Returning tomorrow: Weve been called away on a mission of international importance, involving a major Canadian concern. This interrupts our Back-to-school week schedule. But well proceed with Part 3 tomorrow.
For those who would read ahead:
Tomorrows post, Easy to believe, will in part concern this column by the Posts Jay Mathewsa column which appeared on October 26. We were struck by several of Jays claims and presentations. He was nice enough to respond to e-mailed questions about them. (As some may recall, we happen to share the old school system tie with Jay.)
For a later post in our Back-to-school series, which will now extend past Wednesday: We were very much struck by Jays column in yesterdays Post, in which he heaped praise on Robert Smith, outgoing superintendent of schools in Arlington County (Virginia), a DC suburban county. (Jay seems to recommend Smith to be Obamas secretary of education.) Our question: Does Smith have a remarkable record when it comes to achievement rates of black and Hispanic students? Jay sure makes it sound that way. But uh-oh! Relevant datafor the past three years onlycan be teased from this page on the Virginia state education site. (Scroll down to School Division Report Cards. Enter Arlington County; click to page 3 of 26. Compare the countys achievement rates to those of the state as a whole.) More generally, obvious questions are raised by the way Jay reports the rise in Arlington Countys various passing rates, without comparing the data to the rise in passing rates statewide. Does it matter if conclusions like the ones in this piece are well-founded? Or when it comes to public schools, do we just like to feel good? (Weve been asking these questions for decades.)
Our first reaction? It defies comprehension that columns like this appear so commonly at the very top of our journalism. Now that the election is done, its time to head back to schoolfast.
Sad but true: Keith Olbermann returned to the wars last night. Heres how the big galoot began:
OLBERMANN (11/24/08): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Geithner to Treasury, the controversial Summers to the White House Economic CouncilObama`s economic team already running even before it hits the ground.
As Citigroup is bailed out and the auto industry cuts back even on private jets to get the same, the watchword remains "stimulus.
OBAMA (videotape): We have a consensus, which is pretty rare, between conservative economists and liberal economists that we need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape.
OLBERMANN: $700 billion more? OK, I was off for a week. Anybody make a joke yet about a big stimulus package?
Nojust you. Sad but true, we thought (some) parts of last evenings show went downhill even from there.
As Moses asks God the Father in the old joke: Did we come here to play some golf? Or are we just gonna f*ck around?