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Links of the Day:

– Just how do you rate a band teacher in the absence of standardized tests? This is a real issue, as the state only tests for math and English in the lower grades. A New York Times columnist points out some absurdities:

Several weeks ago the state sent out a guide. The band teacher could listen to every child play at the start of the year and assign a score from 1 to 4.

“At the end of the year,” the state guide says, “the teacher re-evaluates their students.” (Someone needs to evaluate the state’s grammar.)

The teacher again grades students from 1 to 4, and the sum of the progress they have made during the year determines the teacher’s rating.

Isn’t this a recipe for teachers artificially inflating student progress? It also seems there are so many variables in judging a child’s musical ability.

– How many snowplows does a city need? The Atlantic posed the question to a couple dozen cities and found Buffalo, the city with the most snow, doesn’t have the most plows.

Buffalo has 1.68 snowplows per square mile, fewer than Washington D.C.:

People in Nashville freak out when there are two inches of snow. People in Buffalo freak out when there are two feet. Washington, D.C. gets about 16 inches a year on average, but once every seven years or so, something really wild happens.


“We’ve got a lot of people here that are from Buffalo, Boston, Chicago, who are accustomed to driving in snow, and so 3 inches is just sort of a laughable thought,” says William O. Howland, Jr., director of the District’s Department of Public Works. “But we’re really a southern city, and so for most of the people here, 3 inches is not something they’re accustomed to. It’s sort of a balancing act.”

Three inches, in fact, will shut down the school system.

– Lack of snow means big savings for municipalities across the country.

– The Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports are worried TSA agents are scaring passengers away.

– New York shouldn’t bet on casinos, because they don’t create economic development and prey on the poor and working class, according to an op-ed in the New York Times.

One Response to Rating Band Teachers

  1. January 23, 2012 at 11:18 am Pat McDermott responds:

    Here’s an easy way to rate a child’s musicality. Have them listen to Steven Tyler’s attempt to sing the national anthem. Count the number of times they cringe. If the number of times increases after a year, there is progress.

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