It’s Friday night and the line is open early because I have places to go. Final notes:

* SCHOOLS: BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT: The Democrat-Gazette had some of this news this morning, but you had to get past the headline to find it on results from the National Assessment of Edcuational Progress, the gold standard in standardized testings. What it shows is that U.S. students HAVE made significant progress over the last several decades and minority students PARTICULARY have made impressive gains in closing the achievement gap.

Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler analayzes this well, as he usually does.

Interesting approaches. Washington Post headline on the NAEP findings:

Academic achievement gap is narrowing, new national data show

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which regularly features publisher Walter Hussman’s Billionaire Boys Club anti-conventional public school agenda in both news and editorial columns, headlined it this way:

Seniors’ reading, math on 1970s level

Writes Somerby, based on the Post account:

“The nation’s 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds are posting better scores in math and reading tests than their counterparts did 40 years ago, and the achievement gap between white students and those of color still persists but is narrowing, according to new federal government data released Thursday.”

… At long last, it is reporting the basic story that it has obscured for so long:

The nation’s students are doing better in reading and math! NAEP data “paint a picture of steady student achievement that contradicts the popular notion that U.S. educational progress has stalled.”

Let’s say that again: The actual data contradict the popular notion that educational progress has stalled.

Everything in education is not swell, of course. But the billionaires can’t wreck conventional public schools, institute vouchers, line Bill Bennett’s pockets still more and destroy teacher unions without first selling the notion that the public schools have universally, repeatedly and eternally failed to help children. They have always been wrong about this central premise. And the numbers are showing, in study after study, that their preferred methods (charter schools) don’t work any better and more often do worse.

* FORMER DISPATCHER FIRED FROM EARLIER JOB: This doesn’t reflect well on LRPD. The dispatcher who apparently failed to properly handle a call that led to the death of a LIttle Rock nurse after her car slipped into a frigid pond had been fired from a previous job in Benton for poor job performance. The AP dug up the records.