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What We’re Reading | March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013 3 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

Kerry Hears Afghan Fears From Women in Business

Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan this week to meet with President Hamid Karzai.  Despite a quickly approaching deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops, Secretary Kerry emphasized the commitment of U.S. support for Afghanistan's economic and political stability.  “The event, held in the secured confines of the American Embassy compound, was intended to demonstrate the progress that women have made in Afghanistan since the days of Taliban rule. But it also highlighted the women’s apprehensions about the course their country will follow after 2014, when the government in Kabul is scheduled to take full responsibility for security in the country, and the American-led international presence will shrink.” During his visit, Kerry spoke specifically with Afghan businesswomen and listened to their concerns about how the upcoming security and political transitions will affect their lives and work.

'A-Plus' Countries Falter on International Math Study

Ongoing overhauls of state math standards are intended in part to prepare American students to compete with their international peers. Yet an analysis in Edweek of the most recent Trends in International Math and Science Study suggests that so-called "A-plus countries" have not sustained that achievement in more recent exams, and that better examples of academic leaders might be found closer to home. To see how your school district stacks up in math compared to countries around the world, check out Education Reform's Global Report Card.

Manal al-Sharif: The Woman Who Dared to Drive

This Wall Street Journal article profiles Saudi Arabia’s Manal Al-Sharif, an activist who worked to advance women’s rights by violating that country’s ban on women driving. “The video she posted of herself driving around Khobar on May 17 became an instant YouTube hit.”

The Current Issue of The American Spectator

In the cover story in this month’s issue of The American Spectator R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. writes Calvin Coolidge: His Times Are Our Times: “Through economies and tax cuts, Coolidge reduced the national debt from $28 billion to $18 billion. He outdid Reagan.” The Director of the Bush Institute’s 4% Growth Project, Amity Shlaes, brought the often overlooked 30th President back to the forefront of economic discussions with her recent biography, Coolidge, which reminds us that the lessons of Calvin Coolidge are more relevant today than ever.