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KAI RYSSDAL: One of the toughest parts of the job around here is squeezing an entire day’s worth of news into just 30 minutes. So, inevitably, a few bits get left on the cutting-room floor. I spoke with Harvard researcher Susan Eaton last week about education and the Obama administration. One of the parts we had to leave out were her thoughts on testing.
Jean Decker teaches fifth grade in Loomis, Calif. And she wrote, asking why we hadn’t talked about testing, which she says is one of the biggest problems in education, especially in cash-strapped districts like her own.
JEAN DECKER: So field trips have been cut down. You know, music, art. It’s just a 100 percent focus on math and reading. And, in fact, I think that results in under-educating the kids.
Leora Druckman from Ann Arbor, Mich., has a different bone to pick. She thinks our story on the big business behind children’s bar and bat mitzvahs was misleading. At her congregation, at least, the focus is on the community, not the party.
Leora Druckman: To focus on a few over-the-top bar mitzvah parties, which in no way represent most bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, is to focus on values of materialism — a perspective which reinforces negative stereotypes of Jews.
Former wrestler Matt Alford in Portland, Ore., took issue with a different kind of stereotype — that mixed martial arts is all bare-knuckled brawling.
I spoke with Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim about the sport last week. And although John did say that mixed martial arts is becoming increasingly popular, Matt Alford, for one, thinks it’s ready for more.
MATT ALFORD: We’ve seen over time that other sports have been adopted into the Olympics. And I think it’s worthy of being there along with wrestling and boxing and the other martial arts as well.
We made another comparison last week that rubbed some people the wrong way. We were talking about nationalizing banks, and we made reference to the Post Office’s sometimes spotty customer service record.
Eilean Clinkenbeard from Lake Forest, Calif., cried foul.
Eilean Clinkenbeard: He said something about, “Yeah, how would you like the U.S. Post Office running your bank?” Well, as far as I’m concerned, I think they could do a lot better job of it than what’s been demonstrated recently.
And finally, a correction. Yesterday commentator Todd Buchholz said this:
TODD BUCHHOLZ: There’s a scene in the Godfather when hot-headed Sonny Corleone gets whacked by two thugs. The senior thug turns to the younger and says, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
As the many, many Godfather fans out there pointed out — wrong. Sonny died at a tollbooth in a hail of machine-gun fire. Paulie Gatto was the guy getting whacked with cannoli nearby.
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