Why Mrs. Bush is Wrong About No Child Left Behind (bad analogies part 2)

In a USA Today article Mrs. Bush defended the No Child Left Behind act. Apparently she didn’t read my blog post about not using bad analogies. In the article she says, “We would never go to a doctor and say, ‘I’m sick, you can’t try to diagnose me … you can’t use any kind of test.”

What’s wrong with this analogy? Nothing, so long as you don’t mind the fact that in the analogy the students are the doctors and the eduction system is the sick patient. But actually, this is accidentally a pretty good analogy in some ways. The testing system does treat education system as sickly and makes the students work to diagnosis it. The question then becomes, why are the students the ones with qualifications, and why is the education system so unqualified? And is that even true?

Mrs. Bush explains how the US education system is failing, saying that “poor kids… make it to the fifth grade and can’t read, or make it to the ninth grade and drop out.” But what does this really say? For one it says we already know the problem. Why make the patients into the doctor, forcing them to relentlessly test the system. If we are to believe Mrs. Bush’s assessment then the issue is clearly underfunded school systems in poor communities. Well, that along with a host of other economic class related issues.

It seems most people would agree that the education system in the US needs to improve and we know where and how it is fail to live up to its potential. What remains unclear is how testing achieves that.

environment, technology

The Answers to the Annoying Arguements— Prius vs. the SUV

Why are people so easily fooled?

Right off the bat it needs to be pointed out that the Prius isn’t 100% green, it probably isn’t even 50% green. That said, SUV’s are worse, even if a report by a marketing team uses bad science and silly assumptions to say it ain’t so.

There’s also those folks who talk about how commuting five miles in an SUV is better than commuting twenty miles in a Prius. No kidding! But that isn’t a proper comparison, it is just a terrible argument that completely fails to make any sense. Commutes in the US have steadily increased over the years, so the five mile commute is rare to say the least. But the important thing is that by creating two different distance there is no longer any point of comparison— driving those five miles using a Prius would be better than using an SUV.

Some folks talk about nickel and Sudbury, Ontario (which isn’t as polluted as it used to be, but is very far from being clean), tell them that the new Prius uses lithium batteries not nickel. Also, mention that nickel is used in the manufacturing of most cars, since nickel is needed to make stainless steel.

It might be interesting to point out that the H3 Hummer, and most SUV’s, get about as many miles per gallon as the Ford Model-T.

That said, the Prius isn’t perfect, everyone should make an effort to drive less when possible— no matter what you drive. It is important to remember that there isn’t one car out there that is a friend of the environment, only cars that are less hostile.