Missile strikes are satirical cabaret

From the NYT: Separate from the attacks on the Islamic State, the United States Central Command, or Centcom, said that American forces acting alone “took action” against “a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” from the Khorasan group in Syria to disrupt “imminent attack planning against the United States and Western interests.” Officials did not reveal …

Hart, Bushes, and Counter-Factuals

There is on glaring error in Matt Bai’s record-correcting exegesis of the Gary Hart infidelity scandal. At the end, Bai accepts Hart’s counter-factual claim that had Hart defeated George H. W. Bush in 1988: “Well, at the very least, George W. Bush wouldn’t have been president,” Hart said ruefully. This sounded a little narcissistic, but it …

PARCC Problems

PARCC has released some results from a survey of students who took the field test in spring 2014. One disturbing item stands out: A majority of students found the directions hard to understand to some degree. At most a third of the students “almost never” found the directions hard to understand. On the math computer-based test, …

Much Ado About Nothing

I do not support Hilary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. There are many qualified Democratic women who could run; in fact, I consider the view that Clinton is the only near-term potential female president to be atrociously sexist. However, Clinton is getting underserved flak for her comments in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic. In the …

Is Illinois Over-Taxed?

With the 5% income tax rate about to expire, many politicians are complaining about how over-taxed Illinois residents are. Illinois residents are unhappy, and more people leave the state than move to it. But when asked why they plan to leave, only 8% cite taxes. Illinois tax collection lags behind most other states, including its neighbors, …

2016 Election: No Clinton?

While the buzz is that Hilary Clinton will run for the Democratic nomination in 2016, I would not be doing this if I were planning to run: Since Mrs. Clinton left the State Department in February 2013, she has delivered a steady string of speeches to industry groups that pay her around $250,000 per event. …

Common Sense in NYC

NYC is about to adopt a new promotion policy in K12 schooling that no longer uses state accountability tests as a decisive factor in student promotion from one grade to another. The tests will still be a factor, but a poor test score alone will no longer block advancement to the next grade. Instead, the test …

An Empty Core

Field testing for the multi-state assessments for the Common Core State Standards began last week. Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which oversaw the drafting of the CCSS with the National Governor’s Association, heralded the events in  the Huffington Post: The promise of Common Core standards, now being …

Common Core Math Questions

In November, PARCC, one of the two multi-state consortia developing Common Core assessments, released some more sample questions. CCSSI Mathematics has  good analysis of them.  As they right note, this is an exercise in factoring, not in multiplication. The 10 x  10 grid prohibits a student from arranging the tiles in a 2 x 24 …

Christie’s Shallow Victory

The press is proclaiming NJ Gov. Chris Christie to be the candidate that can reach beyond the GOP in 2016 based on his landslide victory on Tuesday. But this is a weak analysis of what actually occurred. Christie won with 1,242,568 votes, a small gain over his 2009 win with 1,174,445 votes, or 48.5% of the …