Let’s Give Mississippi Less – NYTimes.com

Gail Collins

“Normally, we just get coverage for natural disasters,” said Joseph Parker, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Good news, Mississippi! This is your week. On Tuesday, the state had the most dramatic election of this primary season, and we are all looking your way. Actually, we are fascinated to know exactly what you had in mind.

Voters dealt a stunning rebuke to their courtly Republican senator, Thad Cochran, who is famous for his ability to direct federal cash in Mississippi’s direction. Cochran, who’s been in office since 1978, failed to win the necessary 50 percent of the ballots cast. Now he’s headed for a messy runoff with a fiery state legislator who opened his campaign by announcing: “For too long we’ve been addicted to federal monies.”

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Preview: @JosephEStiglitz: How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

In this preview, Joseph E. Stiglitz says corporate abuse of our tax system has helped make America unequal and undemocratic. But the Nobel Prize-winning economist has a plan to change that.

In America right now inequality is too great, unemployment too high, public investments too meager, corporations too greedy and the tax code too biased toward the very rich.

But the Nobel Laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz says it doesn’t have to be this way. He has a new plan for overhauling America’s current tax system, which he says contributes to making America the most unequal society of the advanced countries.

Continue reading Preview: @JosephEStiglitz: How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Dropout Rates for Black Males Are Misleading and Wrong – The Root

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On Bladensburg Road along the border of Prince George’s County, Md., and Washington, D.C., a billboard reads, “57% of District of Columbia students drop out.” The billboard is large and imposing, with an orange backdrop and bold diagonal dashes on each side to mimic a road-hazard sign. Many would find the content of the sign to be consistent with the frequently cited report “The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males,” by the Schott Foundation, which states that Washington, D.C., has a graduation rate of 38 percent for black males.

To be blunt, the message on the billboard is a lie, and technically, the percentage of students who drop out has only a little to do with the percentage that graduates. Yes, this is counterintuitive, but I will explain more later.

The high school dropout rate in D.C. is less than 10 percent for all students, and 14 percent for black males (pdf). The Schott Foundation’s observation that the graduation rate for black males is 38 percent is accurate. However, since most people do not know the difference between the graduation rate and the dropout rate, the report is misrepresented far more than it is accurately presented. Anyone doing an analysis of demographic trends in the D.C. metro area understands that any measure of cohort graduation rates will be influenced by the outmigration of black people from the city core.

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