Tuesday, August 23, 2005

NYT: "Connecticut Sues the U.S. Over School Testing" (Sam Dillon)

Connecticut sued the federal government yesterday, accusing the Bush administration of being "rigid, arbitrary and capricious" in the enforcement of its signature education law and seeking relief from a requirement that it scrap its own testing program in favor of one the state says will not help children but will cost millions.
The suit, the first by a state to challenge Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind law, argues that Connecticut is not being adequately reimbursed for the cost of expanding to annual testing from its current schedule of every other year.
Officials said that and other provisions of the law would force Connecticut to spend $50 million of its own money in coming years. The law specifically bans the federal government from imposing mandates without financing them.

The above is from Sam Dillon's "Connecticut Sues the U.S. Over School Testing" in this morning's New York Times. We'll make it our spotlight entry because we have a number of members who are teachers and a number of them have e-mailed regarding this story. (Maria appears to have been the first.)

Issues of monies going to standardized tests as opposed to diagnostic ones resonates with those members in the education field. In addition, those teaching students whose first language isn't English say No Child Left Behind isn't geared to their needs.

Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Sticker Shock At the Pump" (The Progressive):

In his excellent cover story in the New York Times Sunday magazine yesterday, Peter Maass points to all the signs of the fading of what might soon be known as the Age of Oil. Already Saudi Arabia, which produces about a quarter of the world's oil and far, far more than any other producer, is resorting to water-blasting technology in its largest oil fields--a sure sign, despite the country's protests to the contrary, that the supply is "peaking". Saudi Arabia can't possibly keep pace with new demand for oil from the U.S. and China, Maass writes.
One of the most interesting figures in his piece is the number $40--the amount of money it now costs me to fill up my tank, and, coincidentally, the price per barrel at which investing in alternative energy becomes "economically viable," according to Maass: "When crude costs $10 a barrel or even $30 a barrel, alternative fuels are prohibitively expensive," Maass writes. "For example, Canada has vast amounts of tar sands that can be rendered into heavy oil, but the cost of doing so is quite high. Yet those tar sands and other alternatives, like bioethanol, hydrogen fuel cells and liquid fuel from natural gas or coal, become economically viable as the going rate for a barrel rises past, say $40 . . ."
You can almost feel the tipping point plunging us into a new reality.

And we'll again note Matthew Rothschild's "Distortions of The Times" (The Progressive):

August 20, a page 8 story by Dexter Filkins, "3 Sunni Election Workers Seized and Killed in Mosul."
In paragraph 19 of this story, a separate discussion begins about how the negotiations for the Iraqi constitution are going. Included here is the crucial nugget that a tentative agreement "would prohibit the passing of any legislation that contradicted" Islam.
The next paragraph says that tentative agreement would "relegate marriage and family matters to adjudication by clerics," a concession that would be devastating to women’s rights in Iraq.
And paragraph 21 notes that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad brokered the agreement and backed "a more expansive role for Islam."
Now that's news: U.S. Ambassador Sides with Islam over Women. But that’s not the headline you read in The New York Times.

Rod e-mails to note today's scheduled topics for Democracy Now!:

Middle East analyst Juan Cole and Iraqi feminist Yanar Mohammad on the Iraqi constitution.
We speak with Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson who is calling for aprotest against President Bush's visit hoping for the "the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen."

The Un-Embed the Media tour goes on:

Amy Goodman in Baraboo, WI:
Sat, Sept 10
TIME: 2:45 PM
Fighting Bob Fest
Sauk County Fairgrounds
Baraboo, WI
"Free admission", $10 donation will be requested.
Pre-register at http://www.fightingbobfest.org/register.htm

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