It’s hard to keep up!

Nov 28, 2022 | 1 comment

Charlie and Sydney at Stanford Commencement, June 16, 1957

Sometimes (maybe oftener and oftener) I am totally confused by what I read.  The source doesn’t seem to matter.  This morning  it was a sentence in the New York Times.  It went like this:
Nine-year-olds lost the equivalent of two decades of progress in math and reading, according to an authoritative national test. Fourth and eighth graders also recorded sweeping declines, particularly in math, with eighth-grade scores falling in 49 of 50 states…

Amazing!  Imagine nine-year-olds losing 20 years of math and reading learning!  It boggles my mind!  And just how are they testing kids on their achievement in basic subjects these days, anyway?  I’d like to see the test that could determine what an individual knew more than a decade previous to their conception!  Huh???  Say what???

So… giving the reporter the  benefit of the  doubt, I’ve tried to parse out the meaning.  The sentence I quoted was in an article by Sarah Mervosh and began: Remote learning erased students’ progress in math and reading.  Perhaps Ms. Mervosh meant that the test scores had slipped when compared to test scores of two decades ago.  That would make a little more sense.  Maybe.  But that’s not what was written.

NYT Newsroom In “The Olden Days”

It all led me on a fanciful flight of journalistic wonder — as in how many decades has the NYT lost in the communication skills of their writers due to the effects of remote investigating and reporting.  Perhaps more than we can imagine.

But then, I tend to be tough on writing standards — my old 1957 BA in Journalism from Stanford still shakes a finger now and then at what I read.  And that criteria DOES go back few decades to be sure!


Is it that post-

1 Comment

  1. Cuzzin Ralph

    Cuzzin Sydney, the problem is that newspapers use an AI (Artificial Intelligence) app to generate headlines for their stories—and many times that app spits out garbage (as in this case) or ambiguous statements that can be parsed in a different way to humorous (even risque) effect! Obviously, your interpretation is correct.

    AI is being over-hyped as a solution to many problems, but it still has a long way to go. I particularly cringe at the concept of self-driving cars—do you really want a robot driving your car? And by the way your Alma Mater is one of the earliest centers for the study of AI (I attended IJCAI conference there back in 1973—1st & only time I’ve been on that beautiful campus!) P.S. Glad you had a great time in Eugene!


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