Leading the March of Progress in City Schools

Baltimore's school system has long been plagued by chronic underachievement, dire dropout rates, severe crime, and countless other problems. Yet since becoming CEO of the City Public Schools in 2007, Dr. Andres Alonso has made eye-opening progress in turning the system around. In his Big Think interview, Dr. Alonso recounts some of the daring, often controversial steps he's taken along the way, including revoking the charters of failing schools.

Dr. Alonso had no initial "blueprint” for fixing the troubled system, but he did bring an ironclad standard for progress: do what serves kids best, not grown-ups. He also arrived with a lesson he took away from working with a bright dyslexic child early in his career: always "keep looking for the key" that will help a student—or school, or district—suddenly improve.

Given his job title, you might expect that Dr. Alonso has watched the HBO drama "The Wire," the fourth season of which focuses on the Baltimore public schools. But you would be wrong: no matter how many people gushingly recommend it, Dr. Alonso refuses to watch the show—and he has a reason.

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
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  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
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How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
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Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
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