Video of the day

Haven’t posted a cool video in a while.  This video of the earth at night using the latest NASA technology is super cool:

Chart of the day

Been covering the death penalty in class this week.  Came across this cool chart of number of executions and number on death row by state via the Economist:

Not surprising to see Texas with a strong lead.  Though, you want a really cool factoid?  Try and find an entire state with more executions than Harris County (Houston), Texas.

Executions by County

More on college disenfranshisement

This one just has me really, really pissed off.   To add insult to injury, get this incredibly insulting and condescending bit from a disenfranchisement supporter:

Jay DeLancy of the NC Voter Integrity Project also voiced support for the student voting restrictions, citing a case in which college students in Buncombe County changed the outcome of a race for a county commission seat in 2012.

“That race showed how easily college students can be manipulated like pawns,” DeLancy said in a press release. “These bills will protect students from such abuse.”

You will be shocked, shocked! to learn that the NC Voter Integrity Project exists to disenfranchise through voter ID laws and by trumping up stupid cases of supposed voter fraud.  Of course, we only need to let them speak for themselves to see just how stupid and venal they are.

George Will: moron

It must be so easy to just sit back like George Will and write about things you don’t actually know anything about by cherry-picking a few outrageous examples and out-of-context statistics (and fool half the readers that you know what you’re talking about by the occasional overly-erudite word).   Anyway, I suspect what George Will actually knows about education policy could fill a thimble, not that that stops him from opining.  Okay, sure, Wisconsin schools may go too far in how they teach racial inclusiveness, but somehow to Will that practically means we should go back to the good old days of segregation.  Plus, we get this:

Today, the school systems in 20 states employ more non-teachers than teachers. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice reports that between 1950 and 2009, while the number of K-12 students increased 96 percent, full-time-equivalent school employees increased 386 percent. The number of teachers increased 252 percent, but the number of bureaucrats — including consciousness-raising sensitivity enforcers and other non-teachers — increased 702 percent. The report says states could have saved more than $24 billion annually if non-teaching staff had grown only as fast as student enrollment. And Americans wonder why their generous K-12 financing (higher per pupil than all but three of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations) has done so little to improve reading, math and science scores.

You know where that money has gone?  Sure, the occasional “diversity specialist,” but in my kids’ schools, that money goes to Special Ed teachers, reading specialists, psychologists, counselors, technology specialists, etc.  These are not mindless bureaucrats pushing paper all day long or something.  In George Will’s 1950’s world, kids like my son Alex were warehoused instead of actually getting an education.  Kids with addressable dyslexia or reading disabilities grew up to be illiterate, kids with home lives that made learning difficult had nobody to turn to in the school.  None of these things are going to raise test scores (which have gone up, by the way, as Kevin Drum frequently points out), but what they have done is given a much more meaningful education to millions of children.  That matters!  And it costs money that is not going to show up in Will’s beloved test scores.  Will’s fond remembrances for days gone by when healthy middle-class white kids got a solid education and everybody else was left out is just pathetic.

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