Short memories

As Ezra Klein likes to say, “Tom Toles is worth a thousand words”


“Quality” teachers

A discussion about schools in the on-line forum for my Public Policy class inspired me to look up the “report card” for David and Alex’s school– Kingswood Elementary.

First observation: the school was in danger of being a “failing school” under NCLB because it failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for all 17 measured sub-groups for two years.  The actual results?  15 of 17 in 2008 and 16 of 17 in 2009.  Oh, what a woeful school it was those two years!  (Back to 17 of 17 in 2010).

Second observation: the report card has an array of measures to let you judge the quality of teachers at a school: “fully licensed teachers,” “highly qualified teachers,” “teachers with advanced degrees,” and “national board certified teachers.”  Shame is, as I’ve mentioned previously, there’s no evidence that any of these measures correlate with teacher quality.

Depressing fact of the day

As I’ve mentioned before, you should approach most public opinion questions that ask anything much more complicated than who you plan to vote for or what political party you prefer, with skepticism.  That said, there’s still something quite disconcerting and depressing about the following result from a recent Newsweek poll:

A full 14 percent of Republicans said that it was “definitely true” that Obama sympathized with the fundamentalists and wanted to impose Islamic law across the globe. An additional 38 percent said that it was probably true — bringing the total percentage of believers to 52 percent. Only 33 percent of Republicans said that the “allegation” (as Newsweek put it) was “probably not true.” Seven percent said it was “definitely not true.” The rest (eight percent) either didn’t know the answer or didn’t read the question.

I’d be really curious to see what the results looked like after a single follow-up question: “Really?!”  I honestly suspect that would significantly bring down these crazy numbers.  Nonetheless, these particular results  speak to just how out-of-touch and dysfunctional the modern Republican party has become.  And to think, come January these guys will likely be in charge of Congress.  Yikes.

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