One had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.
—  Albert Einstein

Excellence is high scores on standardized tests of reading and math.

That’s it. That is how the current corporation-serving high-stakes test-driven reformster status quo defines excellence for every single child in America (well, almost every child— as always, children of the rich are exempt). Think about that. Think. About. That. If you are a teacher, think about every student you’ve ever taught that you would have called excellent. The outstanding musician who went on to a creative career entertaining and uplifting thousands. The gifted welder who was in such demand that he had his pick of cities to travel to. The student with such exceptional people skills you knew she would be an awesome doctor. The student who could jump higher and run faster than anybody, or the student who competed athletically on the state level. The student who was a genius at coding. None of them can be called excellent— unless they also score well on a standardized math and reading test. If you are a person living in this world on this planet, think of everybody you know who you would call excellent. The single parent who manages to raise several healthy, happy, capable children while working hard to provide them with a stable life. The married parents who make an awesome team while creating a home for their children. The community volunteer whose donation of hours and time and sweat makes your corner of the world a better place. The local politicians or business leaders who set aside their own lives to work at making everybody’s lives better. The doctor. The lawyer. The garage mechanic. The chef. The artist. The ambulance driver. The plumber. Hell, even the teacher. A vast tapestry of people bringing varied, rich, awesome talents and accomplishments to make the world a better place to be. A great gallumphing mass of individuals who let us understand what it means to be fully human, to fully realize what we can best do with the precious moments given to us. to show the myriad ways in which we grasp our lives and create bright beautiful displays of who we are, what we are, what we can be, what we can settle on for our own purpose, even as we help other people realize their own unique vision for their own unique future. And the best we can come up with for measuring everything great and excellent in human beings is some scores on a standardized reading and math test (and not even good tests, at that).

Would any of you be interested in testing out a new website/application that I’ve been working on with a team of people? It’s a bookmarking/shopping website and we’re just looking for people to check it out, use it, and give feedback!

Any help would be much appreciated! I’m talking any general glitches, slow loading pages, color/design opinions…All of it! Thank you.  - Rebecca

… At least three times in the past, San Franciscans and other Americans have been inadvertent victims of efforts designed to help shield citizens againsts attacks:

  1. In 1950, the Army secretly used a Navy ship cruising just outside the Golden Gate to spray supposedly harmless bacteria over the entire city and its outskirts. Eleven people were sickened by the germs in San Francisco, and one of them died.
  2. From 1956 to 1961, the CIA, in a secret behavior modification program called MK-ULTRA, dispatched agents to test the effects of mind-altering drugs such as LSD and synthetic mescaline on unsuspecting people in San Francisco, Mill Valley and other cities across the country. Many of the victims hallucinated, many became sick and at least two deaths resulted from the experiments.
  3. And from 1944 to 1974, both the Defense Department and the Atomic Energy Commission conducted hundreds of secret experiments in San Francisco and around the country that exposed unsuspecting patients to dangerous doses of radiation, including injections of plutonium.

These secret research projects were supposed to help the military and other federal agencies prepare defenses against biological warfare, nuclear terror and mass brainwashing.

The most dramatic of the biological warfare experiments was the one in San Francisco, where, in September 1950, a Navy auxiliary mine-laying vessel pumped out billions of supposedly harmless bacteria called Serratia marcescens.

Winds from the sea carried the microbes over 117 square miles of the Bay Area.

Eleven patients who inhaled the bacteria were hospitalized for severe urinary and respiratory infections in San Francisco, and one died of bacterial endocarditis.

In testimony before a Senate committee in 1994, Leonard Cole, a specialist in biological terrorism who teaches at Rutgers University, said that for more than 20 years, the Army continued releasing clouds of “simulant” microbes and chemicals over hundreds of populated areas.

The Army’s purpose, Cole testified, was “to assess the nation’s vulnerability to attack with biological weapons.” But by the 1970s, Serratia marcescens was removed from the Army’s list of “simulant” agents because of its dangers, Cole said, and less harmful ones were used instead. 

The Common Application is available next week. Here's your step-by-step guide...


Well, now you do… Because here’s your real-time digital supplement to College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Stepour completely revised and updated guide to The Application Form .

It’s a complete guide to filling out the college application, which serves as the cornerstone of a student’s admission file, including:

  • A walk through the Common Application, step by step.
  • An explanation of why colleges want this information and our best advice for how to provide it.
  • Answers to students’ questions about extracurricular activities, academics, testing, and essays are addressed.
  • Guidance on fee waivers, deadlines, “fast apps,” and resumes.
  • A To Do List for the many moving parts so students can put their best foot forward when completing their applications.

Download your complete free copy here.