Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has ordered the closure of thousands of “non-life-sustaining” businesses. He has also urged people to remain at home, self-quarantined. Those decisions have resurrected fundamental questions about the role government plays in our lives. Among the many issues raised are whether the Governor should have the authority to shut down businesses, if he should have used that authority, if gun stores should be closed, and what to do about economic failure. I write to offer my nuanced perspective on all four issues.

By shutting down entire sects of commerce, the Governor has done remarkable damage to our…


This Philly student thinks teachers should be preparing students to communicate in the modern world. So why are there still books in the curriculum from the stone age he asks?

Image: Oladijemi Odunse

The goal of a language class is to foster competency in the language. This is done, in part, by providing examples of the language having been skillfully orated and written. Those examples should be modern because teachers should be preparing students to communicate in the modern world. This is common sense. But given the prevalence of outdated texts in our English curricula, not many curriculum developers have it.

Shakespeare is taught because of his significant contributions to the English language. This is a good reason to teach about someone. But there are reasonable ways to go about teaching Shakespeare. Giving…


Family Separation

We live in a day of selective outrage; where people choose what and what not to be outraged about and when to be outraged about it. At one moment, a certain measure is perfectly fine, and at the next, it’s “morally bankrupt.” Things are never “void of morality” or simply “nefarious,” they are always “morally bankrupt.” Aside from our need for a fresh phrase, we need intellectual honesty and the equal application of moral criteria. When it comes to the separation of immigrant families, we do not equally apply moral criteria. If we did, then we would also take issue…


In the 1850s, Democrats advocated for the newly added territories of the United States to become slave states. This created much tension in the country. And from that tension, the Republican Party was born. Abraham Lincoln started the Party to oppose the Democrats’ plan for slavery expansion. And some years after the Party’s founding, Lincoln won the Presidency; America had just elected a leader who opposed slavery. This did not sit well with Southern Democrats that wanted to maintain the racist status quo of the South. So, Democrats organized the Southern slave states and waged a war against the federal…


Deciphering the Meaning of Words

©iStockphoto LP

Every word has its meaning. And when that meaning is unknown the dictionary should be deferred to, always. But it isn’t; people do not instinctively look to the dictionary for the meaning of words because they have been taught to do everything but. Students, starting in elementary, are told to utilize their “context clues” and even their common sense — which is good — but are never told to utilize the dictionary. It is a tangled web one weaves when he opts to avoid the User’s Manual for the English language: The dictionary. It is a more tangled web when…


Our schools have descended into the murky waters of needless math and science, standardized testing, neglectful teaching of English, and shoddy rule-making. I write this as a declaration of some sort: Of how public schools consistently fail their students.

Curricula

Students ought to be taught the foundations of prose, cursive writing, management of finances, basic economy, politics, the rudiments of the three branches of government (which a whopping seventy-percent of our country is unaware of), and the constitutional rights they have as American citizens. Instead of being taught those practical things, students’ brains are being crammed with mathematical formulas and scientific…


Different Forms of Interpretation and Which is Better

In this age of popularized cudgeling of originalists, like Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, I feel it necessary to explain opposing methods of interpretation and examine their flaws.

There are three mainstream methods of constitutional, statutory, and general textual interpretation: First being purposivism, which is the theory that a text gets its meaning from its author’s intent. The second is consequentialism, a method of interpretation that calls for readers to interpret texts in a way that renders the most beneficial or popular result. …

Jemille Q. Duncan

Writing about controversial legal, academic, and political topics. Contact: JemilleQ.Duncan@gmail.com

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