A startup program in Boston, called Parachute, places artists and activists in classrooms to fill in for absent instructors with the goal of teaching kids new real-world skills.

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Packing the Substitute Teacher Pool With Outside Experts, Charging Cars By the Mile (Not By the Gallon) and More

Take a break from the regular news cycle and check out these NationSwell must-reads, which uncover solutions that are moving America forward.


What Can Substitute Teachers Do for City Schools? CityLab
The average teacher misses 9.4 days each school year. Total it up, and by high school graduation, a student will have spent six months of class-time with a substitute teacher. Rather than having a sub plod through an unfamiliar lesson plan or just distribute worksheets, a new model at two Boston schools places local experts in urban farming, animation, robotics, puppetry — you name it — at the blackboard to teach about their field.

Taxing Drivers by the Mile, Instead of at the Pump, The Denver Post
Hybrid and electric vehicles may be a boon to the atmosphere, but they’ve caused some headaches for government administrators, namely, how to pay for bridge and road repairs. Prius drivers travel farther on a tank — functionally discounting their share of the gas tax — so the Colorado Department of Transportation is testing the feasibility of a fairer standard: charging for each mile driven instead.

Can Hypothermia Save Gunshot Victims? The New Yorker
Most people who suffer a traumatic gunshot wound die within an hour. Having lost so much blood, their heart can no longer circulate what’s left. A new procedure at University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, near Baltimore, buys more time by putting the body on ice. When a victim is wheeled in, doctors fill the body with freezing saline, pausing heartbeats and giving them just enough time to sew up the wounds.

Chris Peak is a staff writer for NationSwell. He previously worked for Newsday, the San Francisco Public Press and the Point Reyes Light. Contact him at chris@nationswell.com.