Trying to fix American education

Two dozen state lawmakers and legislative staffers spent 18-months studying some of the world’s top-performing school systems, including those in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Ontario, Poland, Shanghai, Singapore and Taiwan. They concluded as follows: 1: More help is needed for the youngest learners! In the U.S, poverty is a powerful drag on the youngest learners, …

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Swearing and bullying

“Giles Coren fails to understand that the principal purpose of swearing is as a means of bullying and control. This explains its use by drill sergeants, celebrity chefs, university lecturers and drunken louts on trains. “Swearing is the lexical equivalent of the shaken fist, used by the more powerful as a means of intimidation against …

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Why is pay between men and women so different?

Female high school graduates, aged 21 to 24, earn an average of 92 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Curiously, in America and contrary to expectations, the salaries of female graduates, in general, are 79% of those of their male peers of the same age group. Only a year ago the figure …

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Israel and Palestine. Enough is enough

Just over a hundred years ago, Britain’s foreign secretary Arthur Balfour signed a 67 word long statement that committed Britain for the first time to backing “the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland for the Jewish people”. Israel and its supporters duly celebrated “the anniversary of a foundational moment” in their nation’s history. Palestinian …

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Is Israel ceasing to be a democracy?

This a bit long but important to know: Israel is in the news again these days. President Trump is proposing to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, contrary to international policy. Is Israel the country that many Americans, particularly evangelicals. imagine it to be? Read on: Arabs, peace activists and Israel’s left wing have long …

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More on language ( re: grab it)

An online petition calling on Italians to stop using English words for which there are equivalents in their own language gathered nearly 70,000 signatures before it was closed. The petition was called Dillo in Italiano or “Say it in Italian”, and was backed by the Accademia della Crusca, a language institute founded in Florence in …

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Trickle up!

Republicans, unbelievably, are once again forcing trickle-down economics on the United States, despite the idea being almost unanimously derided by reputable economists and financiers. It’s almost as if Republicans are unaware that the latest experiment in trickle-down has practically bankrupted the state of Kansas and has done little or nothing for North Carolina. They can’t …

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Is running a university worth such huge salaries?

To The Times From Louise Richardson’s complaint that her salary as Vice Chancellor of Oxford (£350,000 a year) is not in the same league as footballers and bankers, to the yacht-owning George Holmes at Bolton (£222,120 a year and a £1m loan to buy a house) saying he is underpaid compared with top US institutions, …

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The prosperity gospel

The so-called prosperity gospel is a set of beliefs that says that God will reward faith , and very generous giving, with financial blessings. Although proponents call themselves christian, there is nothing christian about this idea. The most prominent American prosperity gospeller is currently Paula White, white, married three times and accused of taking advantage …

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