Thursday November 26, 2015
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Here we go again. Another quick, down and dirty, 10 second sound bite
"A Long Island school district has released a summer reading list riddled with spelling errors."
What was so terrible?
"F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' is misspelled as "The Great Gypsy." And author Emily Bronte is listed as Emily Bonte."
What about the other 28 items on the list "riddled with spelling errors?"
Oh, no time for them.
Why? My guess would be that since the worst two are no big deal, the rest are very minor.
They went on to say, "It is so riddled with spelling errors, they say, that it has been brought to the attention of the New York State Department of Education's Board of Regents."
Took me a while but I finally found a couple of other errors. (it wasn't easy!) "Animal Farm's creator is 'George Ornell.' The Scarlet Letter is now 'The Scarlett Letter.'"
It just so happens that I have been dealing with something unusual lately and I am certain I can put my finger on the cause of all this. An Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, program. I'm will to bet that some took a handwritten or typewritten list and scanned it in.
Why do I say that? Because the errors are exactly the type of errors that OCR programs make. For example, George Orwell is very likely to be read by an OCR program as George Ornell because they have a terrible time with vertical strokes, often mistaking a w or m for an rn. They are also prone to make errors with the world "all" reading it as A11.
Just look at the word earn. See how easy it would be to read it as eam? And OCR has big problems with the letter d, of reading it as cl. I could show you a lot more, but that's not the point.
It's just that this comment made by higher ups, obviously before they took the time to check what actually happened, irritates me because it is so typically self-serving.
"A member of the New York Board of Regents says that the school district needs a 'stable administration.' He adds, 'Hempstead has not had a stable administration for a long time and the kids are suffering.'"
English translation? "I've been gunning for someone for a while and maybe I can use this to get him (or her)."
And the next comment? "Hempstead Superintendent Susan Johnson didn't immediately return a call for comment." Why? Maybe she's the target.
So I waited a day or two and did a follow up, knowing full well what I would read.
"Hempstead district disciplines worker over summer reading list errors."
One employee. A little laziness or carelessness. Nothing for 373 TV stations and 2,234 sites to get all shook up about.
And not one of the original sites reported what had actually happened. Not one of them! They just said that the error had been traced down to a "worker." They did NOT explain HOW the errors occurred.
The mainstream media just loves stirring the s---t.
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