Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Apple a day...

So I'm apparently the only person left in the Western world that didn't buy more Apple products in the most recent quarter and people are jumping back into the stock with two feet after their earnings -- there are some concerns about guidance and the impact that favorable tax treatments may have had on results (their tax rate fell from 32% to 23.7%) -- but we'll have to see how it plays out tomorrow.

The Consumer Comfort Index is not a number I follow too closely because it tends to bounce around, but it did provide some interesting feedback when it hit an all-time low in Jan 2009 just as the economy was really hitting the bottom. Well, the April numbers came out yesterday and the reported number dropped back to -50 just 4 points from its all-time low last January. Also, a surprising 92% of those polled said the national economy’s in bad shape.

I don't know how we mesh our stated policy of improving education in the US with plans to cut between 100k and 300k teaching positions this year.

"Districts in California have given pink slips to 22,000 teachers. Illinois authorities are predicting 17,000 job cuts in the public schools. And New York has warned nearly 15,000 teachers that their jobs could disappear in June.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan estimated that state budget cuts imperiled 100,000 to 300,000 public school jobs. In an interview on Monday, he said the nation was flirting with “education catastrophe,” and urged Congress to approve additional stimulus funds to save school

“We absolutely see this as an emergency,” Mr. Duncan said."

I suspect that the "RACE TO THE TOP" funding will eventually come through to save many of these jobs.

On a related subject, I read this today and realized only our best students could come close to matching these academic standards:

Fourth graders in Hong Kong visit an artist’s studio, study Picasso’s Guernica, and analyze the works of modernist sculptor Henry Moore.

Finnish 5th and 6th graders study how the invention of writing changed human life and the impacts of the French Revolution; they trace a topic such as the evolution of trade from prehistory until the 19th century.

Seventh graders in Korea are expected to know not just about supply and demand, but about equilibrium price theories, property rights, and ways to improve market function.
Japanese 7th to 9th graders “conduct experiments regarding pressure to discover that pressure is related to the magnitude of a force and the area.”

Eighth graders from Ontario are expected to create musical compositions, conduct, and know musical terms in Italian.

Dutch 12th graders must know enough about seven events connected to the Crimean War to be able to put them in chronological order.

Canadian 12th graders in British Columbia are expected to identify the author of the words: “Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men” and to what Admiral Nimitz was referring when he said: “Pearl Harbor has now been partially avenged.”

On a Swiss examination 12th graders write an essay analyzing JFK’s October 1962 proclamation that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Weird news of the day: Woman tragically loses arm in accident and someone in the hospital manages to help themselves to her wedding ring that was on the severed arm before sending it to the incinerator. Stay classy, Bristol.

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