It’s Madness to Quarantine Schoolchildren

Leslie Bienen and Eric Happel~

An Oregon high school ordered all 2,680 of its students to stay home for a week and a half in September—two days of complete shutdown, followed by a week of online classes. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the district sent a “flash alert message” to parents at Reynolds High at 5:35 a.m. informing them that their children wouldn’t be allowed in school that day.

It’s not hard to guess why. OPB reports that in the first two weeks of school “875 high school students and staff members . . . had to quarantine” before the shutdown. All that was in response to a mere four positive tests for Covid-19. Oregon is following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the disease’s low risk to young people and the widespread vaccination of adults, the CDC continues to recommend seven- to 14-day quarantines for schoolchildren who are suspected of having been exposed to the virus.

Thirty states have set aside the CDC’s guidelines, according to our research, and the agency itself has published studies suggesting that such measures are unnecessary. Yet the CDC has dragged its feet in considering a less-restrictive alternative known as “test to stay.”

Civics: “The time has come to create some level
of accountability for prosecutors.”

Frederick Block:

JABBAR COLLINS LANGUISHED in jail for over 16 years for a murder he apparently never committed. He was only freed a few years ago when it was revealed at a post-conviction hearing that the main witness at his trial had told the prosecutor that he was pressured by police to lie about Collins’ involvement in the murder.

The prosecutor, representing the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, never shared that information with Collins’ lawyer—an egregious violation of the law, which requires the government to inform the defense of any exculpatory evidence. At the hearing, the judge who tossed out Collins’ conviction called the conduct of the prosecutor and the DA’s office “shameful” and a “tragedy.”

Just 4% of black students in Las Vegas-area schools tested proficient in math

Victor Joecks:

In another context, how the Clark County School District fails minority students would be considered evidence of racism.

Last school year, only 20 percent of Clark County students tested proficient in English Language Arts. In math, it was 11.5 percent. Those results are from the Smarter Balance Assessments, which Nevada’s third- through eighth-graders are supposed to take yearly. They didn’t have to take the test during the 2019-20 school year because of the pandemic.

The results are even worse for Black and Hispanic students. Just 10.2 percent of African American kids tested proficient in English. In math, that number is a jaw-dropping 3.9 percent. For Hispanic students, the numbers are 15.7 percent in English and 7.4 percent in math.

This failure is widespread. There were 22,200 African American students in third through eighth grade last year. More than 140 schools enrolled at least 50 Black students in those grades. Just 21 schools had 20 or more African American students test proficient in English. In math, only three schools met that criteria. Three.

Today’s School Board Fights Recall the 1970s Busing Battles

Jason Riley:

Disgruntled parents, school board acrimony, and simmering racial tensions—these are the reactions to social activists who are trying to remake public education to their liking. For an older generation, however, this moment also recalls the busing wars of a half-century ago, a history no one should want to repeat.

Court-ordered busing of schoolchildren began in the South in the early 1970s, and the objective was to achieve more racial balance in public schools. The practice was controversial in part because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stated explicitly that children must be assigned to schools “without regard to their race” and that desegregation did not require students to be placed in schools “to overcome racial imbalance.” The goal was to open schools to all races, not dictate where families could send their children.

Regardless, activist courts ignored the letter of the law at the urging of liberal elites and began signing off on school-integration plans that equated any racial imbalance in classrooms with de jure segregation. Soon, cities from San Diego and San Francisco to Minneapolis, Omaha and Cleveland were found guilty of operating deliberately segregated schools. The remedy was to bus students to whatever schools needed more members of a particular race to get the “right” mix. It was color-by-numbers, using children.

A recently published paper explains how “concept creep” in the field of psychology has reshaped many aspects of modern society.

Conor Friedersdorf

How did American culture arrive at these moments? A new research paper by Nick Haslam, a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, offers as useful a framework for understanding what’s going on as any I’ve seen. In “Concept Creep: Psychology’s Expanding Concepts of Harm and Pathology,” Haslam argues that concepts like abuse, bullying, trauma, mental disorder, addiction, and prejudice, “now encompass a much broader range of phenomena than before,”expanded meanings that reflect “an ever-increasing sensitivity to harm.”

He calls these expansions of meaning “concept creep.”

Although critics may hold concept creep responsible for damaging cultural trends, he writes, “such as supposed cultures of fear, therapy, and victimhood, the shifts I present have some positive implications.” Still, he adds, “they also have potentially damaging ramifications for society and psychology that cannot be ignored.”

Two stories illustrate how concept creep can be a force for good or ill.

Story 1: During the 1950s, third graders would climb into their parents’ cars and ride around without seatbelts. When stopping short, fathers and mothers would use their right arms in hopes of keeping their little ones from hitting their heads on the dashboard. These kids lived in houses slathered with lead paint and spent hours in family rooms thick with cigarette smoke. Today, there are laws against letting children ride around without seat belts, lead paint is banned, and there is such a powerful stigma against exposing children to second-hand smoke that far fewer kids suffer from poor health outcomes related to such exposure. Society’s concept of what constituted an unacceptable risk, harm, or trauma expanded for the better.

Virginia Legislation on School Sexual Assault Reporting

Isaac Schorr:

Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly voted for — and Governor Ralph Northam signed — a law allowing schools to refrain from reporting instances of sexual battery, stalking, violation of a protective order, and violent threats occurring on school property in 2020.

§ 22.1-279.3:1 of Virginia code had required that these, among a number of other major crimes, be reported to law enforcement if they occurred on campus. Democrats insisted that misdemeanors be extirpated from reporting requirements in House Bill 257, replacing the word “criminal” with “felony” in the code.

In a stunning exchange between legislators in the House of Delegates last year, Todd Gilbert, the Republican Leader in the body, asked Delegate Mike Mullen “did I hear correctly that you would not have to report sexual battery to law enforcement any longer if we accept these amendments?”

“I would answer the minority leader that he is not hard of hearing, and that he is asking me to repeat this over again even though he heard it the first time,” responded Mullen, the bill’s sponsor.

“Forgive me, Madam Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, for being shocked that the patron, a career prosecutor, would want to accept these amendments, and frankly would want to put you all in the position of voting to accept these amendments,” shot back Gilbert.

“So I apologize for my hard of hearing, but frankly I couldn’t believe my ears,” he added.

Lawfare & K-12 Parents & Schools: White House staff had been in communication with NSBA staff over “several weeks,”

Erika Sanzi:

Remember the letter that the National School Board Association (NSBA) sent to President Biden a few weeks ago that complained about frustrated and angry parents and referred to them as the “equivalent of domestic terrorists?” It turns out that the president and CEO of the organization went rogue together (after direct coordination with White House staff) and sent the letter without the knowledge of their board. 

How do we know? My organization, Parents Defending Education, filed public records request to find out. 

We were immediately suspicious. Let’s remember that five days after the letter was sent, US Attorney General Merrick Garland fired off an official memorandum from the Department of Justice saying that the FBI would take the lead on the law enforcement response to parents at school board meetings. That lightning fast turn around time (5 days!) is only possible if the fix is already in. 

And it was. 

Not only were the NSBA board members left out of the loop, but they were then forced to answer for the letter that they did not know about, did not approve and don’t even agree with on the merits.

How Climate Scenarios Lost Touch With Reality

Roger Pielke:

The integrity of science depends on its capacity to provide an ever more reliable picture of how the world works. Over the past decade or so, serious threats to this integrity have come to light. The expectation that science is inherently self-correcting, and that it moves cumulatively and progressively away from false beliefs and toward truth, has been challenged in numerous fields—including cancer research, neuroscience, hydrology, cosmology, and economics—as observers discover that many published findings are of poor quality, subject to systemic biases, or irreproducible. 

In a particularly troubling example from the biomedical sciences, a 2015 literature review found that almost 900 peer-reviewed publications reporting studies of a supposed breast cancer cell line were in fact based on a misidentified skin cancer line. Worse still, nearly 250 of these studies were published even after the mistaken cell line was conclusively identified in 2007. Our cursory search of Google Scholar indicates that researchers are still using the skin cancer cell line in breast cancer studies published in 2021. All of these erroneous studies remain in the literature and will continue to be a source of misinformation for scientists working on breast cancer. 

In 2021, climate research finds itself in a situation similar to breast cancer research in 2007. Our research (and that of several colleagues) indicates that the scenarios of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the end of the twenty-first century are grounded in outdated portrayals of the recent past. Because climate models depend on these scenarios to project the future behavior of the climate, the outdated scenarios provide a misleading basis both for developing a scientific evidence base and for informing climate policy discussions. The continuing misuse of scenarios in climate research has become pervasive and consequential—so much so that we view it as one of the most significant failures of scientific integrity in the twenty-first century thus far. We need a course correction.

Civics: Legislative Audit Bureau on Wisconsin Election Administration

Wisconsin LAB:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal election laws, and county and municipal clerks administer elections. Statutes require WEC to provide training and guidance to municipal clerks in the state’s 1,849 municipalities. Statutes also require WEC to design and maintain the state’s electronic voter registration system, which is known as WisVote, and approve electronic voting equipment before it can be used in Wisconsin.

After the General Election on November 3, 2020, questions were raised about elections administration issues. On February 11, 2021, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed us to evaluate such issues, including:

The Married Will Soon Be the Minority

Charles Blow:

When I was young, everything in society seemed to aim one toward marriage. It was the expectation. It was the inevitability. You would — and should — meet someone, get married and start a family. It was the way it had always been, and always would be.

But even then, the share of people who were married was already falling. The year I was born, 1970, the percentage of Americans between the ages of 25 and 50 who had never married was just 9 percent. By the time I became an adult, that number was approaching 20 percent.

Some people were delaying marriage. But others were forgoing it altogether.

This trend has only continued, and we are now nearing a milestone. This month, the Pew Research Center published an analysis of census data showing that in 2019 the share of American adults who were neither married nor living with a partner had risen to 38 percent, and while that group “includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.”

This came on the heels of data released by the National Center for Health Statistics last year, which showed that marriage rates in 2018 had reached a record low.

We are nearing a time when there will be more unmarried adults in the United States than married ones, a development with enormous consequences for how we define family and adulthood in general, as well as how we structure taxation and benefits.

Wisconsin Science Festival returns, offering more than 100 free activities

Kayla Huynh:

The Wisconsin Science Festival is taking over the state Thursday through Sunday, with 170 events in more than 30 counties, including Madison. 

The activities, from interactive science experiments to conversations with prominent scientists on topics like psychedelics, Chilean astronomy and animal development, are happening both virtually and in-person. 

Laura Heisler, program director at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Morgridge Institute for Research, said the festival is aimed at engaging those of all ages in science. The festival is “a way of having fun with science,” she said, and is especially targeted toward people who don’t often get the chance to interact with the field.

Madison East High School Fight among 100

Jeff Richgels:

More than 10 police officers and a supervisor responded to fights amid a crowd of more than 100 students and parents outside East High School Wednesday afternoon, Madison police said.

Police found no one with injuries from the incident, although several people left the scene shortly after police arrived, Officer Ryan Kimberley said in a statement. 

You’ve installed your home security system, but are you getting the most out of it? Here are four easy tips to keep your home extra safe.

At about 12:30 p.m., police were dispatched to a fight involving students and parents at the Fourth Street entrance to East High, 2222 E. Washington Ave., Kimberley said.

As officers were responding, police received reports that a gold van had left the area containing the students who were fighting, Kimberley said.

The first officer at the scene found more than 100 people gathered in the middle of Fourth Street, with some appearing to want a fight. The lone officer used the public address system on his squad car and its sirens in an attempt to disperse the crowd, which ignored the officer’s efforts, Kimberley 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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Lawfare and the National Association of school boards

Jordan Davidson:

Garland then confirmed it wasn’t until NSBA contacted him that his department began to investigate claims of violence and terrorism.

“Well, the National School Board Association, which represents thousands of school boards and school board members, says that there are these kinds of threats. When we read in the newspapers reports of threats of violence—” Garland said before Jordan interjected again.

“The source for this … was the National School Boards Association letter,” Jordan reiterated before his time expired.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=FDRLST&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1451214699559800835&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthefederalist.com%2F2021%2F10%2F21%2Fag-merrick-garland-admits-federal-war-on-parents-sprang-from-school-boards-letter-not-evidence%2F&sessionId=ef9bdc2a4372340f64e83091a5829e9db78032bb&siteScreenName=FDRLST&theme=light&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Biden AG Merrick Garland concedes that he started targeting parents for “possible domestic terrorism” because the NSBA sent a letter. pic.twitter.com/ZDvhZ6vDzO

— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 21, 2021

The NSBA sent a letter to the Biden administration last month begging federal law enforcement to use domestic terrorism laws to target parents who oppose anti-science mask mandates for children and the infiltration of racist curriculum in schools. The school board organization claimed federal action was warranted to “deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

Most of the incident examples the NSBA used to justify intervention by the Biden administration did not escalate to a level that even yielded arrests or charges on the local level, yet Garland quickly directed the FBI and state attorneys to address “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

More from Elizabeth Elkind.

White House Knew About Letter That Compared Parents to Domestic Terrorists

His ‘society offenders’ now include parents who object to critical race theory and Covid-19 restrictions.

Gerard Baker:

Merrick Garland’s got a little list.

The attorney general is compiling a steadily lengthening register of “society offenders who might well be underground and who never would be missed,” as Ko-Ko, the hypervigilant lord high executioner, sings in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.”

Mr. Garland’s list of society offenders is compendious. At the top are right-wing extremists who’ve been officially designated the greatest domestic threat to U.S. security, but whose ranks seem, in the eyes of the nation’s top lawyer, to include some less obviously malevolent characters, including perhaps anyone who protested the results of the 2020 election. Then there are police departments not compliant with Biden administration law-enforcement dicta, Republican-run states seeking to regularize their voting laws after last year’s pandemic-palooza of an electoral process, and state legislatures that pass strict pro-life legislation.

They’d none of them be missed.

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

Maribah Knight & Ken Armstrong:

The police were at Hobgood because of that video. But they hadn’t come for the boys who threw punches. They were here for the children who looked on. The police in Murfreesboro, a fast-growing city about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, had secured juvenile petitions for 10 children in all who were accused of failing to stop the fight. Officers were now rounding up kids, even though the department couldn’t identify a single one in the video, which was posted with a filter that made faces fuzzy. What was clear were the voices, including that of one girl trying to break up the fight, saying: “Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay.” She was a fourth grader at Hobgood. Her initials were E.J.

The confusion at Hobgood — one officer saying this, another saying that — could be traced in part to absence. A police officer regularly assigned to Hobgood, who knew the students and staff, had bailed that morning after learning about the planned arrests. The thought of arresting these children caused him such stress that he feared he might cry in front of them. Or have a heart attack. He wanted nothing to do with it, so he complained of chest pains and went home, with no warning to his fill-in about what was in store.

Civics: Canceling Thomas Jefferson

National Review Editors:

After more than a century, the New York City Council is removing a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its chamber. The decision, which was made by the New York City Public Design Commission, was unanimous.

It was wrong, too.

Justifying the move, Councilperson Adrienne Adams proposed that Jefferson had to go because he “embodied some of the most shameful parts of our country’s long and nuanced history.” But, ironically enough, it is precisely “nuanced history” that is missing from this analysis. Like many people, Jefferson could, indeed, be hypocritical and self-contradictory. Like many people from his region, he did, indeed, own slaves (and, unlike George Washington, he did not free them upon his death). And, like many people of his generation, he possessed some unpleasant private views. But it is not for any of that that we celebrate him. We celebrate him because he authored the Declaration of Independence— a magisterial document, which, both at home and abroad, has served as a beacon of hope and liberty throughout that “long” history to which Adrienne Adams refers.

This matters, for, as Princeton’s Sean Wilentz told the commission in a letter, the statue in question “specifically honors Jefferson for” his role in penning the Declaration, which Wilentz describes as “his greatest contribution to America, indeed, to humankind.” Jefferson deserves to be honored for that contribution, which has served, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, as “an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times,” as “the definitions and axioms of free society,” and as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.” It is no accident that the most pernicious expositor of the pro-slavery cause, Alexander Stephens, loathed Thomas Jefferson and was keen to cast the Confederacy as having been founded upon “exactly the opposite idea” to those “entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution.”

Jury finds ex-Madison teacher not guilty of child abuse

Emily Hamer:

State prosecutor Rebekah Rennicke argued that Rumbelow’s actions were unreasonable because he should have known that the boy was right behind the door since he had been kicking it. She said the door was opened “forcefully,” showing a disregard for the 8-year-old’s safety.

“How hard does someone have to push open a door to cause that?” she said of the “goose egg” on the boy’s head.

Madison gym teacher faces charge of reckless child abuse after door hits student, says complaint
Madison gym teacher faces charge of reckless child


Cynthia Lovell, the school nurse, said the boy had an inch-long bump on his head, about a quarter of an inch wide, with a half-inch superficial cut. She said there were occasional dots of fresh blood.

Rumbelow, who is now retired after a more than 30-year teaching career in which he won multiple awards for his work as a physical-education instructor, testified that the door was “big, old” and “heavy,” with some natural resistance because of a door-closing mechanism on top. It had no windows. He said it took a bit of a push to get the door open, and he did not intend to hit the boy.

The decline in faculty diversity

Colleen Flaherty:

Four-year colleges and universities cut tenure-track hiring by 25 percent around the time of the Great Recession — and hires of people of color declined disproportionately, especially at public and research-oriented institutions, according to a new study in Sociological Science.

In addition to these data, the new paper offers another, urgent takeaway: the same reversal of progress toward faculty diversity could happen in the COVID-19 era, if institutions don’t take steps to ensure it doesn’t.

“That hires of faculty of color declined during the Great Recession may have gone unnoticed by administrators struggling to keep the ship afloat,” the study says. “Provosts and deans facing the COVID-19 crisis should take note that institutions facing uncertainty may reduce new-hire diversity unwittingly. It may be that public and research-oriented institutions will again face the greatest uncertainty over the next few years and will again see the greatest declines in the diversity of new faculty.”

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

mp3 audio

Transcript (Machine Generated).

Representative LaKeshia Myers.

Related: Assembly bill AB446

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

I believe the DPI presenters were Barbara Novak and Tom McCarthy.
mp3 audio [Transcript: machine generated]

Written testimony (PDF):

Thank you Chairwoman Darling and committee members for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 154 today.

In Wisconsin, 64% of fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with 34% failing to meet even the test’s basic standal Nationally, Wisconsin ranks dead last in reading achievement among black students, falling 31 places since 1992. In the same timeframe, reading achievement for Wisconsin white students has fallen from 6th to 27th, and Hispanic students from 1st to 28th. Wisconsin ha a dire reading problem.

Reading is critical to future success. Children who don’t learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to fall behind in other subjects and remain poor readers for the rest of their lives. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of high school, live in poverty, and end up in the criminal justice system. Of those who fail to gain a high school diploma, almost 90 percent experienced trouble reading in the third grade and seven in 10 prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level.

Although Wisconsin was once a leader in literacy, our students now lag behind states where evidence-based approaches to early literacy have been adopted. Thankfully, over the past two decades, neuroscience – including groundbreaking research at UW-Madison – has allowed us to move beyond theory and guesswork, to identify exactly how children become skilled readers AND what effective literacy interventions look like for a child struggling to read. SB 454 aligns Wisconsin law with this growing body of research by strengthening state literacy screening standards, providing more transparency and ensuring teachers have the framework and tools needed to help every child become a proficient reader.

Under current law. Wisconsin schools are required to select and administer an annual literacy assessment to students in four-year-old kindergarten through 2nd grade. Screening assessments are typically only a few minutes in length, and consist of a teacher or volunteer using a flipchart or tablet to guide a child through a handful of exercises. Costs of these assessments are reimbursed by the state. Senate Bill 454 strengthens these existing state screening standards and provides the framework and tools to help every child learn to read in five major ways: Broadens Screening Components to Reflect Evidence-Based Best Practices: Dozens of literacy screeners are available to schools, but not all assess what research shows are the most critical components for reading. This bill expands the required screening components from two to five components to ensure schools are using high quality, evidence-based screeners. This helps teachers more easily identify reading difficulties AND select effective intervention strategies to help children overcome reading difficulties as early as possible.

Increases Assessment Frequency from annually to three times per year to better evaluate student progress, build a baseline for each student, and catch reading difficulties earlier.

Keeps Parents Involved and Informed: Too many parents do not find out their child is struggling to read until third grade (!) when they receive their child’s Forward Exam results. SB 454 requires schools to notify parents of screener results within 15 days, including plain language about the child’s score, percentile rank and if the child is identified as “at-risk”. The bill also requires schools to inform parents if a child begins a reading intervention plan, and detail the interventions that will be used.

Creates Clear Direction to Get Kids Back on Track: There are currently no requirements for when schools must provide additional literacy screening, and there are minimal requirements regarding reading interventions for students. This bill requires students who score below the 25th percentile on a literacy screener be given a more comprehensive screener to inform targeted, evidence-aligned interventions. Increases Transparency and Accountability: Under the bill, schools must annually report the number of students identified as at-risk at each assessment level and the number of students provided with literacy interventions. Statewide consistency across screening components, testing frequency and reporting will give districts, DPI and the legislature critical information to help us all make better informed policy decisions.

The bottom line is that research shows that the earlier we catch reading difficulties and begin simple interventions, the more successful those interventions will be. Strengthening our existing literacy screening laws will ensure that every struggling reader gets the help they need before they’ve fallen behind, lost self-esteem, and disengage from school and learning.

Related: Assembly bill AB446 SB454

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Elizabeth Beyer:

More than half of Madison School District students opted out of statewide assessments last school year, far more than the unusually high number of students statewide who opted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high opt-out rate makes comparing the test results with those of previous years nearly impossible.

The results showed Madison having among the highest percentage of proficient or better students among Dane County schools, even though the district usually ranks near the bottom. That suggests the students who opted out disproportionately would have scored below proficient.

Roughly 1 in 6 students opted of the exam statewide during the 2020-21 school year, compared with an opt-out percentage below 3% in all test subjects during the 2018-19 school year.

Notes and links:

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

How Baylor Steered Lower-Income Parents to Debt They Couldn’t Afford

Tawnell D. Hobbs and Andrea Fuller:

Some of the wealthiest U.S. colleges are steering parents into no-limit federal loans to cover rising tuition, leaving many poor and middle-class families with debt they can’t repay.

Parents at Baylor University had the worst repayment rate for a type of federal loan called Parent Plus among private schools with at least a $1 billion endowment, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of available Education Department data. Only about a quarter of Baylor parents paid down any of what they originally borrowed after two years.

Unlike undergraduate loans that have limits, there is no cap on what parents can borrow through the fast-growing Parent Plus program, no matter their income. Some parents wanting the best schools available for their children sign on the dotted line unaware how the debt can burden them into retirement.

Baylor increased its tuition sharply to transform itself from a regionally known Baptist college into a national brand that now has a $1.8 billion endowment. The central Texas school has added facilities, built a sports powerhouse and climbed college-ranking lists in a push to become a world-class research institution.

“They told me it was ‘good debt’—that it will pay itself off,” Ms. Massey said of family members who encouraged her to attend Baylor. “I honestly haven’t found anybody that cares about where I went to school.”

Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Joe Schoffstahl:

The records further show that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two largest teachers unions in the U.S., received a copy of the guidance before the CDC released it to the public. The guidance included a phased reopening approach for K-12 schools based on coronavirus cases in the area.

“These documents are further evidence that instead of following the science, the White House and the CDC allowed politics to influence policy,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News.

Sutherland’s group obtained the emails as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and provided them to Fox News. The group filed the litigation after the government failed to provide records on the decision-making process regarding school guidance.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Amherst College Drops Admissions Advantage for Children of Alumni

Melissa Korn:

Amherst College is abandoning its policy of giving preference to applicants whose parents attended the Massachusetts liberal-arts school, placing it among the first elite private colleges to ditch legacy admissions.

Selective schools like Amherst have been under intense scrutiny in recent years for putting a thumb on the scale for legacy applicants, with critics arguing the programs do little more than cement the privilege of students, and leave fewer slots for applicants from less-represented backgrounds.

“We’re doing what we can to examine where the barriers are and change what we can change” as the school pushes forward on efforts to broaden access, said Amherst President Biddy Martin.

The school, which this year had an 8.5% acceptance rate, historically gave preference to any children of graduates who were academically qualified. Dr. Martin said legacies are often among the top applicants, so many may still be admitted without considering their familial ties.

Male Workers Allowed Into (Oberlin) Baldwin, Unsettling Residents

Peter Fray-Witzer:

When I asked other Baldwin residents how they felt about the whole debacle, some responded with the usual complaints about any hardware project — the mess, the noise, the suddenness — but others admitted that they weren’t entirely comfortable with the way the installation had been handled and the fact that they were subject to the whims of the contractors. One resident told me that they were instructed to ask another resident to hurry up in the shower so that the workers could have access to the bathrooms. In my experience, if the workers couldn’t hear the water running, they would come into the communal bathroom as they pleased, regardless of who was occupying it.

I understand, of course, that installations like this are routine; the College needs to improve its facilities occasionally, and who am I to stand in the way of that? After all, I get a brand-spanking-new radiator, right in time for the cold weather. But why not finish the project during the four months of the summer semester, when the building was unoccupied? Why not alert us earlier to the intrusion? Why didn’t the College make a schedule detailing when the workers would be likely to arrive at each dorm and in each room? They should have taken measures to keep students comfortable and safe — especially those who have elected to live in a specifically designated safe space.

Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye.

Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links.

The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable:

Association of Wisconsin School Administrators

League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!)

Pearson NA (!)

Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance

WIRSA

Wisconsin Association of School Boards

Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials

Wisconsin Association of School Personnel Administrators

Wisconsin Education Association Council

Wisconsin Retired Educators Association

Wisconsin State Reading Association

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Hong Kong Is Erasing the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Jillian Kay Melchior:

A gruesome sculpture rises from a courtyard at the University of Hong Kong. It depicts dozens of human bodies contorted in agony, some with mouths open in silent screams, some skeletal and apparently motionless. The public university has demanded that this work of art be removed by 5 p.m. Wednesday (5 a.m. Eastern in the U.S.)—an ultimatum Hong Kongers find more horrifying than the statue’s grisly presence.

The sculpture, “The Pillar of Shame,” memorializes the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Its creator, Danish artist Jens Galschiøt, calls the work “an overt accusation of the old men’s regime in Beijing” and “a litmus test of the authorities’ vow to respect human rights and free speech in Hong Kong.” The Chinese Communist Party has “already erased the memory of what happened at Tiananmen inside of China, and now they will do the same in Hong Kong,” Mr. Galschiøt says.

In a letter last week, the university’s lawyers said that if “The Pillar of Shame” wasn’t gone by their deadline, “the Sculpture will be deemed abandoned,” and “the University will deal with the Sculpture at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit without further notice.”

Beijing imposed a national-security law on Hong Kong last year that criminalizes dissent, so finding a new local forum willing to display “The Pillar of Shame” will be difficult, especially on short notice, Mr. Galschiøt says. He adds that his fiber cement sculpture has already required repairs and “probably is a bit frail.” He fears that “if people from a construction firm come from a crane and truck and try to put this away, then they will, I think, destroy it. Maybe they want to destroy it, who knows.”

AAP, AACAP, CHA declare national emergency in children’s mental health

AAP:

The AAP, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and Children’s Hospital Association have declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, citing the serious toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing challenges.

They are urging policymakers to take action swiftly to address the crisis.

“Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients,” AAP President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, said in a statement. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is.”

Before the pandemic, rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide had been rising steadily for at least a decade. By 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youths ages 10-24 years.

Taxpayer funded lobbying: National Association of School Boards

Matt Beienburg:

Educational leaders around the country are disavowing the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) inflammatory claim that the parents of school children are perpetrating a form of “domestic terrorism,” just for daring to stand up to the rise of politicized curriculum in their kids’ classrooms. But in Arizona, school leaders who wish to distance themselves from the organization and its state affiliate may not be given their freedom without a fight.

Indeed, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) has implemented tactics—such as declaring legal ownership over school districts’ publicly adopted governing policies and alleging potential copyright infringement against member districts who would break away from the ASBA—coercing member districts into continued financial submission even when they wish to cease supporting an increasingly radicalized political agenda.

As explored in a new Goldwater Institute report, Under Control: Arizona School Boards Are Being Forced to Fund Critical Race Theory at Taxpayer Expense, the ASBA has demonstrated its support for ideologically charged programming in public schools while at the same time holding hostage dissenting school board members by staking out outlandish claims of legal control over the board’s existing policy infrastructure.

In particular, the report highlights the following:

  • Like its national affiliate, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) is using taxpayer-funded dues from virtually every district in the state to promote programming aligned with Critical Race Theory (CRT), even as its state and national leadership deny the existence of CRT in K-12. Like other proponents of this politically charged and racially divisive content, the ASBA has struggled to reconcile its avowed impartiality with the organization’s own actions and statements.
  • The ASBA has coerced governing board members who have sought to terminate their district’s affiliation with the association due to its political activism: In testimony before the district governing board of Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) in August 2021, the ASBA declared that it legally owns the district’s publicly adopted board policies, rendering the district essentially captive to the association in perpetuity.
  • The ASBA asserted that member school districts would be guilty of copyright infringement for using the districts’ own previously adopted policies (or replicating those of other public bodies) if they ceased paying membership fees to the ASBA.

In other words, the ASBA claims that the framework of rules, procedures, and protocols that elected members of school districts—that is, public agencies—have adopted, are actually the private property of the association, and that any district that surrenders its membership in the ASBA could be sued for copyright violation unless that district replaces its publicly adopted suite of rules and policies with completely new ones.

Civics: but challenging the order may involve going to court, incurring costs disproportionate to any legal or moral victory.

Tim Bradshaw:

My tweet was one of dozens identified by the record label as “unlicensed reproductions” of the Beastie Boys track. If I reposted it, or other infringing material, Twitter warned, I face the prospect of “permanent account suspension”. 

While some Twitter users have been “cancelled” by an online mob, my copyright infringement was most likely identified by an algorithmic crawler

This is my 15th year on Twitter. Since 2006, I have posted more than 26,000 tweets, made countless valuable contacts and broken plenty of stories thanks to the platform. But those 26,000 tweets are now also a potential liability. Is there another ticking time bomb buried amid the #breakingnews and my musings on sandwiches? 

While some Twitter users have been “cancelled” by an online mob, my copyright infringement was most likely identified by an algorithmic crawler, which scans the web continuously on behalf of the record labels. Twitter has not yet struck the kind of music licensing agreementthat YouTube and TikTok have with labels that can insulate their users from some complaints. I could argue that my clip was “fair use”, which permits short excerpts without a licence, but challenging the order may involve going to court, incurring costs disproportionate to any legal or moral victory.

The Woke Profession Of Faith At American Universities

Ben Reinhard:

Applying for academic jobs is, as any graduate student will tell you, very nearly a job itself. When I was on the market in 2013, compiling, submitting, and tracking applications consumed my time, even though most of my countless applications were all variations on the same theme. But one application package was different: In addition to the standard cover letter, CV, and writing sample, Christendom College required a separate statement in support of the college’s Catholic mission and identity.

This request, though unusual, made sense. Christendom is a fiercely independent confessional college and a bastion of conservative Catholicism. It refuses all federal funding in pursuit of its educational apostolate, and its faculty make a yearly profession of faith and oath of fidelity. Thus the orthodoxy of the faculty is central to the mission of the college; its students, alumni, and donors expect nothing less. As a practicing Catholic, I was happy to write the statement and overjoyed to accept the job.

Less than a decade has passed since I was on the job market, but the world has changed dramatically. What was peculiar to Christendom in 2013 has become common practice in 2021. It is now difficult to find a job posting in the humanities that does not require some sort of profession of faith—albeit in a radically different creed.

Consider this recent job posting from my alma mater:

Purdue University’s Department of History is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort including discovery, instruction, and engagement. Candidates should address at least one of these areas in a separate diversity and inclusion statement, indicating their past experiences, current interests or activities and / or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion.

This is, all things considered, a relatively benign example of the genre, a fact perhaps attributable to Purdue’s identity as an agriculture and engineering school, its location in conservative Indiana, and its current leadership (Mitch Daniels, the school’s president, is a former GOP governor and dark horse presidential candidate). But despite all this, Purdue’s history department believes that a commitment to diversity and inclusion is necessary for a candidate who hopes to teach the history of medieval science.

Yale Law School’s Bullying, Coercive Diversity Leaders
By

Andrew Koppelman:

But in other respects, the diversity and inclusion movement is becoming the enemy of diversity and inclusion, imposing a cookie-cutter orthodoxy and trying to turn thinking human beings into marionettes. An already-notorious recent episode at Yale Law School (disclosure: I’m an alumnus) highlights the problem. It offers lessons in how to, and how not to, manage issues of inclusion.

Trent Colbert, a Yale Law student who belongs to the Native American Law Students Association (he’s part Cherokee) and the conservative Federalist Society, had invited classmates to an event cohosted by both groups. “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned Nalsa Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” he wrote. The invitation promised “Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American-themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.)” and hard and soft drinks.

It is unsurprising that Colbert did not know all the connotations of “trap house.” The term, which originally referred to crack houses in poor neighborhoods, has, according to Urban Dictionary, “since been abused by high-school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together and saying they’re part of a ‘traphouse.’” It is one of a huge variety of slang terms from marginalized urban culture that have entered the mainstream, where many people acquire it ignorant of its etymology.

Additional Commentary.

Cybersecurity Experts Sound Alarm on Apple and E.U. Phone Scanning Plans

Kellen Browning:

More than a dozen prominent cybersecurity experts on Thursday criticized plans by Apple and the European Union to monitor people’s phones for illicit material, calling the efforts ineffective and dangerous strategies that would embolden government surveillance.

In a 46-page study, the researchers wrote that the proposal by Apple, aimed at detecting images of child sexual abuse on iPhones, as well as an idea forwarded by members of the European Union to detect similar abuse and terrorist imagery on encrypted devices in Europe, used “dangerous technology.”

“It should be a national-security priority to resist attempts to spy on and influence law-abiding citizens,” the researchers wrote.

The technology, known as client-side scanning, would allow Apple — or, in Europe, potentially law enforcement officials — to detect images of child sexual abuse in someone’s phone by scanning images uploaded to Apple’s iCloud storage service.

How the pandemic affected enrollment at the University of California and California’s community colleges differently

Nani Sumida:

California is home to three public higher education systems: the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and the California Community Colleges (CCC). Together, they educate about 80% of the nearly three million college students in the state.

But the three systems vastly differ in the types of students they educate and the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on undergraduate enrollment. Overall, the community college system educates more students of color and is experiencing dramatic declines in enrollment, leading to thousands of students of color leaving California’s public higher education system.

The Chronicle collected data on undergraduate enrollment for the 2019 and 2020 fall semesters for each of the three systems. Data on the current fall semester (2021) is not yet available and therefore was not included in the analysis.

Ordinarily, community college enrollment increases during an economic recession, with students choosing to attend school instead of compete for scarce jobs. But the pandemic is fundamentally different. Commuting to school has health risks for students and their families. Student parents — roughly four in ten at California Community Colleges — have limited child care assistance with most child care centers closed. Others attend school while also serving as front-line or essential workers.

“We just can’t overestimate the level of responsibility that the students that we serve have to their families and to this notion of working as a necessity. When you think about communities that have to make real choices about what to do during very challenging times, the choice often becomes what can I do to survive? And education can become second on the list for many of these students,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Lizette Navarette

How Time Series Databases Work—and Where They Don’t

Alex Vondrak:

In my previous post, we explored why Honeycomb is implemented as a distributed column store. Just as interesting to consider, though, is why Honeycomb is not implemented in other ways. So in this post, we’re going to dive into the topic of time series databases (TSDBs)and why Honeycomb couldn’t be limited to a TSDB implementation.

If you’ve used a traditional metrics dashboard, you’ve used a time series database. Even though metrics are cheap to generate, they were historically quite costly to store. TSDBs are therefore ubiquitous nowadays because they’re specifically optimized for metrics storage. However, there are some things they aren’t designed to handle:

Selective abortion in India could lead to 6.8m fewer girls being born by 2030

Amrit Dhillon:

An estimated 6.8 million fewer female births will be recorded across India by 2030 because of the persistent use of selective abortions, researchers estimate.

Academics from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia projected the sex ratio at birth in 29 Indian states and union territories, covering almost the entire population, taking into account each state’s desired sex ratio at birth and the population’s fertility rates.

The cultural preference for a son was found to be highest in 17 states in the north of the country, with the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh showing the highest deficit in female births. Researchers predict that the cumulative number of missing female births in the state would be 2 million between 2017 and 2030.

11 shot Saturday into Sunday, including 11-year-old injured when another child, 8, accidentally shot him (chicago)

Talia Soglin:

An 11-year-old boy, wounded when another child accidentally shot him, was among 11 people shot in Chicago between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, according to Chicago police.

The 11-year-old had been in the living room of a residence in the 4000 block of South King Drive in Bronzeville with two other children when one of them, an 8-year-old, accidentally fired a handgun around 2 a.m. Sunday, police said in a statement. The 11-year-old was struck in the thigh and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where he had been listed in fair condition.

Hours later, a man was fatally shot in the 600 block of South Springfield Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood shortly before 8:45 a.m. Police said the man — who was being referred to as a John Doe because investigators could not immediately identify him — suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in Chicago where he was pronounced dead.

About 11:55 p.m. Saturday, two teenagers — a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman — were shot while traveling in a vehicle in the 4600 block of South Paulina Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, police said.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: How the Fed Finances U.S. Debt

Judy Shelton:

But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen nixed the idea. “It’s really a gimmick,” she said. The platinum coin “is equivalent to asking the Federal Reserve to print money to cover deficits that Congress is unwilling to cover by issuing debt. It compromises the independence of the Fed, conflating monetary and fiscal policy.”

This worry about mixing the central bank and the budget was ironic, given the cross-pollination that already exists. In the past two years alone, the Fed acquired more than $3.3 trillion of Treasury debt—which equates to more than half of the combined federal budget deficits for 2020 and 2021.

Moreover, the Fed takes the interest payments received on its portfolio holdings of Treasury securities and other U.S. government-backed securities and sends the vast bulk of that income as revenues to Treasury. The Fed’s “remittances” to Treasury totaled $87 billion in 2020—some 85% of the Fed’s $102 billion annual interest income. Remittances to Treasury are running even higher this year, based on the Fed’s June 2021 quarterly report, and will likely exceed $100 billion. How’s that for a gimmick?

hose numbers are significant in the debate over whether the U.S. government might default. Consider that $6.3 trillion of the $28.4 trillion in total public debt is Treasury debt issued to federal trust funds and other government accounts. The interest paid on those securities is treated as an “intragovernmental” transaction that has no effect on the budget deficit. The payments and receipts are both recorded in the same category of spending in the federal budget.

It is the cost of financing the remaining $22.1 trillion in federal debt held by the public—of which the Federal Reserve holds $5.4 trillion—that bears on the size of the federal budget deficit. Given that the Congressional Budget Office estimates net interest expense at $413 billion this year, the remittances transferred to Treasury by the Fed have a significant effect, offsetting the government’s interest expense (i.e., its net interest outlay) by some 25% or more.

In short, with the Fed owning roughly one-quarter of the federal debt held by the public on which the Treasury must pay interest—and with the Fed’s practice of sending weekly remittances to Treasury—it’s clear that monetary and fiscal policy are conflated.

Madison’s well funded K-12 system is set to receive an additional $70M in federal taxpayer and borrowed funds….

College Mandate Climate

Jennifer Smith:

ollege students at schools across America are lashing out against ongoing COVID-19 rules that include tracking them with apps, restricting their travel, threatening them with arrest unless they disclose their vaccination status, and making them leave the classroom if they want to take a sip of water.

The messy new era of the pandemic has some students and millions of Americans increasingly frustrated, with one student calling it ‘the growth of the surveillance state’ and that it ‘feels like the school is blackmailing me.’

The rules vary by school. In some, they apply only to unvaccinated students, with those who have received the shots able to come and go as they please once they prove they are vaccinated.

But in some, even vaccinated students are being told they must undergo weekly testing and continue to wear masks in classrooms.

Colorado State University, where tuition is $31,712 a year for out-of-state students, is going further and threatening any student who doesn’t register their vaccine status with arrest for trespassing.

The University of Southern California, where fees are $60,446 a year, will not allow students to even take sips of water in class because it means they would have to slip their masks down to their chins. They must leave the room if they want to have a drink.

Harvard is mandating vaccines for all students and staff, and Yale is enforcing it among students. Other Ivy Leagues, like Princeton, are forcing unvaccinated students to continue wearing masks.

Many students say the rules are an ‘overreach’ by college staff and a violation of their privacy.

“Less than 50% of Minneapolis students read at grade level.”

Karen Vaites:

Later that evening, Minneapolis superintendent Ed Graff nearly lost his job. Four school board directors voted not to extend his contract. The only named concerns related to literacy, a weak spot in his performance review and a source of community concern (cut to 1:52:15 of the meeting for more). Graff held onto his job by only one vote.

The story is both unique and all-too-familiar to literacy advocates. It deserves national attention – especially by superintendents in balanced literacy districts (which is most school districts in America). 

The concerns in Minneapolis aren’t new. Parents with concerns about literacy outcomes in MPS have been organizing for more than a year now, and held their first protest back in June

These concerns also aren’t unique to MPS. Minneapolis teaches kids to read via an approach described as balanced literacy. It’s the dominant model in K–12 schools, having risen to popularity over the last two decades – a period marked by flat reading outcomes in US schools. And while the nuances of implementation vary, common issues persist in balanced literacy curricula and classrooms.

Parents are catching on to these issues, as evidenced by a growing chorus of voices in social media and a growing number of districts whose parents have organized to advocate for better approaches. The issues in Minneapolis are absolutely reflected in districts across America.

Facial Recognition Cameras in UK School Canteens

Cynthia O’Murchu:

Facial recognition computers have found an unlikely new niche: scanning the faces of thousands of British pupils in school canteens. 

On Monday, nine schools in North Ayrshire will start taking payments for school lunches by scanning the faces of pupils, claiming that the new system speeds up queues and is more Covid-secure than the card payments and fingerprint scanners they used previously. 

“It’s the fastest way of recognising someone at the till — it’s faster than card, it’s faster than fingerprint,” said David Swanston, the managing director of CRB Cunninghams, the company that installed the systems.

Civics: ACLU defends censorship in Virginia

Hans Bader:

In Virginia, the ACLU did nothing to help parents who were subjected to clearly-unconstitutional censorship in Fairfax County. Instead, it filed a brief in support of censorship in neighboring Loudoun County.

In Virginia’s Fairfax County, mothers Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger suspected their Fairfax County school district was wasting taxpayer money on excessive legal fees. Tisler made a Freedom of Information Act request, and Oettinger published some of the records Tisler received on her website, after redacting any confidential information. School officials sued both women, demanding that the court order the mothers to return the documents—even though Tisler had legally obtained them—and order Oettinger to take the information off her website.

Incredibly, a state court judge granted a temporary order last month ordering Oettinger to take down the information. This was a flagrant, obvious violation of Supreme Court rulings declaring that such court orders against speech are unconstitutional “prior restraints” that violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has long made clear that people can’tbe prevented from publishing information given to them by the government, even when the government gave them that information by mistake, and even when the information is highly private in nature. (See, e.g., Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989)).

As of today, the ACLU has not said one word about this highly-publicized instance of censorship, which has been widely discussed in the media in the last couple weeks, such as at Fox News, on TV, and in print publications.

They need everyone working and paying taxes. EVERYONE. Even then their system doesn’t work, but it fails SLOWER.

Hello Galt:

Third, yeah, we can see it coming. They want all our money. Why should we work for them?

This is something the left doesn’t get.

The other thing they don’t get because they can’t, is that no, they don’t have the support of the majority. Or even a substantial plurality. And that this country is not one large city. It’s vast, chaotic and ornery.

They’re starting to panic at sick-outs and resistance to the stupid vax mandates. They should panic harder, because as rumor leaks, more people are going to go “F*ck you. Make me.*

And the other part is that they can’t help themselves. They. Can’t. Help. Themselves. Noisome, having survived the recall through fraud is outlawing…. private homes and the two cycle engine? Thanks, Governor Noisome. My home in CO went up 50k this MONTH. Not that Polis is much better, but I guess Californians still want to go somewhat blue? And we’re …. freer. I guess.

Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Joanne Jacobs:

The Report Card focuses on low-income Latino third graders, who make up 43 percent of public school students. Only one school district in California — Bonita Unified in Los Angeles County — has more than 60 percent of these students reading at grade level; 12 teach the 50 percent mark.

The best-performing districts for low-income Hispanic students aren’t the best funded or the most affluent, writes Collins. He’s a school board member in Palo Alto, where 80 percent of low-income Latino third graders are reading below grade level.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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 Washington Post & Waukesha School Board

Dan O’Donnell:

Rajnicek never actually said that students would become spoiled by free lunches.  While speaking ahead of the board’s decision to exit the Seamless Summer Option, she wondered aloud whether she and other upper middle-class parents like her might unfairly take advantage of a program for low-income families that was never intended to include them. During a school board meeting in June, she raised the possibility that she and other parents like her who could easily afford to pay for lunches for their children would become spoiled by taking advantage of a program that was never intended for upper-income families.

“Can we just get back to, ‘If I have children, I should be able to provide for them and if can’t, there is help for them?’ Stop feeding people who can provide for them,” she said.  “I feel that this is a big problem.  And it’s really easy to get sucked into and to become spoiled and to think it’s not my problem anymore.  It’s everyone else’s problem to feed my children.”

The Post never included this context in its original story and deliberately misquoted Rajniceck in both its tweet and headline, and as a result she bore the brunt of the hatred from outraged liberals, who review-bombed her salon for days on end.

A teacher is targeted after she described the baleful effect of critical race theory.

Wall Street Journal:

Bad teachers are rarely held accountable, but the public school bureaucracy seems to be less tolerant of teachers who transgress against the Democratic-union establishment. Behold how one middle-school English teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, is being run out after publicly criticizing critical race theory.

The Providence Public School District hauled in Ramona Bessinger on Wednesday for a “pre-disciplinary administrative” hearing because she allegedly let students leave her classroom during a school lockdown related to a fight between a student and staff member. Ms. Bessinger, who has taught for 22 years, denies the charge.

Her real offense is chronicling the alarming effects of critical race theory on students and teachers. “I love being a teacher and I care a great deal about my students, almost all of whom are non-white. This past 2020/21 school year was a sad and worrisome turning point for me as an educator,” she wrote this summer on the blog Legal Insurrection.

The myth of the ‘stolen country’ What should the Europeans have done with the New World?

Jeff Flynn-Paul:

Last month, in the middle of the Covid panic, a group of first-year university students at the University of Connecticut were welcomed to their campus via a series of online ‘events’. At one event, students were directed to download an app for their phones. The app allowed students to input their home address, and it would piously inform them from which group of Native Americans their home had been ‘stolen’.

We all know the interpretation of history on which this app is based. The United States was founded by a monumental act of genocide, accompanied by larceny on the grandest scale. Animated by racism and a sense of civilisational superiority, Columbus and his ilk sailed to the New World. They exterminated whomever they could, enslaved the rest, and intentionally spread smallpox in hopes of solving the ‘native question’. Soon afterwards, they began importing slave labour from Africa. They then built the world’s richest country out of a combination of stolen land, wanton environmental destruction and African slave labour. To crown it all, they have the audacity to call themselves a great country and pretend to moral superiority.
This ‘stolen country’ paradigm has spread like wildfire throughout the British diaspora in recent years. The BBC recently ran a piece on the 400th anniversary of the Plymouth landings, whose author took obvious delight in portraying the Pilgrim Fathers as native-mutilating slave drivers. In Canada, in the greater Toronto school district, students are read a statement of apology, acknowledging European guilt for the appropriation of First Nations lands, before the national anthem is played over the PA system every morning.

As a professional historian, I am keenly aware of the need to challenge smug, feelgood interpretations of history. I understand that nationalism and civilisational pride carry obvious dangers which were made manifest by the world wars of the 20th century. And I understand that these things can serve as subtle tools not only of racism but of exploitation of many stripes, and as justification for a status quo which gets in the way of meritocracy and fairness.

But I also know that if the pendulum of interpretation swings too far in any one direction, thin

Community College Is Already Affordable

Preston Cooper:

The reconciliation bill currently under debate in Congress includes a scheme to provide two years of free community college, the centerpiece of a $111 billion boost to higher education funding. The bill’s Democratic backers say that “every American should have the opportunity to get the quality and affordable education they need to find a rewarding career.” But community college is already affordable. The problem is the quality, which is something the free-tuition plan does too little to address.

Nationwide, average community college tuition is just $3,770. Over the last decade, real tuition at these schools has risen by only $50 per year, far less than the increase at four-year colleges.

But even that overstates the cost. The $3,770 figure represents the “sticker” price of tuition at community colleges. In practice, most students get financial aid from federal and state governments, which defrays the cost of attendance. After applying financial aid, the average community college student pays no tuition at all.

Yes, you read that right: on average, community college is already free.

Civics: Atmospherics vs Reality

Casey Chalk:

“The growing influence of the doctrine on my way of thinking came up against the resistance of my whole nature,” writes Nobel laureate Czeslaw Miłosz in The Captive Mind, of his experience in post-war Stalinist Poland of bureaucratically driven tyranny. That also well describes the feeling many Americans have—Miłosz describes it as something originating in the stomach—when confronted with the ever-growing list of irrational behaviors demanded of us by the progressivist pandemic regime.

Like the Eastern Bloc, our culture is one in which our public behavior bears increasingly little resemblance to what we know to actually be the case. Such a dualistic, dissociative identity disorder is not a recipe for civic health.

In countless scenarios acted out every day, Americans are expected to engage in various performative gestures that we know are incoherent—if not absurd—and yet, for the sake of conformity and a very real concern that we will be professionally or personally penalized, we assent to them. In the process, our real self becomes disconnected from our public self, and we slowly become cynical and disillusioned. When citizens no longer believe laws, rules, and cultural norms are coherent or ordered to their good, they lose faith in their society and its governing institutions.

Perhaps the most salient example of play-acting is America’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in what comedian Jim Breuer describes as an endless game of “Simon Says.” As Breuer explains: “Simon Says: ‘Put your mask on when you go into a restaurant.’ Simon Says: ‘Sit down and take it off.’” If we get up to use the restroom, the mask must go back on; as long as we are periodically sipping our beer or water, the mask can stay off. At our jobs, our cafeterias are filled with maskless coworkers talking, laughing, eating, spreading their germs all over the place, but we are mandated to keep ours on as we walk past them. We know this doesn’t make any sense, but we play along anyway, often out of a sense of exhaustion or fear of retribution.

But it’s not just pandemic-related health directives. The technocratic regime commands us to respect the ever-expanding list of preferred pronouns and gender identities of our fellow citizens or risk accusations of “gendered violence” or “deadnaming”—crimes that until recently no one even knew existed. Our employers urge us to affirm and celebrate coworkers who spend company time organizing events and writing corporate emails declaring their sexual preferences and lifestyles, while we silently wonder how these people’s fetishes have anything to do with, well, work. And though it remains illegal for an employer to make decisions about job assignments and promotions based on race, recruiters and managers are explicitly or implicitly coerced to diversify their offices and ensure the “right people” are promoted for the sake of diversity and inclusion.

Notes & Commentary on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board Recall

MD Kittle:

The “extremists” in question are the friends and neighbors of the recall opponents who have grown increasingly frustrated by a school board and administrators they say have refused to listen to their concerns.

Many are sick of the district’s stringent COVID-19 mitigation policies. Others have had it with radical curriculum and race-obsessed indoctrination in the classrooms. Schroeder, who has grown so frustrated she pulled her younger children from the district and enrolled them in private school, said a lot of recall supporters feel the school board is nothing but a “rubber stamp” for an administration disconnected from the community’s needs.

It seems a lot of school district residents are fed up. Recall organizers collected more than 17,000 signatures from members of the Mequon-Thiensville community over a 60-day period.

Parents across the nation are rising up and speaking out against overreaching educrats, who in turn are asking President Joe Biden to check the opposition through the politically weaponized use of federal law enforcement agencies. 

Johnson said the same people who say they are standing up for civility are bullying her and other recall supporters online. She said she’s been attacked for her Latina heritage. She’s been told to leave Mequon.

“The mayor signed off on this saying, ‘That’s okay. I stand with the people that are treating other constituents like this,’” she said.

Johnson, who is a candidate challenging an incumbent in the upcoming recall election, said she and supporters will not be silenced.

“The mama bears are waking up,” Schroeder said.

No Pukaite said she’s “dismayed by the lack of civility” and the refusal of people to work for the “common good.” She said the school board recall effort is part of that incivility.

USC to apologize for WWII actions that derailed education of Japanese American students

Teresa Watanabe:

In the throes of World War II, weeks after a 1942 presidential executive order forced the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, then-UC Berkeley President Robert G. Sproul sprung into action.

He sent an impassioned letter to university presidents across the country, asking them to accept his displaced students, most of them U.S. citizens and “excellent” scholars. Other major West Coast universities joined, including the University of Washington and Occidental College, to assist an estimated 2,500 Japanese American students. 

There was one glaring exception: USC.

Then-USC President Rufus B. von KleinSmid — now disgraced for his legacy of eugenics support, antisemitism and racism — and other campus officials refused to release transcripts of Japanese American students so they could study elsewhere. When some students tried to reenroll after the war, USC would not honor their previous coursework and said they would have to start over, according to their surviving family members.

The unexamined rise of therapeutic education: How social-emotional learning extends K–12 education’s reach into students’ lives and expands teachers’ roles

Robert Pondiscio:

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has drifted ever closer to being a central purpose of education without a full and proper examination of its role or a sufficient discussion about its practices or expectations for its effectiveness.

To many, SEL is an unwelcome intrusion into what is traditionally the work of families, faith, culture, and other institutions and relationships in American life.

Ideas and techniques borrowed from popular psychology have aggressively inserted themselves into classroom practice, resulting in the rise of therapeutic education.

The unexamined rise of SEL has led to schools assuming powers and responsibilities far beyond their brief and educators working beyond their training and expertise.

Why Are Highly Vaxxed Colleges Implementing Strict COVID Policies?

Vinay Prasad:

Vaccinated college students at many elite schools are the subject of an ongoing experiment — a screening study, in fact. Every week, or twice a week, depending on the school, they are asked to take a test for SARS-CoV-2. If positive, they have to quarantine, and if enough kids test positive, the entire school or campus has an escalation of restrictions. This experiment is being run at several schools across the country, but notably not others. Sadly, this experiment is not technically research. It did not receive institutional review board approval, and the primary purpose is not to track whether it works. Instead it has simply been mandated by the colleges. Also regrettably, it does not have a clear control arm.

How we got into the ‘debt trap’

Joanne Jacobs:

In The Debt Trap, Wall Street Journal writer Josh Mitchell explains the history of federal higher education policy and “how student loans became a national catastrophe.”

The book is worth reading, writes George Leef, but he thinks Mitchell “uncritically accepts” the idea that subsidizing “college for all” will boost productivity and lessen poverty and inequality.

Thanks to federal loans, more students went to college. Colleges raised tuition, knowing there was plenty of federal aid to cover it.

College graduates and dropouts owe more than a trillion dollars in student loans, writes Leef, editorial director of the Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

President Obama, who set a goal of becoming the nation with the highest percentage of college-educated workers, made it easier for students to repay loans, but many still “found themselves deeply in debt after graduation.”

IoT Hacking and Rickrolling My High School District

Whitehoodhacker:

On April 30th, 2021, I rickrolled my high school district. Not just my school but the entirety of Township High School District 214. It’s the second-largest high school district in Illinois, consisting of 6 different schools with over 11,000 enrolled students.

This story isn’t one of those typical rickrolls where students sneak Rick Astley into presentations, talent shows, or Zoom calls. I did it by hijacking every networked display in every school to broadcast “Never Gonna Give You Up” in perfect synchronization. Whether it was a TV in a hall, a projector in a classroom, or a jumbotron displaying the lunch menu, as long as it was networked, I hacked it!

In this post, I’ll be explaining how I did it and how I evaded detection, as well as the aftermath when I revealed myself and didn’t get into trouble.

A Young Girl Learns the Value of Questioning Authority

Kathleen Wilcox:

In Annabel Pickering and the Sky Pirates: The Fantastical Contraption, 13-year-old Annabel, a latter-day Pippi Longstocking, gets ensnared in a battle between authoritarians and freedom fighters after her parents are kidnapped by the police, who turn out to be the bad guys. She finds herself assisted in her own escape by rebel pirates, who turn out to be the good guys.

Bretigne Shaffer, a journalist who has turned to full-time fiction writing, considers themes of betrayal in Annabel Pickering. The middle-grade adventure book follows Annabel’s steam-powered adventures, which transport her from an elite girls’ school to the rule-breaking world of buccaneers. Set in an alternate 19th-century England—illustrated via Florian Garbay’s black-and-white images—Shaffer explores Annabel’s psychological changes as she sees loved ones’ darker sides. Shaffer explains that she wanted to show children the “nature of empire and war, freedom of speech and thought, [and] how prohibition affects society.” She also, she admits, is interested in pirates, having briefly written about piracy in the South China Sea in her past life as a journalist.

Lawfare, politics, curriculum, parents and school boards…

Peter Kirsanow and J Christian Adams:

We have combed the internet for signs that parents petitioning school boards are anything approaching a national problem. Nearly all of what we have seen so far makes us proud to be Americans: Parents care about the education of their children, and they are not willing to allow them to be indoctrinated into a radical ideology.7 It is always possible that a few of these parents have gotten out of hand and made threats that they should not have. If so, law enforcement is entirely appropriate. But is there evidence that state and local law enforcement is not up to the job? Why is federal intervention needed here and not in the thousands of other unrelated cases of overheated exchanges that occur regularly across the country? Why does this case call for federal intervention? Is it surprising to you that concerned parents across the country view your memorandum as an endorsement of the NSBA’s description of their protests as comparable to “domestic terrorism”?

The Art Institute of Chicago fires all 122 of its (unpaid and volunteer) docents because they aren’t sufficiently “diverse”

Link:

This is a story that, for obvious reasons, has gotten almost no airplay in Chicago, and none nationally, with no reporting in the major media. So let me tell you about it.

The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), one of the world’s finest art museums, harbors (or rather, harbored) 122 highly skilled docents, 82 active ones and 40 “school group greeters.” All are volunteers and are all unpaid. Their job is to act as guides to the Museum’s collection of 300,000 works, which they explain to both adults and schoolchildren. I’ve seen them in action at the Museum, and they’re terrific.

Despite the lack of remuneration—they do this to be helpful and because they love art—their training to be docents is extremely rigorous. First, they have to have two training sessions per week for eighteen months, and then “five years of continual research and writing to meet the criteria of 13 museum content areas” (quote from the docents’ letter to the Director of the AIC). On top of that, there’s monthly and biweekly training on new exhibits. Then there are the tours themselves, with a docent giving up to two one-hour tours per day for 18 weeks of the year and a minimum of 24 one-hour tours with adults/families. Their average length of service: 15 years. There are other requirements listed by the Docents Council in the ChicagoNow column below (first screenshot).

Today’s Most Pressing Questions in AI Are Human-Centered

Shana Lynch:

Not everyone has access to classes at Stanford, UC Berkeley, or MIT. How do we broaden access to AI education?

I got involved in online education for just this reason: In 2010 Sebastian Thrun and I taught the intro AI class to Stanford students, and when in 2011 we were asked to teach it again, we thought that we should step up and try to reach a worldwide audience who couldn’t attend Stanford. In one sense this worked great, in that 100,000 students signed up and 16,000 completed the course. But in another sense the approach was still limited to a select group of highly self-motivated learners. The next challenge is to reach people who lack self-confidence, who don’t see themselves as capable of learning new things and being successful, who think of the tech world as being for others, not them. To do this takes more than just having great content in a course; we also need to foster a sense of community through peer-to-peer and mentor-to-learner relationships.

Today we see more programs teaching kids from kindergarten to grade 12 to code. Should we? Is this the right approach for grade school?

Learning to code is a useful skill. When I was in middle school, we didn’t have coding, but I was required to learn touch typing. That was also a useful skill. But learning to type well does not change the way you see the world, and by itself neither does learning the syntax of a programming language. The important part is what you do when you’re coding: moving past small rote-learning exercises to substantial multi-part projects; learning how to choose your own projects; learning to model some aspects of the world, make hypotheses, and test them; committing errors and correcting them without getting discouraged; working on a team; creating something useful that others will use, giving you pride of accomplishment. If you can do all that with coding, great. If you can do it with a no-code or low-code approach to technology, also great. If you can do it by sending kids out into nature to explore and do experiments on their own, equally great.

“Torching” taxpayer funded Government credibility

Bretigne Shaffer:

But there is a silver lining, and it is this: These governments, and many more around the world, have taken a torch to their own credibility, to their own legitimacy. Never again will any thinking person accept unquestioningly the pronouncements of “public health authorities.” Never again will they turn to CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or any other mainstream media outlets as “trusted” sources of information. And more people than ever before are aware of just how broken the worlds of scientific research and centrally controlled medical systems are.

As I leave my friend, the wind blows a lone cloth mask in front of me and it rolls across my path like a tumbleweed.

This wind. It’s tearing apart old alliances, old tribes, even long-held friendships. Even families.

But it’s also sweeping people into new groupings, pushing us together out of necessity, whereupon many of us realize: These are the people we should have had in our lives all along. These are the right alliances, better tribes. And it seems crazy that it’s taken this wild windstorm to bring us together.

And we’re building. People are starting Private Membership Associations, in education and other areas. Here’s ours, modeled after the mutual-aid societies of a century ago, and with the mission of educating for a free society; creating healthcare that respects individual choice; and serving those with special needs and the elderly. Here’s another one, a grocery store selling organic products to its members, started by a couple in Penn Valley California – and there are many more coming.

A Waunakee Mom:

“Waunakee, they’re getting 65% proficiency. That’s great for Wisconsin. That’s great. Want to keep to doing great. And so we like really, we’re going to move there (from Madison).

By afternoon, the wind is in a real fury. Our giant inflatable pumpkin family has been blown across the yard and now sits huddled around our tiny weeping cherry tree. I go out and corral them back into place next to the giant inflatable Halloween tree, and for a while anyway, all seems as it should be.

How are we going to tutor all the kids we’ve missed in Wisconsin?”

Families Flock to School Choice Options Amid Pandemic

Will Flanders:

Many have made the case that the pandemic increased the movement of families away from traditional public schools. Families are moving to nontraditional options, like learning pods, as well as to more established educational options, including public charter and private schools. Now, more and more data is available that helps to confirm this notion.

The latest example comes from a study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).  They examined public charter school enrollment state-by-state over the period that included the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of the 42 states across the nation that have public charter schools, 39 saw a significant increase in enrollment over that time period (the only states to see a decline in public charter enrollment were Illinois, Iowa and Wyoming).  The rate of enrollment growth nationwide at 7% was the highest since the 2014-15 school year. This increase is different from that seen in 2014-15 because at that time, the increase was due to a quickly growing number of new schools, which was not the case during the pandemic.

Wisconsin was among the states that saw significant growth in student enrollment.  According to the research, public charter school enrollment grew by 13.8% growth even as public school district enrollment declined by about 3.8% in the state.  Wisconsin ranked 11th in the rate of public charter enrollment growth among the 42 states.

This was not simply a story of public charter schools remaining open while public schools closed their doors, but rather of public charter schools having a great ability to offer options tailored to student need. For example, the study highlight public charter schools that emphasized the mental health of students and the ability offer one-to-one technological support in virtual learning as key drivers of growth.

This is consistent with research conducted by WILLwhich showed that schools that offered in-person instruction, as well as those that had pre-pandemic experience with virtual learning, grew in Wisconsin during the pandemic. Traditional school districts that went fully virtual saw a 3% decline in enrollment, while those that remained in-person, as some public charter schools did, saw far smaller enrollment declines. Virtual public schools in Wisconsin are classified as public charter schools by the Department of Public Instruction. These schools saw enrollment growth of about 4%, which likely helped to spur the overall growth found by NAPCS.

Bad news on NAEP math and Reading Results

Joanne Jacobs:

Reading and math scores fell between 2012 and 2020, especially for 13-year-olds, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which released is 2020 assessment of long-term trends today.

High performing students did as well as ever, but low-performing students slid farther behind, reports Kevin Mahnken on The 74.

Students were tested before the pandemic lockdowns. Tests in 2022 are expected to show the effect of disrupted education.

Scores for nine-year-olds held steady, except for girls, who did significantly worse in math than in 2012.

“It’s really a matter for national concern, this high

A Yale Law Student Sent a Lighthearted Email Inviting Classmates to His ‘Trap House.’ The School Is Now Calling Him To Account.

Aaron Sibarium:

Administrators at Yale Law School spent weeks pressuring a student to apologize for a “triggering” email in which he referred to his apartment as a “trap house,” a slang term for a place where people buy drugs. Part of what made the email “triggering,” the administrators told the student, was his membership in a conservative organization.

The second-year law student, a member of both the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative Federalist Society, had invited classmates to an event cohosted by the two groups. “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” he wrote in a Sept. 15 email to the Native American listserv. In keeping with the theme, he said, the mixer would serve “American-themed snacks” like “Popeye’s chicken” and “apple pie.”

Orange County Public Schools board chair ejects parents, speakers from meeting

AP Dillon:

North State Journal has requested emails related to the creation of the resolution but has not yet received any documents from the district.

Several of those speakers Mackenzie had ejected were members of the “Proud Boys,” who came to address the resolution and the discovery of books they called “porn” in the district’s high schools.

The resolution makes a number of claims including a “growing presence of white nationalist displays and intimidating behavior, including bigoted, misogynistic, racist, homophobic and transphobic language” with the intent of “bullying” board members, as well as minority and LGBT students.

Written by Mackenzie and Orange County schools superintendent Monique Felder, the resolution praises Black Lives Matter while claiming the aforementioned alleged behavior has caused “emotional and psychological harm” and that harm “has been deepened by White people standing by and applauding, failing to intervene, or even failing to name the racist, bigoted, and threatening behavior.”

An Orange County parent who did not wish to be identified says “the entire goal of the resolution is to paint rightly concerned and outraged parents as extremists.”

Australians ‘complacent’ to rapid growth in digital surveillance

Dedham Sadler:

She said Australians need to be more aware of the influence of tech and media monopolies on their activities online and their freedom of speech and expression.

“When I first came to Australia, I thought people were too complacent. Australian media is controlled by a few monopolies which creates this sense of fear, complacency and self-censorship,” Ms al-Sharif said on the panel.

“Living in a democracy is scary when tech manipulation becomes a form of soft oppression. People don’t realise they are being manipulated and that they are victims of persuasive technology. We think we have reached a conclusion from our own freedom of thinking. This is completely misleading.

“Once you go online and are facing a machine that understands who you are, what makes you tick and how to keep you engaged – there is no freedom of choice and freedom of thinking anymore.”

Former head of USC’s School of Social Work allegedly gave Mr. Ridley-Thomas’s son admission in exchange for county contracts

Christine Mai-Duc:

A Los Angeles city councilman and a former University of Southern California dean have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from an alleged scheme to trade county contracts for graduate-school admission for the politician’s son.

Mark Ridley-Thomas, previously a Los Angeles county supervisor, is accused of conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, former dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to award the school contracts for county services believed to be worth millions of dollars.

In return, Ms. Flynn allegedly arranged in late 2017 and early 2018 for the school to admit Mr. Ridley-Thomas’s son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, to the social work school’s master’s program on full scholarship and offered him a paid position as a professor.

MIT Abandons Its Mission. And Me.

:

I have been a professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago for the past 10 years. I work on topics ranging from climate change to the possibility of life on extrasolar planets using mathematics, physics, and computer simulation.

I have never considered myself a political person. For example, a few days before an election I go to ISideWith.com and answer the policy questions, then I assign my vote using a weighted draw based on my overlap with the candidates. It’s an efficient algorithm that works perfectly for a nerd like me.

But I started to get alarmed about five years ago as I noticed an increasing number of issues and viewpoints become impossible to discuss on campus. I mostly just wanted to do my science and not have anyone yell at me, and I thought that if I kept my mouth shut the problem would eventually go away. I knew that speaking out would likely bring serious reputational and professional consequences. And for a number of years I just didn’t think it was worth it.

But the street violence of the summer of 2020, some of which I witnessed personally in Chicago, and the justifications and dishonesty that accompanied it, convinced me that I could no longer remain silent in good conscience.

In the fall of 2020 I started advocating openly for academic freedom and merit-based evaluations. I recorded some short YouTube videos in which I argued for the importance of treating each person as an individual worthy of dignity and respect. In an academic context, that means giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity when they apply for a position as well as allowing them to express their opinions openly, even if you disagree with them.

As a result, I was immediately targeted for cancellation, primarily by a group of graduate students in my department. Whistleblowers later revealed that the attack was partially planned and coordinated on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program listserv by a graduate student in my department. (Please do not attack this person or any of the people who attacked me.)

The American Educational Research Association’s Trans Activism Leaves Little Room for Debate

Richard Phelps:

Recently, I received a broadcast message from my online neighborhood chat room news feed. An autistic neighbor was soliciting donations for “medically necessary and lifesaving” top surgery.1 Before researching this article, I would have had no idea what “top surgery” was. Essentially, plastic surgeons transform a biological male chest into a transgender female chest, or vice versa. (Many transgenders undergo “bottom surgery” too.)2

Two neighbors responded online. The first suggested therapy first as a young person is likely to change their mind a lot by middle age. The second asked how top surgery was “lifesaving.” In response, the trans neighbor suggested the questioner research transgender suicide rates.

My libertarian bias tells me that if an adult wishes to undergo gender transition, and they pay for it themselves, more power to them. Turns out, insurance was paying for most of my neighbor’s top surgery; even Medicare will pay for transgender surgeries. Donations would pay for some uncovered medical procedures, such as the anesthetization, and travel expenses.

My empathic bias tells me that if someone is willing to put themselves through all the hassle, including drug and hormone treatments, social stigma, incapacitation time, as well as the major surgeries — removing body parts, or fabricating new ones from skin grafts — they must feel genuinely compelled.

But I would not agree that gender transitions represent just another instance of an oppressed group fighting for equal rights, as have native Americans and African-Americans, women, and gays. For two reasons: (1) if transitions are financed by the public through insurance, the public does have standing to participate in the policy debate; and (2) if the person transitioning is legally a minor, adults remain responsible for their welfare.

Moreover, transitions aren’t the only source of transgender controversy. There is also the hot-button issue of trans youth participating in competitive sports. Here, again, others have standing in the policy debate. Some girls have complained that trans girls (that is, transgenders who were classified as male at birth) enjoy unfair physical advantages in many sports.

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The Quest for an “Automatic Teacher” – Education Next

Audrey Waters:

For nearly a decade, Audrey Watters has cast herself as a snarky and skeptical writer about education technology. From theories of personalized learning to new education-technology companies, Watters attempts to cut down the hype and to dash hopes.

In her writings, she frequently covers the history of education, and argues that many of the ideas behind education technology and innovation are neither new nor good.

Audrey Watters
Audrey Watters
Her new book, Teaching Machines: The History of Personalized Learning, rests on these two pillars. The book presents two compelling microhistories of teaching machines sandwiched between a preface and a conclusion that attempt unsuccessfully to use those histories to contextualize—and cast doubt upon—personalized learning and today’s efforts to deploy new technology in that effort. Her big objection to personalized learning and education technology is that the two inevitably entail a crude behaviorist approach to instruction that deprives students and teachers of freedom.

Although the teaching machine is most associated with Harvard psychology professor B. F. Skinner, Watters takes the reader back to the era of President Calvin Coolidge and Ohio State Professor Sidney Pressey’s efforts to build and commercialize an “Automatic Teacher”—a machine that would allow students to answer questions, receive feedback, and, at the switch of a lever, progress only after they correctly answered the question.

Pressey’s background was in the field of standardized intelligence testing, which had become popular at the time. Although he knew much about standardized tests and textbooks, “the manufacturing of a piece of scientific equipment was something quite different,” Watters writes.

Watters presents a lengthy description of Pressey’s foibles and frustrations in commercializing his invention. It’s a history that foreshadows Skinner’s experience, and Watters makes sure the reader doesn’t miss the echoes by pointing out that would-be innovators such as Skinner ignored the past and seemed to believe that, in Watters’s words, “Surely this time, things would be different.”

Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kevin Mahnken:

Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions about how to reverse prolonged academic stagnation.

The scores offer more discouraging evidence from NAEP, often referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card.” Various iterations of the exam, each tracking differentsubjects and age groups over several years, have now shown flat or falling numbers.

RelatedA ‘Disturbing’ Assessment: Sagging Reading Scores, Particularly for Eighth-Graders, Headline 2019’s Disappointing NAEP Results

The latest release comes from NAEP’s 2020 assessment of long-term trends, which was administered by the National Center for Education Statistics to nine- and 13-year-olds before COVID-19 first shuttered schools last spring. In a Wednesday media call, NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr told reporters that 13-year-olds had never before seen declines on the assessment, and the results were so startling that she had her staff double-check the results.

“I asked them to go back and check because I wanted to be sure,” Carr recalled. “I’ve been reporting these results for…decades, and I’ve never reported a decline like this.”

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Covid, lockdown and the retreat of scientific debate

Martin Kulldorf:

But with lockdown, science is in danger of being suppressed by politics. Lockdown moved instantly from untested theory to unchallengeable orthodoxy: where dissenters face personal attack. Understandable on social media perhaps, but it has now crept into the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in a recent article about the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). 

The GBD, which I wrote, together with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya at Stanford and Dr. Sunetra Gupta at Oxford, argues for focused protection. Rather than a blanket lockdown which inflicts so much harm on society, we wanted better protection of those most at risk – mindful that Covid typically poses only a mild risk to the young. For saying so, we are smeared as ‘the new merchants of doubt’ – as if scepticism and challenge is regarded by the BMJ as something to be condemned. 

The BMJ article is full of errors that ought to have never found their way into any publication. Here are some examples:

  1. My colleagues and I are described as ‘critics of public health measures to curb Covid-19’. On the contrary, throughout the pandemic we have strongly advocated better public health measures to curb Covid-19 – specifically protection of high-risk older people, with manyclearly defined’ proposals. The failure to implement such measures, in our view, has led to many unnecessary Covid deaths.
  2. We are described as ‘proponents of herd immunity’which is akin to accusing someone of being in favour of gravity. Both are scientifically established phenomena. Every Covid strategy leads to herd immunity. The key is to minimise morbidity and mortality. The language, here, is non-scientific: herd immunity is not a creed. It’s how pandemics end.
  3. It says we have ‘expressed opposition to mass vaccination’. Dr. Gupta and I have spent decades on vaccine research and we are all strong advocates for Covid and other vaccines. They are among the greatest inventions in history. To falsely credit the anti-vaccine movement with support from professors at Harvard, Oxford and Stanford is damaging for vaccine confidence. This is unworthy of a medical journal.
  4. The GBD is referred to as a ‘sophisticated science denialism’. Note here how something that challenges an orthodoxy is described as anti-science – a label that presumably could have been applied to any scientific innovator who ever questioned a failed orthodoxy. Collateral public health damage from Covid restrictions are real and enormous oncardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes,backsliding childhood vaccinations, starvation andmental health, just to name a few. It is not the GBD, but those who downplay lockdown harms who should be equated with those who question the harms of tobacco or climate change.
  5. The GBD was not ‘sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) – and I’m pleased to see that the BMJ has at least retracted this claim. We were there for media interviews, with no sponsorship. How did such a blunder end up in print in the first place? The AIER staff did not even know about the Declaration until the day before it was signed, and the AIER president and board did not know about it until after publication. If we had written the Declaration at say, Starbucks, would the BMJ have claimed that it was sponsored by the coffee shop?

Civics: That One Side Would Like to Utterly Destroy the Other Side Seems Significant, To Me

Freddie deBoer:

Ezra Klein interviews David Shor about his recent rise in visibility, his particular take on Democratic policy and messaging, and the debate over “popularism.” It also glancingly mentions Shor’s cancellation, for expressing limited and polite skepticism about the political outcomes of post-George Floyd riots.

Klein references this controversy, as he must, but it’s kept separate as a piece of flavoring for the larger argument, rather than central to the discussion that follows. (It’s framed as one of the media’s favorite “ironic” tales these days, that Shor was actually helped by being cancelled – which far from being a defense of canceling is as damning an indictment I can think of.) But I find Klein’s disposing of that story so quickly to be quite odd, as it seems totally germane to the topic of who will determine the future of the Democratic party. What could be more relevant to the conversation than pointing out that one slice of that conversation feels perfectly comfortable attempting to utterly destroy their opponents, and everyone else is too scared to condemn them for it?

If you’re unaware, Shor was canceled for accurately summarizing the contents of an academic paper. Shor made a point that he felt was important for the messaging of the Democrats. At the time the country was exploding in riots aligned with BlackLivesMatter and driven by anger over the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor. Shor linked to a paper that argued that riots have bad political consequences for Democrats. This would not seem to be particularly inflammatory; people indiscriminately burning and smashing shit has little obvious utility for the marginalized or anyone else. But Shor lost his job for tweeting that paper and agreeing with its thesis. Similarly, the Intercept’s Lee Fang was absolutely mobbed for the crime of recording an interview with a young Black man who was critical of the riots and the protest movement from which they sprang. He almost lost his job, as well.

(Here’s a fun tip for you all: if you have the power to get someone fired or otherwise ruin their life you are not a powerless, marginalized Other.)

Not that they had rebutted a particularly coherent pro-riot argument. There was little in the way of defense of riots in 2020 at all, really. Many attempted to invoke Martin Luther King in that regard, which is hilarious and bizarre concerning a man who among many other critiques of riots said that they “are not revolutionary but reactionary because they invite defeat; they offer an emotional catharsis, but they must be followed by a sense of futility,” and that close to the end of his life. (In their defense, almost no one who invokes MLK has actually read him.) But what Shor and Fang were guilty of was not of breaking with some intellectual mandate within liberalism but with speaking out of turn, with criticizing the wrong people. The difference between Shor and Fang’s criticism of the pro-riot side and the behavior of those who rose against them is that Shor and Fang never tried to destroy anyone, didn’t tweet at anyone’s boss in an attempt to get them fired, didn’t have the inclination or the power to punish those who dared to disagree with them. But those who targeted them were operating in a bizarre liberal discursive culture where, if you dress up what you’re doing in vague language about oppression, you can operate however you’d like without rebuke and attempt to ruin the life of whoever you please.

Poll: Voters reject hypocritical politicians on school choice

David Bass:

A new national poll from the pro-school choice organization the American Federation for Children shows most voters dislike politicians who deny school choice to other families while practicing it for their own.

The poll of more than 2,000 registered voters found that 62% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes school choice policies yet sent his or her own child to a private school. Nine percent would be more likely to vote for such a candidate, and 20% said it make would no difference.

The trendline held true across political parties, with 66% of Republicans, 65% of Independents, and 56% of Democrats saying they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate.

“Unfortunately, we too often see politicians who bow to special interests and block expanded educational opportunity for families, despite exercising that freedom for themselves and their own children,” said AFC CEO Tommy Schultz. “From presidents of the United States to governors to state lawmakers, and school board members, many in such places of privilege disregard the needs of families who want nothing but the same opportunity to access an educational environment that meets their own children’s needs.”

High-profile politicians in North Carolina — including Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper — have chosen elite private-school options for their own children while rallying against choice for others. Support for school choice in the Tar Heel State remains strong, with over 77% of respondents to a recent Civitas poll saying that parents are best suited to determine where a child should attend school.

How well are schools teaching disadvantaged students to read? In California, it depends where you live.

Todd Collins:

How do we know if a school district is doing one of its most basic jobs—teaching students to read? That’s one of the main questions the California Reading Coalition, which I helped organize earlier this year, set out to answer with the California Reading Report Card, released in September.

Early reading achievement has gained increasing popular attention with the emergence of the “science of reading” and the success of Mississippi (and before it, Florida) in raising fourth grade NAEP reading scores, especially for low-income and Black and Brown students.

In California, reading results are grim. The state ranks fortieth in fourth grade NAEP reading for all students, and thirty-first for Latino students, who make up almost half of our 6 million students (Florida and Mississippi are first and and second for Latino students, respectively). Two out of every three low-income Black and Latino California students are below grade level.

But reading is tricky, since schools aren’t the only place kids learn to read. Particularly in families with affluence and educational attainment, learning to read starts at home, with everything from bedtime stories to direct phonics instruction. It’s not surprising that in California, over 75 percent of high-income White and Asian third graders read at grade level. Even if the school fails them, their parents can pick them up.

Taxpayer supported lobbying, redux: National Association of school boards

Fred Lucas:

“They are sympatico on public education and the power of unions,” Watson said. “Teacher unions have organized campaigns to win school boards.”

Reed D. Rubinstein, senior counselor and director of oversight and investigations for America First Legal Foundation, signed the letter of complaint to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In their Sept. 29 letter to Biden, the National School Boards Association’s Garcia and Slaven called for the administration to “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces.” 

The association’s letter states that threats of violence “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” It asks for a review to: 

Schools boards, bastions of local democracy, persecute dissident parents

Glenn Reynolds:

American parents are organizing to fight racist critical race theories being taught in their kids’ schools. Attorney General Merrick Garland, once touted as a moderate, has responded by asking the FBI to treat them as domestic terrorists.

As befits the Biden administration, this over-the-top authoritarianism is accompanied by the stench of corruption, as it turns out that Garland’s son-in-law is in the business of selling educational materials on CRT.

Garland’s self-dealing and thuggery are grounds for resignation. But that isn’t the worst thing that’s happened. Bad as it is, the Biden administration’s poisonous combination of graft and authoritarianism can be remedied by getting rid of the administration — something that, if polls are any indication, is eminently doable.

The bigger problem is that school boards all over America seem to be growing ever more authoritarian themselves. Instead of serving as bastions of small-scale representative democracy, boards seem to regard themselves as above accountability to the voters and parents.

It was, after all, the National School Boards Association that, citing shaky claims of “threats,” asked the administration to investigate anti-CRT parents as “domestic terrorists,” specifically invoking the Patriot Act in its letter.

What the impending state takeover of SFUSD means

CW Nevius:

The San Francisco Unified School District has been a slow-motion car crash for years.

Declining enrollment, unhappy parents and school board meetings that drone aimlessly into the night? Yep, that sounds like the SFUSD.

But recently we came upon two tipping point moments that we can’t ignore.

First, for all the exasperation about the district, last week’s news had to shock even jaded critics.

The state of California announced that the SFUSD budget was so deep in the red that the state is likely going to take over. This as the district predicts deficits over $100 million, beginning in 2022.

It doesn’t take much calculation to understand the dilemma. The district is not attracting new students, meaning attendance continues to drop, which means less funding, at a time when the district is already unable to pay its bills. It’s not just a vicious circle, it’s a death spiral. 

Things are so bad we’ve lost control of our school system. That should get all of our attention. 

The second point is actually good news. A confluence of factors, including the likely recall of three members of the school Board, might result in the kind of systemic teardown and rebuild that is clearly needed.

School Suspension Policies and student safety

Will Flanders and Ameillia Wedward:

Federal intervention in school discipline policy became an issue of increasing importance beginning during the Obama administration. Based on the argument that differences in the rates of discipline for students of different racial groups was evidence of racism, the administration issued a “Dear Colleague” letter informing school districts that they needed to work to reduce gaps in suspensions for those of different racial backgrounds.

A reprieve of sorts occurred during the Trump administration, with the “Dear Colleague” letter eventually being rolled back. But, under President Biden, we are likely to see similar, or even more stringent, federal intervention. What, then,
was the result of previous interventions under Obama? This report seeks to answer that question through the prism of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), which was subject to an inquiry from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division, and eventually entered into an agreement with them to reduce disparate suspension outcomes.

We combine several data sets in this analysis. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on suspension rates at the school level is combined with data from a UW-Milwaukee survey of students on how safe they feel in
their school.

Among the key takeaways from this study:

• Suspension Rates Declined in Milwaukee After MPS Agreement. While suspension rates increased in Milwaukee for several years, there was an immediate decline following an agreement between MPS and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Education.

• Reduced Suspension for African American Students Resulted in Lower Reports of Safety. When suspension rates for African American students fell, the share of students reporting that they feel unsafe in their school’s hallways went up.

• Suspension Rates for Other Student Groups Change in a more “normal” manner.
Among all students and Hispanic students, higher suspension rates occur in schools where students report feeling less safe.

• African American Students Suffer the
Most. African American students are heavily concentrated in schools with other African Americans, meaning other African American students bear the brunt of lax discipline practices.
This research has important implications for policy makers at both the state and federal level. It shows there are real-world, negative implications from applying political correctness to school discipline standards. Moreover, students in the group that is ostensibly meant to be helped by relaxed discipline are actually the most likely to be harmed.

What better wake up call do you need than the fact that you have to worry about your kindergartener being ideologically manipulated at school by teachers and administrators?

William Jacobson:

For the first decade of Legal Insurrection, we documented and did our best to oppose the “gradually” phase of societal collapse, what in 2017 on our 9th anniversary I described as the continuing loss of institutions:

Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.

I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter. The education system, from public grade school through public and private higher ed, is gone. The frontal assault on free speech on campuses is the result. If you think this is just a Humanities and Social Sciences problem, stay tuned. In 3-5 years, if we’re still here, we’ll be writing about how the social justice warriors have corrupted the STEM fields. It’s happening now, it’s just not in the headlines yet.

There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable. I feel it in the air, even at Cornell which is far from the worst….

Even language as a means of communication is corrupted, with terminology manipulated and coerced to achieve political ends. It started on campuses, and it’s moved into the AP stylebook and the mainstream.

The press could stand as a bulwark against this slide, but it too is corrupted.

We are in the suddenly phase now.

All the “progressive” pieces were in place but needed a spark to burn down the house. That spark was the death of George Floyd in late May 2020.

What followed was state-sanctioned lawlessness, rioting, and looting; a vicious cultural purge from academia to corporations to the military to historical monuments; gaslighting and burying of news by a corrupt and dishonest mainstream corporate media and Big Tech; and the solidification of our post-truth world where we are required to state things we know to be untrue or with which we disagree in order to avoid social ostracization, where feelings matter more that facts, and where telling facts some people don’t like can get you fired, denounced, and boycotted.

We don’t have mean tweets anymore, instead we have a sociopathic federal government that wants to watch over almost every financial transaction we make and labels as domestic terrorists parents who raise objections to their kids being force-fed ideological poison at school. All the while destroying our borders, our energy independence, and the credibility of our military.

You cannot depend on the government of your personal safety, certainly not in large cities. When seconds count, the police are 1619 minutes away.

Facing major campus disruption and firings, LAUSD extends staff COVID-vaccine deadline

Howard Blume:

The Los Angeles school district — confronted with widespread campus disruption and the firing of potentially thousands of unvaccinated teachers and other staff — has extended the looming deadline for all workers to be fully immunized for COVID-19.

The prior deadline of Oct. 15 — this Friday — has been moved to Nov. 15, when employees must have received the second of two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to a brief district statement. The district did not clearly state a timetable for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Interim Supt. Megan Reilly said the move represents the right balance of firmness and forbearance.

“We don’t want people to be out of jobs,” Reilly said in an interview. “Our employees are one of the strongest assets that we have.” At the same time, she said, “we’re absolutely adamant about keeping our schools the safest possible environment — and vaccinations are clearly the pathway to keeping them safe.”

Compulsory Mental Health Education

Ni Dandan:

Beijing’s education authority has instructed the city’s primary and junior middle schools to include mental health education in their curricula and ensure each school has at least one dedicated counselor to address the students’ psychological needs.

On the eve of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said teachers should provide support to students struggling with academic difficulties, those from single-parent households, and children of migrant workers to avert any possible mental health crises. Teachers are also required to closely monitor students with disabilities and severe health issues to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing. 

In China, an estimated 24.6% of the country’s teenagers live with some form of depression, according to the latest report on mental health published by the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As many as 7.41 million children aged between 4 and 16 are said to suffer from mental or behavioral conditions, according to media reports citing a survey, while a separate report published in 2019 estimated that nearly 100,000 minors died from suicide annually. 

“Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated,” according to the World Health Organization, which also says suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among teens aged 15 and 19 worldwide.

RI (and maybe Ohio) will require financial literacy

Joanne Jacobs:

Rhode Island students will have to study financial literacy to earn a diploma, reports Marianna McMurdock on The 74. It will be a requirement starting with the class of ’24.

“On average, Rhode Island graduates have the second-highest student loan debt of any state, at $36,193,” she writes.

Last year, senior Saloni Jain took a personal finance course in a hybrid learning setup, with three days of learning online, at the suburban East Greenwich High School. She said course simulations, like completing mock returns on TurboTax and creating a budgeting spreadsheet, kept her engaged during virtual learning.

“We were getting paychecks — how do we put that money towards a 401(k) and pay all our bills and pay down our credit card or student loan debt? That was really helpful to visualize, you know, how we might live in the future,” Jain said. “It was just a one-semester course, but it honestly changed the way I think a lot.”

Nationally, 21 other states teach financial literacy, usually as part of math or civics classes, writes McMurdock, but “only seven require that a standalone, full-semester course be completed before graduation.”

Ohio may be the next to make financial literacy a graduation requirement. A bill passed with strong bipartisan support and is now on the governor’s desk.

Young people (and their parents) are more wary about the risks of taking on college debt, which may be fueling the interest in financial planning.

Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Transcript (machine generated)

mp3 audio

Notes and links on AB446.

Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

Curated Education Information