Association of Alternative Newsmedia, "'More Alt Than Ever': Alt-Weeklies 2014 Year in Review" AAN asked its member publications, including City Paper, to submit the stories they're most proud of from the last year (the headline is a quote from City Paper's submission). More than 26 papers submitted their favorite stories, including some that have appeared in this blog series.
Creative Loafing, "Things black mothers fear" On Tuesday night, yet another black teen was killed by police: 18-year-old Antonio Martin, who police say had a gun, was shot outside a Mobil gas station in Berkeley, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Earlier that day, Atlanta, Georgia's Creative Loafing published a first-person essay from Carla Aaron-Lopez, who has a 2-year-old son. "Race relations in America make me feel like I'm standing chest deep in a pit of quicksand with my arms holding up my son while I slowly move to break free," she writes. "I may be devalued, overlooked, and underpaid for the rest of my life as a black American woman, but it is my sincerest hope that something will change for the betterment of all American children, not just my son alone." Pair it with this video from the Minneapolis City Pages, which shows the stunning display of thousands gathering in the Mall of America to protest police brutality against American-Americans.
Cleveland Scene, "Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test. Why? And Who's Left Behind?" OK, this story is technically from last week, but it deserves to be shared anyway. At the beginning of 2014 (as City Paper's Edward Ericson Jr. wrote about in January), the General Education Development test (GED) changed dramatically: It's now taken on a computer, instead of on paper; it costs $120, instead of $40; and the questions have been drastically changed in an attempt to measure college preparedness. But as one GED instructor says in the Scene's story, "90 percent of the people here aren't going to college if they pass the test and to say that the purpose of the GED is to prepare people for college is foolish. These people just want to improve their jobs."
Since the changes to the GED were implemented, Scene reports, there's been a serious drop-off in the number of people passing the test: "In the United States, according to the GED Testing Service, 401,388 people earned a GED in 2012, and about 540,000 in 2013. This year, according to the latest numbers obtained by Scene, only about 55,000 have passed nationally. That is a 90-percent drop off from last year. And there are serious repercussions. As national economic policy is emphasizing more adult education programs, and most jobs (even Walmart shelf stockers) require a high school diploma, the new GED test has pretty much moved the goal posts way back. And that includes the incarcerated, where so many prison re-entry education programs include getting the high school drop-out population to pass the GED test."