Reading roundup: ISTEP battle continues, Brian Williams, Uma Thurman

Coffee and newspaper for reading roundup post

What a crazy Tuesday all the way around … Let’s see what today has in store for us!

Here’s a roundup of 10 or so links to catch you up this morning:

  • Oh boy. The Indiana Department of Education said Tuesday it has no plans to shorten the 12-hour ISTEP exam — a development that has enraged parents, teachers and school administrators. (IndyStar)
  • “It’s hard to know exactly how to explain the mess, or, as Indianapolis Star writer Tom LoBianco termed it, the ‘true political disaster … at hand,’ in Indiana  over the issue of public education, or  rather, what passes for public education policymaking in the state.” (Answer Sheet)
  • Embattled news anchor Brian Williams was suspended from NBC for six months without pay in the wake of his apology for “misremembering” a military incident in Iraq. Lester Holt will fill in for Williams during his absence. (New York Times)
  • Jon Stewart announced he’s stepping down as host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central when his contract expires at the end of the year. (Los Angeles Times) | Am I crazy to think that he and Williams should just switch jobs? He’d be a great anchor of the “real news,” and Williams’ comedy chops have been on display for years.

  • The IHSAA canceled the seasons of both the Hammond and Griffith boys basketball teams as punishment for a brawl during the first quarter of a game on Saturday. (IndyStar)
  • President Barack Obama on slain ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller: Telling families the U.S. won’t pay ransoms is “as tough as anything I do.” (BuzzFeed)
  • Today’s $485 million Powerball jackpot is the fifth largest in U.S. history.  Got your ticket? (USA Today)
  • My friend, fellow “Nashville”and reality-TV aficionado and former colleague Carrie Ritchie has started writing a column about dating in the Indy area. Check it out! (IndyStar) | FYI: Today is “Satisfied Staying Single Day.” (
  • Finance blogger Felix Salmon offered his advice for young journalists: Don’t do this. It doubles as an overview of the crisis for journalists amid a golden age of journalism. (Fusion) | Salmon’s piece spawned the #AdviceForYoungJournalists hashtag, which then inspired #AdviceForYoungAcademics. I took note. (Cori Faklaris)
  • OK, is Uma Thurman’s new look just a lack of makeup and bangs — or did plastic surgery flatten her forehead and eyes like that? As with Renee Zellweger’s makeover, I find the effect unsettling. See what you think. (Us Magazine)

Get more of the biggest and most buzzworthy story links each day! Follow me on Twitter at @heycori or at

What are you reading? Leave a link in the comments!

Author: Cori

Cori Faklaris (aka "HeyCori") is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of Software and Information Systems, College of Computing. Faklaris received her PhD in human-computer interaction in 2022 from Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, School of Computer Science, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. She also is a social media expert and longtime journalist, and/or "Doer of Things No One Else Wants to Do."

3 thoughts on “Reading roundup: ISTEP battle continues, Brian Williams, Uma Thurman”

  1. Cori, thanks for your post.

    More important than the current ISTEP debate … i.e., how long it should be … is the issue of education standards.

    U.S. children should be reading by age four, doing algebra in early grade school (first or second grade) and calculus by seventh or eighth grade. Here in the United States, we have extremely low expectations of our youth; thus, a generation of children has been left far behind students in other nations.

    Shut off the TV, limit Internet access and reintroduce children to the joys of learning. I was not inherently smarter than any other child growing up; yet, I had a loving family (grandmother and mother, particularly) who taught me the love of learning before I entered kindergarten. I could read and knew my multiplication tables (up to 9×9) at age 4-5.

    It was easy to grasp that multiplication was just a matter of adding (5×2 means adding 5 +5, e.g.). My mother gave me my kindergarten report card (she kept all of them), so I’d be happy to present it to anyone who doubts what I am saying. Unfortunately, I was the only child able to read in my kindergarten class.

    It had nothing to do with my being some type of genius. My family just believed in me and made me believe in myself. Confidence is the lens to reality that makes everything easier. With love of self (not pride) generated by knowing that God loves you and created you, you believe in yourself. You no longer create resistance and fear in yourself, which blocks learning.

    Let’s raise the standards and create children who love themselves and others, and all of these other issues of ISTEP administration (when to administer it, how long the test should be, e.g.) will be important, certainly, but not nearly as important as these deeper issues.


    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Lisa. I was also lucky to be born into and grow up in a family that encouraged and fostered my curiosity and learning at an early age. I was reading by age 2 and quick with arithmetic by kindergarten. But my first years in school were not so happy, partly because I was at such a different stage as the other kids — certainly, I think, they had a much higher degree of that resistance and fear in themselves that you speak of. Actually, it was thanks to standardized testing that I was recognized to be as smart as I was, leading to me being placed in a gifted school that was a much better fit for my learning style. I worry that there are kids like me who won’t get that chance to blossom because there’s no exit for them from an ever more highly structured learning environment geared to these tests and with teachers who are worn to a frazzle and also, perhaps, full of resistance and fear in themselves as a result.

      1. Thanks so much for your note, Cori. I am so happy to hear you are doing so well.

        In the right environment (especially one filled with love), any child can succeed. Even in the most challenging cases, God will do miracles when love and faith are present.

        A great example is Ricky Roberts, who suffered from mental retardation since birth. He was a terribly slow learner whom teachers kept passing from grade to grade. At 10th grade, however, the school system had had it and wanted his parents to withdraw him.

        He now has seven earned doctorates. See his story at

        God is still in the miracle-working business. The Bible is true. If only people read it and gained revelation about what we have, here and now, in Christ.

        Thanks for all the wonderful work you are doing, Cori. You are helping and blessing many people.


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