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Click on chart for the full interactive version at

Today’s column by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times may have set some sort of record. In a 1,200-word piece with the unpromising headline “Obama’s Homework Assignment,” Friedman managed to type just 343 words, or 29 percent of the total. The remainder was given over to:

  • A speech by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; 358 words, or 30 percent.
  • An email to The Washington Post from an anonymous teacher; 287 words, or 24 percent. I have called her Anonymous Teacher No. 1 in the chart above.
  • A letter to Friedman from Anonymous Teacher No. 2; 212 words, or 18 percent.

Given Friedman’s clip-paste-and-run approach, it seems worth pointing out that the theme of his (I realize I’m misusing “his” to describe a collective effort) column is that these damn kids are just too lazy. He — yes, this is really him, not one of his co-contributors — writes:

Are we falling behind as a country in education not just because we fail to recruit the smartest college students to become teachers or reform-resistant teachers’ unions, but because of our culture today: too many parents and too many kids just don’t take education seriously enough and don’t want to put in the work needed today to really excel?

Well, I don’t know. But I can think of a certain op-ed columnist for the Times who is acting as a poor role model.

I leave you with this: