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Pint-Sized Politicians

10 youthful trailblazers from America’s past, present, and fiction

Earlier this month, 18-year-old Saira Blair broke the record for youngest lawmaker ever elected in the state of West Virginia, after winning her seat on the state’s House of Delegates. Currently finishing her first semester of college, she may be the only elected official that had to go to class the morning after her victory. Beating out a two-year Republican incumbent for the nomination back in May (when she was only 17 years old) Blair’s story and passionate defense of her platform show that perhaps young people are not as apathetic as their cliched portrayal, whatever their political persuasions.

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Slideshows

A New App Helps Shoppers Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

BuyPartisan tracks the political spending of nearly 100 companies that create 2,000 common food products available across the country

Whether you're in a country that's voting on November 4 or not, you may want to think about which party you're supporting next time you go to the grocery store.

A new app, BuyPartisan, meticulously tracks the political spending—through Boards of Directors, CEOs, PACs, and employees—of nearly 100 companies that create 2,000 common food products available across the United States. With a quick scan of a barcode, customers can see whether their favorite cereal (or preferred toilet paper brand) leans more Democratic or Republican.

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Features

Why I'm Taking to the Streets to Demand Education Equity

The 'March as One' elevates the issue of educational inequality in schools.


Los Angeles is my home. It is my family's home, my students' home, and my colleagues' home—and I hope one day it will be home to my own children. As an educator I know students here—like kids in many cities—don’t have equal access to a high quality education, but there is a real lack of civic engagement around the issue. However, this lack of engagement is not just an epidemic here. It's a national epidemic and I’m determined to do something about it.

Along with a group of eight other Los Angeles public school educators, I've organized the March as One—a three-mile long march taking place this Saturday, February 16th to elevate the issue of educational inequality in the city's schools. We've scheduled the March as One three weeks prior to Los Angeles' March 5th school board and mayoral elections—and three days prior to the voter registration deadline—because we're asking candidates to commit to educational equity.

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Articles

What's the Deal With Recalls, Anyway? An Explainer

The results are in for six Wisconsin senators. We explain how they fit into the history of recall elections.


Last winter, an attack on Wisconsin unions’ collective bargaining rights sparked the country’s biggest effort to oust state senators, putting nine elected officials on the chopping block. Now six months, millions of dollars, and 60,000 votes later, we know only two GOP senators were kicked to the curb, which wasn’t enough for the Democrats to overtake the Wisconsin Senate. This leaves many of us pretty confused: Do the Democrats' two successful recalls mean anything? And is this movement really as big of a deal as the media have hyped it up to be?

“This particular effort is unprecedented,” says David Canon, professor of political science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The $30 to 35 million spent on this recall election is 10 times what it usually is. There’s never in our history been this many senators up for recall from one state. All that alone indicates that this was an incredibly important set of elections.”

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Articles

Reform Gone Wrong: Despite $100 Million From Facebook, Newark Schools Still Screwed Up

Infighting and a lack of transparency in decision making are hampering reform and losing the trust of the community.


Last September, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously went on the Oprah Winfrey Show to announce that he'd sent a $100 million friend request to the troubled Newark, New Jersey schools. Six months later, only $1 million of those funds has been spent and the community is bickering over how to best use the $99 million balance that's being held by the foundation that Zuckerberg started to administer the funds, Startup Education.

Controversy started right off the bat when Zuckerberg attached strings to the money, like demanding that Newark Mayor Cory Booker be given control of the city's schools. Due to abysmal academic performance and mismanagement, the 40,000 student-strong district has been under state control since 1995 and mayoral control is prohibited by New Jersey law. Governor Chris Christie went ahead and opted not to renew school superintendent Clifford Janey's contract—a new superintendent still hasn't been hired—and said Booker would play an "advisory" role to the schools.

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Articles

The History of American Political Opinion, in Video

This fascinating video shows the entire country's voting patterns from 1920 to the present slowly fading from one election to the next.

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David B. Sparks has created a fascinating video, in which the entire country's voting patterns from 1920 to the present slowly fade from one election to the next, giving a very interesting picture of how political opinion has evolved in different parts of the country.

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Articles