25 Madison high school students named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Elizabeth Beyer:

Twenty-five Madison high school seniors have been named semifinalists for the 2021 National Merit Scholarships.

The students join about 16,000 other high school seniors across the country that were named this month as semifinalists for the prestigious scholarship. About 15,000 of semifinalists are named finalists, and about 7,600 of the finalists go on to receive a scholarship.

More than 1.5 million high school juniors from roughly 21,000 schools across the country entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The test is used to screen initial program applicants. Semifinalists represent less than 1% of high school seniors in the U.S.

Wisconsin’s cut score is 216. Texas is 221, Minnesota 219, California 222 and New York 221….

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

The mysterious cause of stuttering in the brain

Amber Dance:

After centuries of misunderstanding, research is finally tying the speech disorder which affects millions of people around the world to certain genes and brain alterations – and new treatments may be on the horizon.

Gerald Maguire has stuttered since childhood, but you might not guess it from talking to him. For the past 25 years, Maguire – a psychiatrist at the University of California, Riverside – has been treating his disorder with antipsychotic medications not officially approved for the condition. Only with careful attention might you discern his occasional stumble on multisyllabic words like “statistically” and “pharmaceutical”.

Maguire has plenty of company – more than 70 million people worldwide, including about three million Americans, stutter. That is, they have difficulty with the starting and timing of speech, resulting in halting and repetition. That number includes approximately 5% of children, many of whom outgrow the condition, and 1% of adults. Their numbers include presidential candidate Joe Biden, actor James Earl Jones and actress Emily Blunt. Though those people and many others, including Maguire, have achieved career success, stuttering can contribute to social anxiety and draw ridicule or discrimination by others.

2021 Best Colleges in America: Harvard Leads the University Rankings

David M. Ewalt:

The more things change, the more they stay the same—at least at some of the oldest, most prestigious universities in the U.S.

That’s one of the takeaways from this year’s Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, which award Harvard University the top spot for the fourth straight year, followed by its next-door neighbor, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in second place, and Yale University in third.

In fact, the eight private universities traditionally known as the Ivy League are all among the top 15 schools. In addition to Harvard and Yale, the Ivies dominated with Brown University tied for fifth place, Princeton University tied for seventh, Cornell University ninth, Dartmouth College at No. 12, the University of Pennsylvania at No. 13 and Columbia University tied for No. 15.

(You can see our full rankings as well as sort the complete rankings by a variety of measures and reweight the main contributing factors to reflect what’s most important to you. Or you can compare two colleges.)

Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Adam Tyner, Ph.D. Sarah Kabourek; Foreword by: Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Michael J. Petrilli:

Even as phonics battles rage in the realm of primary reading and with two-thirds of American fourth and eighth graders failing to read proficiently, another tussle has been with us for ages regarding how best to develop the vital elements of reading ability that go beyond decoding skills and phonemic awareness.

The dominant view is that the way to improve America’s abysmal elementary reading outcomes is for schools to spend more time on literacy instruction. Many schools provide a “literacy block” that can stretch to more than two hours per day, much of it allocated to efforts to develop reading skills such as “finding the main idea,” and “determining the author’s perspective.” But it doesn’t seem to be working.

Yet a small army of cognitive psychologists, analysts, and educators has long cast doubt on the view that reading is a discrete skill that can be mastered independently from acquiring knowledge. To these contrarians, a focus on academic content—not generalized reading skills and strategies—will equip students with the background knowledge they need to comprehend all sorts of texts and make them truly literate.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Man out on bail charged with homicide in crash that killed former Madison schools standout, board member

Chris Rickert:

An 18-year-old Madison man out on bail was charged with reckless homicide Thursday in a crash last week on the West Side that killed a 22-year-old former Madison School Board member and National Merit Scholar.

Maurice M. Chandler is also charged with driving with a revoked license, reckless injury and eight bail-jumping violations after the Jeep he was driving T-boned a car driven by Anthony M. Chung as Chung was making a left turn Sept. 17 on Mineral Point Road at Grand Canyon Drive. Chung died at the scene, according to investigators.

Chung was a 2016 graduate of Memorial High School who served as the student representative on the School Board. His girlfriend and front-seat passenger, Rory Demick, 22, was seriously injured in the crash, according to court records, suffering multiple broken bones.

Former School Board member T.J. Mertz, who served with Chung, said he had a bright future.

“He was a hard worker,” he said. “He did his research. He cared about making a difference. … He was going to do good or even great on a bigger scale.”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Welcome To The ‘Turbulent Twenties’

Jack Goldstone & Peter Turchin:

Almost three decades ago, one of us, Jack Goldstone, published a simple model to determine a country’s vulnerability to political crisis. The model was based on how population changes shifted state, elite and popular behavior. Goldstone argued that, according to this Demographic-Structural Theory, in the 21st century, America was likely to get a populist, America-first leader who would sow a whirlwind of conflict.

Then ten years ago, the other of us, Peter Turchin, applied Goldstone’s model to U.S. history, using current data. What emerged was alarming: The U.S. was heading toward the highest level of vulnerability to political crisis seen in this country in over a hundred years. Even before Trump was elected, Turchin published his prediction that the U.S. was headed for the “Turbulent Twenties,” forecasting a period of growing instability in the United States and western Europe.

Given the Black Lives Matter protests and cascading clashes between competing armed factions in cities across the United States, from Portland, Oregon to Kenosha, Wisconsin, we are already well on our way there. But worse likely lies ahead.

Our model is based on the fact that across history, what creates the risk of political instability is the behavior of elites, who all too often react to long-term increases in population by committing three cardinal sins.

First, faced with a surge of labor that dampens growth in wages and productivity, elites seek to take a larger portion of economic gains for themselves, driving up inequality.

Schools aren’t spreading coronavirus

Joanne Jacobs:

Reopening schools isn’t spreading coronavirus, say public health experts. Early evidence “suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared,” report Laura Meckler and Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post. While students and teachers have become sick with coronavirus, there’s “little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings.”

Sweden, which didn’t close schools, reported no higher rate of infection among  schoolchildren than in Finland, where schools did close in spring. Photo: Lena Granefelt

The new National COVID-19 School Response Data Dashboard released its first data showing low levels of infection among students and teachers. Emily Oster, a Brown economics professor who helped create the dashboard, said school coronavirus rates are “much lower” than those in the surrounding community.

The Network for Public Education has been tracking 37 school districts in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. It’s found 23 confirmed cases of coronavirus at 20 schools, with “no indication the virus was spread in schools,” report Meckler and Strauss. So far, “outbreaks have not occurred, even when someone tests positive for covid-19,” said Carol Burris, the executive director.

“We’re not seeing schools as crucibles for onward transmission,” said Sara Johnson, associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Joanne Jacobs:

Pods and microschools aren’t just for affluent parents who can afford to hire a teacher or tutor, writes Beth Hawkins on The 74. Lower-income and minority parents are using small grants to create “equity pods” and microschools.

With a $10,000 grant from the National Parents Union, Brandice Hatcher is opening her Righteous Voice Mentoring pod in her Wisconsin home. She’ll help six girls in grades 4 through 8 use the district’s remote learning program, adding “membership in the national Black Girl Book Club, encounters with strong Black women in their community and other activities to promote the development of healthy identities,” writes Hawkins.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Civics: The Cement of Society Is….

Siris:

submission to the laws of society (George Berkeley, 1712): “And since the bond and cement of society is submission to its laws, it plainly follows, that this duty hath an equal right with any other to be thought a law of nature.”

… charity (Jonas Hanway, 1758): “As charity is the great bond of union, and the surest cement of society, the present occasion will warrant the greater indulgence.”

… sympathy (Henry Home, 1758): “When we examine those particular passions, which, though painful, are yet accompanied with no aversion; we find that they are all of the social kind, arising from that eminent principle of sympathy, which is the cement of human society.”

(Henry Home, 1758): “Nor must we judge of this principle as any way vitious or faulty: for besides that it is the great cement of human society, we ought to consider, that, as no state is exempt from misfortunes, mutual sympathy must greatly promote the security and happiness of mankind.”

… sincerity (Henry Venn, 1763): “In these several important particulars, and in all similar to them, you will pay a conscientious regard to sincerity. Your motives also will be distinct from those of the mere moralist, and infinitely more cogent. He may be an advocate for truth and sincerity, and would have all men practice it, because it is the cement of society, and the only foundation of mutual confidence. Feeble motives, alas!”

More than 1,200 sign petition to change UT grading scale

Lauren Meyers:

More than 1,200 people have signed a petition to change the University of Tennessee’s grading scale to pass or fail.

According to the petition on change.org, 1,277 have signed a petition to support UT staff to give students an option to switch their classes into a pass or fail grading scale.

The petition was started on Tuesday Sept. 22 around 10:00 a.m. and has gained over 1,000 supporters in less than 2 hours.

“As students, we have gone through a lot in the last calendar year. Break schedules are thrown off, quarantine, a pandemic, friends, and family getting sick, classes totally different now that they are online. We should not be disciplined for struggling to adapt to an imperfect system. UT has made strides to switch classes to handle a totally virtual environment, and unfortunately, there are still countless professors that struggle with this setup, and the students are paying the price. Sign this petition to show your support for UT’s staff to give students the option to switch their classes into a pass/fail grading scale,” the petition reads.

College Admissions in a Covid Year: SATs Are Out, Personal Stories Are In

Douglas Belkin:

Memo to high-school seniors applying to selective colleges: A high score on your SAT is out. A Covid-19 epiphany is in.

Hundreds of colleges dropped their mandate for a standardized test score this year as a result of the pandemic, but the replacement criterion at many schools may be just as daunting for would-be college freshmen: a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world as a result of the pandemic.

“This wasn’t something you could study for or plan for, but it offers a great opportunity for students to show us what they were able to do when they just had to figure out how to make it work. That’s a unique story,” says Catherine Davenport, dean of admissions at Dickinson College, which won’t include test scores in its admissions decisions for the first time this year.

Who will get them all to change their minds?

Rob Copeland, via Erich Zellmer:

After calling around, Mr. Weston found a school district south of the city, Somerset Independent School District, ready to take a leap of faith. Superintendent Saul Hinojosa says the solution comes at a dire time: Just 35% of the district’s students showed up in the first week of classes. Many of their parents work as day laborers or at a local Toyota factory.

Local foundations connected to Mr. Weston are picking up the bill. Gov. Abbott says he plans to use federal funding on the initiative, too.

Mr. Hinojosa plans to test every student and staffer every week, with parental permission, mostly in the cafeteria or gymnasium. At-home instruction will be mandated for anyone who comes back positive. Students who refuse to be tested will be barred from after-school activities.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, says he favors the mandate, and is hoping to apply Mr. Weston’s approach in his own state. “One person’s liberty to be tested or not does not extend to potentially exposing others to disease,” says Sen. Cassidy, a physician.

Though Mr. Weston has some prominent support in San Antonio—including from the county judge, a Democrat and the region’s highest elected official—he hasn’t yet cracked the main school district in his hometown.

San Antonio’s medical director said in a late-August town hall that she didn’t favor testing asymptomatic students, citing CDC guidance and potential cost. The school board, too, will have to give its assent.

Who will get them all to change their minds? “I will,” says Mr. Weston.

The Moral Case for Reopening Schools—Without Masks

John Tierney:

If you’re a public-minded student or teacher committed to reducing the death toll from Covid-19, what is the morally correct way to behave?

According to the epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, you should do just about the opposite of what’s being preached by college presidents, teachers’ unions, political leaders, and the scientific and media establishment. Unless you’re elderly or particularly vulnerable, you shouldn’t be wearing a mask all day, or shaming others for going unmasked. You should be careful not to endanger the vulnerable, but otherwise you should be exposing yourself to the virus in order to promote herd immunity.

Gupta, 55, wants to teach her classes at Oxford in person, without a mask, and she is appalled at her colleagues’ reluctance to go back to the classroom.

“It’s such a disservice to this generation of students,” she says. “Teachers and students who are vulnerable should have the option to go online, but for the rest of us this virus is no bigger than other risks we take in daily life. It’s not rational, and certainly not communitarian, to avoid being infected with a pathogen that carries such a low risk to you when there’s a high benefit to the community by helping to create herd immunity.”

Gupta’s strategy is heresy to the public-health establishment, but it seems to be paying off in Sweden, and her research team at Oxford has a far better track record on Covid-19 than the scientists whose work inspired the widespread lockdowns and mask mandates in the first place. In March, when Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College London terrified politicians and the public with its projections of Covid deaths—more than 500,000 in Britain and 2 million in the United States—Gupta’s team warned that this scenario was based on dubious assumptions about the virus’s spread and lethality.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

Meghan Mangrum:

Tennessee students have likely experienced significant learning loss, especially in reading and math, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Preliminary data released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Education projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math.

“The department has identified trends that indicate real challenges that have been experienced by students at all levels.” Gov. Bill Lee said during a news briefing Wednesday. “It just shows how important it is that our kids get back into the classroom and that’s why we’ve put such a strong effort in making sure our kids do return back to classrooms for in-person learning.”

Lee characterized the data as “an alarm that’s been sounded.”

“We are seeing through this report an alarm that’s been sounded, especially with regard to not only the short term impacts on kids but the long-term impact on our state,” Lee said.

Most students traditionally experience some sort of learning loss over the summer, but educators have worried that students might experience greater loss since schools initially closed in March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Court Victory Ensures Wisconsin DPI Cannot Play Games with School Choice Data

Will Flanders:

Last week, a Jefferson County Circuit Judge  “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated the law when it came to releasing data on the state’s private school choice programs. Along with Jim Bender of School Choice Wisconsin and Matt Kittle of Empower Wisconsin, I served as a plaintiff in this case brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL). While issues with data may tend to make people’s eyes glaze over, this case actually represents an important opportunity to highlight the successes of Wisconsin’s school choice programs, and how DPI has routinely tried to hide them.

The Court ruled in WILL’s favor on two counts. First, the Court ruled that the Department cannot hold a private press briefing before releasing all school choice data to the public. State law requires a public release of the data, and instead DPI regularly has held a private briefing in the days leading up to the release. This provides DPI with an opportunity to shape the narrative that will be reported when the data becomes public. Those of us who are regular critics of the public school system are denied access to the calls, meaning that our opportunity to respond to what is released is limited. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, immediate response is critical if one wants their perspective to be a part of the narrative on the data. Mandating a full, public release will give those on all sides of education issues in the state a fair shot to let their voice be heard.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Not indoctrinated, just ignorant

Joanne Jacobs:

I remember the fight over national history standards in 1994.  The standards, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which would have been available for state adoption, if they wished, were attacked for for anti-Americanism. They crashed and burned.

History isn’t about good and evil, writes Natalie Wexler in Forbes. History is complicated.

President Trump wants the National Endowment for the Humanities to commission a “pro-American curriculum”to counter “left-wing indoctrination,” such as the curriculum based on the New York Times‘ slavery-centric 1619 Projectcritical race theory and Howard Zinn’s  A People’s History of the United States.

“Those who would paint American history as a virtuous march of progress are clearly missing a lot,” writes Wexler. But the “warts and all” approach tends to be all warts.

Zinn’s book appears on many college reading lists for future social studies teachers, says Sam Wineburg, a Stanford history education professor. It’s very influential, he believes, but not very good.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Unique challenges: Special education was difficult for families in the spring. Will this fall be better?

Scott Girard:

Leani Tell is starting kindergarten this year.

Like thousands of her peers, she’s doing so from home. Unlike most of them, she would have been at home even without the pandemic that will keep Madison Metropolitan School District buildings mostly closed through at least Oct. 31.

Leani, 4, has spinal muscular atrophy, which causes symptoms similar to those that ALS causes in adults. It also means she is especially susceptible to respiratory infections, with even colds sending her to the hospital for days.

“I didn’t really care a whole lot if kids were going back to school or not because she was never going to be going in-person,” said her mother, Nichole Fritts. “She was always going to be virtual because of her health status.”

But the pandemic is hurting Leani’s education anyway, as the school district is not providing an in-person educational aide as outlined in her Individualized Education Program (IEP) created in the spring. That leaves Fritts, her husband and part-time, in-home nurses they pay for out-of-pocket to guide her health and schooling.

“I would love for there to be someone that is actually trained for them to actually go by her IEP for school to be more accessible for her,” Fritts said. “There’s times where I’m juggling being a mom, a nurse and a student aide and it is absolutely impossible to do all three of those effectively.”

Critical Race Theory Is The Root Of Our Current Unrest, And They’re Teaching It In Schools

SG Cheah:

10 years ago, if you told someone they’d be watching children depicted pornographically on a mainstream media service, they’d tell you to get lost and stop your fear-mongering. Fast forward today, and we have “Cuties” on Netflix. What happened?

The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory is what happened. 

Recently, the White House issued an executive order to stop funding the instruction of Critical Race Theory at the federal level. Why is this a controversy? In order to answer that question, we’ll have to understand the Frankfurt School’s influence on American institutions.

Just a Conspiracy Theory?

But before we dive into the world of Critical Race Theory, let’s first examine a peculiar trend you might be familiar with today. Have you noticed how often questions that may lead to uncovering uncomfortable truths are quickly deemed to be “conspiracy theories” by the media establishment? 

Learning How to Learn Japanese

Zach Daniel:

tl;dr – This essay is broken into four sections: 1) why I’m learning Japanese, 2) some basics about Japanese alphabets, 3) what makes it a hard language to learn, and 4) the tools I’m using to learn it. If you just want to know about that last bit feel free to scroll down to the bottom.

I’ve always wanted to learn another language. For years, I would pick up Duolingo and mess around with it for a few weeks before moving on to something else. Then, a little over a year ago, my best friend decided that he wanted to learn Japanese. While I’d love to say that being able to speak Japanese has been a lifelong dream, my motivation is slightly less pure. Specifically, I took the fact that Japanese is, by some accounts, the most difficult language an English speaker can attempt to learn, as a personal challenge.

This changed the shape of my learning journey. Now, instead of trying to optimize for short-term usage, I was headed down a path that would take years to complete. Knowing that was surprisingly helpful with my motivation, as it changed my whole perspective around comprehension, ensuring the time took to learn new things didn’t get me down. I was finally equipped for my language journey: I had motivation, a partner, and time, and that is all you need. Or so I thought.

Campus Staff Took Advantage of Weaknesses in Admissions Processes to Inappropriately Admit 64 Students as Favors to Donors, Family, and Friends

UC-Berkeley:

• Our review found that campuses admitted 64 applicants—in addition to the two identified in the federal investigation—for academic years 2013–14 through 2018–19 on the basis of their families’ donations to campuses or their connections to campus staff, leadership, and donors. These inappropriate admissions decisions subverted the university’s high standards for admissions and denied more qualified applicants educational opportunities.

• Campus staff falsely designated 22 of these applicants as student‑athlete recruits because of donations from or as favors to well‑connected families. Each campus we reviewed lacked sufficient processes for verifying that the applicants whom coaches identified as student‑athlete recruits actually possessed experience or athletic talent in the sport that they purportedly played.

• UC Berkeley inappropriately admitted 42 other applicants who were connected to campus staff and donors. These applicants were less qualified than many others for whom the campuses denied admission. In fact, some of these applicants received the lowest possible scores on their applications. The involvement of multiple members of management at UC Berkeley in these inappropriate admissions demonstrates that campus leadership failed to foster a culture committed to the university’s principles of fairness in admissions decisions.

Wadge Degrees – the origin story

Bill Wadge:

I’m fortunate enough to have a mathematical concept named after me. And not just Wadge degrees. There’s also the Wadge hierarchy, Wadge reducibility, and the Wadge game. In fact I’ve seen people say they’re interested in “Wadge theory”. A whole theory!

I’ve posted about this before but that was mainly technical and for most readers not all that accessible. It left out the human element, the passion, the drama, the thrill of victory etc. So here’s the real story.

I arrived in Berkeley (California) fresh from getting a math degree at UBC in Vancouver. I arrived a long time ago, in the Fall of 1966 (!). There was a lot going on on campus – roll on from the previous year’s “Free Speech” movement. And the Vietnam war was raging. Soon after I arrived the Marines set up a recruiting table in the student union building. Hundreds of protesters chased them and the police out of the building and across Sproul Plaza into Sproul Hall, the administration building. That was quite a sight, the first of many. But I’ll talk about that another time.

Zoom classes can have SEVENTY New York Public School students at a time, under new DOE rule, sparking concerns over ‘less manageable’ conditions for learning

Matthew Wright:

New York Public School virtual classrooms could see as many as 68 students signing onto Zoom classes, as per recently negotiated contracts from the city’s Department of Education.

The contracts made with the teachers union allows for remote classes to be twice the 34 student maximum for in-person classes for high school, the Wall Street Journal reports.

‘I can handle a class of 25 kids online, but as it starts pushing to more and more, it becomes less manageable,’ said Kirk Schneider, a teacher at the Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology in Manhattan.

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: No Job, Loads of Debt: Covid Upends Middle-Class Family Finances

AnnaMaria Andriotis:

Until mid-March, Alysse Hopkins earned a comfortable living in Rockland County, N.Y., representing clients in foreclosure cases and personal-injury lawsuits.

In a good year, the 43-year-old lawyer and her husband, Ian Boschen, 41, together brought in about $175,000, the couple said—enough to cover the mortgage, two car leases, student loans, credit cards and assorted costs of raising two daughters in the New York City suburbs.

After the coronavirus halted many foreclosures and closed courts, her work dried up. Unemployment benefits have helped, Ms. Hopkins said, but the family is running low on savings and can’t keep up with $9,000 in monthly debt payments including mortgage installments. “It frustrates me to not be able to earn a living,” she said. “I have a law degree, almost 20 years of practice.”

Millions of Americans have lost jobs during a pandemic that kept restaurants, shops and public institutions closed for months and hit the travel industry hard. While lower-wage workers have borne much of the brunt, the crisis is wreaking a particular kind of havoc on the debt-laden middle class.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2. – October 2019 presentation. Milwaukee taxpayers plan to spend $1.2B for 75,234 students, or $15,950 per student, about 16% less than Madison.

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

The Charter School Advantage A new study shows African-Americans and children from poorer backgrounds outpace their peers in traditional district schools.

Paul E. Peterson and M. Danish Shakeel:

Public charter schools were once viewed as a nonpartisan compromise between vouchers for private schools and no choice at all. Not now. In its 2020 national platform, the Democratic Party calls for “stringent guardrails to ensure charter schools are good stewards” and says federal funding for charters must be conditioned on “whether the charter will systematically underserve the neediest students.” Charter schools are indeed acting as good stewards by outpacing district schools on achievement growth—especially for the most at-risk students.

In a new study we compare the progress made by cohorts of charter and district school students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress from 2005-17—a sample of more than four million test performances. Overall, students at charters are advancing at a faster pace than those at district schools. The strides made by African-American charter students have been particularly impressive. We also see larger gains at charters, relative to district schools, by students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Sometimes known as “the nation’s report card,” the NAEP administers math and reading tests every other year to representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade students in all 50 states. Ours is the first study to use this vast storehouse of information to analyze changes over time in the charter and district sectors. By adjusting for student background characteristics—sex, ethnicity, income, and (for eighth-grade students) computer availability and the number of books in the home—we made direct comparisons between student outcomes at charter and district schools. Because NAEP data don’t allow us to track specific students, we looked at changes in performance from one student cohort to the next over 12 years.

After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge

Benjamin Farrell:

On July 10, after another, much shorter search, MMSD settled on UW-Madison alumnus and former associate principal of Madison Memorial High School Dr. Carlton Jenkins to be the district’s first Black superintendent. Since his time at Madison Memorial, Jenkinshas held high-ranking positions in school districts in New Hope, Minnesota; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Atlanta, Georgia. Madisonians, especially the signatories of the open letter to MMSD, were extremely relieved to have someone they saw as competent and experienced in the role. 

“I’m just happy someone’s working,” said Marcus Allen, Rev. of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and co-author of the Madison365 op-ed. “First and foremost I’m a parent, and someone needs to be in that job, especially right now. And I’m very happy it’s Mr. Jenkins.”

In his first press conference, Jenkins repeatedly referenced the strength of community as a means to get through the coming semester, which was slated to begin online.

“We will not put at risk any student, any staff or any parent, any community person coming into our schools,” Jenkins said.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Civics: Facebook vows to restrict users if U.S. election descends into chaos

Reuters:

The company had drawn up plans for how to handle a range of outcomes, including widespread civic unrest or “the political dilemmas” of having in-person votes counted more rapidly than mail-in ballots, the report on.ft.com/3hRRNdf said, citing an interview with Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

Scott Girard:

Maxine McKinney de Royston has a pair of perspectives on virtual learning.

The parent of three is also an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, seeing the clash between the reality of what the Madison Metropolitan School District is implementing and what she considers best practices.

MMSD has moved to a nearly full-day schedule of live, remote instruction this fall after its unexpected transition to virtual learning in the spring, when students were learning through screens for fewer hours. McKinney de Royston is concerned the fall plan has “gone a little too far” in requiring too much active screen time. 

“I feel like it’s just gone too far to the over-planning side and the over-structured side, which is unfortunate, but I also understand that there’s competing needs,” she said during the first week of school. “There’s the needs by the Department of Public Instruction to get a certain number of instructional minutes. And so everybody’s between a rock and a hard place.

“It’s just as somebody who studies learning I’m like, ‘No!’”

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Civics: I asked an online tracking company for all of my data and here’s what I found

Privacy International:

It’s 15:10 pm on April 18, 2018. I’m in the Privacy International office, reading a news story on the use of facial recognition in Thailand. On April 20, at 21:10, I clicked on a CNN Money Exclusive on my phone. At 11:45 on May 11, 2018, I read a story on USA Today about Facebook knowing when teen users are feeling insecure.

How do I know all of this? Because I asked an advertising company called Quantcast for all of the data they have about me.

Most people will have never heard of Quantcast, but Quantcast will certainly have heard about them. The San Francisco-based company collects real-time insights on audience characteristics across the internet and claims that it can do so on over 100 million websites.

Quantcast is just one of many companies that form part of a complex back-end systems used to direct advertising to individuals and specific target audiences.

Google’s Plan to Disrupt the College Degree Is Absolute Genius

Justin Bariso:

Google’s new ‘career certificate’ program is just the right thing, at just the right time.

Google made waves recently by announcing its new program, “Google Career Certificates,” a collection of courses designed to help participants get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields without attending university.

The courses should take about six months to complete, and will cost a fraction of a traditional college education. 

The response was huge. The article has been shared thousands of times and has prompted thousands of comments. Additionally, tons of people have reached out to me personally to share their thoughts.

Most of the feedback has been extremely positive, but some readers have expressed skepticism. Let’s take a deeper dive into both of these responses to see just why Google’s new certificates are such a big deal–and why the plan is ingenious.

As Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google, succinctly put it in a blog post:

“We will consider our new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles.”

UW-Madison fires back at Dane County for proposing online classes, sending students home

Kelly Meyerhofer:

The best way to reduce the number of infections, Blank said, is “not by issuing press releases calling for students to leave, but to partner in developing collaborative solutions for the benefit of all residents.” She warned that the county is unlikely to see a rapid decline in cases until agencies with jurisdiction over off-campus areas take action.

“It’s long past time to stop arguing,” Blank said in a statement. “We’d welcome a conversation on how we can work together to help our community.”

UW campuses forge ahead in reopening this fall despite growing COVID-19 concerns

Parisi was baffled by Blank’s latest statement, saying UW-Madison went ahead in reopening this fall despite both he and officials with Public Health Madison and Dane County expressing concern.

“The university did not ask for our permission,” he said in an interview. “They informed us. For them to somehow shift the responsibility of their decision onto the community doesn’t really pass the smell test.”

UW-Madison started the semester with an inadequate testing ability and number of contact tracers on staff, straining the county’s public health resources, Parisi said.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Madison seeks to waive the State of Wisconsin’s civics exam requirement

Logan Wroge:

In other action Monday, the School Board gave district administrators the go-ahead to request waivers this year on attendance and truancy enforcement, annual instructional hours and a civics exam high schoolers need to pass to graduate.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Madison School Board strikes tentative property deal for referendum-envisioned elementary, amidst declining enrollment

Logan Wroge:

The district has made it a priority to bring an elementary school to the racially diverse neighborhood where most students need to take long bus rides out of the area to attend Allis Elementary on the Southeast Side.

About 450 elementary students live in the neighborhood bounded by the Beltline to the north, Highway 14 to the west, and parkland and marshes to the south and east.

If the facilities referendum passes, it would create the first new elementary school in the district since 2008. An elementary in Moorland-Rimrock could open as early as fall 2023.

Additional notes and commentary from Scott Girard.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 2020
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
Sources:
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/data/)

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending climate: Nashville could run out of cash due to confusion around property tax referendum, finance director says

Yihyun Jeong:

Nashville could run dangerously low or “run out of cash altogether” just from the public confusion surrounding a referendum effort to repeal the city’s property tax increase, warns Metro Finance Director Kevin Crumbo. 

Crumbo’s remarks were made to Metro Council’s budget committee Monday, hours after Mayor John Cooper and other city leadership went on the offense against a petition they say, if successful, would “cripple” the city and gut essential services. 

Madison has a substantial tax & spending increase referendum on the November, 2020 ballot, including a new school building amidst declining enrollment.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2. – October 2019 presentation. Milwaukee taxpayers plan to spend $1.2B for 75,234 students, or $15,950 per student, about 16% less than Madison.

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

At the Math Olympiad, Computers Prepare to Go for the Gold

Kevin Hartnett:

The 61st International Mathematical Olympiad, or IMO, begins today. It may go down in history for at least two reasons: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it’s the first time the event has been held remotely, and it may also be the last time that artificial intelligence doesn’t compete.

Indeed, researchers view the IMO as the ideal proving ground for machines designed to think like humans. If an AI system can excel here, it will have matched an important dimension of human cognition.

“The IMO, to me, represents the hardest class of problems that smart people can be taught to solve somewhat reliably,” said Daniel Selsam of Microsoft Research. Selsam is a founder of the IMO Grand Challenge, whose goal is to train an AI system to win a gold medal at the world’s premier math competition.

Since 1959, the IMO has brought together the best pre-college math students in the world. On each of the competition’s two days, participants have four and a half hours to answer three problems of increasing difficulty. They earn up to seven points per problem, and top scorers take home medals, just like at the Olympic Games. The most decorated IMO participants become legends in the mathematics community. Some have gone on to become superlative research mathematicians.

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: 60% of Restaurants don’t plan to reopen

Yelp:

The restaurant industry continues to be among the most impacted with an increasing number of closures – totalling 32,109 closures as of August 31, with 19,590 of these business closures indicated to be permanent (61%). Breakfast and brunch restaurants, burger joints, sandwich shops, dessert places and Mexican restaurants are among the types of restaurants with the highest rate of business closures. Foods that work well for delivery and takeout have been able to keep their closure rates lower than others, including pizza places, delis, food trucks, bakeries and coffee shops.

Meanwhile, bars and nightlife, an industry 6X smaller than restaurants, has endured an especially high closure rate, with an increasing percentage of closures being permanent. As of the end of August there were 6,451 total business closures, of which 3,499 were permanently closed (54%). The share of permanent closures within bars and nightlife have increased by 10% since our Economic Average Report in July.

Retail and shopping follows closely behind restaurants with 30,374 total business closures, 17,503 of which are permanent (58%). Similar to bars and nightlife, the share of permanent closures increased by 10% since July. Both men and women’s clothing, as well as home decor, have the highest rate of business closures.

The Forecasting Fallacy

Alex Murrell:

Marketers are prone to a prediction.

You’ll find them in the annual tirade of trend decks. In the PowerPoint projections of self-proclaimed prophets. In the feeds of forecasters and futurists. They crop up on every conference stage. They make their mark on every marketing magazine. And they work their way into every white paper.

To understand the extent of our forecasting fascination, I analysed the websites of three management consultancies looking for predictions with time frames ranging from 2025 to 2050. Whilst one prediction may be published multiple times, the size of the numbers still shocked me. Deloitte’s site makes 6904 predictions. McKinsey & Company make 4296. And Boston Consulting Group, 3679.

In total, these three companies’ websites include just shy of 15,000 predictions stretching out over the next 30 years.

But it doesn’t stop there.

My analysis finished in the year 2050 not because the predictions came to an end but because my enthusiasm did.

Search the sites and you’ll find forecasts stretching all the way to the year 2100. We’re still finding our feet in this century but some, it seems, already understand the next.

I believe the vast majority of these to be not forecasts but fantasies. Snake oil dressed up as science. Fiction masquerading as fact.

More Than 20 Percent of Universities Could Fail Because of the Lockdowns

Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan:

As bad as the COVID-19 lockdown has been in any number of sectors of the US economy, colleges and universities have been hit particularly hard. Restaurants and movie theaters have physical plants that continue to cost them money regardless of whether they are serving food or showing movies. Hotels have it even worse, because they are far more expensive to maintain. But colleges and universities have it worse still. Their physical plants include not only housing and dining facilities, but also recreation areas, classrooms, and expansive grounds. In addition, colleges and universities have staff that often number hundreds of times that of hotels.

Unlike restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels, colleges and universities do have the ability to offer their product remotely. Students with their faces planted firmly into Zoom calls have become the new normal pretty quickly. But when a quarter to almost half of a university’s income comes from room and board, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that those Zoom classes are gutting college and university revenue streams.

Making matters worse, foreign students are staying home in droves because of both the virus and US policy. This might not sound like much, but universities obtain more than twice the revenue from the typical foreign student than from the typical American student. Foreign students have been subsidizing American students for years. And now they aren’t.

The upshot of all of this, according to NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, is rather disconcerting. In examining some 442 US universities, Galloway estimates that more than 20 percent could fail because of the lockdowns, and that another 30 percent will struggle to remain open. That’s 50 percent of US colleges and universities at very serious (or mortal) risk.

Judge blocks US attempts to ban downloads of Chinese app

BBC:

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the ban raised serious questions related to the constitution’s first amendment, guaranteeing free speech.

The Department of Commerce had announced a bar on WeChat appearing in US app stores from Sunday, effectively shutting it down.

The Trump administration has alleged it threatens national security.

It says it could pass user data to the Chinese government.

Both WeChat and China have strongly denied the claim. Tencent, the conglomerate that owns WeChat, had previously described the US ban as “unfortunate”.

The ruling comes just after TikTok, which was also named in the Department of Commerce order, reached a deal with US firms Oracle and Walmart to hopefully allow them to keep operating.

Mayflower 400: the science of sailing across the ocean in 1620

Jonathan Ridley:

It is July 1620 in Southampton, England. Arriving into port is the Speedwell, a ship carrying a small religious group from the Netherlands. Anchored just off of the west quay of the town is the Mayflower, a larger ship with more passengers aboard, which is loading for a transatlantic voyage with the Speedwell. The passengers have permission and funding to start a trading settlement in the Colony of Virginia (which at the time extended far further than the modern state of Virginia), under the control of the Virginia Company.

Despite the historical significance of the Mayflower, we know very little about the ship and its voyage. We only know its name from a document written three years after the voyage. At the time the Mayflower was not notable or special and – because some of the passengers faced persecution for their religious activities – they probably kept a low profile.

Evidence suggests that it was “burden about nine score” or 180 tons. “Burden” was a term for cargo capacity, while a “tun” was a large cask of wine. The ship could therefore carry the equivalent of 180 tuns of wine.

There are unfortunately no illustrations or plans of The Mayflower from the time, so we don’t even know for certain what the ship looked like. We do know, however, that ships around this time were built to a series of similar rules (outlined in Swedish shipbuilder Fredrik Henrik af Chapman’s Architectura Navalis Mercatoria, published in 1768). We can therefore begin to estimate the proportions for the cargo carried, but with a caution that the rules varied between shipwrights, with many details not recorded and drawings not made.

Civics: The Post-Objectivity Era

Matt Taibbi:

We live in a time of incredible political division. Many of us have had the experience of talking to someone whose idea of reality seems to be completely different from our own. It’s become difficult to have an argument in the traditional sense. People with differing opinions are often no longer even working from the same commonly-accepted set of facts. It’s a problem that has a lot to do with changes in how we receive and digest information, especially through the news media.

I’ve worked in the press for thirty years. In my lifetime the core commercial strategy of the news business has changed radically. At the national level, companies have moved from trying to attract one big audience to trying to capture and retain multiple small audiences.

Fundamentally, this means the press has gone from selling a vision of reality they perceive to be acceptable to a broad mean, to selling division. For technological, commercial, and political reasons this instinct has become more exaggerated with time, snowballing toward the dysfunctional state we’re in today.

A story that illustrates how the old system worked involves the first major national news broadcast, the CBS radio program anchored by the legendary Lowell Thomas.

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay:

Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that certain people shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society? In this probing and intrepid volume, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma that informs these ideas, from its coarse origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today this dogma is recognizable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media dogpiles, as by its tenets, which are all too often embraced as axiomatic in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play;

Judge finds Wisconsin DPI improperly released test scores to media

Todd Richmond:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students’ standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

The scores showed only 39% of all students were proficient or advanced in English and that 40% were proficient or advanced in math. Only 20.7% of voucher students were proficient or advanced in English and just 17.8% were proficient or advanced in math.

Students in voucher programs can use state dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools. Republicans have touted the programs as an alternative for students stuck in failing public schools. Democrats argue the programs are a drain on state revenues that could go to help public schools.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

How algorithms discern our mood from what we write online

Dana Mackenzie:

In addition to taking Twitter user’s emotional temperature, researchers are employing sentiment analysis to gauge people’s perceptions of climate change and to test conventional wisdom such as, in music, whether a minor chord is sadder than a major chord (and by how much). Businesses who covet information about customers’ feelings are harnessing sentiment analysis to assess reviews on platforms like Yelp. Some are using it to measure employees’ moods on the internal social networks at work. The technique might also have medical applications, such as identifying depressed people in need of help.

Sentiment analysis is allowing researchers to examine a deluge of data that was previously time-consuming and difficult to collect, let alone study, says Danforth. “In social science we tend to measure things that are easy, like gross domestic product. Happiness is an important thing that is hard to measure.”

Deconstructing the ‘word stew’

You might think the first step in sentiment analysis would be teaching the computer to understand what humans are saying. But that’s one thing that computer scientists cannot do; understanding language is one of the most notoriously difficult problems in artificial intelligence. Yet there are abundant clues to the emotions behind a written text, which computers can recognize even without understanding the meaning of the words.

Dutch Education Minister Wants Academics to Have Weekends

David Matthews:

Ingrid van Engelshoven wants to reduce stress and time pressure in academe by tipping the balance away from competitive grants and toward more stable support for universities, reversing a long-term research funding trend in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Speaking to Times Higher Education in the Hague, she hoped that reforms to Dutch academe would mean that in five to 10 years, academics would be able to do their research “within normal working hours.”

“So you don’t have to skip your vacation, skip your weekend, because you’re busy all week with teaching your students, designing your online courses [or] … drafting your applications for grants,” she said.

Dutch academe has witnessed a rising tide of dissatisfaction over what some academics see as intolerable stress. Earlier this year, universities were reported to the country’s employment regulator over hundreds of complaints about “structural overtime,” leading to family problems and burnout.

Civics: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting To Worship Indoors

HillFaith:

California authorities are clearly determined to make an example of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church (GCC) in Los Angeles County in retaliation for defying the state’s ban on indoor worship meetings.

The ban has been challenged by other California congregations, but MacArthur is an internationally known evangelical pastor, book author and opinion molder. He and GCC are represented in court by Jenna Ellis and the Thomas More Society. Go here, here and here for previous HillFaith posts on GCC.

Yesterday, Sunday, September 13, MacArthur and GBC defied a court order specifically banning the congregation from meeting indoors. During the service, MacArthur described the specific demands California seeks to impose on all churches in the state.

As MacArthur goes through these demands, it should be obvious to all reasonable persons that California officials are attempting bureaucratic strangulation by regulation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and assembly.

Judge Rules Wisconsin DPI Violated State Law in Release of 2019 School Choice Data

Wisconsin institute for law and liberty:

The News: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier issued a summary judgement ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated state law when the state agency released partial data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs to a select media list ahead of a September 2019 public release. The Court’s decision includes a permanent injunction to prevent DPI from violating state law that says data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs must be released “all at the same time, uniformly, and completely.”

WILL sued DPI in Jefferson County in November 2019 on behalf of School Choice Wisconsin (SCW), Empower Wisconsin journalist Matt Kittle, and WILL Research Director Will Flanders.

The Court’s Decision: Judge Brantmeier ruled that DPI’s actions violated state law by providing press with early access and by releasing incomplete data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs. Judge Brantmeier declined to restrict the state Superintendent’s ability to comment on the data it releases but emphasized that DPI remains bound to release full data sets on equal terms to all Wisconsinites.

Why It Matters: Wisconsin’s state agencies must understand that following state law is not optional. This is another victory for a more accountable state government.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Analyzing ‘the homework gap’ among high school students

Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero:

Researchers have struggled for decades to identify a causal, or even correlational, relationship between time spent in school and improved learning outcomes for students. Some studies have focused on the length of a school year while others have focused on hours in a day and others on hours in the week.

In this blog post, we will look at time spent outside of school–specifically time spent doing homework–among different racial and socio-economic groups. We will use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to shed light on those differences and then attempt to explain those gaps, using ATUS data and other evidence.

Diversity-Related Training: What Is It Good For?

Musa al-Gharbi:

In wake of George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, many colleges and universities have been rolling out new training requirements – often oriented towards reducing biases and encouraging people from high-status groups to ‘check their privilege.’

The explicit goal of these training programs is generally to help create a more positive and welcoming institutional environment for people from historically marginalized and underrepresented groups. However, many of these approaches were implemented by corporations, non-profits and universities before their effectiveness had been tested rigorously (if at all).

Harvard and Yale Face Broad Attack on Race-Conscious Admissions

Patricia Hurtado:

The court ruled more than four decades ago in its Bakke decision that race can be considered as one factor among many in creating a diverse class — which it has deemed an educational benefit for the whole student body — and has reaffirmed that stance over the years. Now, with Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, alongside their conservative brethren, some see a chance to take down what they argue is bias masquerading as equity.

“Sandra Day O’Connor basically opined that we could have another 20 years or 25 years of affirmative action programs, but that they would not go on forever,” said Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative group that focuses on race and ethnicity. O’Connor speculated on such a time frame in 2003 when she wrote the high court’s majority opinion upholding the use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan.

“And yet we do see them going on forever,” Chavez said. “We’re now talking about kids who are getting into college on the basis of some racial or ethnic preference who are the grandchildren of people who first got those preferences.”

CIVICS: “IN RECENT YEARS, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS SOMETIMES ACTED MORE LIKE A TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR FEDERAL PROSECUTORS THAN THE ADMINISTRATOR OF A FAIR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE BASED ON CLEAR AND SENSIBLE LEGAL RULES.”

Ann Althouse:

“In case after case, we have advanced and defended hyper-aggressive extensions of the criminal law. This is wrong and we must stop doing it…. We should want a fair system with clear rules that the people can understand. It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions that maximize our options as prosecutors…. Advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believe engaged in questionable conduct. But that is what it means to have a government of laws and not of men…. If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, then everything becomes a potential crime. Rather than watch policy experts debate the merits or demerits of a particular policy choice, we are nowadays treated to ad na[u]seum speculation by legal pundits — often former prosecutors themselves — that some action by the President, a senior official, or a member of congress constitutes a federal felony under this or that vague federal criminal statute. This criminalization of politics is not healthy.

Going to elite Indian colleges improves earnings, but not test scores

The Economist:

GRADUATES FROM higher-ranked universities tend to earn more money. That is well known. What is less understood is why. One theory is that these schools are better at imparting knowledge—employers might reasonably offer higher salaries to new hires they believe are better qualified. An alternative theory is that admission is a form of signalling. Prestigious colleges are selective. Their students may not learn anything particularly useful, but are paid more because simply getting accepted to a leading college gives employers the impression that they are talented.

A new paper by Sheetal Sekhri of the University of Virginia adds further evidence for the latter theory by looking at the wages of university graduates in India. There, pupils in their final year of secondary school sit a leaving exam known as the Senior Secondary School Examination. Those who score well enough are eligible for admission to India’s well-regarded public colleges; those who fall short enrol at less-prestigious private colleges. India is atypical in that its college students have to take standardised exit exams. These tests give researchers a good opportunity to see whether highly ranked universities do a better job of educating their students than average ones.

Parents Withdrawing Students From Texas Public Schools To Home-school Increases 400 Percent

Tristan Justice:

The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), which processes requests for families pulling their children out of public schools, reported a 400 percent increase in withdrawals for August leading into the 2020-2021 school year, compared to August of 2019.

The August numbers follow a record-setting month in July where their online process saw a 1,500 percent jump from July last year.

The spike, the group reported, stems directly from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) pandemic schooling guidelines sparking a mass exodus from the public school system as parents opt to teach their children at home over enrolling them in a digitized, remote state-run classroom.

In August 2019, THSC processed 1,044 family withdrawals, a fraction of the 4,055 processed this year. The group added that even these numbers are likely underreported, as THSC is not immediately notified of every withdrawal in the state.

Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack

Timothy Rybeck:

Three infamous conflagrations illuminate the pages of Richard Ovenden’s fascinating new history, Burning the Books. The first is the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, which, according to Ovenden, did not go up in a single blaze but was gradually destroyed by repeated acts of arson and plunder, until there was nothing left but a metaphor. The second is the burning of the US Library of Congress by the British in 1814, when soldiers’ faces were ‘illumined’ by the flames. ‘I do not recollect to have witnessed, at any period in my life,’ a British soldier said, ‘a scene more striking or sublime.’ The third burning is certainly the best known: the Nazi Bücherverbrennungen that followed Hitler’s rise to power. ‘The 10 May 1933 book-burning was merely the forerunner of arguably the most concerted and well-resourced eradication of books in history,’ Ovenden writes.

Khan Academy’s Sal Khan shares advice for online learning: Do less, and turn off the camera

Heather Kelly:

For the past 12 years, Salman Khan has been touting online learning as the future of education. But even he didn’t imagine us crashing into that future so suddenly and with little time to prepare.

Now millions of schools are starting the fall semester with distance learning over laptops and tablets to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus, while many others have started with a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Teachers, parents and kids are figuring out what works or doesn’t, fumbling and adjusting along the way. Khan hopes to help guide them.

Khan is the founder of the nonprofit Khan Academy, a collection of online learning tools and video classes for kids that he started in 2008 after successfully tutoring his own cousins over video. In 2014, he started an in-person school in Silicon Valley called the Khan Labs School, which has also had to make the switch to online classes this month.

Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

Will Flanders:

This year, no Forward Exam was administered to Wisconsin students due to the coronavirus and school shutdowns. For policymakers, this presents a challenge as it makes it more difficult to understand where problems lie, and where the focus should be for improvement. However, this also presents an opportunity to make modifications to some of the deficient components of the report card that can mislead parents and policymakers on school quality.

This first section of this policy brief is designed to explain how the current report card works. The second section builds on this knowledge to highlight issues with the current report card, and suggest ways to improve it. The key takeaways of this brief include:

Report Card Scores are Based on Several Components of Student Performance. Forward Exam scores, growth, and gap closure all play important roles.

The Composition of the Report Card Score Varies Based on Student Demographics. In schools with fewer low-income students, overall performance is given more weight. In schools with more low-income students, growth is given more weight.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Madison School Board President seeks Police Chief Job

David Blaska:

Reyes was one of 40 applicants. The deadline was today. She is a former police officer and, under past mayor Paul Soglin, was deputy mayor for law enforcement. Once an advocate for police in the city’s four troubled high schools, Reyes caved after BLM invaded her residential street this summer and voted to expel police. (Related here.)

Notes and links on Gloria Reyes.

Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Scott Girard:

Ruppell estimated Monday that the district would see a 400-student drop in enrollment this school year, though that won’t be finalized until the state certifies enrollment numbers in early October. That’s up nearly 350 students from the estimated drop of 51 pre-COVID, which is why the district implemented a hiring freeze over the summer, Ruppell said.

“We have a game plan in place regarding this,” Ruppell said. “These numbers can get much better by the time we hit Friday.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Madison School District to hold Facebook Live sessions on 2020 tax & spending increase referendum beginning this week

Scott Girard:

The $317 million ask is among the largest in the history of the state, according to state Department of Public Instruction data. It is surpassed only by Racine’s barely approved $1 billion question in April, which won by five votes, and Milwaukee’s $366 million 1993 question that failed.

[New Madison elementary school would go on Badger Rock site if referendum approved]

Each of the comprehensive high schools would receive about $70 million for renovations under the plan, while the other funds would go toward the Capital High move, elementary school construction and $2 million earmarked for sustainability projects.

The second question on the ballot would provide MMSD with additional revenue authority above the state-imposed limit, phased in over four years. It would provide an additional $6 million in year one, an additional $8 million in year two, another $9 million in year three and $10 million more in year four. The district would then be able to surpass the revenue limit by $33 million in perpetuity thereafter.

The facilities referendum would add an average of $50 per $100,000 of property value each year in taxes for homeowners over its 22-year payoff period, according to the district. The operating referendum would add about $103 per $100,000 of property value in property taxes by the time it reaches year four, rising incrementally each year.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2. – October 2019 presentation. Milwaukee taxpayers plan to spend $1.2B for 75,234 students, or $15,950 per student, about 16% less than Madison.

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

Why Schools Should Exclusively Use Free Software

Richard Stallman:

Free software can save schools money, but this is a secondary benefit. Savings are possible because free software gives schools, like other users, the freedom to copy and redistribute the software; the school system can give a copy to every school, and each school can install the program in all its computers, with no obligation to pay for doing so.

This benefit is useful, but we firmly refuse to give it first place, because it is shallow compared to the important ethical issues at stake. Moving schools to free software is more than a way to make education a little “better”: it is a matter of doing good education instead of bad education. So let’s consider the deeper issues.

Schools have a social mission: to teach students to be citizens of a strong, capable, independent, cooperating and free society. They should promote the use of free software just as they promote conservation and voting. By teaching students free software, they can graduate citizens ready to live in a free digital society. This will help society as a whole escape from being dominated by megacorporations.

Half of All False Convictions in the U.S. Involved Police or Prosecutor Misconduct, Finds New Report

Scott Shackford:

When innocent people are falsely convicted of crimes and later freed, in more than half of the cases, misconduct by police and prosecutors played a contributing role.

That’s the primary theme of a new report, “Government Misconduct and Convicting the Innocent,” released today by the National Registry of Exonerations, which has been tracking all known exonerations in the United States for the past 30 years. Every year they release a report documenting trends in exonerations, how often DNA evidence plays a role in determining an innocent person is behind bars, problems with eyewitness testimony, and of course, misconduct by officials.

This new report drills into all of the exonerations they’ve archived up until February 2019. That’s 2,400 cases. These are people who have been convicted of crimes, sentenced, then later cleared based on new evidence showing their innocence.

In 54 percent of these cases, misconduct by officials contributed to a false conviction. The more severe the crime, the more likely misconduct played a role when an innocent person was convicted.

Police and prosecutors, in general, engaged in misconduct at about equal rates, 35 percent for cops, 30 percent for prosecutors at the state level. In drug cases, though, cops were four times more likely to have engaged in misconduct than prosecutors. When it came to federal cases, prosecutors engaged in misconduct at rates more than twice as often as police. In white-collar cases, federal prosecutors engaged in misconduct seven times as much as police.

Chinese firm harvests social media posts, data of prominent Americans and military

Gerry Shih:

Biographies and service records of aircraft carrier captains and up-and-coming officers in the U.S. Navy. Real-time tweets originating from overseas U.S. military installations. Profiles and family maps of foreign leaders, including their relatives and children. Records of social media chatter among China watchers in Washington.

Those digital crumbs, along with millions of other scraps of social media and online data, have been systematically collected since 2017 by a small Chinese company called Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Technology for the stated purpose of providing intelligence to Chinese military, government and commercial clients, according to a copy of the database that was left unsecured on the Internet and retrieved by an Australian cybersecurity consultancy.

The cache, called the Overseas Key Information Database, or OKIDB, purports to offer insights into foreign political, military and business figures, details about countries’ infrastructure and military deployments, and public opinion analysis. The database contains information on more than 2 million people, including at least 50,000 Americans and tens of thousands of people who hold prominent public positions, according to Zhenhua’s marketing documents and a review of a portion of the database.

Although there is no evidence showing that the OKIDB software is currently being used by the Chinese government, Zhenhua’s marketing and recruiting documents characterize the company as a patriotic firm, with the military as its primary target customer.

What I found out when I blocked apps from tracking my iPhone for one week

Rob Sturgeon.

When Apple made an appearance at the CES tech conference in Las Vegas in 2019, they also put up a sign. It wasn’t a billboard, as many news outlets claimed, but a 13-story Apple ad plastered onto the side of a hotel. It had one message: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”.

To anyone who knows the first thing about what makes smartphones smart, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. In order to browse any website or use most apps, you need to be connected to the internet.

Requests need to leave your phone, travel to a server, and a response needs to return with the information you want. But those requests aren’t always for data the user has requested. In fact, in many cases, those requests aren’t initiated by the user at all.

And so I tried a little experiment: blocked apps from tracking my iPhone for just one week

And during that time I was tracked 4,341 times by 33 tracking platforms.

Some highlights:

• Google tracked me nearly twice as much as all others combined

• Facebook and Amazon tracked me more than any other company (except Google)

• The rest of the data goes to 29 companies, most of which I’ve never heard of

Let’s remember this was just one week. If we assume the rate of tracking has always been somewhat similar, we can extrapolate from there. If all 52 weeks in a year are the same, I’m being tracked 225,732 times a year. And I’ve been using iPhones exclusively for 10 years, which means…

Madison Edgewood savors fall football opportunity

Jon Masson:

Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and county health guidelines varying across counties led area schools to make different decisions about academic models and athletics this school year — including for football, which is considered a “higher-risk” sport.

Edgewood is the lone Madison school and one of 13 area schools playing football this fall. The other area schools plan to play during the WIAA’s alternative spring season.

“I honestly didn’t expect that we were going to be able to play this fall, so it was definitely good news to hear those words,” said Edgewood senior Charlie Clark, a 6-foot-7, 302-pound offensive and defensive lineman. “It was a really big surprise, really nice to hear, especially because we will be able to show how we’ve improved over the summer.”

On-line education in Oklahoma, from my email box

Tyler Cowen:

“…this is seemingly starting to be a big deal in OK, but flying under the radar.

Background:

• 10-15 years ago Oklahoma passed a law allowing online-only charter schools with a separate regulatory structure from physical charter schools.

• Critically, the unions did not think to push for an enrollment cap.

• There are 5-10 schools, all quite small, except for one named EPIC.

About EPIC:

• Has enrollment (~38,000) that is larger than any district in the state. This enrollment is currently surging faster than its usual high growth because of COVID-19 and could reach 46,000 by the Oct 1 “Money Head Count” deadline.

• From Oct 1, 2018 to Oct 1, 2019, EPIC’s enrollment grew more than the enrollment growth for the entire state of OK.

• Like all public charters in OK, the school is free to attend. Parents get paid $1000 per student per year for school supplies and activities.

• They have 100% online and blended learning options. Teachers in the online-only are paid by how many students they take on and can earn over $100,000. The state average pay for teachers is just over $50,000/yr.

• They are a non-profit but they are run by a closely related for-profit management company that is paid 10% of gross revenue. (Incentives!)

• Everyone in OK education that isn’t EPIC, hates EPIC. The state has multiple lawsuits and audits alleging that they have been committing fraud. These go back as far as 2012 but none have yet been resolved, even with open investigations by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The alleged amounts are less than 1% of cumulative revenue.

Comparison to Regular Schools:

Schools in China are trying to make pupils’ lives easier

The Economist:

THE LARGEST museum commemorating the gruelling examination system China used in imperial days to select civil servants opened in 2017 in Nanjing. It would not seem an obvious destination for a fun family outing in the eastern city. As visitors walk into it down a grey ramp—130 metres long to symbolise the test’s 1,300-year history—a sign tells them they will “experience the hardships of the journey to success” for those who sat the keju before its abolition in 1905. Bamboo slips affixed to towering walls represent the “myriad” books that candidates had to read.

Yet on a recent weekday afternoon, there were as many youngsters filling the museum’s cavernous halls as there were attentive adults. A mother from the city of Xi’an, hundreds of kilometres inland, had brought her four-year-old son in order to inspire him. “He likes the dioramas,” she said brightly, “even though he doesn’t know what an exam is yet.” A coalmine engineer from Ordos, a city in distant Inner Mongolia, was there with his nine-year-old son whose “fate” he hoped to alter through their visit. “Xiangshi, huishi, dianshi,” his son piped up, naming three levels of the ancient test that inspired the creation of civil-service exams in the West.

In terms of the awe it inspires, the keju has a modern rival: the gaokao, a punishingly hard university-entrance exam which is taken by over 10m students every year. For those from poor families, a good score is often their only chance to escape a life toiling on farms or in factories. As a result, Chinese education has long involved little more than rote learning, aimed purely at the gaokao. Pupils attend late-night cram sessions and shoulder twice as much homework as the global average.

(Taxpayer supported) Wisconsin Public Radio Source Demographic Survey Shows Need For Improvement

Hannah Haynes and Jennifer Dargan:

Wisconsin Public Radio works daily to bring news content that accurately reflects the diversity of the state. But results of a year-long internal review confirmed what many at WPR had suspected — sources on air are overwhelmingly white. 

New data collected over the last year shows that of the people who appeared on air on WPR’s two radio networks nearly nine out of 10 were white. There was an even split between males and females.

The data also showed geographical distribution, with a significant number of the state’s 772 zip codes represented. This is an important metric for a statewide network such as WPR. 

So how can WPR as an organization best represent the people who live in Wisconsin? WPR has plans to improve representation going forward. Those plans are outlined below. WPR will continue to collect this crucial demographic data to find out how the organization is doing and make that data public. 

Understanding The Project

A year ago, WPR began a project to survey sources who appeared on The Ideas Network and the NPR News & Music Network to better understand who reporters and producers at WPR were featuring on talk shows and in their reporting. 

When developing this project, it was important to the organization to survey people and learn their race and/or ethnicity and gender from them rather than having a reporter or producer make an educated guess, which different teams at WPR had been doing prior to this project. 

Civics: Americans’ main sources for political news vary by party and age

Elizabeth Greico:

MSNBC’s core audience is more Democratic than Fox’s is Republican (it’s close, but MSNBC is the single most partisan outlet in this poll: pure choir preaching).

More importantly, those who cite NYT as their main news source are almost entirely Democrats. – Glenn Greenwald.

The number that stands out here is the New York Times being as nearly perfect a partisan product as MSNBC – I imagine the numbers would have been at least somewhat different ten years ago. – Matt Taibbi.

Four of the eight sources named by at least 2% of U.S. adults are much more likely to be named by Democrats and independents who lean Democratic than by Republicans and GOP leaners: MSNBC, The New York Times, NPR and CNN. Fox News is the one outlet among these eight that is far more likely to be named by Republicans than by Democrats.

Those who name Fox News and MSNBC display roughly the same high levels of partisanship. About nine-in-ten of those whose main source is Fox News (93%) identify as Republican, very close to the 95% of those who name MSNBC and identify as Democrats. Similarly, about nine-in-ten of those who name The New York Times (91%) and NPR (87%) as their main political news source identify as Democrats, with CNN at about eight-in-ten (79%).

The three major broadcast news networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – have more of a mix of Democrats and Republicans among those who name these outlets as their main sources for political news. For example, the makeup of those who name NBC News as their main source is 57% Democratic versus 38% Republican.

Civics: UW-Madison student newspaper rejects op-ed opposing defunding police

Kara Zupkus:

The Badger-Herald, an independent student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, rejected a conservative columnist’s op-ed arguing against defunding the police, claiming “it is too much of a hot take right now” and that it “would cause a lot of backlash.”

Editors at the Badger-Herald denied Tripp Grebe’s op-ed on the basis of its content, noting that the Editorial Board recently had recently published a piece endorsing BLM and endorsing candidates who want to defund the police.

“While your article was well-written, it is too much of a hot take right now and upper management is worried about alienating incoming freshman students from the Herald,” Opinions Editor Samiha Bhushan said in an email. “Additionally, we just published an editorial board supporting BLM and another article publicly endorsing two candidates who want to defund the police. As a result, your article would cause a lot of backlash that we cannot afford right now.”

The Race to the Pole Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott – 1911-1912

Cool Antarctica:

The attainment of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen ahead of Robert Scott has frequently described Amundsen as the winner in a race.  Over a hundred years later there is still debate about the events, how well the two men were prepared, how they conducted themselves, what role luck had to play and not least of their legacies. They both led five man teams to the pole, though while Amundsen’s team returned alive and well, Scott’s party all died on the return journey.

Q&A: Percy Brown Jr. jumps into Middleton’s first day of school focused on equity, access

Yvonne Kim:

As students across Dane County return to classes for the fall, education leaders are focused on keeping them as safe and engaged as possible. To do so, Percy Brown, Jr., director of equity and student achievement at the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, is working to provide physical and informational resources to students and families who need them most.

Brown is also the CEO of Critical Consciousness, an education consulting firm, and works part-time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Education Research as a workshop facilitator. With his family and personal background as a civil rights activist, Brown sees issues of accessibility and resources as fundamentally tied to social and criminal justice. Brown hopes the recent increase in anti-racist conversations across American school districts will continue in Middleton, where he says leadership has “come together” more than he has ever seen during his over two decades in education.

A history of punctuation

Florence Hazrat:

unctuation is dead – or is it? If you’ve ever texted ‘im here’ or ‘its in the car’, you’re in good company. Most of us have, at some point since the dawn of texting, transgressed the boundaries of good grammar, and swallowed one apostrophe or another in the name of speed or convenience. Studies have shown that such textisms as deliberate spelling mistakes, abbreviations and omission of apostrophes don’t deteriorate language skills, but boost them – provided such texting goes hand in hand with ‘proper’ grammar education.

Suppressing the little typographical hook that is the apostrophe might, however, pose graver issues when it occurs in public, such as in ads or pub signs, or even street names. Is it different if the state flouts language rules? Enter the international Apostrophe Protection Society, with its attempts to call out misuse and spread good practice. But November 2019 saw the announcement of the society’s demise, and owing not only to the highly respectable age of its founder John Richards (96): it would close, the society said, because of the ‘ignorance and laziness present in modern times’. The announcement made global news, sky-rocketing the traffic on the charmingly old-school website some 600 times, which led to its temporary disappearance from the web, and an outcry against the society’s closure. Punctuation habits might be changing, but we still care.

Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Logan Wroge:

With the bulk of schools back in session now, a majority of Wisconsin school districts representing about half of the state’s public school students report plans to open up school buildings for some form of in-person instruction during the ongoing pandemic.

A Wisconsin State Journal review found in rural parts of the state the decision was driven in part by a lack of reliable broadband internet access for students and teachers; districts representing about a third of students, including most large urban districts, started entirely online; and some schools’ plans have already been set back by positive cases of COVID-19.

The state Department of Public Instruction sent a survey to school districts on Aug. 3 asking for descriptions of reopening plans. As of Friday, about 310 of the state’s 421 school districts responded to the voluntary survey.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice

Michael Sandel:

Joe Biden has a secret weapon in his bid for the presidency: He is the first Democratic nominee in 36 years without a degree from an Ivy League university.

This is a potential strength. One of the sources of Donald Trump’s political appeal has been his ability to tap into resentment against meritocratic elites. By the time of Mr. Trump’s election, the Democratic Party had become a party of technocratic liberalism more congenial to the professional classes than to the blue-collar and middle-class voters who once constituted its base. In 2016, two-thirds of whites without a college degree voted for Mr. Trump, while Hillary Clinton won more than 70 percent of voters with advanced degrees.

Being untainted by the Ivy League credentials of his predecessors may enable Mr. Biden to connect more readily with the blue-collar workers the Democratic Party has struggled to attract in recent years. More important, this aspect of his candidacy should prompt us to reconsider the meritocratic political project that has come to define contemporary liberalism.

At the heart of this project are two ideas: First, in a global, technological age, higher education is the key to upward mobility, material success and social esteem. Second, if everyone has an equal chance to rise, those who land on top deserve the rewards their talents bring.

This way of thinking is so familiar that it seems to define the American dream. But it has come to dominate our politics only in recent decades. And despite its inspiring promise of success based on merit, it has a dark side.

Now is the time — despite the pandemic — to address the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s racial disparities

Amber Walker and Negassi Tesfamichael:

“We were glad to see you attempt to rebuild trust with parents on your very first day on the job. MMSD cannot afford to lose any more trust from its parents, students or teachers.”

For the past decade, Wisconsin schools have consistently placed first or second in the nation for the broadest achievement gaps between Black and white students. MMSD’s Black students perform below the state average. For years, both state and national standardized test scores indicate that, despite sitting in the same classrooms, Black students do not perform as well as their white peers in reading and math, across grade levels.

Black students persistently face higher suspension and expulsion rates. Some Black students and parents have expressed frustration over the years that there seem to be different standards for them versus their white peers.

The more time students spend out of school, the more likely they are to fall even further behind, increasing their likelihood of court involvement and falling victim to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Virtual learning during COVID-19 further complicates your charge to tackle all of these issues. Know that you have allies during this stressful time. Organizations like Simpson Street Free Press have managed to successfully transition to an engaging online learning model.

For over 20 years, SSFP has worked with Madison students in some of the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods who attend schools in vulnerable feeder patterns. Despite the odds, according to SSFP’s most recent annual report, over 80% of students increased reading comprehension based on MAP test results. Over 90% improved their overall GPA after two semesters in the program.

Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Pamela Cotant:

The early childhood center on Madison’s West Side, which previously served children from ages 17 months to about 5, has added kindergarten through second grade this fall as it pivots to address the new realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new arrangement helps the preschool families who were juggling jobs and assisting their elementary-age children with online learning at home.

“Our families that had kids here previously or still had little ones here were a little panicked,” said Preschool of the Arts executive director Penny Robbins.

In addition, organizations caring for children have been hit hard by the pandemic, said Robbins, whose own facility was closed from March 13 to June 1. When it reopened it had only about half the normal enrollment, which also meant fewer staff members.

Robbins, who started in her position Jan. 6, was about two months into her new job when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the preschool world. As the Preschool of the Arts looked for ways to continue to support its teachers and the school, opening up to older grades made sense, Robbins said. The school runs a summer program for kindergarten through second-grade students.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Parents ask why public schools are closed for class but open to private child care providers

Maddie Hanna:

Some area students are going back to school buildings this fall — not for class, but for child care.

In a number of school districts, child care providers are operating out of district buildings, offering full-day programs for a limited number of children. School leaders say they provide an option for parents who may be working or not able to care for children while they log on to virtual school at home.

But some families are questioning the logic of opening schools for child care that families must pay for, in buildings officials have opted not to reopen for instruction.

“It’s absurd,” said Daniel Finnegan, a father of a third and first grader in the Springfield Township School District in Montgomery County, where a provider renting space from the district is offering full-day child care. “They’re taking in private money to administer much worse education to 10% of the school district,” while telling “the other 90%, ‘It’s going to be tough.’ ”

Black boys need believers access

Joanne Jacobs:

A new documentary called Black Boys tries to humanize children who often are seen as dangerous, writes teacher Kelisa Wing on Education Post. “This film shows the many facets of our Black men and boys as fathers, sons, cousins, friends, dreamers, lovers, poets, deep thinkers, prolific, gifted, beautiful.”

Her nephew “went to college on a full academic scholarship, but one wrong move, a simple misjudgment to post himself on social media with a firearm, landed him in jail at 19,” Wing writes.

This one mistake led to the loss of his scholarship, loss of college education, and a loss of societal acceptance. . . . Like my nephew, there are so many Black boys out there who do not get to make a mistake, who do not get to have society’s benefit of the doubt — especially when they encounter law enforcement.

Black boys don’t need white saviors, writes Jay Wamstead, who teaches math to black and brown high school students in Atlanta. They need “believers.”

Wamstead, who’s white, fears the film will inspire whites to “performative allyship” on social media rather than a commitment to finding out more about complex problems. “Don’t watch Black Boys and be inspired to go fix this or that community in your city,” he tells white readers.

EduTech Spyware is Still Spyware: Proctorio Edition

Soatok:

Spyware written for educational institutions to flex their muscles of control over students and their families when learning from their home computer is still, categorically, spyware.

Depending on your persuasion, the previous sentence sounds like either needless pedantry, or it reads like tautology. But we need to be clear on our terms.

  1. Educational spyware is still spyware.

  2. Spyware is categorized as a subset of malware.

When vulnerabilities are discovered in malware, the normal rules of coordinated disclosure are out of scope. Are we clear?

Civics: Why online voting is harder than online banking

Timothy Lee:

For a feature last week, I talked to a number of election experts and computer security researchers who argued that secure Internet voting isn’t feasible today and probably won’t be for many years to come. A common response to this argument—one that came up in comments to last week’s article—is to compare voting to banking. After all, we regularly use the Internet to move money around the world. Why can’t we use the same techniques to secure online votes?

But voting has some unique requirements that make secure online voting a particularly challenging problem.

Votes are anonymous, banking isn’t

Every electronic transaction in the conventional banking system is tied to a specific sender and recipient who can confirm that a transaction is valid or raise the alarm if it isn’t. Banks count on customers to periodically review their transactions—either online or in paper statements—and notify the bank if fraudulent transactions occur.

Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Jeremy Olson:

Criticism grew after Harvard’s Dr. Michael Mina told the New York Times last month about his concerns over test results with cycle levels of 30 or more. He argued for lower cycle thresholds but increased and more rapid testing, including of asymptomatic people who can spread the virus without knowing it.

A Canadian study this spring underscored his concerns, because researchers for the most part could not grow viral cultures from samples in COVID-19 patients whose positive PCR tests required more than 25 cycles or whose symptoms had occurred more than seven days prior to testing.

The takeaway shouldn’t be to reduce PCR testing or cycle thresholds, though, because all positive cases inform health officials as they conduct contact tracing and try to contain an outbreak, said Dr. Jared Bullard, a lead author and assistant medical director of the Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg that conducts COVID-19 testing.

Cycle thresholds vary and are set by manufacturers based on the validated limits by which their tests are accurate.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

This is why millennials adore socialism

PJ O’Rourke:

For them. The greedy little bastards. Kids were thinking these exact same sweet-young-thing thoughts back in the 1960s, during my salad days (tossed green sensimilla buds). Young people probably have been thinking these same thoughts since the concept of being a “young person” was invented.

That would have been in the 19th century — during America’s first “Progressive Era” — when mechanization liberated kids from onerous farm chores and child labor laws let them escape from child labor.

This gave young people the leisure to sit around noticing that the world isn’t nice and daydreaming about how it could be made nicer with the time, effort and money of grown-ups.

I’m all for sending them back to the factories or, at least, the barn. If I hear any socialist noise from my kids I’m going to make them get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. And this will be an extra-onerous farm chore because we don’t have any cows, and they’ll have to search for miles all over the countryside to find some.

They’ve got it coming. Young people are not only penniless and powerless, they’re also ignorant as hell. They think of wealth as something that’s limited, like the number of Hostess Ding Dongs on the 7-Eleven shelf. They think rich people got to the 7-Eleven first and gobbled all the Ding Dongs, leaving poor people to lick the plastic wrappers.

Young people don’t know that more Ding Dongs can be produced. They don’t know how or why more Ding Dong production is possible. And they certainly don’t know how to get the cream filling inside.

“We know best” California edition

Mackenzie Mays:

Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to say Friday whether he will send his children back to class after several Sacramento County private elementary schools received waivers this week to resume in-person instruction, including one that sources say his own children attend.

“I’ll let you know after I process that with my wife,” Newsom laughed when asked during a visit to a fire-damaged area near Oroville. “I know better than to answer that question without caucusing with the leadership in the house.”

Katy Grimes:

If that is not enough, Central Coast Congressional Candidate Andy Caldwell reported to the Globe that the Santa Barbara Unified School District allowed the children of teachers and district employees to return to in-class learning, in a secret carve-out exemption at Franklin, McKinley, and other elementary schools in the district.

No one wants to be condescended to and lectured by foolish politicians who aren’t adhering to the rules and restrictions they put in place.

Civics: Contradictions in Roman law left incurable headaches for its judges.

Emma Southon:

In 176 BC a strange but revealing murder case came before the Roman praetor, M. Popillius Laenas. A woman, unnamed in the sources, was brought before the court on the charge of murdering her mother by bludgeoning her with a club. The woman happily confessed to the monstrous act of matricide. Her fate, then, seemed sealed when she entered Laenas’ court; but she introduced a defence that was as irrefutable as the wickedness of the killing of a parent. She claimed that the deed had been a crime of grief-fuelled vengeance resulting from the deaths of her own children. They, she said, had been deliberately poisoned by her mother simply to spite her and her own actions were therefore justified. 

This defence caused the entire system to grind to a halt. The situation was an appalling paradox. In Roman culture, parricide was a crime that provoked a unique horror; there was nothing worse than murdering a parent. The typical punishment was a bizarre form of the death penalty, which involved the perpetrator being sewn into a sack with a monkey, a snake, a dog and a chicken and then thrown into the Tiber to drown. The purpose of the animals is unclear; the purpose of the sack was to deprive the murderer of the air and water, and prevent their bones from touching and defiling the earth. It was impossible to imagine a confessed parricide being left unpunished. Rome, however, had a predominantly self-help justice system, where private families and individuals investigated and punished slights against themselves. It was not the role of the state, particularly during the time of the Republic (510-27 BC), to interfere with such private matters as a vengeance killing within the family. The right independently to enact justice, especially when avenging the death of your own children, was central to the Roman conception of a just world. It was, therefore, equally impossible to imagine such a killing being punished. 

Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities

Gail Heriot:

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. This Statement is part of that report.

In the report, the Commission finds “Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers ….” That would be a good thing if it were true, but there is no evidence to support it and abundant evidence to the contrary. “This Statement discusses that evidence. Denying facts is not helpful to students, no matter what their race or ethnicity.”

The report also asserts that students with disabilities are disciplined more often than students without disabilities. But it leaves the impression that this means students with physical disabilities are being disproportionately disciplined. That isn’t true. It is students with behavioral disorder who misbehave more often (and hence are disciplined more often). But behavioral disorders are defined by a pattern of misbehavior. All the Commission has found is that student who misbehave a lot get disciplined more often than students who don’t. No surprise there.

For one Olympia family going back to school means rolling up the garage door

Austin Jenkins:

It was common through the 1800s for American school children to attend a one-room schoolhouse. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Swanson family in rural north Olympia will attend a one-garage schoolhouse.

On a recent morning, Molly Swanson rolled up her garage door and welcomed a visitor into the classroom she and her husband created this summer as a place to educate four of their six children, plus two foster children.

“I call ourselves the Swallowtail Academy of Brilliant Boys,” Swanson said.

Yes, they’re all boys in grades ranging from first to eighth.

Swanson also has a preschooler and a 16-year-old who’s doing the Running Start program this fall through the local community college.

Not so long ago, Swanson’s garage looked like many garages.

“It was just a hot mess of junk,” she said.

Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Nick Viviani:

ane County officials are hunkering down for a fight over its health department’s order barring in-person instructions in local schools, including religious and private ones, for most students.

“The order for schools is lawful and we will defend it vigorously, because the reason Public Health put it in place is worth fighting for—the health of our kids and community,” Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi stated.

Parisi and Public Health Madison & Dane Co. drew their line in the sand Wednesday after a second lawsuit was filed in as many days challenging the order. Parisi noted that COVID-19 cases among children in the U.S. has nearly doubled and doctors still aren’t sure what the lifelong ramifications are for children if they contract the virus.

This latest case, which was taken straight to the state Supreme Court, was filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) on behalf of eight families, five schools, and two other organizations.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Adding a building amidst flat to declining enrollment

Scott Girard;

“After reviewing any and all options that appeared feasible in the Rimrock Road area for an elementary size suitable to hold at least 400 elementary students, parking and playground space suitable for a neighborhood school, it became apparent that our first and best option was to work with the school district’s current partner, Rooted, to purchase their land and building located at 501 East Badger Road,” staff wrote in a memo to the board.

Voters will have two MMSD referendums on their Nov. 3 ballots. One, which includes the money for the elementary school, is a $317 million question that would also fund renovations to the four comprehensive high schools and consolidate Capital High School into a single location.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2. – October 2019 presentation. Milwaukee taxpayers plan to spend $1.2B for 75,234 students, or $15,950 per student, about 16% less than Madison.

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment

Richard Milne:

So he looks at schools not just as a place where the virus might spread but also the most important part of health for a young person. “If you succeed there, your life will be good. If you fail, your life is going to be much worse. You’re going to live shorter. You’re going to be poorer. That, of course, is in the back of your head when you start talking about closing schools,” he adds.

In June, Tegnell described the rush to lock down in the rest of Europe and the US as “it was as if the world had gone mad”. He appears more emollient today, but he still displays signs of disbelief at the approaches of others. Adopting face masks is “more of a statement than actually a measure”. He adds: “Face masks are an easy solution, and I’m deeply distrustful of easy solutions to complex problems.” I ask him about another previous comment: hadn’t he said that Sweden, in the local vernacular, had “ice in its stomach” whereas other nations had acted emotionally?

Diners in Stockholm in April. Although they have been hit by tight restrictions, Tegnell says ‘you probably can’t open and close restaurants . . . too many times’ in response to other countries’ varying public policies © Andres Kudacki

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

The language algorithm GPT-3 continues our descent into a post-truth world.

Raphael Milliere:

In May this year the company OpenAI, co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015, introduced a new language model called GPT-3 (for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3”). It took the tech world by storm. On the surface, GPT-3 is like a supercharged version of the autocomplete feature on your smartphone; it can generate coherent text based on an initial input. But GPT-3’s text-generating abilities go far beyond anything your phone is capable of. It can disambiguate pronouns, translate, infer, analogize, and even perform some forms of common-sense reasoning and arithmetic. It can generate fake news articles that humans can barely detect above chance. Given a definition, it can use a made-up word in a sentence. It can rewrite a paragraph in the style of a famous author. Yes, it can write creative fiction. Or generate code for a program based on a description of its function. It can even answer queries about general knowledge. The list goes on.

As family and community life erode, mistrust and nihilism are potent among young men—the most likely participants in violent upheavals.

Robert Henderson:

Observing how young males act in social groups, the cultural anthropologists Ruth Borker and Daniel Maltz have written: “Nondominant boys are rarely excluded from play but are made to feel the inferiority of their status positions in no uncertain terms. And since hierarchies fluctuate, every boy gets his chance to be victimized and must learn to take it.” For us, it sure worked that way.

As psychologist Joyce F. Benenson observes, boys, especially neglected boys, often band together to cause trouble. “Male groups are formed initially because male peers are so drawn to one another, and away from everyone else,” she writes. “They may fight, they usually compete . . . . Even boys with behavioral problems, who cannot follow any adult authority’s directions, group together, through graffiti writing, skateboarding, or gang fights.”

Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Scott Girard:

The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to apply for a series of waivers from state requirements later this month for the 2020-21 school year.

On the same day as students began the school year virtually, administrators told the School Board about three waivers they plan to request — as long as the board approves them later this month. That vote is expected at the Sept. 21 board meeting.

The waivers would allow exemptions from state requirements on attendance, instructional minutes and the Civics Exam. Assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Lisa Kvistad told the board the waivers would allow flexibility for whatever learning model is in place as the year goes on.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

2020’s Best States for Racial Equality in Education

Adam McCann:

It’s been decades since the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, though it took years for schools to actually adopt that ruling. Now, no one can be denied enrollment in a school due to the color of their skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that educational conditions are equal for all students. A recent study found that school districts that have a high concentration of white students receive $23 billion more per year in funding than those that have a high concentration of non-white students. Lower funding can lead to lower quality education, which can affect not only a person’s income trajectory but also their career trajectory for the rest of their life.

In order to determine which states have the most racial equality in education at a time when protests against racism and inequality are happening all across the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states across six key metrics. Our data compares the difference between white and black Americans in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates. Read on for the results and a full description of our methodology.

Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Annysa Johnson:

Catherine Winkel was prepared for the usual back-to-school expenses. The notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, new clothes, new shoes.

There was one expense she hadn’t expected: thousands of dollars in tuition to send her 7-year-old to private school where she could attend classes in person.

But after the Mequon-Thiensville School District announced it would be starting the school year remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Winkel enrolled her first grader at Christ Alone, a small, neighborhood Lutheran school.

The district has since reversed itself, offering in-person instruction for families that want that option. Winkel’s older child, who is a freshman this year, will stay in the district. But she’s keeping her youngest at her new school.

“We had to take a big dent in the savings account,” said Winkel. “We were saving for other essentials, not at the last minute to pay for private tuition for an elementary school student.”

Winkel is among a number of Milwaukee-area parents who have decided to transfer their children to other schools — public and private — to avoid having them spend their school days online.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

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Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

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Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

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State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

Scott Girard:

Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12.

The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined three cases brought against Emergency Order No. 9 since its Aug. 21 announcement, just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The court will consider the arguments against the case on its merits in the months to come, but the order is on hold in the meantime. Thursday’s opinion, which lawyers believe is the first time the court has weighed in on a local COVID-19 order since the pandemic began, indicates those seeking to overturn the order will have a good chance to win.

“First, based upon the briefing submitted at this stage, Petitioners are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim,” the opinion states, adding that “local health officers do not appear to have statutory authority to do what the Order commands.”

Parents, private and parochial schools and membership associations brought the lawsuits challenging Public Health Madison & Dane County director Janel Heinrich’s authority to close schools. They maintain that schools planning to open took precautions over the summer to follow guidance issued by PHMDC to make in-person learning safe.

In its announcement of the Aug. 21 order, PHMDC outlined positive case averages that would be required to allow in-person school for grades 3-5 and 6-12. With the recent uptick in positive cases, mostly among UW-Madison students returning to campus, Dane County was unlikely to reach those numbers anytime soon.

Logan Wroge:

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.