Thursday, June 9, 2011

9 June 2011: News of the day

Cover story is the Baccalaureate school leaving exam. Everyone gets it today (87% success rate), so you really need to get it with honors for it to mean something. In 1989, about 25% of those earning their Bac get honors. Now it's nearly 50%. But it's important to know that prior to reaching the Bac, many students have been kicked out of the system. Only about 65% of a cohort will get the Bac.
The national high school graduation rate for all public school students remained flat over the last decade, going from 72% in 1991 to 71% in 2002. Nationally, the percentage of all students who left high school with the skills and qualifications necessary to attend college increased from 25% in 1991 to 34% in 2002. The finding of flat high school graduation rates and increasing college readiness rates is likely the result of the increased standards and accountability programs over the last decade, which have required students to take more challenging courses required for admission to college without pushing those students to drop out of high school. The state with the highest graduation rate in the nation in 2002 was New Jersey (89%), followed by Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota (each at 85%). The state with the lowest graduation rate in the nation was South Carolina (53%), followed by Georgia (56%), Tennessee (57%), and Alabama (58%). There is a wide disparity in the graduation rates of white and minority students. In the class of 2002, about 78% of white students graduated from high school with a regular diploma, compared to 56% of African-American students and 52% of Hispanic students. There is also a large difference among racial and ethnic groups in the percentage of students who leave high school eligible for college admission. About 40% of white students, 23% of African-American students, and 20% of Hispanic students who started public high school graduated college-ready in 2002. There is very little difference between the number of students who graduate from high school college-ready and the number of students who enroll in college for the first time. This indicates that there is not a large pool of students who have the skills necessary to attend college but do not do so because of lack of funds or other non-academic factors.

The next big story is about Liliane Bettencourt's lawyer, who is under the threat of malpractice action. He has power of attorney for the richest woman in France, and used 143 million euros of her money (!) to finance the sketchy business of another of his clients, via the bank for which he is also the lawyer.

Weinergate's in the news here. It's mainly of interest because the French believe that the DSK case is followed as intensely in the US as here (it's not), and that this story is the one that pushed DSK off the front page. And because it fits the cliché of puritanical America, the paper says that the only option for Weiner is to resign (they haven't heard of diaper whore Vitter).

The paper gives a lot of space to interviews with the victims of AltMed reflexologist foot fetishist former minister and still mayor Georges Tron.

A fan of the Jim Morrison who opened a small bar in his honor is being threatened by the Doors. Boo! The lawyers claim (ahem): "The musicians don't want to appear to approve the consumption of alcohol".

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