Math as a team sport (5×8 – 1/15/13)

When math kids can’t pass the math test, it was four years ago today on the Hudson, I am an African man, welcoming strangers, and second chances.


The Rochester Post Bulletin reports that high school kids who fail the state’s grad standard math test automatically get to graduate. That embarrasses some educators.

“We didn’t want our kids to pass by default,” the principal at Chatfield High School said. “We wanted them to pass the test.”

Novel idea.

Three math teachers formed the Math Data Team to find out why kids weren’t passing the math tests. They provided extra help, they rewarded kids who passed the test with more lunch time instead of study hall. Fellow seniors “became cheerleaders” to help other kids pass the test, the paper says.

One young man who has failed the test three times is still trying to pass the test. He notes, however, he’s really good at math and that “it comes very, very easy to me.”

And yet, he’s failed three times, which should be a warning about the tests.

More math: Setting math to verse (Scientific American)

More education: New research says the more you try to help your kids pay for college, the lower their grades will be. (Marketplace)



When last we saw these two guys and this airplane together, they were standing on its wing as it slowly sank on the Hudson River.

In North Carolina this week, Chesley Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles were reunited with the jet that was once Flight 1549.

“It really is something to see, frankly, all the damage to it, because I never saw that,” Skiles said.

It was four years ago today that the two pilots landed their plane in the river.

Was this the best airmanship we’ve ever seen. No (in my opinion). This was.


“And we’re even on Facebook!”


Prominent evangelical leaders are making a new push to persuade Christians and lawmakers to support immigration reform.

Among the people participating in the “I was a stranger” campaign is Leith Anderson , the former head pastor of Edina’s Wooddale Church.

Evangelical leaders have actively supported immigration reform in recent years as the number of immigrants has increased in their churches. However, their church members have been slower to take up the issue, the Associated Press reports.


It’s not like I didn’t warn you. Win Borden may be the best writer on Facebook. But he’s reached his maximum of 5,000 friends on Facebook.

Borden writes today:

Why am I grateful? So many reasons. Grateful for the well wishes of friends old and new to be sure. Grateful as well I was for a story that was fair, shared a bit of history, a dose of humor and was written with compassion. At my age, after long struggles I have managed to dump most of my fears along the ditches of the road of life–just too heavy to carry. Yet I worried a bit about the story. They filmed for half a day. I wondered what they would use. I did not want to come off as an old man with cancer at the door of death, nor as bitter and cynical, nor as self important, and not even as a delusional old optimist dispensing buckets of syrup. I just wanted them to show me as I am. And they did.

Which brings me in a tortuous way to the fundamental reason for my gratitude. It is an appreciation for the role of journalists and the importance of freedom of the press in our country. Oh yes, we take some of our most important constitutional freedoms for granted–speech, religion, assembly and press. We don’t think much about them or protect them as much as we should. But few in the world today, let alone in the history of mankind, have had the benefit of those freedoms. We do.

Bonus I: Anybody can ride the subway/train/bus without pants when the temperature is in the 50s. Pikers.

Bonus II: A lot of chortling last week about Los Angeles reacting to what passes for cold temperatures there.

Now it’s our turn to react to what passes for cold temperatures here. Paul Huttner says it might hit -20 next week. Just like the old days.

Bonus III: Listening to NPR makes you old. (Humor)


After last month’s massacre, townspeople in Newtown, Conn., are debating whether to return Sandy Hook Elementary School to service. Family members of some shooting victims are angry about the reopening of the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Columbine High School in Colorado was partly rebuilt after the 1999 shootings there, and Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis is back in business after a massacre there last September. Today’s Question: Should places where mass shootings occur be returned to their former use?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Useless economic incentives.

Second hour: Energy and the Minnesota Legislature. Solar and renewable energy, climate change, distributed generation and more.

Third hour: Pop trends in 2012 and beyond.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Historian Timothy Naftali, giving a Chautauqua Lecture about presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower, called “The Peacock and the Bald Eagle: The Remarkable Relationship between JFK and Eisenhower.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – What’s at stake in hotspots around the world?