Monthly Archives: March 2011

Arguing the Three Ts: Teachers, Testing and Tenure

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 3/23/11, excerpt:

…thanks to the test, we now believe that we know what good and bad means in the classroom. All the teachers can learn to teach for test and, if successful, that will automatically equal good teaching. Maybe some will get merit bonuses for this.

All the students can learn to learn for the test and that, if successful, will automatically equal good learning. Some may get into better colleges for this. Besides the fact that putting so many eggs in one basket invites a lot of cheating and corruption, everyone can give a great sigh of relief.

Americans seem caught on the horns of a dilemma with all this testing and learning business.

On the one hand, they want a yardstick that can tell them if their kids are being adequately educated in a time of economic uncertainty and cultural flux. On the other, learning is something that, with but few exceptions, is not easily expressed in quantitative terms.

Nonetheless, the politicians are always going to go for the simple answer, whether it makes sense or not.

Read the full essay at To the Point Analyses

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Filed under Education and schools, Lawrence Davidson

The “Kill Team” Photographs

by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, March 22, 2011, excerpt:

…The Der Spiegel photographs also help to explain why the American war in Afghanistan can probably never be “won,” in my view, just as we did not win in Vietnam. Terrible things happen in war, and terrible things are happening every day in Afghanistan, as Americans continue to conduct nightly assassination raids and have escalated the number of bombing sorties. There are also reports of suspected Taliban sympathizers we turn over to Afghan police and soldiers being tortured or worse. This will be a long haul; revenge in Afghan society does not have to come immediately. We could end up not knowing who hit us, or why, a decade or two from now.

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Filed under Afghanistan

“Qaddafi has outlasted four presidents…”

excerpt from Keith Olbermann, “Special Comment: Libya, Obama, and the Five-Second Rule,” FOK News Channel, 3/23/11:

…Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News … just recounted the story of how a previous President vowed to handle Qaddafi after a previous external outrage – and at just about the same time of year. He bombed Tripoli, then went off to throw out a first pitch at the opening game of the baseball season. One of the players at the game told that President that he was worried about Qaddafi and the Libyans. That President told the athlete not to be worried. He supposedly pointed to the bench in the dugout and said of Qaddafi, quote, “We ought to nail his (privates) to that log over there and push him over.”

That President was Ronald Reagan, and this was after the Berlin Disco bombing, and thus the 25th anniversary of empty, vague, and unfulfilled threats against Qaddafi happens next month. Qaddafi has outlasted four presidents, going so far as to con the last of them, George W. Bush, into actually saying that Qaddafi had ‘renounced terrorism’ and merited immunity from the lawsuits over the Lockerbie bombing, plus a visit from Condi Rice, and the home version of the “Play the U.S. like a two-dollar banjo” Game….

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Filed under History, Libya

Soldier, Dad, Whistleblower: Atheist in a Foxhole Takes on Evangelistic Military Hierarchy

by Valerie Tarico, Away Point, 14 March 2011

Justin Griffith is a twenty-eight year old active duty soldier, a sergeant at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He is also a new dad. Griffith likes what he does. He describes the military as a place that has structure, discipline, and opportunities. From his point of view, he has a full life, and a good one. And yet it was Griffith, as much anyone, who blew open the U.S. Army’s Spiritual Fitness program this winter. Why? Why make waves in a job you love among people you respect? Why risk the pariah status that is so often the lot of whistleblowers? Griffith agreed to let me ask him those questions….

read the interview at Away Point

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Filed under Peace, Security, Terrorism, War, Religions