Monday, October 29
Though anyone would look good in comparison to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Michael Mukasey's evasive answers to questions about the use of torture and the White House's expansive views of executive privilege at his recent hearings continue to gnaw at some of the senators who will vote on whether or not to confirm him as the next attorney general. One of them is Senator Kerry, who told The Eagle's editorial board Friday in reference to Mr. Mukasey's claim that he doesn't know enough about the practice of waterboarding to determine if it constituted torture, "If you don't know what torture is, and you seem to be hedging with respect to a position that the Senate has been pretty outspoken about, I think it's an issue." The senator indicated he needed more information before deciding how he would vote on Mr. Mukasey, and we hope the nominee provides it. His testimony last week left too many questions unanswered.
Progress on MCAS
The performance of Pittsfield's public schools on the spring MCAS tests, with 11 of 12 reaching academic targets, on average, is hugely encouraging as the school system seeks to keep improving. Urban schools are at a disadvantage to suburban and rural counterparts on MCAS because they have more students in the subgroups, such as students with disabilities, that will bring down standardized test scores. This is one of many reasons the state should not have thrown all of its eggs in the MCAS basket, but it has, and Pittsfield's educators are clearly making a determined effort to reach a high bar.