We need congressional vouchers?
Think members of Congress act like a bunch of high school students? You might be on to something. A recent study from the Sunlight Foundation found that members of Congress tend to speak at about a 10th-grade level.
The Sunlight Foundation analyzed every word spoken by every member of Congress on the floor of the House or Senate. Sunlight imported the words into a searchable database and then "ran them through an algorithm to determine the grade level of congressional discourse," according to a buzzy story from NPR.
The finding: Congress is speaking at a lower academic level. Back in 2005, members of Congress spoke at a level equal to a high school junior. Now, the numbers have dropped off. Congress talks like a bunch of sophomores. Sunlight used something called the "Flesch-Kinkaid" scale to determine speech level. Longer sentences and words with more syllables equal higher grade levels.
Some interesting factoids from the Sunlight Foundation's study:
—"Prior to 2005, Republicans on average spoke at a slightly higher grade level than Democrats. Since then, Democrats have spoken on average at a slightly higher grade level than Republicans."
—On average, Congress members who are moderate speak at a higher level. Those on the far right and left speak at a lower level.
—Don't assume you speak at a higher level than your representative. The average American speaks between an eighth- and ninth-grade level.
It is tempting to see these results and say, "Congress is getting dumber," but a piece from the Atlantic suggests another theory. Perhaps Congress is just getting better at getting its points across. After all, why make an issue or speech or anecdote more complicated than it has to be?
By Mike Krumboltz
Well this explains the tea party lawmakers?!! When you have a dumb ass populist, it translate to our lawmakers too!
We need congressional vouchers?
Obama's SOTU Written at 8th Grade Level for Third Straight Year
"My Message is Simple": Obama's SOTU Written at 8th Grade Level for Third Straight Year
By Eric Ostermeier, Smart Politics, on January 25, 2012
Obama's SOTU addresses have the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid score of any modern president; Obama owns three of the six lowest-scoring addresses since FDR
For the third consecutive State of the Union Address, Barack Obama spoke in clear, plain terms.
And for the third straight Address, the President's speech was written at an eighth-grade level.
In Obama's own words: "My message is simple."
But was it too simplistic?
A Smart Politics study of the 70 orally delivered State of the Union Addresses since 1934 finds the text of Obama's 2012 speech to have tallied the third lowest score on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, at an 8.4 grade level.
Obama also delivered the second lowest scoring address in 2011 (at an 8.1 grade level) and the sixth lowest in 2010 (at an 8.8 grade level)
The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores.
Maybe we should make sure we keep the exact same system with the exact same people doing the exact same thing just with more money! It's worked so well for us the past 60 years that I can't imagine making changes as that would be downright illogical!
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
- -- Aristotle
Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honor for many generations and in diverse places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it. Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that a God inspires you. Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.
- -- The Buddha