Our Friend’s girls’ school, Académie Lafayette, recently instituted a finger scanning system to better track attendance and lunches.
The emphasis on finger scanning (as opposed to finger prints) is deliberate: the software AL purchased identifies and stores only random points generated from a child’s prints, NOT the prints themselves: finger prints are never entered into the system. When that child next passes their finger over the scanner, the software lugs through its database until it finds the right points and…voilà!
Our Friend has mentioned that while most parents are fine with the system, there are some who refuse to have their children’s fingers scanned. Because…Luddites!
Undoubtedly these fine folk have also taken steps to assure their children’s’ social security numbers have not been compromised, as well as have taken great care to avoid buying sexist dolls with relaxed moral sensibilities, not to mention the rabid toy bears available everywhere.
German scientists today will conduct an experiment that’s much safer than playing with kid’s toys: they intend to heat up hydrogen until it equals the exact same temperature as the center of the sun.
What could possibly go wrong there?
As if a mere month into the year there has not been enough political idiocy, comes now Liz Cheney to announce her candidacy for a Wyoming state office…from Virginia.
It’s got to drive her daddy crazy, watching Liz use the same election strategy as Hillary. [.2 Especially since she’s doing it so poorly.]
The poisoning of Flint, MI, is –at the least– a future educational nightmare.
To put this in context, 0.3 to 0.6 standard deviations [in test scores] is huge: if an [educational] intervention yields a 0.05 standard deviation change, that’s considered a success.
If this effect carries over to a test like the NAEP, the effects become even worse. The effects of lead poisoning are close to the low-income/non-low income difference or the black-white difference, which are typically around 0.67 standard deviations.
State-wide in Michigan, the median learning-disabled child is a full standard deviation below the median non-disabled child (1.03 to be precise) on eighth grade math if the child is low-income; if not, the median learning-disabled child is one and one third standard deviations below the below the median non-disabled child.
If we assume that lead poisoning lowers test scores by 0.5 standard deviations–and given the massive poisoning in Flint (this isn’t just air pollution or eating flakes of paint–it was in the water) that doesn’t seem unreasonable, what this means is that [students with] learning disabilities, rather than being ten to fifteen percent of the student population (using the median learning-disabled score as a cutoff) would be twenty to thirty percent of the student population.
The NYT weighs in:
Bilal Tawwab, the superintendent of the city school system, said that one school nurse serves the 5,400 students in the district, but that he hoped some of the money flowing into Flint might help open health centers in every school.
He also hoped to make prekindergarten available to every 4-year-old — spaces are limited — and to hire more experienced teachers for special education.
“That’s the piece that keeps me up at night,” he said. “It costs almost double to educate a student with special needs. And our wages, our salaries, are so low.”
How is it an angry mob has not yet lynched Michigan governor Rick Snyder?
While stuck in Taco Bell’s drive-thru —Taco Party Pack!– last evening Asta Jr. inquired whether Ted Cruz would be really good for America (as Ms. Spencer, her English teacher, asserted) or if he would stone our culture back to a 16th century theocracy? I mean, she seemed really worried about it.
I assured her that America’s Christian population is in decline, with the foam-at-the-mouth evangelicals dropping as well, so that even should Thor completely abandon mankind and allow Cruz to become the GOP nominee, his i.) lack of enough “base” votes, combined with ii.) the rest of an appalled America dead set against him, would easily lose Cruz the general election.
And that seemed to suffice. However, it did evade the larger question – what would Cruz attempt to do?
The answer is easy enough: Cruz would want to lead the nation backwards into religious slavery. And I know this because of part of his victory speech on Monday night. I’ve posted it below, complete with informative links of his backers. If you can get through those without shuddering…well, more power to you.
TED CRUZ (R-TX): And let me say our leadership team, our Iowa state chairman, Matt Shultz, what an extraordinary job. You have done organizing a grass roots army, and let me say to our Iowa state director, Brian English, what an amazing job Brian has done. And to our national co-chairman, Bob Vander Plaats and Steve King, these men have become dear and trusted friends. They are warriors. They are men of principle. They stand and speak the truth. They stand to defend their values and let me tell you, these leaders, day after day, week after week, have been crawling under broken glass with knives between their teeth. I’m grateful for the support, the early support of my friend Steve Deace. We’re grateful for the over 150 pastors across the state of Iowa, who joined our team to energize people of faith. We’re grateful to the state senators, to the state representatives, to the volunteer leaders in each of the 99 counties who stood up and said we will be heard and this will be decided by the grassroots. And then, I am so grateful to national leaders, people like Dr. James Dobson, and Tony Perkins, and Phil Robertson, and Governor Rick Perry, and Glenn Beck. Leaders who have stood and led, bringing together and coalescing conservatives here in Iowa and all across the country.