Sunday, January 15, 2006


Governor Lingle's policy advisors fail 5th-grade math test

photo: Razvan Caliman
Innumeracy in Hawaii state government

As we enter the new year, economic pressures on many citizens of the state threaten their well-being. Due to increased costs and taxes, many will have to choose between buying food or medicine. Both the legislature and the governor will have to calculate the best way to use a projected windfall tax surplus. Will they be able to figure out how to protect those teetering on the brink of homelessness or poverty? Unfortunately, the governor has just admitted that her advisors cannot even do elementary school math.

In what might be described as her largest PR gaff so far this year, Governor Linda Lingle is reported in a Star-Bulletin article to have said that her most senior advisors could not pass a basic math test.

The curious admission was part of Lingle's address to a Hawaii State Teachers Association legislative conference held at the state Capitol on January 14, 2006. According to the Star-Bulletin:
Lingle told HSTA delegates that her own senior policy advisers took the fifth-grade Hawaii math test and could not pass it.
Lingle was arguing that Hawaii should lower its academic performance standards so that the state would do better under federal No Child Left Behind mandates.

The fact is that wee little children can and do pass that test. Lingle's senior advisors could not. Go figure.


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