A widely cited 1998 study linking childhood vaccines with autism wasn’t just bad science, a British scientific journal says: It was fraud.
That bombshell was released last week as investigative reporter Brian Deer revealed the results of seven years of work into the research behind the notorious Lancet article written by Dr. Andrew Wakefield (and several other authors who later took their names off the piece).
Read about the report in the British Medical Journal and at National Public Radio’s website. Then look at the March 2008 article by ASBJ Associate Editor Joetta Sack-Min about the enormous expense that educating children with autism is placing on some school districts.
Our next item isn’t about K-12 schooling per se, but with college football so prominent this time of year, we thought it appropriate to include a piece by Maureen Downy of “Get Schooled” about those amazing Auburn Tigers, which, are playing Oregon for the BSC National Championship at the Fiesta Bowl Monday night.
Well, maybe not so amazing when it comes to their academic prowess. According to a recent New York Times report, Auburn dropped from No. 4 in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, a four-year analysis of team member’s progress toward graduation, to No. 85. That was four years after a Times investigation found an unusual number of football players taking what the university calls “directed-reading courses” that is, independent study. In fact, one sociology professor was reported to have “taught” 252 independent studies courses (“10 would be considered ambitious,” the article said) during the team’s undefeated 2004 season.
Another sociology professor who discovered the abuse said Auburn’s precipitous fall in the NCAA academic ranking was actually a good thing. “A genuine consequence to this has been that the people who want to do things right have gotten a bit more grasp of what the university is trying to do,” said the professor, Jim Gundlach.
So high school graduates, want to go to a great university like Auburn and we mean really go? Better load up on those AP classes.
“Load up on AP classes.” Is there something wrong with that line? Critics in a New York Times forum on the tremendous group in Advanced Placement say there is. Just listen to high school English teacher Patrick Walsh:
“In the last 10 years, Advanced Placement has become a game of labels and numbers, a public relations ploy used by school officials who are dumping as many students as they can into A.P. courses to create the illusion that they are raising overall standards and closing the gap between whites and minorities,” Welsh writes.
Lawrence Hardy, Senior Editor