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The saddest statistic

New data shows that suicide attempts by middle school aged children is on the rise:

“There’s a perception that children don’t kill themselves, but that’s just not true. A new report shows that, for the first time, suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have surpassed the rate of death by car crashes.”

As a society, this problem should be a priority for our time, effort, and funding.

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Diagnosing Gerrymandering

The_Gerry-Mander_EditThis one is a bit off-topic for this space, but it is an issue that I care about deeply.  A recent piece by my local NPR station (WUNC) drew my attention.

Researchers in the Math Department at Duke University used a computer simulation to draw congressional districts in North Carolina and compare the outcomes to what actually happened in 2012 with the districts that were gerrymandered carefully drawn by the General Assembly following the 2010 Census.

The results are not really surprising.  The majority of state voters selected Democratic candidates for seats in the legislature, but the outcomes actually favored Republicans with more than twice as many of them winning their elections.  The research showed that this does not match the “desires of the voters”.

It certainly seems like this tool can be useful for diagnosing the effects of gerrymandering.  Maybe someday we’ll have a bipartisan commission to decide district boundaries.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
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Less is more

Those of you who have read Scripted Spontaneity for more than a few months probably know already that I struggle to keep up a regular posting schedule.  It’s not that I don’t like writing, or that I don’t have things to write about, but rather that I tend to put other responsibilities above the call to blog.

Then, my good friend and edublogger extraordinaire, Bill Ferriter, posted the third in a series of really helpful pieces on building a strong education blog.  His most recent piece really hit home for me, and has pushed my thinking toward setting up a schedule for regular posting here at SS.

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