Kal Penn has a pretty unusual resume: He has starred in Harold and Kumar, the most successful series of stoner movies made in the past decade; and has served in the White House as the Obama administration's liaison to youth. Now he's hosting a new show, The Big Brain Theory, on the Discovery Channel.
Thirty years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan's administration released "A Nation at Risk," a report warning of "a rising tide of mediocrity" in American public education.
According to the report, only one-third of 17-year-olds in 1983 could solve a math problem requiring two steps or more, and 4 out of 10 teenagers couldn't draw inferences from written material. In an address to the nation, Reagan warned that "about 13 percent of 17-year-olds are functional illiterates and, among minority youth, the rate is closer to 40 percent."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The Dreamliner is coming back. FAA regulators have approved a fix for the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which was grounded around the world out of safety concerns. The first redesigned plane could retake to the skies as soon as this weekend out of Ethiopia. NPR's Gregory Warner explains what the world's most modern aircraft means to the cradle of humanity.
A 26-year-old Chinese engineer turned entrepreneur who is in Boston developing a start-up played one of the more interesting and dangerous roles in the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt. He was driving the Mercedes SUV that he'd leased when it and he were carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers. He escaped when they stopped for gas. Ever since, this man has kept a very low profile, but he did give an exclusive two-and-a-half-hour interview to Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz, who joins us now. Welcome.
And we're joined now by our Friday political observers, columnist E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. Hey there, E.J.
E.J. DIONNE: Good to see you.
CORNISH: And David Brooks of the New York Times, good to see you.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to see you.
CORNISH: So we're going to go back to the news we heard at the top of the hour about Syria. We heard Tom Bowman talk about three U.S. options all having downsides. Here's President Obama on this topic today.
The U.S. Navy is planning to ramp up training activities off California and Hawaii. But that has rekindled a battle over Navy sonar, which is known to harm marine mammals. From member station KQED, Lauren Sommer reports.
LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: We humans are visual creatures and for good reason. If someone is far away, you can usually see them before you hear them. Underwater, it's the opposite.
BRANDON SOUTHALL: The physical environment of the ocean really favors the use of sound, and the animals have evolved accordingly.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was moved today to a prison hospital outside Boston. Officials say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is no longer cooperating with investigators. Some members of Congress, meanwhile, say the FBI should have heeded Russian warnings that Dzhokhar's elder brother had become a follower of radical Islam.