Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
But, I just saw this for the first time, today.
Joerg Sarbach/AP Photo
More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education…
Not much has changed since 2000, when the U.S. scored along the OECD average in every subject: This year, the U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries. It scores close to the OECD average in science and reading and ranks 21st in science and 17th in reading…
On average, 13 percent of students scored at the highest or second highest level on the PISA test, making them “top performers.” Fifty-five percent of students in Shanghai-China were considered top performers, while only nine percent of American students were.
One in four U.S. students did not reach the PISA baseline level 2 of mathematics proficiency. At this level, “students begin to demonstrate the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” according to the PISA report…
The U.S. ranks fifth in spending per student. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland spend more per student. To put this in context: the Slovak Republic, which scores similarly to the U.S., spends $53,000 per student. The U.S. spends $115,000. The PISA report notes that, among OECD countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.”
Much like health care, Americans who believe nothing counts better than dollars probably still believe we have the best education in the world – regardless of test results, in spite of diminishing GDP marching downhill in parallel to PISA scores.
In fact, it’s becoming fashionable on a couple of fronts to reject test scores like these. Aside from old-fogies fearful of furriners, the teaching infrastructure from the NEA to bloated bureaucratic structures won’t agree to any streamlining – even if we try to copy the Finnish model placing teachers into the upper pay scale of education and employment.
The grade school I attended had over 600 pupils K-8, 18 teachers, 1 janitor, a school nurse, 1 principal and a secretary. What does the employment roll look like in anything comparable in your town or city?
My school was typical of the several in a medium-sized New England factory town. Last time I checked on Albuquerque, New Mexico, the total number of folks on the payroll of the city’s school board exceeded the number of students.
Yes, this is one of the easiest hot buttons to push on my brain. Because I received a pretty good education – supplemented by what my family came up with for my sister and me via books they bought and the neighborhood Carnegie library. Over the 9 years of that K-8 school, we had exactly 3 dropouts. And they were considered an anomaly. Ne’er-do-wells who only sat there waiting to be old enough to quit.
RTFA. Not too long for all the details and categories included. Think about it. I hope you get pissed off enough to apply pressure to the sensitive parts of your local politicians.
Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority – AMAFCA – are the folks who give us all our truly New Mexican snowman, every year.
Happy Holidaze, folks
Oklahoma’s Cyber Command Security Operations Center said state employees on the state computer network made 2,008,092 visits to Facebook in a three month span.
The agency, which is aimed at protecting the state computer system from cyber attacks, said its tracking of the state computer network found state employees made 2,008,092 visits to Facebook between July and September, but officials said the number may be inflated as Facebook registers a page view every time a website is brought up that includes an embedded Facebook widget…
The operations center said Google registered 1,074,684 page views during the same time period and Twitter and YouTube had 272,661 and 225,228 page views, respectively.
Preston Doerflinger, director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which oversees the Cyber Command Security Operations Center, is implementing a policy to block state employees from using their work computers to access Facebook unless they can demonstrate a legitimate need to access the site as part of their jobs, an agency spokesman said.
What constitutes a legitimate need to access Facebook as part of your job? Unless you’re paid to be a snoop.
The US government has agreed to pay $50 million after it was said to have pirated “thousands” of copies of military software.
Apptricity, based in Texas, has provided logistics programs to the army since 2004…The company said it had discovered last year the software had been installed on many more machines than had been licensed.
The Department of Justice has not commented on the settlement.
The Dallas Morning News reported a DoJ spokeswoman had confirmed the agreement, but would not give more details.
Apptricity’s software allows the military to track the movements of soldiers as well as key supplies…
According to court documents filed in 2012, the deal with the military meant up to 500 named users could access the software.
Apptricity later estimated that 9,000 users were accessing the program, in addition to the 500 that had been paid for.
The unauthorised copying only came to light after a US Army official mentioned “thousands” of devices running the software during a presentation on technology.
Apptricity called for $224 million to be paid to cover costs…The settlement of $50 million falls some way short – but in a statement the company said Apptricity would spend the sum on expanding the company…
In recent years, the US government has stepped up efforts to combat piracy, announcing a wide-ranging strategy for clamping down in 2010.
“Piracy is theft, clean and simple,” remarked vice-president Joe Biden at the time.
Don’t you love it when the crooks don’t read the script. Like – if you’re an officer it somehow ain’t theft. The same holds true for the folks under your command.
The rest of us poor SOB’s not only get to pay retail – we pay the salaries of the brass hats who boosted the software.
A Minnesota man accused of stealing a newspaper delivery truck from a gas station told police he took it because he was running from zombies according to criminal charges filed this week.
Garrett Howard Hurlbut, 23, of Apple Valley was charged with stealing a motor vehicle during the September incident, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
A police report said officers found Hurlbut near the truck, several blocks away from the gas station where it was reported stolen.
Hurlbut told police he had “jumped or fell from the truck” and was “running from zombies,” the report said…
Hurlbut had a blood-alcohol level of 0.198, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving. He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for cuts on his head.
It’s beginning to feel like zombies are the standard excuse for anything. We need something new – and stupid, of course.
Shoppers are pictured inside an Apple store on 5th Ave during Black Friday Sales in New York November 29, 2013. Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day holiday, has traditionally been the busiest shopping day in the United States.
Yes, the store was closed on Thanksgiving Day.
The United States has signed agreements with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to help those countries’ banks comply with an anti-tax evasion law starting next year…
The deals are part of the US effort to enforce the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act…which was enacted in 2010 and is set to take effect in July 2014. FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to tell the US Internal Revenue Service about Americans’ offshore accounts worth more than $50,000. It was enacted after a Swiss banking scandal showed that 17,000 US taxpayers had hidden substantial fortunes overseas…
With these two deals, both signed this week, the Treasury has now finished 12 FATCA “intergovernmental agreements”…which help countries’ financial institutions comply with the law…
The trading of financial information, though not part of the Cayman Islands deal but included in many of the other 11 FATCA agreements, has rankled US banks. In April, the Texas Bankers Association and the Florida Bankers Association, both industry groups, filed a lawsuit attempting to block a Treasury Department rule that would allow the IRS to send certain bank account information to foreign governments.
Looks like Romney, his Republican peers in the billionaire boys club will have to put their sleazy tax accountants to work again – searching out places to hide their funds from any responsibility to pay taxes in the United States.
It’s always preferential to hide your money rather than run the risk of leaving it inside countries that may have favorable taxation plans for foreigners; but, still let the IRS know how much you have inside their borders. Or so I’ve been told. Never had enough money to worry about.
A police squad car was reported missing this morning during a burglary call and turned up shortly afterward blocks away, police said.
About 4:15 a.m., police officers reported the squad car missing after a premises check in the 3500 block of South California Avenue in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic said. The officers had been investigating after the activation of a burglar alarm in a building on the block.
Officers found the squad car abandoned shortly after, blocks from where the officers had left it, Sedevic said.
No suspects were in custody as of early this morning.
Yup. Every police department in the country lectures us about never leaving our keys in the car.
Not certain what sort of administrative hassles these coppers will be up for. Probably won’t match the embarrassment they feel.
A Mormon bishop in Utah said he received mixed reactions from churchgoers when he arrived for services disguised as a homeless man.
David Musselman, the bishop of the Taylorsville Fourth Ward, said friend and professional makeup artist Tara Starling helped him disguise himself as a homeless man so he could go unrecognized at his church Nov. 24…
Musselman said some churchgoers were compassionate toward the apparent homeless stranger, while others were less welcoming.
One congregant told him to leave church property, he said…”Many actually went out of their way to purposefully ignore me, and they wouldn’t even make eye contact,” he told the Deseret News.
“I was impressed by the children. I could see in their eyes they wanted to do more,” Musselman said.
Musselman, who revealed his disguise to the congregation, said the stunt was aimed at promoting kindness and acceptance of others.
Judging a book by its cover seems to be a practice still in vogue.