Here’s another opportunity to shake your head in disgust at what we call our system of justice:...
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
We like to say in the United States that we value education, but we seldom walk the walk to go with all that talk. Indeed, when the budget ax falls at the state or federal level, it’s not unusual to find a few kindergartners fearfully huddled around the chopping block, jumping with every whack.
Is that too graphic an image? Perhaps, but sometimes, it takes a little shock to get folks moving in the right direction.
That’s exactly the message we should glean from the recent release of the results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment. In the global exam given to about half a million 15-year-olds in 65 nations and educational systems, teens from Asia dominated while American students showed little improvement from 2009 and failed to reach the top 20 in math, science or reading.
Of course, news of the results has prompted a flurry of claims that we are falling behind the rest of the world. Solomon Friedberg, a professor of mathematics and chairman of the math department at Boston College, called the test results “appalling” in a recent opinion piece he wrote for The Los Angeles Times.
But improvement could begin happening soon as Common Core Standards start rolling out in most states in the nation, including Louisiana. Common Core, after all, is about raising the bar for our kids, for our nation, for our future.
That’s one action, we as Americans must demand.
First it was going to be in the spring of 2011. Then the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said November. That’s when they would convene a panel to consider a rule to protect workers from combustible dust and how any rules would affect small businesses. Now, OSHA says April 2014, maybe.
Unglamorous as it may be, controlling combustible dust, not just in coal mines, is a significant safety issue for workers across the country, whether workers realize it or not.
The Chemical Safety Board recommended that the federal government issue safety standards for general industry to prevent dust fires and explosions. The rule should be based on the National Fire Protection Association’s standards and cover hazard assessment, engineering controls, housekeeping, building design, explosion protection, operating procedures and worker training.
What makes a big news story? It’s almost always an unusual or surprising event of great importance or interest to a vast number of people. But sometimes these criteria are ignored, objective judgment goes out the window and the media pounce upon a story of little importance or interest in their race to be the first to reveal the latest details.
Such was the case earlier this week when television and radio programs were interrupted by bulletins of explosives planted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. The networks were alerted by traffic on social media like Facebook and Twitter and reacted quickly to avoid being excluded from the feeding frenzy.
There were no bombs found, and a few hours after the threat was received, students were permitted to return to the dormitory and three classroom buildings that had been searched. Activities at scores of high schools and colleges are disrupted every day by such threats, so what made this one so different? Why, even a day later, was the story plastered over the front pages of newspapers all over the country, including this one?
Newspaper editors may have felt obligated to explain what all the hysteria the previous day was about, but they also might have been reluctant to appear to be unaware, unconnected and unable to join the big sharks in the media free-for-all.
The University of Pittsburgh went through a long series of highly disruptive bomb threats in 2012, and this never made national news. Pitt is not Harvard, after all. For the media moguls of the East and West coasts, it is in “flyover” country, and it’s not where the wealthiest and most affluent send their children.
It seems the media – all of them – are not immune to flatulence of the brain.
Ah, the Christmas season is upon us.