Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
Test lets Wisconsin schools see how they stack up internationally: Kelly Meyerhofer of the Journal Sentinel writes: "It's been known for a while that U.S. students trail their counterparts in some other countries on academic performance measures. But some Wisconsin high schools are actually performing above the level of the highest-performing 'economy' in the world — Shanghai, China — according to results from an international exam. Last spring, almost 300 high schools, 13 in Wisconsin, took the exam, which tests how well 15-year-olds in public schools around the world do in applied reading, math and science skills. Before, randomly selected high schools across the nation participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment, known as PISA, and their results represented a snapshot of the entire United States. But individual schools never knew how they stacked up against other countries — until now. A new version of the PISA was created, the OECD Test for Schools, and made available to high schools in the United States, United Kingdom and Spain for the first time last spring. " Read more.
Police group demands punishment for St. Louis Rams players over 'hands up' gesture: R.B. Fallstrom of the Associated Press writes: "The St. Louis Police Association called on the St Louis Rams and the NFL Sunday night to 'discipline' five St. Louis Rams players who stood with their arms raised in an apparent show of solidarity for Ferguson protesters just before pregame introductions. A Rams spokesman said Sunday the team was not aware the gesture had been planned before the game against Oakland. Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook and Chris Givens — all of whom are black — then came out and stood together with arms raised." Read more.
Privacy issues stall newborn screening bill in U.S. Senate: Ellen Gabler of the Journal Sentinel writes: "A major bill that supports newborn screening nationwide has stalled in Congress because some Republican senators have privacy concerns about genetic research funded by the legislation. The senators won't comment individually, but the Senate Steering Committee has indicated they want a provision added to the bill to require parental consent before genetic research and genomic sequencing could be done on a child's newborn screening sample. Nearly every baby in the country is tested for genetic disorders shortly after birth. Blood is collected on a card that is sent to state public health labs for testing, in order to identify conditions that are often easily treatable. The cards are often later used anonymously for research. The senators holding up the bill believe that a child could be identified from such research." Read more.
An obscure budgeting trick could make Republican tax cuts for the wealthy appear less costly: Erika Eichelberger of Mother Jones writes: "Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), their budget guru, are considering altering the way Congress calculates the costs of tax cuts—a move that could make big tax cuts for the rich appear less costly than they really are. ... Last week, in an interview with the Washington Post, Ryan said he will push to make sure that the two congressional budget scorekeepers use this accounting method—known as 'dynamic scoring'—when evaluating GOP tax reform legislation. ... Because this arcane tweak can make tax cuts for the wealthy appear to cost the government less than they actually do, it is extremely appealing to Republicans. If they make this change, they could argue that new tax cuts for the well-to-do would partly pay for themselves—and wave the JCT-CBO seal of approval to justify their claim. Democrats contend that dynamic scoring is a gimmick designed to allow Republicans to chop taxes for the rich without paying the political cost." Read more.
Mayors form coalition to support Obama’s immigration action: Katie Zezima of the Washington Post writes: "More than 20 mayors from around the country have formed a coalition to support and help implement President Obama's executive action on immigration. Members of Cities United for Immigration Action said they will work to put the executive action Obama announced last month into effect on the local level, push for congressional action on immigration reform and rally grassroots support. Twenty-three mayors, including New York's Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles's Eric Garcetti, Houston's Annise Parker and the District's Vincent C. Gray have joined the group. "The president's action on immigration will strengthen our cities. It will keep families together, grow our economies and foster additional community trust in law enforcement," the mayors said in a statement." Read more.