February 24th, 2018

Calmly we walk: Delmore Schwartz

—John Updike: we may skate upon an intense radiance we do not see because we see nothing else.

Delmore Schwartz was a mid-20th-century poet with a tragic life but a wonderful gift. In fact, Saul Bellow wrote the novel Humboldt’s Gift based on Schwartz, who was a literary sensation at a young age but who faded with time and alcoholism and mental illness, dying alone in a New York hotel at the age of 52.

Schwartz looked the quintessential poet, too:

And he wrote some beautiful poetry that contains an air of mystery and awe.

One of my favorites is “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day“. I suggest you follow the link now and read the poem in its entirety to get the feel and flow of the whole before I discuss bits and pieces of it.

The poem begins somewhat slowly:

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now…

Although it’s poetry, this beginning is rather pedestrian, in both senses of the word. The poet is talking to someone (“we”) as he walks—maybe a girlfriend or wife? Or maybe he’s using the universal “we” as in “this is how we all stroll around in the park on a nice spring day.”

The poem is also very specific. Its specificity is in the designation of a certain time: April, 1937. Poets don’t often pin their creations to such an exactness of date unless they are speaking of some great historic event. But this is not a great historic event. It’s an ordinary spring day in an ordinary New York park. And this “we” is walking very calmly (in fact, that’s the first word of the poem).

So nothing special is happening.

But then there’s a turning that takes the reader by surprise, maybe even by shock. The setup of the ordinary day is peeled back and is revealed as transcendent, as all days are, and the poet speculates on the deepest questions of existence. Here’s the next line, right after “Number provides all distances/It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now…”:

Many great dears are taken away,…

Whoa! Yes, they are, for all of us. And then he follows with this:

What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

So within this most ordinary day in the park—a sort of cliche, really—we have the presence of death and its seeming (possible, questionable) obliteration of the self. And the mechanism for that is the passage of time—which is the school in which we learn and the fire in which we burn, because each moment dies as it is born.

I don’t know about you, but that transition passage hits me like a ton of bricks every time I read it. I never quite expect it even though I’ve read the poem many times. And the transition would not be as forceful without the specifics that precede it (those numbers do indeed “provide distances”). Perhaps we, the modern readers, feel it even more strongly, because it’s been over eighty years since that April day to which the poet is referring, and just about everyone who was around him on that day in the park (except some of the babies and children) is dead.

I’m not going to discuss every line of the poem, but here’s another excerpt in which the poet returns to the very specific, naming some of the people who are gone:

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?…

Five lines and four question marks. Good questions, too.

This is the last stanza, which never fails to give me goosebumps:

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

Schwartz is caught up in a great rush of feeling that I think can rightly be called cosmic—as he calmly walks through that April day in 1937. And now, perhaps, the strangeness of the word “through” in that sentence has more meaning.

The poet was a mere 23 years old when he wrote that poem. I think of him as a human tuning fork, vibrating too sensitively (and almost unbearably) to the harmony of the spheres.

February 24th, 2018

Parkland authorities: let the record show…

It would be a tedious and lengthy process to list all the ways in which the authorities messed up during the events leading up to and including the Parkland shooting. If you’ve followed the coverage, you probably already know what many of these ways are—although,since the MSM often gets things wrong, there’s no way to be sure the story we get today is the story we get tomorrow, and neither may be the full truth.

One particularly egregious failure to react properly appears to have been the actions of Scot Peterson and three other Broward County police officers who were outside the high school and stayed there, guns drawn, while the carnage was going on inside. Again, these are preliminary reports and we don’t know whether it actually happened this way, and if so why. Was this a policy of watchful waiting set out by the Broward police powers-that-be, and were the officers on the scene just following protocol? Or was (as I speculated here) there a set of individual failures of courage involved?

And the FBI’s failures have been likewise egregious. Reading the text of a recent call to the FBI from a concerned friend (or relative) of Cruz or his family, it’s hard not to feel mounting outrage at the FBI’s refusal to act in any way, not even to do something as simple as passing the information on to the local authorities. If ever there was a clear-cut case needing intervention, it was this one:

The tipster, whose relationship with Cruz was also withheld, said Cruz bought rifles and ammunition, using money from his dead mother’s bank account, and posted pictures of them on the mobile application Instagram. Cruz’s mother, Lynda, died Nov. 1.

“It’s alarming to see these pictures and to know what he’s capable of doing and what could happen,” she said of his Instagram. He also wrote he wants to “kill people,” she told the FBI employee.

She spoke to the FBI for 13 minutes. That’s a long time, and she gave a lot of very specific information. One of the things she said was this: “I just know I have a clear conscience if he takes off and…just starts shooting places up.” She had also called local police, according to the call.

The FBI tipster was not the only person who reported major problems with Cruz, both to the FBI and to the local police. And yet nothing of any note was done. Why? We can speculate all we want, and there is no dearth of theories, but I suggest that it was due to a combination of protectiveness (from the family and friends, who kept choosing not to press charges) and an official policy of preference for nonintervention, as well as sheer overwhelming incompetence.

The incompetence stems at least in part from the failure to connect any dots. So many alarms were sounded, from so many sources, all concerning the same young man, and yet it appears that for the most part each incident was treated separately. Was there even an attempt to link them, or a capacity for linking them, or any interest in linking them? Is it a police policy to treat each incident as though it were the first, as long as there are no arrests?

The ball was also dropped by the mental health system, which could have invoked a law in Florida known as the Baker Act (see this) and had Cruz involuntarily committed—for a little while, anyway. However, the counselor who initially evaluated Cruz did not recommend it (see note on chart for 9/28/16). Hindsight is 20/20, but I wonder whether the counselor had access to Cruz’s record, or if he/she merely made a decision based on a quick interview with Cruz?

My impression, however, is that the school did what it could. For example, in the same incident:

A counselor at the school told the Florida Department of Children and Families investigators that a professional from the mental health facility had visited Cruz and “found him to be stable enough [to] not be hospitalized.” The school counselor expressed concern with the department, according to the report, and said she and her staff wanted to “ensure that the assessment of Henderson was not premature.”

I get the impression of a school desperate to kick this upwards and get Cruz more intervention than they could give, but frustrated with the lack of a serious enough response from authorities. I can only imagine what that school counselor feels like right now. She gets to say “I told you so,” but what good does that do anyone?

It seems that many many people who encountered Cruz along the way tried to do the right thing, too. He was reported to authorities by ordinary citizens over and over again. So the failure doesn’t seem to be with the public at large, either.

The entire picture is frustrating, disturbing, and anger-provoking.

February 24th, 2018

Suing the FBI?

Can the Parkland victims’ families sue the FBI for what appears to be stunning incompetence resulting in a failure to protect?

Almost certainly not:

There are a number of legal doctrines which would make it nearly impossible for the families of the victims to successfully sue the FBI.

First, the age-old premise of sovereign immunity is almost always raised when someone sues the government. The baseline rule is that a citizen cannot sue his or her government. Indeed, almost all of the original Columbine High School shooting lawsuits against the police were dismissed on this principle alone.

There’s much, much more. Please read the whole thing.

What is the redress? A congressional investigation, and that’s about it.

February 23rd, 2018

Who were Christopher Steele’s Russian sources for the dossier on Trump?

[NOTE: Please see the update in an ADDENDUM at the bottom of this post.]

Congress would like to know [emphasis mine]:

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has issued a subpoena to David Kramer, a former State Department official who, in late November 2016, traveled to London to receive a briefing and a copy of the Trump dossier from its author, former British spy Christopher Steele. Kramer then returned to the U.S. to give the document to Sen. John McCain…

McCain later took a copy of the dossier to the FBI’s then-director, James Comey. But the FBI already had the document; Steele himself gave the dossier to the bureau in installments…

…Kramer told House investigators that he knew the identities of the Russian sources for the allegations in Steele’s dossier. But when investigators pressed Kramer to reveal those names, he declined to do so.

Now, he is under subpoena. The subpoena, issued Wednesday afternoon, directs Kramer to appear again before House investigators on Jan. 11.

Knowing Steele’s sources is a critical part of the congressional dossier investigation, for both sides. If one argues the document is unverified and never will be, it is critical to learn the identity of the sources to support that conclusion. If one argues the document is the whole truth, or largely true, knowing sources is equally critical.

Beyond that, there is another reason to know Steele’s sources, and that is to learn not just the origin of the dossier but its place in the larger Trump-Russia affair. There is a growing belief among some congressional investigators that the Russians who provided information to Steele were using Steele to disrupt the American election as much as the Russians who distributed hacked Democratic Party emails. In some investigators’ views, they are the two sides of the Trump-Russia project, both aimed at sowing chaos and discord in the American political system.

It may be that the Democratic efforts to tie Trump to Russian propaganda will circle back and point the finger at their own (and John McCain’s) ties to Russian propaganda.

[NOTE: I think that the two best people to follow on the Russia/dossier/collusion/influence stories are Andrew C. McCarthy and Byron York. The article linked in this post is by York.]

ADDENDUM: I was following a link in a recent story about Kramer’s testimony, and it led me to the York article I discussed in this post. I assumed the article was new because the story I was following was new, but the York article is approximately two months old. The new news (as opposed to the older news in the York article) is that Kramer took the Fifth, refusing to testify at all.

And now the following has been announced:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have requested the Justice Department to criminally investigate Steele to determine if he was misleading about how the dossier was distributed and his contacts with media.

It remains to be seen whether we will ever learn the answer to the question in the title of this post. But inquiring minds would dearly love to know.

February 23rd, 2018

Parkland and the Red Badge of Courage

Yesterday and today, on the comments thread to this post I put up last night, there was a great deal of discussion about the reactions of the security guard at Parkland who failed to engage the shooter or even enter the fray.

It’s my observation that people can think they will react in a certain way to danger, but don’t know for sure until they’ve actually experienced a live situation in which they either run away, freeze, or go towards danger to neutralize it. I am virtually certain that training increases the number of people who will be able to confront the danger or the dangerous person. But it guarantees nothing.

What’s more, untrained people often surprise themselves. Time and again I’ve noticed that civilians (non-police, non-military) who have acted heroically in an impromptu situation often say, when they are interviewed afterwards, that they acted without thinking in a way that they believe “anyone” would have done.

Maybe that’s their secret, thinking that anyone would have done what they did. But it’s not the case that all people act this way; not by a longshot.

People in fields such as the military and police are at least somewhat self-selected for the characteristic of running towards danger, and then they are trained to react in a certain way to protect both themselves and others. They are trained to kill when faced with certain situations. That is surprisingly hard, or maybe not so surprising. Some general reluctance has to be overcome, for most people. The military has spent a great deal of time studying this, because it’s important to them.

Over ten years ago I wrote this post on the subject. I’m assuming more has been learned since then, but the gist of it is that the military discovered that a great many men in WWII didn’t fire their weapons, and so the military developed techniques to develop soldiers’ reflexes and reduce their stress, making them more effective at killing and also at deciding in a split-second when it’s necessary to do so. You really have to read the entire post to get an idea of how the training works, but suffice to say that research shows it is effective.

The entire topic makes me think of Stephen Crane’s Civil War classic The Red Badge of Courage. I’ve never read the book, but I had the Classic Comic book as a child, and read it when I was about seven or eight years old.

It made a deep impression on me. I didn’t really understand its complexities, but I got the gist of it. It was about a young soldier’s moment (or really, moments, plural) of truth in battle, when he discovers what he was made of and has to live with the consequences. I recognized the questions it raised as timeless ones, even at that young age. I was drawn to it because even as a child I had my own small moments of truth in regard to courage, and I didn’t think I measured up to my idea of the person I wanted to be.

Now I would like to see the movie Clint Eastwood recently made about the heroes on the French train. It’s my understanding that the film deals with this very question: what was it in the background of these particular young men that made them run towards danger rather than away? Here’s a trailer:

February 23rd, 2018

I’ve so over Skype—but I’m not over Sonja Henie

Many years ago when I did the Sanity Squad podcasts, we used Skype for the connection. It worked. In those days there were no cameras connected with computers, but the audio was pretty good and I never remember having trouble getting everyone on the line together.

Now? Fahggetabout.

I recently had to add Skype to facilitate some conference calls in which I was supposed to have participated, and it’s been no end of trouble. It worked one time out of about five. Finally, someone suggested I uninstall and reinstall it, and that was the kiss of death. I’ve never even been able to sign in since, despite having re-registered and reset my password when prompted.

So I’m through with Skype. The question is, though, how did a simple, working program get so bad? Was it “improved” to death?

Speaking of which, why does YouTube refuse to accept the fact that I prefer the old version of display? I keep resetting it and resetting it. The reset lasts for a while, and then they switch me to the new and I have to reset it all over again.

Some day I bet they’ll stop giving me the option of a reset. Oh, and they also keep sneaking in autoplay. I turn it off, they turn it back on.

To add insult to injury, before they’ll let me go back to the old version, they ask me what’s wrong. There’s even a space to fill out a longer reply than the multiple-choice answers they helpfully supply.

Ha! As though they care. I’ve been waxing more and more irate in my responses, but I very much doubt a human being sees them or gives two hoots about what I actually think.

Speaking of which (YouTube, I mean), they recommended this ice skating video for me. I don’t know why, because I haven’t watched any ice skating on YouTube recently—although maybe they’ve now advanced to spying on my TV life, because I have indeed watched some of the Olympics ice skating on TV within the last few days. The ice skating world seems to have been taken over by the same insidioius technique-is-everything-artistry-is-nothing bug that has engulfed so many other arts such as ballet, but at least in skating it’s not so strange since skating is classified as a sport. But nowadays if you can’t do your triple toe this and your quad that, you’re not going to get to prime time no matter how beautifully you skate.

Which brings us to the YouTube recommended video: ice skating star Sonja Henie filmed in 1945. I remember watching her movies on TV when I was a kid, and I loved her. Looking at it now it is astonishing how skating has changed. For example, she has what I’d call the bent-leg bent-arm esthetic so prevalent then. The line of the leg and arm are bent or curved rather than straight and stretched. But the other big change is that she barely jumps at all, and when she does it’s a single. In other words, jumping really wasn’t part of the deal back then.

But what she does do she does very well, in particular these fast little runs on her toes, and her spins. Ah, how that woman could spin! I don’t think anyone can compare. See what I mean:

February 22nd, 2018

Parkland: It’s not enough to have an armed guard

If the guard isn’t willing to engage the killer, the guard’s weapon does no good.

This is a very very disturbing report:

Scot Peterson, who was the last line of defense at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas resigned after video surfaced of him outside the school Feb. 14 when all hell was breaking loose inside, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

According to Israel, Peterson, a school safety officer since 2009, remained outside of the building for about four of the six minutes Nikolas Cruz was inside killing students with an assault rifle.

When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel did not mince words.

“Went in,” Israel said. “Address the killer. Kill the killer.”…

“Devastated, sick to my stomach, there are no words.” Israel said of his feelings after learning Peterson did not enter the building.

Israel suspended Peterson but Peterson decided to resign instead.

I had assumed there was no armed guard at Parkland, although I was surprised that a guard hadn’t been stationed there in light of all the threats that had been made against the school and its students. Now it turns out that there was a guard (Peterson) either stationed there or arriving quickly on the scene, and that guard did nothing.

One of the characteristics of protectors—“sheepdogs” in the parlance—is that (unlike the rest of us, including me) they run towards danger instead of away. But this sheepdog seems to have been a sheep in sheepdog’s clothing.

A person has to know him/herself before taking on a job like that. It does no good to have a guard who will not confront the danger that presents itself. No wonder Sheriff Israel is so angry.

One particular quote from Sheriff Israel caught my attention. In it, he refers to the Jewish practice of sitting shiva (mourning):

These families lost their children, we lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals. I’ve been to the homes where they’re sitting Shiva. I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just, there are no words.

That reminded me that I had read that Parkland has a large Jewish population (40% of the high school) and that many of the victims of the shooting were Jewish. I began to wonder whether Sheriff Israel himself was also Jewish; the name certainly suggests that possibility.

Here’s what I found:

Israel is the county’s first Jewish sheriff, and it’s an identity he has embraced. A 2016 campaign flier reported on that year by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel centers on the role that faith in general, and Judaism in particular, plays in his life.

“My Jewish faith is a central part of my entire life,” the flier quotes Israel as saying. “My late father Sonny Israel fought in the Korean War and became a police officer because he believed in the call from the Talmud that ‘Whoever saves one life saves an entire world.’ Those words guided my brother and I, as we also became police officers.”

Israel is the sheriff in charge of the area that includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 faculty and students were killed by a gunman on Wednesday. Israel’s children, triplets, had attended the school.

I don’t think these facts had much if anything to do with Cruz targeting that school or his choice of victims, although I certainly don’t know. I think it’s likely, however, that he chose it because it was the school he’d attended and from which he’d been suspended, and the numbers of Jewish victims seem to have been proportionate to their representation in the student body.

February 22nd, 2018

Mass-murdering man of mystery [Part IIIB]: Revisiting Columbine in the light of Las Vegas; revisiting Las Vegas in the light of Columbine

[NOTE: Here are links to Part I, Part II, and Part IIIA of the series. I figure that now—in the wake of the Parkland shooting—would be as good time as any to publish the last installment in this series, so here it is. In this piece I continue my discussion of the possible motives of the Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock and compare him to Harris and Klebold of Columbine. I find remarkable similarities in the two cases that I haven’t seen anyone else discuss.]

Eric Harris, the psychopathic half of the duo of Columbine killers, kept journals that offer an extraordinary glimpse into the double life of a psychopath—what Cleckley, who wrote the first definitive guide to the subject of psychopathy, called The Mask of Sanity. In his journals, Harris removed that mask:
Continued »

February 22nd, 2018

Today’s news

Have you noticed that the news today is almost entirely taken up by the aftermath of the Parkland shooting as it relates to gun control?

That memeorandum page reflects general news coverage, and it’s my impression that this particular mass shooting has engendered more political fallout than most. My theory is that the antigun forces see the Trump presidency as affording them a better opportunity to make their case, but I’m not at all sure that’s correct.

In other news (as you see if you scroll down on the memeorandum page or follow this link), we have the latest in the long-running series of articles about how McMaster’s resignation is imminent. Now, maybe he’ll resign soon and maybe he won’t. But don’t people ever get tired of writing (and of reading) the same-old same-old prediction—one that so far has not come to pass?

February 22nd, 2018

Humming right along in Windsor, Ontario

In Windsor, Ontario, some people are troubled by a persistent low-level hum, the origins of which no one has been able to detect:

Those who hear it have compared it to a fleet of diesel engines idling next to your home or the pulsation of a subwoofer at a concert. Others report it rattling their windows and spooking their pets.

Known as the Windsor Hum, this sound in Windsor, Ontario, near Detroit, is unpredictable in its duration, timing and intensity, making it all the more maddening for those affected.

“You know how you hear of people who have gone out to secluded places to get away from certain sounds or noises and the like?” Sabrina Wiese posted in a private Facebook group dedicated to finding the source of the noise.

I’m tempted to say that the people who can hear it are especially “woke” and tuned in to the Music of the Spheres. But I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate any levity about this, which seems to really trouble a large number of residents and which must be at least as annoying as tinnitus (which is plenty annoying).

I know I feel something similar when riding in cars of recent vintage if just one of the windows is open slightly. There’s a weird, hard-to-describe pressure phenomenon that happens to my ears and just about drives me mad until that window is closed or a second window is opened a crack to balance whatever is going on. Not everyone perceives it, either (maybe half and half?), as I’ve learned when driving with companions.

The Windsor problem has been studied, but the Times article doesn’t really get into what was found. I wondered whether it was a case of mass hysteria, and I had to go to the source to learn, for example, that the sound is both real and measurable (neither of which the Times made clear):

Several conclusions were made by the researchers following several months of data collection: (i) the long duration of the excitations were not consistent with earthquake or other seismic activities, (ii) the prominent frequency of the excitationwas approximately 35 Hz, and due to the speed of the propagating energy, the excitation was an airborne noise source and not a ground vibration.

It was localized to an industrial area known as Zug Island, but that’s as much as authorities seem to be able to determine. Not everyone in Windsor hears the sound, although characteristics of “hearers” don’t seem to follow any known pattern, either. It is intermittent, which means that “hearers” are unlikely to become accustomed to it.

And Windsor is not alone:

Hums similar to Windsor’s have been reported in at least a dozen communities worldwide, including in Australia, England and Scotland, the study said. In the United States, high-profile hums have been reported in Taos, N.M., and Kokomo, Ind.

Researchers studied the Taos hum in 1993 but did not pinpoint a source. Karina Armijo, the town’s director of marketing and tourism, said in a telephone interview that complaints had subsided.

“I have never heard the Taos hum, but I’ve heard stories of the Taos hum,” she said. “There’s not been a lot of buzz about it in the last few years.”

I wonder if Ms. Armijo is aware of the little pun she made in that last sentence, or if it was unconscious.

February 21st, 2018

How to get dressed, 18th Century style

I have no idea why YouTube had a notion I’d like this, but they were certainly correct. I was fascinated by it, and am looking forward to watching the entire series, which covers many many eras of clothing:

I noticed that a great many of the comments were people saying they envied her the big pockets. Example:

See, how the hell was it so common to have pockets on a dress in the 1800’s but nowadays, it’s like you found Narnia?

I love pockets, too, and I try to buy clothes with them because they’re good for resting my arms and protect me from stirring up my chronic arm problems.

I could not help but watch this one, too. If the subject matter offends your delicate sensibilities, be soothed by the fact that this is a very PG treatment of something an awful lot of people have wondered about. After watching it, I can honestly say that it increased my admiration for the clever ways in which humankind has dealt with many knotty design problems. It also solves the mystery of the curiously split silk knickers that had belonged to some ancestor of mine. As a child, I’d found the curious undergarments in an attic trunk and been perplexed by them:

This one features material that’s just so beautiful:

There are plenty more where those came from.

February 21st, 2018

A social justice curriculum that benefited no one

A few years ago a town in Minnesota decided the time had come to institute some changes in its public school system:

…[I]n 2013…Edina [Minnesota] school leaders adopted the “All for All” strategic plan—a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to “racial equity.”

“Equity” in this context does not mean “equality” or “fairness.” It means racial identity politics—an ideology that blames minority students’ academic challenges on institutional racial bias…and focuses on uprooting “white privilege.”

The Edina school district’s All for All plan mandated that henceforth “all teaching and learning experiences” would be viewed through the “lens of racial equity,” and that only “racially conscious” teachers and administrators should be hired. District leaders assured parents this would reduce Edina’s racial achievement gap, which they attributed to “barriers rooted in racial constructs and cultural misunderstandings.”

Racial consciousness/equity was not the only goal. For example, the principal of the school ran a blog on which:

…she approvingly posted pictures of Black Lives Matter propaganda and rainbow gay-pride flags—along with a picture of protesters holding a banner proclaiming “Gay Marriage Is Our Right.” On a more age-appropriate post, she recommended an A-B-C book for small children entitled A is for Activist. (Peruse the book and you find all sorts of solid-gold: “F is for Feminist,” “C is for…Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures,” and “T is for Trans.”)

The outcome was not as hoped, but it was as might have been predicted. A fair number of parents pulled their students out of the public system. It’s not clear how many, it’s not clear how many of them were black, it’s not clear how many of them were the higher-achieving black students, and it’s not clear how those unknowns may have affected the results for black students. But this is what happened:

Four years into the Edina schools’ equity crusade, black students’ test scores continue to disappoint. There’s been a single positive point of data: Black students’ reading scores—all ages, all grades—have slightly increased, from 45.5 percent proficiency in 2014 to 46.4 percent proficiency in 2017.

But other than that, the news is all bad. Black students “on track for success” in reading decreased from 48.1 percent in 2014 to 44.9 percent in 2017. Math scores decreased from 49.6 percent proficiency in 2014 to 47.4 percent in 2017. Black students “on track for success” in math decreased from 51.4 percent in 2014 to 44.7 percent in 2017.

The drop was most notable at the high school level. Math scores for black students in 11th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 31 percent proficiency in 2014 to 14.6 percent in 2017. In reading, scores for black students in 10th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 51.7 percent proficiency in 2014 to 40 percent in 2017.

In addition, the school’s conservative students have filed a lawsuit challenging the plan.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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