“I’ve seen some teachers who have had some wonderful lesson plans, who would be outstanding teachers, but one of the things that hurt them in the classroom was that they were white,” west-side middle-school teacher Toni Billingsley tells Gregory Michie (Teacher Magazine, May). “One guy had a lot of liberal ideas that the kids were not used to. Same thing with this other female teacher. She was a wonderful teacher, but she came in and was all about the students making decisions about the curriculum, and they could not understand that. They saw her as a pushover. In their minds, they’re thinking, ‘You’re the teacher. You’re supposed to come in here and say: We’re gonna do this, this, this, this, and this.’ You know, with an iron fist.” Michie adds, “The teachers had apparently expected to be viewed as authority figures by virtue of their position. Their students, on the other hand, had expected them to earn their authority by showing they knew how to exercise it. It was a distinction many beginning white teachers in urban schools failed to fully grasp. I certainly hadn’t figured it out during my first few years.”

Where libertarians and environmentalists agree. Jane Shaw of the Montana-based Property and Environment Research Center writes in the Heartland Institute’s “Environment & Climate News” (May): “The fact that wildlife finds a home in suburban settings does not mean all wildlife will do so. The greening of the suburbs is no substitute for big stretches of land–both public and private–that allow large mammals such as grizzly bears, elk, antelope, and caribou to roam.”

Babies before marriage = bargaining power? That’s the belief of many poor women, according to a forthcoming book written by Maria Kefalas and Kathryn Edin of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. According to IPR’s “2003 Year in Review,” “Poor women, Edin finds, believe that getting married first and having children second is the proper order of events in the abstract, but they believe that their life circumstances have not offered them that option. They both want and plan to marry, but they…want to achieve their own financial independence before marrying. They reason that this will allow them to retain some decision-making power in the relationship. And if the marriage fails, their earnings will shield them from financial destitution.”

Recovered history. The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform notes in a May 21 press release that gambling interests have contributed more than $9.6 million to Illinois politicians in the last ten years: “Casino gaming was legalized as a way to help economically distressed towns and regions, and now that the state budget is facing a shortfall, gambling is touted as a solution to the state revenue problem.”

What are they thinking? “In the U.S. press, the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] is often portrayed as a force for liberalism, battling Iraqis’ instinct for theocracy,” writes the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin, who worked for the CPA until March, in the New Republic (June 7 & 14). “But, in truth, liberal Iraqis have been given no more authority than their conservative countrymen. Kanan Makiya, one of Iraq’s leading liberal intellectuals, spent the year following Saddam’s overthrow developing the Iraq Memory Foundation museum that would commemorate the victims of Baathist tyranny and allow Iraqis to reflect on their history. Makiya’s team catalogued documents and applied for CPA permits to build a museum accessible to all Iraqis. But, on April 23, 2004, with the stroke of a pen, Bremer undercut Makiya and established his own National Commission for Remembrance. Similarly, when Dr. Raja Al Khuzai, a liberal Shia member of the Governing Council, voiced concerns in a Council meeting in February 2004 about some of her colleagues’ endorsement of Islamic law, one of Bremer’s assistants chided her for risking an impasse in the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law, which the United States needed to pass quickly.”