What We Are Reading Today: Learning in the Fast Lane

Updated 11 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Learning in the Fast Lane

  • More than 22,000 schools now participate in it, across nearly forty subjects, from Latin and art to calculus and computer science

AUTHORS: Chester E. Finn, Jr., and Andrew E. Scanlan

The Advanced Placement program stands as the foremost source of college-level academics for millions of high school students in the US and beyond. More than 22,000 schools now participate in it, across nearly forty subjects, from Latin and art to calculus and computer science. Yet remarkably little has been known about how this nongovernmental program became one of the greatest success stories in K–12 education — until now.

In Learning in the Fast Lane, Chester Finn and Andrew Scanlan, two of the country’s most respected education analysts, offer a groundbreaking account of one of the most important educational initiatives of our time, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Learning in the Fast Lane traces the story of AP from its mid-20th century origins as a niche benefit for privileged students to its emergence as a springboard to college for high schoolers nationwide, including hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged youth. 

Today, AP not only opens new intellectual horizons for smart teenagers, but also strengthens school ratings, attracts topflight teachers, and draws support from philanthropists, reformers, and policymakers.


What We Are Reading Today: Floating Coast  by Bathsheba Demuth

Updated 16 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Floating Coast  by Bathsheba Demuth

Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: Through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.

The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans — the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia — before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. 

Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?