Five Categories Jeopardy! Should Avoid During Its "Teachers Tournament"

The popular quiz show wants to honor teachers. To help them out, here are five sensitive subjects the question writers should avoid.

"I'll take 'Standardized Testing' for $500, Alex."

Let's hope that's not one of the trivia categories during the first ever Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament. The popular quiz show hosted by Alex Trebek kicks off its two-week competition tonight. Fifteen whip-smart educators from across the nation will compete for the top prize of $100,000 and a spot during the show's Tournament of Champions.

Jeopardy! producers say since teachers play such an important role in "guiding and inspiring our young people," they "thought it was time to honor teachers with their own tournament." But some categories might get under these contestants' skin. If the show's producers and famed host really want to appreciate educators, they'll avoid trivia questions about the following hot topics:

1) The Billionaire Boys Club: Teachers are a little tired of wealthy CEOs who've never studied education, but pour billions into unproven education reforms and have more clout with school district officials and lawmakers than, you know, the people actually doing the hard work with kids. The show should probably skip the questions about Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg.

2) Michelle Rhee: Educators could also use a break from hearing about the controversial former Washington D.C. schools chancellor who fired hundreds of teachers and then went on to found advocacy group StudentsFirst. No questions for $100 like, "As a struggling first-year teacher Michelle Rhee famously had her students cover their mouths with this sticky substance." (If you're curious, the answer is, "what is masking tape.")

3) Pink Slips: With thousands of teachers nationwide being laid off due to state and local budget cuts, this is not the time to pose questions about famous people from history who've been pink slipped—Unless Jeopardy! wants to make the teachers they're supposed to be honoring cry. Hmm... a little drama could be good for ratings.

4) Collective Bargaining: With states like Wisconsin and Indiana stripping teachers of their rights to collectively bargain their contracts—and more states joining them by the day—this is an especially sensitive subject for educators. I'm sure Trebek will understand since he's a member of AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and bargains the terms of his show's contract every year.

5) Standardized Testing: I'll say it again: Skip this category at all costs. These teachers don't want to hear any clues about number 2 pencils, Scantron forms, measuring teacher effectiveness according to testing results, test prep, or the amount of money testing companies make.

Now that that's out the way, I can't wait to see which teacher walks away with the $100,000 merit pay prize!


For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Keep Reading Show less