Today in History: The Start of World War I

Of course, back then it was not called World War I; it was called “The Great War”. Extensive primary sources are found at firstworldwar.com and Europeana 1914-1918. Newspapers played an important role in covering this conflict: for the American perspective, go to this Chronicling America site while The Daily Telegraph provides its World War One Archive reprinting its entire day-by-day coverage from those years; the London Gazette allows you to retrieve notices back to the 17th century while the British Library features World War One containing articles and primary sources. The United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919 is a 17-volume collection of AEF documents, and the History of  Australia in the War of 1914-1918 is a 10-volume official history. British regimental histories and American regimental histories are available online.

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Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 Commission Report

Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary of the 9/11 Commission Report, authored by the former commissioners, reflects on how the world has changed since 9/11, what we still need to do, and offers concrete recommendations for the future. A lot is packed into this brief report.

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The Difference Between Sunni and Shia

The Council on Foreign Relations has recently issued The Sunni-Shia Divide, an informative introduction to these two branches of Islam. Included are an overview video, timeline, infographics, and numerous relevant links. The BBC also has a brief explanation as do the CRS, the Middle East Institute,  and an NPR series.

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New Jersey Teacher Evaluations Modified

Under the TEACHNJ Act, a component of teacher evaluation was to be the academic growth of students; this was to count as 30% of the evaluation. The Department of Education announced that in the first year of these new evaluations (2014/15), student growth would be pegged at 10% and the following year at 20% of the evaluation. In addition, Governor Christie issued an executive order establishing a nine-member commission appointed by him to assess the quality and effectiveness of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). NJ Spotlight, as usual, provides an excellent overview; NJEA also has relevant information. Additional comments/reportage are at: New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Association of School Administrators, The Bergen Record, Asbury Park Press, and Education Week. Also, please see this article: Some Race To Top States Tinker With Teacher Evaluations.

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Online Primary Sources: British and Foreign State Papers

Published under the aegis of Great Britain’s Foreign Office (until 1968 when the Foreign Office was merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), this multi-volume work includes the text of treaties, diplomatic correspondence, foreign constitutions as well as some internal British documentation , mainly on the budget. Almost a complete run from volume 1 (1812/14) until 116(1922) is available online.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: New Jersey Historic Laws

This site – New Jersey Historical Laws, Charters and Constitutions – from the New Jersey State Library has done an admirable job of compiling various legal sources from diverse sites. Here can be found such items as New Jersey constitutional documents including the debates and proceedings for them or legislative manuals or charters and treaties from when New Jersey was a colony or session laws dating back to 1776. The site is well worth a visit and can be used in conjunction with this previous blog entry.

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The State of New Jersey Pensions Since 2001

This report from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence – The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2013-2017 – charts where the pension funds were in 2001 and where they are headed in the near-term. Look at page 11 to see the gradual diminution of three of New Jersey’s major pension funds.

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