Comey’s Out: President Trump fired James Comey as director of the FBI today, a move that throws the investigation of Russian interference with the presidential election into some uncertainty. Follow our latest coverage here. The announcement comes shortly after it was revealed that Comey misstated a key fact in his Senate testimony last week. Elsewhere in the administration, nine scientists have been dismissed from the EPA’s 18-person Board of Scientific Counselors—ostensibly to include more voices from regulated industries, though the scientists say their work was apolitical and did not involve regulations.
Foreign Engagements: The Trump administration is arming Syrian Kurds to fight against ISIS—a much-debated decision that could have serious consequences in both Turkey and Syria. Trump’s military advisers have also recommended sending at least 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the White House is still considering military force as an option to stop North Korea’s nuclear program—but South Korea just elected a new president who complicates that strategy.
Facing Changes: A new study by The Atlantic and the Public Religion Research Institute finds that white, working-class voters who supported Trump were most likely to be motivated not by economic pressure, but by anxiety over cultural change. In this short documentary, we look at one force in the culture wars: a right-wing Catholic news organization with a growing audience. But economic concerns are still pressing. In a dispatch from rural Ohio, Alana Semuels talks to some of the women struggling to support their families after unemployment and opioid abuse have hit the region’s men hard.
It looks like a typical class in a suburban high school. The teacher, Barbara Curtin, discusses the differences between mean, mode, and median while her students at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School sit in clusters of three or four at tables around the room. A second teacher, Lorin Hill, is there to help. All fairly standard, but for one dramatic difference—the mix of students.
Curtin’s class includes both ninth- and 10th-graders. Sometimes she even has a precocious eighth-grader or two and a couple of struggling 11th-graders. That’s because Parker offers what may be the nation’s most ambitious and comprehensive take on multiage education in middle and high school, breaking grades 7 to 12 into three divisions, with each division blending two grades together.
Keep reading here, as Miller explores the benefits of bringing students from different grades together.
What Do You Know?
1. The oldest surviving autobiography in the English language was written by a medieval pilgrim, ____________.
Our partner siteCityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Adam Sneed shares three of today’s top stories:
Why do luxury developers, including Jared Kushner, love America’s cash-for-visas program so much? The money rarely goes where it’s supposed to—but it is a highly effective way to funnel Chinese money into high-profile condos and hotels.
“In democracies, you get more skyscrapers as urbanization increases or as income increases … But you don’t find this in autocracies. They basically build skyscrapers no matter what.”
If Congress won’t raise the gas tax, it’ll have to find another way to pay for road maintenance. One idea that’s gaining traction: the mileage fee.
Conor Friedersdorf asked readers recently: If gene editing one day becomes a common preventative treatment for genetic diseases, should parents be punished for opting out? A nurse and medical student writes:
Since half of all pregnancies in the country are unplanned and many more are conceived naturally due to the higher cost, logistical barriers, and health risks of IVF, I find it very unlikely that gene editing will become the “norm.”
That said, this ability will add to the privilege of conceiving via IVF, which already allows families to screen egg and sperm donors as well as screen pre-implantation embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. Said another way, single-gene diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, or sickle cell will soon be eliminated among the IVF population and thus will become a marker for disadvantage.
From Beth, happy birthday to Elaine, who’s turning 80. She’s seen a lot of changes:
But so has Sarah, who’s turning 26 today—her Life Timeline includes a coup in Ethiopia and a major earthquake in Italy (as well as the debut of the iTunes store). From Claire, happy birthday to Linda, who was born in 1969 around the time Apollo 10 was launched to orbit the moon. And happy 70th birthday to Terry, who was born when Japan was enacting a new constitution and came of age as students were burning their draft cards. She writes:
My great-grandmother was born in 1856 and died at 100 when I was 7. At the time it was fun for me to imagine what she had seen in her lifetime, and impossible to foresee what I would experience in mine.
See more of what Terry’s experienced here. Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? If you’d like to send a birthday shout-out in an upcoming newsletter, take a moment to fill out this form. (Please leave us a week or so to process your request.) In the meantime, click here to explore the Timeline feature for yourself.