There needs to be a very close look at the effectiveness of standardized testing, especially as it relates to certain children who come to school without the sufficient home life to succeed.Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers • Discussing an investigative report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that shows that 196 of the country’s 3,125 have suspicious standardized testing results, suggesting high levels of cheating. (Atlanta’s already suffered from a high-profile cheating scandal of its own in the past year.) Some of the districts accused of cheating said they would investigate further, while others took to defending the integrity of their students. (For what it’s worth, the AJC defended its reporting on the story, with AJC Editor Kevin Riley saying that ”We believe in our methodology and are transparent about it.”) If cheating in standardized testing is widespread, does that suggest a problem with the schools or with the tests? source (via • follow)
» Don’t mess with our passion for shopping. After such a turnout for Black Friday, shoppers were ready for online deals on Monday. So were websites touting fake merchandise — from sports jerseys to DVDs to accessories. This was a part of the investigation called “Operation In Our Sites,” which has seized 350 such counterfeit sites since 2010.
Coast guard investigating alleged oil spill: Stress the “alleged,” as a Coast Guard spokesman has said it’s “too early” to make a definitive judgment. That said, a fisherman reported what he thought to be an oil spill “several miles long” off the Louisiana coast near Venice, and the Coast Guard has deployed to ascertain whether the offending substance is indeed oil, and if so where it may have come from. For obvious reasons, oil turning up off the Louisiana coast reminds us of bad, bad things. We hope like crazy this turns out okay. source
Hosni Mubarak admitted to hospital: Mubarak, who was to appear before investigators on charges of corruption (subpoenas have been issued for him and his sons), has reportedly suffered a heart attack. Reports suggest he’s receiving treatment in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort near the Red Sea where Mubarak has lived in exile since being driven from Egypt earlier this year. The former strongman is 82-years-old, and in failing health many Egyptians fear he will die before facing justice. Journalist Jano Charbel: “The fallen dictator must be locked up in a prison cell, not placed in a five-star hospital.” source
We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable.Report by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission • The panel’s report, charged with investigation and review of America’s cataclysmic economic crisis, was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. It cites human error, action, and inaction as being to blame for the collapse. The report will be widely released on Thursday. source (via • follow)