A sampling of editorial opinion from the United States and abroad as compiled by the Associated Press:
The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette
Only 18.5 percent of West Virginia 15-year-olds are proficient in math – the fourth-worst standing in America, about equal to Bulgaria’s level – according to the Program for International Student Assessment.
West Virginia ranks 49th among U.S. states in “science and engineering readiness,” the American Institute of Physics says.
Just 18 percent of West Virginia eighth-graders are proficient in math, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reports. A mere 3 percent rate “advanced” – giving West Virginia the nation’s worst standing in that category.
In ACT tests for college entry, young West Virginians score 13 points below the U.S. average in math and 6 points below in science.
No wonder Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin devoted his inaugural address to a call for school reform. When the Legislature convenes Feb. 13, upgrading education is expected to be the top demand in his State of the State address.
Improving West Virginia’s learning level won’t be easy. Around the world, rural mountain zones generally lag behind more-prosperous urban complexes in flat territory where commercial development is easier. Studies find that science learning trails in most conservative “red states” with lower-income populations and reduced education levels.
One-fourth of West Virginia youths drop out of high school. Many wreck their futures by drug addiction. Solving this social sickness will be difficult.
We don’t know whether passage of more school laws by the incoming Legislature can change West Virginia’s status. But it’s clear that reforms must be attempted.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
First and always, there was that stance. Hips cocked, the bat held absurdly high over the left shoulder, uncoiling then in a split blink of a eye, lashing a baseball into the gap.
No way you’d teach a kid to hit like Stan Musial did. No way he could. But why then did generations of kids in this town grow up trying to hit like Stan the Man?
He’d come a little closer and you’d hear the laugh, the giggle, the “Whadayasay, whadaysay,” the jokes that were always on him. You’d talk a little bit and never hear a boastful word from him, this guy who was one of the half-dozen or so best hitters ever to play Major League Baseball. Is this guy for real?
Yeah, he was. And he was that good. He was that humble. He defined his team for 22 years as a player and 40 years after that as a senior statesman. When they say St. Louis is a baseball town, it’s because Stan Musial played here and stayed here. If you paid attention, Stan Musial taught you how to treat other people.
Stan knew he was a lucky guy. He didn’t worry about things, except in ’59 when he lost his stroke, and it darned near drove him crazy. At the end of the season he tried to give the Cardinals some of their money back.
If you’re among those who knew him only by his records, or as the elderly gent in a red sport coat in a golf cart on Opening Day, you missed something really special. It is a cliché to say at times like this that we will not see this man’s likes again. But we won’t. And that makes us profoundly sad. And deeply grateful for the life he gave us.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Revelations that the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, made repeated virulent anti-Semitic and anti-western comments as recently as September 2010 are disturbing, to say the least.
The comments have come to light in video available on YouTube. Morsi is seen giving a speech from behind a desk and also appears as a guest on a television talk show. Speaking in his native language, he rails against Israel and against Jews. The man who is now Egypt’s president also calls negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel “futile” and “a waste of time,” and says the two-state solution is “an illusion.”
As the first elected Islamist leader of Egypt, Morsi needs to demonstrate that the West and Israel can trust him. It will be next to impossible to do, though. His statements are relatively fresh, not the ramblings of a young man in the street.