Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Friday Friday Friday

with 5 comments

* Somebody awesomely trolled the New York state assessment exam.

* Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in the sentencing of a man to death here 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that the convict’s sentence be reduced to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act.

* Why, after decades of talk about the importance of a labor–environmental alliance, can’t the blues and the greens get it together?

* Americans Elect can’t get it together either (and thank heaven for that).

* “Special Effects” is the first great Ze Frank video of the “A Show” era.

* Things Don’t Seem Wonderful If You’ve Seen Them All Your Life.

* H.P. Lovecraft Answers Your Relationship Questions.

* Brian Wood teases The Massive.

* Abigail Nussbaum says The Cabin in the Woods wasted a perfectly good plot.

Once you know The Cabin in the Woods‘s twist it’s impossible not to think of the film like this, and to have used this rich vein of story for little more than a metafictional gag seems like a criminal waste.

* Science has finally perfected the sonic screwdriver.

* Zero-hour for high-speed rail in California.

* Mike Konczal and Aaron Bady talk The Wire at

* And there are struggles deeper than the struggle with God: The Stages of Grading.

5 Responses

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  1. i am not sufficiently versed in internet language to properly understand “awesomely trolled” but the NYS exam thing really shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    To comply with Obama’s ed reform policy, NYS paid Pearson $34 million. Pearson then recycled this exam item, a strangely edited/reworded excerpt from a Daniel Pinkwater work, that had been used on other state’s exams in the past.

    If all goes according to the Obama plan, NYS decides who is a good teacher based on this test. If Obama gets his way, teachers with poor scores get fired. If not, well, they can still be publicly shamed in the newspapers that print their “value added” scores.

    Until 2011, all NYS exam items were published online due to state law. This changed with the Pearson contract and Obama reform.

    Even as Obama, Cuomo, Bloomberg want transparency in teacher performance (let’s publish ratings in newspapers) they don’t demand transparency from Pearson (we don’t need to see what exam items these ratings are based on.)


    April 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    • I was definitely being flip. Thanks for the context.


      April 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

  2. […] In the comments on Friday my friend b scolded me for being flip about New York’s genuinely terrible state assessment exams. Today Gawker has […]

  3. You know, this is the first time I’ve seen the actual text for this item, which has been greatly bandied about as an example of all things wrong with America – and frankly, I don’t find either of these questions incomprehensible. They both seem like elementary reading comprehension to me, and anybody thrown by the fact that they’re about a talking pineapple is clearly not very educated.

    Seriously – the hare is the only animal that sees the obvious: pineapples can’t run. The moose tries to double-think it all, the crow backs him up, and the owl just does a pedantic throwaway correcting a figure of speech.


    May 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    • Darn it, I can’t edit after posting on WordPress, can I? “Clearly not educated” was clearly not well put. Ugh. This is what happens when you go eat and come back and post whatever it was you had typed in beforehand.


      May 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm

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