A new issue of American Teacher is out. From The Washington Monthly, a special report on the Next Big Test: A new wave of school reform is about to break — will it change classrooms for the better? From American Educator, the assault on teachers’ unions: If teachers’ unions really are a problem, why aren’t the states that forbid collective bargaining performing better?; and a model lesson: Pasi Sahlberg on how Finland shows us what equal opportunity looks like. Se Hoon Park on why the Korean school system is not superior. The American education system has never been better, several important measures show — but you’d never know that from reading overheated media reports about “failing” schools and enthusiastic pieces on unproven “reform” efforts. Is there a way to get our brightest students from the best colleges to become grade school or high school teachers? Dumb kids’ class: Mark Bowden on the benefits of being underestimated by the nuns at St. Petronille’s.

From New Politics, a symposium on disability rights. John Amaechi was the first major league sportsman in America to come out as gay; now he’s a psychologist, an OBE and an outspoken atheist. From The Progressive, Ian Murphy on the 9 most loathsome lobbyists. Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist turned computer scientist, has a new project: charting his every bodily function in minute detail — what he’s discovering may be the future of health care. How might the federal budget be balanced without increasing revenues? A review of Political Writing: A Guide to the Essentials by Adam Garfinkle. Phoenixes: The critics did not like I’m Still Here; if, as many suspected, it was a “mockumentary” — by then an established comic genre — then why perpetrate so much deceit? A review of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years by Geoffrey Nunberg.

Antti Kauppinen (TCD): Greed and the Crisis. Benjamin Kunkel reviews Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order by Philip Coggan (and more) and Debt by David Graeber. A review of The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy by Yanis Varoufakis. From The Weekly Standard, when bankers behave badly: Irwin Stelzer on why Mitt Romney should call them on it (and more). Liberating banking from the traders who now run it will reduce the corruption of our politics; break up the banks — break them before they break us again. David Cay Johnston on how corporate socialism destroys. Capitalism is regulation: A review of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told about the Economy is Wrong by Edward Conard. The rise of inequality is at the center of the current economic and financial crisis. A review of Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis by James Galbraith (and more). Read this book to understand Wall Street: A review of Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con by Guy Lawson.

From Vanity Fair, by the time Marie Colvin got herself smuggled into Syria last winter, to report on the slaughter for the London Sunday Times, she was a legend, for her style as well as her courageous dispatches championing the innocent victims of war — it would be her last story. Mohtadi on the the Shabbiha, terrifying criminals in the service of the Syrian regime. Leilani Clark on the artistic case for abolishing copyright. Ali Steven Farron defends capitalism against Ayn Rand. Odyssey and the lost Spanish treasure: Susan Berfield on the international battle over 17 tons of coins discovered by an American deep-sea treasure hunting company. Todd Lam writes in defence of the blockbuster. Not a messaging problem: Romney doesn’t need a better answer to how are your policies different than Bush’s — he needs policies that are actually different.

Guy F. Shroyer (UDC): Hegemony, Nationalism and Doxa: A Social Semiotic Analysis. The Yale Grand Strategy Seminar: Thomas Meaney and Stephen Wertheim review George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis, and Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order by Charles Hill. In October 1962, Kennedy confronted both the Cuban missile crisis and a war between China and India; though Cuba got more attention then and now, that Asian crisis still holds valuable diplomatic lessons. The world that America built: A review essay on what a planet without US leadership would look like. Anne-Marie Slaughter on 21st century foreign policy. Failure is an option: Does history forecast disaster for the United States? No politician will admit that the United States is no longer number one, but other nations do a lot of things better — and we need to learn from them.

From the latest issue of the New York Review of Magazines, a profile of Jeremy Leslie, the man behind magCulture; keeping us honest — looking back and ahead with three editors of CJR; a look at 10 magazine articles that shook the world; are magazines the new Magic 8 Ball? Definitely yes; and what magazines inspired you? Five editors answer. Why capitalism has an image problem: Charles Murray examines the cloud now hanging over American business — and what today's capitalists can do about it. Jason Hickel on how Occupy activists fell in love with their own radical horizontalism and fetishized physical occupation. The Supreme Court has likely hastened the day when the federal government takes over Medicaid. The cultural industry is on life support; without money from Big Business, journalism, the arts, and academia are not sustainable.

Stephen LeDrew (York): The Evolution of Atheism: Scientific and Humanistic Approaches. From IEET, will life extension mean the end of religion? It’s a simple but very scary concept — that we live in an “Existential Atheistic Nihilist” world and universe. One of the selling points of religion is that it offers hope in a heartless world; does that mean those without religion are also without hope? A review of The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now by George Levine. An interview with Greta Christina, author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss off the Godless. If there is a God, then anything is permitted. What did Nietzsche mean by the death of God? Benjamen Walker and guests explore the legacy of the German philosopher's statement (and more and more and more). From Secular Web, Michael D. Reynolds on how Christianity has been destroyed. The Christian right, radical Islamists, and secular leftists agree: Sam Harris is America’s most dangerous man. A review of Difficult Atheism: Post-Theological Thinking in Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux by Christopher Watkin.