Thursday, February 24, 2005

What's worth reading in this morning's New York Times?

On the front page of this morning's New York Times, check out Sam Dillon's " Report Faults Bush Initiative on Education:"

Concluding a yearlong study on the effectiveness of President Bush's sweeping education law, No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers drawn from many states yesterday pronounced it a flawed, convoluted and unconstitutional education reform initiative that has usurped state and local control of public schools.
The report, based on hearings in six cities, praised the law's goal of ending the gap in scholastic achievement between white and minority students. But most of the 77-page report, which the Education Department rebutted yesterday, was devoted to a detailed inventory and discussion of its flaws.

Also note John Files' "Rules on Gays Exact a Cost in Recruiting, a Study Finds:"

The military has spent more than $200 million to recruit and train personnel to replace troops discharged in the last decade for being openly gay, a new Congressional study has found.
The review by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, was requested by more than 20 lawmakers who were concerned about the costs of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy instituted in the Clinton administration, particularly for service members with "critical occupations" and "important foreign language skills."
The accountability office plans to release its review on Friday. The New York Times obtained it from a member of Congress who had requested the study.

This is buried inside the paper because while TV Guide blurbs along the likes of "Tonight on ER!" are front page news (the Times "scoop" by a few hours), apparently "Tomorrow night on Third Watch" belongs inside the paper. Who knew?

In "World Briefing" (A10), we learn that another "environmentalist [was] gunned down in Brazil." Last time it was Dorothy Sang. This time it's Dionisio Julio Ribeiro. Is it a pattern or just a mistake? The Times can't tell you because the only story they have on the issue is this one paragraph brief (by Andrew C. Revkin).

I would recommend Ralph Blumenthal's "A School Exam's Conscientious Objector :"

Macario Guajardo was one child left behind Wednesday when his classmates took the all-important Texas statewide reading test for promotion to the sixth grade.
Actually, 11-year-old Macario, an unlikely crusader at 4-foot-11 and 93 pounds, wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt, left himself behind. He stayed out of school in protest against what he called "the big deal" of the testing program, which he said "keeps kids from expressing their imagination."

"I don't think I'm brave," Macario said at his home here in the Rio Grande Valley. "Any kid could do this. It does take a little bit of guts."

And brains. More brains and guts than our leadership has apparently.

Also note Lawrence K. Altman's "Study Challenges Abstinence as Crucial to AIDS Strategy:"

A new study in Uganda challenges the importance of abstinence as a centerpiece of the Bush administration's international AIDS prevention strategy. The study was conducted by Ugandan scientists in collaboration with researchers from Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities.
Health officials around the world have pointed to Uganda's success in reducing the prevalence of infections with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, in recent years. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, the Bush administration and some public health experts have credited the decline largely to a policy known as ABC, for abstinence, be faithful (monogamy) and condom use.
Although educational campaigns promoting abstinence and monogamy may have been effective and contributed to the decline, the study found no evidence that abstinence and monogamy explained the overall decline in H.I.V. prevalence, said the lead author, Dr. Maria J. Wawer of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia.