COVER

NATION

How to Raise the Standard in America's Schools (The Well / Nation)

Our students are falling behind their counterparts in the rest of the world, threatening the U.S.ís economic future. Why national education standards are the only way to fix the system

ESSAY

WORLD

Spain's Costumed Debt Collectors: Final Notice?

In Spain, costumed debt collectors embarrass borrowers into paying back the money they owe. But new proposed legislation could put an end to the tradition of debt collection by humiliation

Why South Africa's Over the Rainbow (The Well / World)

Tainted by scandal and accusations of corruption, the ruling ANC is no longer the moral force it was under Nelson Mandela. It will win the nation's fourth democratic general election, but angry voters have plenty to grumble about

South Africa, Fifteen Years On

Photographer Benedicte Kurzen explores the state of the nation — from the wealthy malls of Johannesburg to the mud huts of the Eastern Cape — as South Africa approaches a critical national election

TO OUR READERS

American Thrift

In our continuing effort to make sense of the new economy, we look at how Americans are cutting back--and looking ahead

LETTERS

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

The TIME 100

To help select the world's most influential people, we asked these newsmakers to offer their nominations for this year's list

The 2009 TIME 100 Finalists

Cast your vote for the leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and thinkers who deserve a spot on this year's TIME 100

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

EDUCATION

Logging On to the Ivy League (Life / Education)

Why top-tier universities are racing to give the public free online access to their best lecturers

SOCIETY

Starting a Diaper Bank (Life / Power of One)

Food stamps don't cover hygiene products. That's why one volunteer is organizing diaper depots

SPECIAL SECTION

Spinning a New Strategy (Global Business / Manufacturing)

The U.S. textile industry is all but extinct. How one company is bucking the trend

BRIEFING

The Skimmer

Book Review: 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation by James Carville