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What We're Reading

Article by Brittney Bain October 10, 2014 //   2 minute read

Two education researchers explain in this Huffington Post piece how the collection of data through annual state tests helps educators understand what works in schools. As they note, researchers can use such exams to study an entire population of students, using a common metric. The large sample of data that flows from the tests allows researchers to understand whether differences between schools and students were simply the result of chance.

Annual test data also help schools understand whether the change in the practice of a school or district led to better academic performance.  Similarly, the information helps the public know whether funds being invested in schools are effective. Of course, tests can always be improved or tweaked. But, as the authors note, data from annual, objective exams leads to a greater understanding of effective education strategies and initiatives.

North Korea continues to be in the headlines. This piece from the Washington Post focuses on North Korea’s vague recent admission of “labor detention centers” within the country.

Though long denied by the country’s regime, North Korea’s political prisoner camps and brutal human rights violations were detailed in a U.N. Commission of Inquiry report earlier this year. Bush Institute Human Freedom Program Manager Lindsay Lloyd and Fellow Victor Cha wrote in Foreign Policy: “...these camps have been exposed by the testimonies of an increasing number of refugees, as well as satellite imagery. Those looking for North Korea to reform are likely to be disappointed. The camps have become an integral part of the Kim dynasty's machinery for maintaining power.”

North Korea has yet to admit its horrendous human rights record or the level of brutality within the gulags. And as the Washington Post piece points out, there has been no action by the regime to close the prison camps.