Daily Archives: September 14, 2010

How To Get MCAS Scores For Your Kid's District

Published September 14, 2010

The WBUR newsroom gets this helpful e-mail from Heidi Guarino, chief of staff at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Several of you have asked for a one-stop place to find all local MCAS results. Everything is posted here: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/mcas.aspx, and can be sorted either by districts or schools.

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick declared the achievement gap was narrowing between white children and African-American and Hispanic students.

Overall, tenth graders scoring proficient or higher in English fell from 79 to 78 percent and stayed at 75 percent for math.

The MCAS was first implemented in 1998, and the math and English sections became a high school graduation requirement for the class of 2003. The science and technology section first became a graduation requirement in 2010.

Tuesday Afternoon: No One's Voting

Published September 14, 2010

You probably did not vote today. As of this afternoon, turnout in the City of Boston stood at 8 percent. (Maybe everyone’s at the premiere.)

The four gubernatorial candidates in each party are uncontested, and there are only two statewide races — for auditor and treasurer. There are two interesting federal races, for the 9th and 10th congressional districts, as well as six other districts in which at least one party is selecting a candidate for the general election.

WBUR’s ElectionWire has complete coverage of the primary election, including a live blog that will follow returns once the polls close at 8 p.m.

Did you vote? How’d it go?

PETA Pleads Mercy For Charles River Gator

Published September 14, 2010

A baby alligator in Tulsa, Okla. (OakleyOriginals/Flickr)


What do you with an alligator after it turns up in the Charles River?

PETA, the animal-rights group, has written to Wayne MacCallum, director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, asking to grant the stray gator “a chance at life.” I received a copy of this letter in an e-mail from a PETA spokesman, excerpted thus:

According to an article in The Boston Globe (attached), the alligator was captured and taken in by Rainforest Reptile, a facility that uses animals for public display and traveling exhibitions. Rainforest Reptile apparently intends to use the alligator for shows until the animal is too large for such purposes, after which it plans to send the animal to an alligator farm in Texas or Florida.

Alligators at such farms are often housed in concrete cells that are in stark contrast to their natural habitat of rivers, swamps, marshes, or lakes. And unlike the rivers and lakes in which most alligators live, these enclosures have no mud or vegetation for nest building. At farms, they are forced to live in an environment that is completely devoid of everything that is natural and important to them. Those who are killed for their skin and/or meat are often beaten on the head with metal pipes in order to immobilize them and prevent their hides from becoming damaged. The animals are then skinned—sometimes while they are still alive—and their hides are sold to be made into shoes, handbags, and other items.

I will add only this: No animal deserves to be captured by an organization whose website looks like this.

Tuesday Morning: Election Day, Hollywood In Our 'Town'

Published September 14, 2010

Lots of business news in addition to the buzz about a statewide primary election on this mild Boston Tuesday:

Bay Staters Go To Polls

The only statewide races are for the open auditor and treasurer seats. There are also contested primaries for nine of the state’s 10 congressional districts, dozens of legislative seats and several district attorney offices. (AP)

Secretary Of State Predicts Modest Turnout

Galvin’s office is predicting a Tuesday turnout of 14 to 17 percent of registered voters — between 600,000 and 700,000 voters — according to the AP. That’s down from approximately 1 million votes in 2006. Galvin attributes the drop to the fact there’s no contested gubernatorial primary this year. (ElectionWire)

BMC Will Cut 119 Jobs

Boston Medical Center announced yesterday that it would reduce its workforce by 119 people as it scrounges for savings to reverse losses projected to reach $175 million in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. (Globe)

Watertown’s A123 Opens Plant — In Michigan

A123 Systems of Watertown has opened what is says is the largest lithium ion battery manufacturing plant in the country, in Livonia, Mich. President Obama phoned in to the grand opening, calling it the birth of a new industry. (WBUR)

Genzyme Returns To Its Roots

Genzyme Corp.’s agreement to sell its genetics testing business for $925 million could step up pressure on suitor Sanofi Aventis SA to buy the Cambridge biotechnology company before it unloads other assets, industry watchers said yesterday. (Globe)

Hollywood Comes To Our ‘Town’

Charlestown locals are buzzing with excitement over Ben Affleck’s new heist thriller “The Town” — premiering tonight in a star-studded affair at Fenway Park — but want movie-goers to know the tight-knit enclave’s infamous past as bank robbery capital of the world is history, not reality.