During one of Monday's Education Nation reports, Brian Williams told us that among the world's countries, U.S. students ranked 25th in math. The Nightly News producers illustrated this point by placing the U.S. flag below the flags of all the countries whose students outrank us in math. But the Norwegian flag was shown twice in the array. Why? Are the Norwegians so awesomely super-duper in math that their flag needs to be shown twice? No--sadly it's just another example of the Nightly News producers not caring about what they are doing.
Later in the broadcast, Lee Cowan reported a story on trigger laws, which allow parents to fire teachers or close failing schools if 51% of them sign a petition. Here's what Cowan told us: "California, Texas and Mississippi all have trigger laws on the books and at least 22 other states are considering it." But the accompanying map showed a total of 22 states shaded in red--including California, Texas and Mississippi. If 22 other states are considering trigger laws, there should have been 25 states shaded in red. I guess what Brian said earlier about the U.S. lagging in math skills is really true. His own producers can't even count to 25.