Whither China?” I’d suggest narrowing that topic somewhat, to “Whither the China-US relationship?”

Some of the questions that we could discuss include the following:

After the Prigozhin/Wagner Group mutiny and the performance of the Russian military in Ukraine since last February, is China hedging its bet on its support for Russia? If so, to what extent?

The Biden Administration seems to be trying to take advantage of China’s apparent and tentative hedging on Russia (and other factors affecting China) to reduce mutual tensions. How is the Biden administration doing that? Is there more it should do in that regard, or is it already doing enough (or too much)?

How well is the US coordinating its China policy with our European and other allies? Are their interests in reducing tensions with China the same as ours? If not, how do they differ?

Will the US be able to successfully “contain” China, as it did fairly successfully with the USSR during the Cold War? What would a containment policy toward China look like today? Should we pursue such a policy? Is it likely to succeed? If we followed such a policy, would our allies follow suit? If not, why not?

Here are some links to recent articles and opinion pieces that seem relevant to this topic:

“Xi Jinping may be souring on his ‘best, most intimate friend'”

“Biden bets high-level diplomacy can cool fiery relations with China”

“EU’s van der Leyen calls for tougher policy on China ahead of Beijing visit”

“Can Europe forge a common China policy?”

“Why China has a huge pile of debt”

“‘Several things have shocked me’: an ex-insider on business in China”

“Why China’s young people are not getting married”

A brief description of the development and implementation of George F. Kennan’s containment policy toward the USSR, from the Office of the Historian of the US State Department

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