FROM Alex Molnar
Pineapplegate and Privatizing Public Schools On a standardized test this month, New York's 8th graders were asked about a pineapple that challenges a hare to a race. Since the pineapple can't move, forest animals suspect it has a trick up its sleeve and they bet on it to win. But the hare wins — and the animals eat the pineapple. The moral is: pineapples don't have sleeves. That story and the questions kids were asked about it are so obviously stupid that education officials have announced they won't count in official scoring. Others see it as prime evidence of what's wrong with education reform. Are public schools being privatized at increased cost to taxpayers and the quality of education itself?
Public Education and Private Profit In six or seven states, kids were asked ridiculous questions on a standardized test. Then, New York's 8th graders were asked about a pineapple that challenges a hare to a race. Since the pineapple can't move, forest animals suspect it has a trick up its sleeve and bet on it to win. But the hare wins and the animals eat the pineapple. The moral is: pineapples don't have sleeves. The story — and the four questions kids were asked about it -- are so obviously stupid that education officials have announced they won't count in official scoring. The resulting ridicule helped fuel the growing backlash against No Child Left Behind and other education "reforms" based on tests devised by private corporations. Parents' and teachers' groups, and some churches, are among those complaining that education is being sacrificed to the profit motive at public expense. What are the consequences for taxpayers and — more important — for students?
Should Business Provide the Messages Taught in Public Schools? Los Angeles County and San Francisco are among the California municipalities that have banned plastic bags on the grounds that they're bad for the environment. But an environmental curriculum used in some California public schools contains positive messages about plastic bags. They were inserted into a textbook at the request of the American Chemistry Council, which lobbied successfully against a statewide ban.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.