Scoring Bigger -- As if getting into college isn't already fraught with enough anxiety -- for parents, at least -- now the fine folks behind the SAT are unleashing a completely new test on the college-bound public. If your kid gets a 1600 next year, don't get too excited -- the perfect score is going up to 2400. Kaplan, the firm that creates and scores the tests, will also be throwing out those old analogy questions. Instead, students will get to wrestle with grammar and essay writing.
The shift is to better test for what is taught in the curriculums of the nation's schools, instead of simply gauging aptitude. But don't worry -- with access to higher education more competitive than ever, even the test's creators admit that other factors play as big a role in whether little Johnny will get into Harvard. In fact, Kaplan officials note, half of the applicants to Harvard who boast a perfect SAT score are rejected.
A New Bush Theory -- Kudos to the Spokesman-Review for forwarding a new theory about why President Bush abruptly quit flying as a member of the National Guard during the Vietnam War. The Sunday stories were called "must reads" by Salon.com. It just goes to show you that veteran journalists -- even in what may be a backwater to Beltway insiders -- can still find new angles on "national" stories.
Tax Cuts = Jobs? -- The Washington Post has checked into whether President Bush's favorite reason for cutting taxes -- that it will create jobs -- is actually true. Since cutting taxes in 2001, the unemployment rate went from 4.7 percent to 5.8 percent. Then last year, when taxes were cut again, unemployment bumped above 6 percent, according to the Post.
When President Clinton raised taxes in 1993 as a part of his deficit reduction plan, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent to 6.1 percent. And the rate of jobless Americans fell every year after that for seven years.
Get the Meat Out -- Obesity is, um, really big in the media these days, with the recent warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is catching up to smoking as the nation's leading cause of death. Not to be outdone by their colleagues at the Great American Smokeout, the backers of the Great American Meatout are trying to ride a wave of scary publicity to a big year for not stuffing your pie hole with too much meat -- at least for one day.
Check out their Web site (meatout.org) to learn about the more than 1,000 education events planned for all 50 states and 20 countries. The Great American Meatout is Saturday, March 20 -- the first day of spring and an occasion when, Meatout messengers hope, you will explore the benefits of a vegetarian diet.