News

Your K-5 Reading List!

June 24, 2020
Multiple studies have documented the benefits of picture books for young children.

California Drought, Updated (05.19.15)

February 13, 2020

This month marks an historic moment in California - Governor Jerry Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board Issued the state's first-ever mandatory reduction in urban water use.  This development comes sixteen months after the governor declared a drought state of emergency, in what is now the fourth consecutive year of drought conditions and the lowest ever recorded snowpack (at only 5% of average), and after Californians, as a whole, have made only modest voluntary reductions in water use. The new mandate calls for a 25% reduction in urban water use. 

Cuba & the U.S. (03.31.15)

February 13, 2020

The United States and Cuba are moving toward repairing a strained relationship that has persisted for more than half a century. Barack Obama and Raúl Castro have announced their intention to restore diplomatic relations, indicated by their decisions in December 2014 to release political prisoners. In a lead-up to this historic decision representatives from both countries met under the encouragement and facilitation of Pope Francis, who, as the first Latin American pope, has an inherent interest in the region.

Ukraine Crisis (02.27.15)

February 13, 2020

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has now lasted for nearly a year, and pro_Russian separatists have made strategic territorial gains as they seek to break ties with Ukraine. Europe and the United States, alarmed by Russia's large-scale use of force across a border (the first of its kind since the Cold War), seek to bring a peace settlement to this volatile region. Russian president Putin has continued to eny Russian involvement in the fighting, however.

Civil Protest (12.18.14)

February 13, 2020

Recent protests in communities across the country reflect frustration, anger, and disbelief over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two African Americans who have been killed by white police officers, and the officers’ cases that have ended without indictment. The protests, which have taken many forms, boil down to the issue of race and racism, and the conditions that allow for an unarmed black man to seemingly pose enough of a threat to a white police officer that the latter can kill with impunity.

Hong Kong Protests (10.29.14)

February 13, 2020

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution began on September 28, 2014 when police clashed with pro-democracy protestors (and the latter employed umbrellas to block the tear gas and pepper spray). But the roots of the protests go back much further, to Hong Kong’s former status as an economically vibrant, and disenfranchised, British colony; its current “one country, two systems” administration following the 1997 return to Chinese control; and its growing income inequality.

Islamic State in Syria (10.07.14)

February 13, 2020

Since declaring an Islamic Caliphate three months ago, the Sunni militant group Islamic State (IS) has gained territory in northern Iraq and northeastern Syria. Estimates place IS fighters in the two countries at a total of 31,000. The group has terrorized non-Muslims, and Muslims out of step with IS, by driving them from their homes and conducting brutal killings. In response, a coalition of more than 60 countries - including several Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and U.A.E. - has formed to oppose Islamic State. 

California Drought (08.20.14)

February 13, 2020

After three consecutive dry years, a full 58% of California is experiencing what is known as an exceptional drought. California, like most states west of the 100th meridian, is arid, with average annual rainfall around 30 inches or below. But the term “average” is misleading, as rainfall varies dramatically not only from the northwest corner of the state to the southeastern desert, but from one year to the next. And in years with little snowfall or rain, drought strikes hard against California, the state that supports the largest population and economy.

ISIL/Islamic State (07.16.14)

February 13, 2020

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, sometimes called ISIS) is a Sunni jihadist group. It branched off from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in early 2013 with the goal to create an Islamic state (caliphate) that straddles Iraq and Syria. Syria has been engaged in a civil war since 2011, while Iraq is a young and fragile democracy with considerable sectarian strife.

Boko Haram/Nigeria (06.04.14)

February 13, 2020

In April 2014, the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 Nigerian girls from a boarding school in the northeastern state of Borno. Boko Haram can be translated as “western education is forbidden;” its opposition to western education is only part of its larger goal, however, which is to create in Nigeria an Islamic state, ruled by the Koran’s Shari’a law.