The man who helps students to cheat

Andrew Bomford:

Most students are happy to work hard, try their best and accept the consequences. But there are a host of commercial essay writers who are prepared to help those who can’t be bothered.

Marek Jezek is the pseudonym he’s currently using, but there have been many others. He’s bright, hard-working, and loves learning – loves the intellectual challenge of taking on a new subject. And there have been many.

“Philosophy, psychology, nursing, education, physics,” he lists, counting them off on his fingers, “criminology, hospitality management, ethics, management.”

The marks are all first-class, and there’s a long list of the universities where the work was submitted.

A dissertation is supposed to be the culmination of years of study for students – the piece of original research and extended writing where a student demonstrates their understanding and expertise in their subject.

The Changing American Diet

Nathan Yau:

After seeing the Open Data Institute’s project on the changing British Diet, I couldn’t help but wonder how the American diet has changed over the years.

The United States Department of Agriculture keeps track of these sort of things through the Food Availability Data System. The program estimates both how much food is produced and how much food people eat, dating back to 1970 through 2013. The data covers the major food categories, such as meat, fruits, and vegetables, across many food items on a per capita and daily basis.

Civics: Snowden calls for whistleblower shield after claims by new Pentagon source

Spencer Ackerman in Washington and Ewen MacAskill in London:

“If your boss in the mailroom lies on his timesheets, the IG might look into it. But if you’re Thomas Drake, and you find out the president of the United States ordered the warrantless wiretapping of everyone in the country, what’s the IG going to do? They’re going to flush it, and you with it.”

While Drake’s case is well known in US national security circles, its internal history is not.

Major source
In 2002, Drake and NSA colleagues contacted the Pentagon inspector general to blow the whistle on an expensive and poorly performing tool, Trailblazer, for mass-data analysis. Crane, head of the office’s whistleblower unit, assigned investigators. For over two years, with Drake as a major source, they acquired thousands of pages of documents, classified and unclassified, and prepared a lengthy secret report in December 2004 criticizing Trailblazer, eventually helping to kill the program. As far as Crane was concerned, the whistleblower system was working.

The Relationship between Education and Mental Health: New Evidence from a Discordant Twin Study

Andrew Halpern-Manners, Landon Schnabel and Elaine M. Hernandez, Judy L. Silberg and Lindon J. Eaves:

Prior research has documented a strong and positive correlation between completed education and adults’ mental health. Researchers often describe this relationship using causal language: higher levels of education are thought to enhance people’s skills, afford important structural advantages, and empower better coping mechanisms, all of which lead to better mental health. An alternative explanation—the social selection hypothesis—suggests that schooling is a proxy for unobserved endowments and/or preexisting conditions that confound the relationship between the two variables. In this article, we seek to adjudicate between these hypotheses using a relatively large, US-based sample of identical adult twins. By relating within-twin-pair differences in education to within-twin-pair differences in mental health, we are able to control for the influence of genetic traits and shared family characteristics that may otherwise bias the estimates associated with educational attainment. Results from our analyses suggest that the observed association between education and mental health is attributable to confounding on unobserved variables. This finding holds across mental health conditions, is robust to several sensitivity checks, and survives a falsification test. Theoretical implications for the study of educational gradients in mental health are discussed.

There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner:

A SPRING AFTERNOON IN 2014, Brisha Borden was running late to pick up her god-sister from school when she spotted an unlocked kid’s blue Huffy bicycle and a silver Razor scooter. Borden and a friend grabbed the bike and scooter and tried to ride them down the street in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Coral Springs.

Just as the 18-year-old girls were realizing they were too big for the tiny conveyances — which belonged to a 6-year-old boy — a woman came running after them saying, “That’s my kid’s stuff.” Borden and her friend immediately dropped the bike and scooter and walked away.

But it was too late — a neighbor who witnessed the heist had already called the police. Borden and her friend were arrested and charged with burglary and petty theft for the items, which were valued at a total of $80.

The ‘Taiwan’s Light’ Performance and Questions of the Representation of Taiwanese History

Brian Hloe

ONE DAY AFTER Tsai Ing-Wen’s inauguration, we may perhaps look back in further detail upon one of the events which prompted controversy during the inauguration ceremony—the musical performance which preceded Tsai’s inauguration speech. The performance, entitled “Taiwan’s Light” (台灣之光), was a depiction of Taiwan’s history meant to represent Tsai’s incoming presidency as the beginning of a new era, but the political contradictions present within the performance may actually prove to be a sign of the challenges faced by the incoming Tsai administration. Namely, in the way that the Tsai administration will be a DPP administration taking power following a KMT administration and a DPP administration operating within the Republic of China framework that the DPP has traditionally bucked against, the performance was an overlap of a more pro-Taiwan DPP version of Taiwanese history on top of the KMT’s view of Taiwanese history.

Commencement Speech On Our Lifelong Partner

If, by the time you reach the age of 30, you do not consider yourself to be a libertarian or a conservative, rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven’t developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.

Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You’re going to actually get a full time job! You’re also going to get a lifelong work partner. This partner isn’t going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn’t want to share in your effort, just your earnings.

Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people. An agent for every teenager with an illegitimate child. An agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth. An agent for some poor aging hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist … but who just can’t manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market.

Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills; for every person who ignored all offered educational opportunities, dreaming of nothing more than a job at City Hall. An agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid. An agent for multi-million-dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising. An agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent’s for their personal enrichment and benefit.

Think Tank Review Suggests Media Tilt Against Charters In 2015

Alexander Russo:

Looking for confirmation of the view that mainstream media coverage of education reform is wildly critical or credulous? Go somewhere else. A new report from the conservative-leaning Washington DC think tank AEI (which has published several case studies I’ve written) finds that “claims of media favoritism toward charter schooling—or hostility against it—are overstated.”

That’s right. Media coverage is not as overwhelmingly critical (or favorable) as some have claimed it is — at least when it comes to coverage of charter schools:

“On balance, in 2015, charter coverage was broadly mixed,” state the report authors (AEI staffers Rick Hess, Kelsey Hamilton, and Jennifer Hatfield).

The authors gathered over 200 mainstream news stories about charter schools during 2015, then coded a sample of them according to which outlet published them and whether the tenor of the coverage was critical or positive.

The college debt crisis is even worse than you think

Neil Swidey:

IT’S ONE OF THE MOST enduring selling points for the value of higher education: The best route out of poverty is through the college quad. Spend four years in college, and all that book learning, mind opening, and network expanding will help even the lowest-income student jump up several rungs on the economic ladder. Nowhere is that message preached as often or with as much evident authority as in Massachusetts, the nation’s historic capital of private, nonprofit higher education, where the concentration of colleges in some areas is surpassed only by the number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.

But just how true is this truism about college lifting low-income students out of their circumstances, Horatio Alger style? In fact, like the actual story of author Horatio Alger, who was born into a well-established family and graduated from Harvard, there’s more myth than truth. That’s been especially so in recent years, as nonselective private colleges from around the region have increasingly filled their freshman classes with low-income students — often the first generation in their families to go to college — from Boston and other urban areas. Quite a few of these small schools are former junior colleges and women’s colleges with rich histories of opening doors to students traditionally shut out from higher education, an admirable pursuit that officials refer to as “access.” Many of the colleges are also in tough financial straits, struggling with rising costs, stunted endowments, and declining enrollments.

Dershowitz And Others Decry Attack On Student Rights

Jacob Gershman:

group of law professors are accusing the civil rights office of the U.S. Education Department of taking “unlawful actions” that have led to “pervasive and severe infringements” of speech rights and due-process protections on college campuses.

An open letter signed by Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz and 20 other legal scholars blasts a series of directives issued by the federal office to schools on dealing with sexual misconduct and harassment complaints from students.

Commentary on K-12 Governance

Annysa Johnson:

Milwaukee Public Schools has until June 23 to respond to an invitation from County Executive Chris Abele and his Opportunity Schools commissioner, Demond Means, to partner with them in a plan to turn around some of Milwaukee’s poorest performing schools.

Means has told MPS that rejecting the deal could force him to bring in an outside operator to run the schools as dictated in state law. But school reform advocates and observers in Milwaukee and around the country say that would be tougher than it sounds, and may not yield the results the Legislature envisioned when it created Means’ post.

Charter school operators generally prefer to create schools from the ground up, rather than take over existing operations, they said. In addition, the lack of seed money, the lower per-pupil funding for charter schools, Milwaukee’s competitive school market and highly charged political environment could make it difficult to attract quality operators.

Why women earn less: Just two factors explain post-PhD pay gap

Helen Shen:

Women earn nearly one-third less than men within a year of completing a PhD in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field, suggests an analysis of roughly 1,200 US graduates.

Much of the pay gap, the study found, came down to a tendency for women to graduate in less-lucrative academic fields — such as biology and chemistry, which are known to lead to lower post-PhD earnings than comparatively industry-friendly fields, such as engineering and mathematics.

But after controlling for differences in academic field, the researchers found that women still lagged men by 11% in first-year earnings. That difference, they say, was explained entirely by the finding that married women with children earned less than men. Married men with children, on the other hand, saw no disadvantage in earnings.

Many studies have reported similar gender pay gaps and have identified similar contributing factors — but few have systematically broken down the relative contributions of different variables, says Bruce Weinberg, an economist at the Ohio State University in Columbus who led the study, published in the May issue of American Economic Review1. “I was quite surprised that we could explain the wage gap using just field of study and family structure,” he says.

In-Ear Device That Translates Foreign Languages In Real Time

Bored Panda:

awkward situation of trying to communicate in a foreign language. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. And sometimes it’s downright disastrous. But thanks to a new translation device that easily fits into your ear, the days of struggling to speak the local lingo might soon be a thing of the past.

The device is called The Pilot system and Waverly Labs is the company behind this brilliantly simple yet potentially groundbreaking idea. When it hits the shelves in September, the system will allow the wearer to understand one of several foreign languages through real-time in-ear translation. A handy app will allow you to toggle through the languages you want, and the selection includes French, Spanish, Italian, and English. It’ll retail for $129, and you can pre-order one here. Or you can just keep talking to people really loudly and slowly in English. Good luck with that.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Credit Card Debt Nears $1 Trillion


That sum would come close to the all-time peak of $1.02 trillion set in July 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified, and could signal an easing of frugal habits ingrained by the recession.

The boom has been driven by steady economic conditions and an improving job market that have made creditworthy consumers less reluctant to take on debt. In addition, lenders have signed up millions of subprime consumers who previously weren’t able to get credit.

principal, two schools, and a high-stakes experiment gone awry

Patrick Wall:

Wiltshire has openly questioned a core tenet of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature school-improvement program: that each struggling school must partner with a nonprofit, which is tasked with helping treat students’ social and emotional needs. After repeatedly clashing with Wiltshire, Boys and Girls’ partner organization informed him this week that it will no longer work with the school after this year.
In addition, Wiltshire’s controversial plan to move his former school, the high-performing Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, into Boys and Girls’ Bedford-Stuyvesant campus has caused a headache for the city. The proposal stoked suspicions at Boys and Girls that Wiltshire arrived at his new job with ulterior motives, even as Medgar Evers parents voiced concerns about the move. Still, the city went along with Wiltshire, turning his plan into an official co-location proposal — one whose future is now in doubt after a Medgar Evers leadership team officially rejected the move on Friday.

School & Lifelong Learning

Alan Borsuk:

Today’s subject: “How to Grow Cucumbers.”

Javari Brister, a fourth-grader at Milwaukee Environmental Sciences, gave me a lesson in this when I visited the school at 6600 W. Melvina St. last week to see the results of projects done by students from kindergarten through seventh grade at the 308-student charter school, authorized to operate by the Milwaukee School Board.

How to fix potholes, including those in an alley near the school. A sophisticated water conservation system, built in partnership with a roster of agencies and nonprofits. Plans for a “pinnacle playground” for the school, including efforts to get grants to build it. The life cycle of bees. The work was good, and oral presentations by students as visitors came around were impressive.

“We must weed out ignorant Americans from the electorate”

David Harsanyi:

Never have so many people with so little knowledge made so many consequential decisions for the rest of us.

A person need only survey the inanity of the ongoing presidential race to comprehend that the most pressing problem facing the nation isn’t Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media or even Big Money in politics.

It’s you, the American voter. And by weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history, we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.

Thomas Jefferson:

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance

Unfortunately, our K-12 structure requires radical improvement.

Refusing to Be Measured

Colleen Flaherty:

The faculty of the Graduate School at Rutgers University in New Brunswick took a stand against Academic Analytics on Tuesday, resolving that administrators shouldn’t use proprietary information about faculty productivity in decisions about divvying up resources among departments, or those affecting the makeup of the faculty, graduate teaching assignments, fellowships and grant writing. They also demanded to view their personal data profiles by Sept. 1. The vote was 114 to 2.

The new resolution is similar to one passed by the faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences in December, in that it expresses concern about the accuracy of the Academic Analytics data and the implications for academic freedom. Rutgers signed a nearly $500,000 contract with the data-mining company in 2013, in exchange for information about the scholarly productivity of individual professors and academic units and how they compare to those at peer institutions. Yet some faculty members who have seen their personal profiles — an opportunity most professors haven’t had — say the data are in some cases wrong, under- or overcounting publications. Many faculty critics also say the data lack nuance or accounting for research quality and innovation, and could chill the scholarly inquiry of junior faculty members in particular as they seek to boost their “stats” ahead of applying for tenure.

First CubeSat Built by an Elementary School Deployed into Space


In 2012, the students from St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia lined up in the shape of a space shuttle in the school parking lot and witnessed the flyover of the Space Shuttle Discovery as it was being retired to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This awe-inspiring vision was an inspiration to the entire school and a catalyst for them to literally reach for the stars. Thus beginning their quest to build a small satellite, called a CubeSat, that would engage students around the world in Earth observations.

Over the next three years, all 400 pre-kindergarten through eight grade students participated in the design, construction and testing of their small satellite. Through this hands-on, inquiry based learning activity the students conducted real world engineering and will operate the St. Thomas More (STM)Sat-1, the first CubeSat built by elementary school students to be deployed in space.

‘Paternalistic Babysitters’ Begone! Dartmouth Students Call for Intellectual Independence

Catherine Sevcenko

At least some Dartmouth College students have had enough. In a scathing petition on, five leaders in Dartmouth’s student government, joined by more than 1,200 signatories, have called on the administration to return the college to its mission of educating, rather than policing, students. Although the growth of bureaucracy in academia is no secret, it is always sobering to confront the statistics. According to the well-cited petition, non-faculty staff at Dartmouth grew by more than 1,000 people from 1999 to 2004, and in spite of faculty layoffs, that number had increased to 3,497 by 2015. And most administrative staff do not come cheap, especially at prestigious research universities. As the petition points out, this contributes to the institution’s sky-high tuition; the sticker price for a year at Dartmouth is now just below $70,000.

But the petition points out that the cost of non-faculty staff is only part of the problem; what many of these people do all day damages the college as a place of learning as well. The petition does not mince words:

Pension Pac Man: How Pension Debt Eats Away at Teacher Salaries

Chad Aldeman (PDF):

Why aren’t teacher salaries rising?It’s not for lack of money. Even after adjusting for inflation and rising student enrollment, total school spending is up by about 29 percent over the last 20 years.1It’s not for lack of money spent on teachers, either. Instructional costs, including salaries, wages, and benefits for teachers, make up slightly more than 60 percent of all district spending today, just like it did 20 years ago.2

So overall expenditures are up, but teacher salaries are actually down slightly over the same period. Today, the average public school teacher earns $56,689 annually, a couple hundred dollars less than the average teacher salary 20 years ago (in constant dollars).3

Why is this happening? This puzzle can be explained by three trends eating into teachers’ take-home pay: rising health care costs, declining student/teacher ratios, and rising retirement costs.Rising insurance costs have affected all American workers, but they’ve hit teachers even harder. For all civilian workers, insurance costs consume 8.9 percent of compensation, up from 7.5 percent in 1994. Insurance costs are rising even faster for teachers, and they now eat up 10.2 percent of total teacher compensation, up from 7.3 percent in 1994. The good news is that insurance costs have begun to moderate. In the wake of the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, insurance costs, as a percentage of total compensation, began to decline for all civilian
workers including for teachers.4

The Farmer Girl and the City: The Rootless Women of Rural China

Manya Koetse

Ji Hua (极花), the new novel by renowned author Jia Pingwa (贾平凹), has again attracted public discussion on the fate and circumstances of China’s rural women. The novel recounts the story of a daughter from a rural family who goes to the city and becomes a victim of human trafficking. When she is rescued after three years, she returns to her family. According to an article that was recently published by author Cao Dongbo (曹东勃) on Tencent’s public discussion platform Everybody, the book reiterates the vulnerable position of women in today’s rural China. When they fall victim to China’s black market bride trade, their prospects are hopeless, Cao writes. But even when are not victimized by these kinds of crime and are legally married, their basic rights are murky. In his essay, Cao describes the economic and social problems facing women within China’s small peasant economy.

Reading Proust on My Cellphone

Sarah Boxer:

hopelessly hung up, and not in a good way, on a certain passage in Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. The offending passage, obstructing all the rest of Proust for me, lay in the very middle volume, the fourth of seven, which was then called Cities of the Plain (and has since been retranslated, with more accuracy and more filth, as Sodom and Gomorrah).

There was no reason I should have been waylaid there. This was the volume that thrilled Colette: “No one in the world has written pages such as these on homosexuals, no one!” It was the volume, according to Proust’s newest biographer, Benjamin Taylor, that outraged and possibly killed Count Robert de Montesquiou (the supposed model for the sneering gay aristocrat Baron de Charlus). And it was the volume that André Gide abhorred for its sneaky, secretive, un-Greek view of homosexuality.

Think you’re an ethical person? You may just have a selective memory

Beth Mole:

Proud and happy moments in our lives become cherished memories, kept in relatively crisp condition in our noggins for the occasional uplifting retrieval. But memories of not so pleasant events, such as a moment of weakness when we cheated on a math test or snuck a candy bar from a store, may get roughed up in our brains, perhaps to the point where we can’t clearly recall them anymore, according to a new study.

Collecting data from a series of nine experiments involving 2,109 participants, researchers suggest that our brains actively blur and junk memories of our own misdeeds to help avoid dissonance between our actions and moral values. This mental hazing, the researchers hypothesize in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps us maintain a positive moral self-image and sidestep distress.

A School District That Was Never Desegregated

Sharon Lerner:

The wheels of justice have been said to turn slowly. And few things move quickly here in Cleveland, Mississippi, a town of 12,000 people with no movie theater and a quaint commercial district that’s shuttered on Sunday. But when a deadline on a school desegregation suit—originally filed in 1965—came and went last month with opposing sides still unable to agree on a resolution, some locals admitted frustration.

Wake County school board votes to stop naming valedictorians

T Keung Hui:

High school valedictorians are on the verge of becoming a thing of the past in Wake County as school leaders cut down on what they call unhealthy competition among top-achieving students.

The Wake County school board unanimously gave initial approval Tuesday to a policy that would bar high school principals from naming valedictorians and salutatorians – titles which go to the two seniors with the highest grade-point averages – after 2018. Starting in 2019, high schools would begin using a new system that recognizes seniors with Latin titles such as cum laude if they have a weighted GPA of at least 3.75.

“K-12 spending under the U.S. Department of Education and its predecessor agencies rose from $4.5 billion in 1965 to $40.2 billion in 2016, in constant 2016 dollars”

Neal McCluskey:

Despite the large increases in federal aid since the 1960s, public school academic performance has ultimately not improved. While scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have improved for some groups and younger ages, math and reading scores for 17-year-olds—essentially, the school system’s “final products”—have been stagnant. In addition, America’s performance on international exams has remained mediocre, yet we spend more per-pupil on K-12 education than almost any other country.6 Federal funding and top-down rules are not the way to create a high-quality K-12 education system in America.

Congress should phase out federal funding for K-12 education and end all related regulations. Policymakers need to recognize that federal aid is ultimately funded by the taxpayers who live in the 50 states, and thus provides no free lunch. Indeed, the states just get money back with strings attached, while losing billions of dollars from wasteful bureaucracy. There is no compelling policy reason, nor constitutional authority, for the federal government to be involved in K-12 education. In the long run, America’s schools would be better off without it.

Indeed, spending more does not seem to improve academic outcomes. Madison spends more than $17K per student annually, despite long term, disastrous reading results. Via Chris Edwards.

“You can’t close the achievement gap by erasing the data”

Laura Waters:

Certainly, Chris’s points are borne out by the opt-out activity in New York and New Jersey, where the biggest fans of test refusal live in wealthy suburbs and are financially and educationally invested in local control of their high-performing and exclusionary school districts. Yesterday Jonathan Chait described the “emerging alliance between teacher unions” — stalwart standard-bearers of, well, no standards or standardized assessments — and Republicans, both of whom share “cultural distrust” and fierce defense of local control.

Here Chait refers to Sen. Lamar Alexander’s opposition to an Obama Administration proposal to shift more federal aid to poor students and expand efforts to address the disproportionate number of inexperienced teachers in poor, minority districts, a result of current teacher tenure laws and contracts:

Related, on Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: “When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before”.

Private Colleges Offering Record Tuition Discounts to Lure Students

Consumer Reports:

Amid all the grim news about the skyrocketing price of a college education, here’s something to celebrate: Colleges are asking students to shoulder less of the costs.

In the 2015-2016 school year, the discounts on tuition that private colleges gave to students in the form of scholarships and grants hit a record high, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) annual report.

Last school year, private colleges gave freshman an average tuition discount of 49%, and all undergrads an average discount of 43% off the published price of tuition.

At the same time, the percentage of students who received some discount on tuition and fees—88%—remained relatively steady, the NACUBO report says.
Doling Out Discounts

Such discounting is nothing new. Rather, it is a continuation of a long trend of private colleges lowering prices to boost enrollment. Ten years ago, the average tuition discount was 34%, according to NACUBO.

“list prices” continue to rise….

Related: Financial Aid Leveraging.

9-year-old girl who was struck by errant bullet in home dies

Jesse Garza:

A 9-year-old girl struck by an errant bullet on Milwaukee’s north side about a week after asking if police could keep her safe died Monday afternoon, according to the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.

Za’layia Jenkins was pronounced dead at 5 p.m., according to a medical examiner’s official.

Za’layia was struck by a bullet that pierced a wall of her home in the 1500 block of W. Meinecke Ave. as she watched television shortly before 8:30 p.m. May 5, according to Milwaukee police.

“Universities are too costly, too elitist and aren’t catering properly to the needs of technology companies”

Marie Mawad:

“Studies in the United States are very expensive, blocking the way for many individuals to receive an education, find a well-paid job, and live the American dream,” according to a statement from 42 Tuesday.

U.S. tech companies have long complained that there aren’t enough qualified American workers to fill the industry’s job gaps. Companies from Alphabet Inc., to Facebook Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. are fighting to hire software engineers with the right mix of personality, culture and coding chops. Niel’s school aims to help give more students the opportunity to get a debt-free education in highly desirable skills — “based solely on their talent and motivation,” according to the statement, rather than financial status or education degree.

K-12 Tax& Spending Climate: Are Property Taxes a “Wealth Tax” on the (Mostly) Non-Wealthy?

Charles Hugh Smith:

entry Dear Homeowner: If You’re Paying $260,000 in Property Taxes Over 20 Years, What Exactly Do You “Own”?, I questioned the consequences of high property taxes. Some readers wondered if I was saying all property taxes should be abolished. The short answer is no–what I was questioning is local government reliance on property taxes to the point that owning a home no longer makes financial sense because the property taxes consume any appreciation other than the transitory “wealth” generated by a housing bubble.

Madison residents have long paid high property taxes, despite long term disastrous reading results.

Milwaukee middle-schoolers sink to the top in robotics competition

Annysa Johnson:

As submarines go, the USS Macaroni doesn’t look like much: a series of plastic pipes and rubbery mesh, propelled by two small thrusters and a hand-held circuit board.

But the underwater robot represents months of work by three tech-minded middle-schoolers from Milwaukee Montessori School.

The trio bested more than 50 middle-school teams in the U.S. Navy’s SeaPerch Robotic Submarine regional competition. Now, theirs is the youngest of four Wisconsin teams headed to the national competition Friday in Baton Rouge, La.

“This was the first time our school’s ever done it,” said 12-year-old Owen Ledger of Germantown, the team’s go-to-guy for the mathematical equations needed to calculate such things as buoyancy and water density.

“We were just trying it out,” he said. “We didn’t expect anything like this.”

Ledger and teammates Xander Salick and Samantha Stahl put their ROV — for Remotely Operated Vehicle — through its paces recently at their top-secret training center. (A friend of a friend’s apartment complex swimming pool.)

Exploring The mathematical universe

American Inst. of Mathematics:

A team of more than 80 mathematicians from 12 countries is charting the terrain of rich, new mathematical worlds, and sharing their discoveries on the Web. The mathematical universe is filled with both familiar and exotic items, many of which are being made available for the first time. The “L-functions and Modular Forms Database (,” abbreviated LMFDB, is an intricate catalog of mathematical objects and the connections between them. Making those relationships visible has been made possible largely by the coordinated efforts of a group of researchers developing new algorithms and performing calculations on an extensive network of computers. The project provides a new tool for several branches of mathematics, physics, and computer science.

Academics Make Theoretical Breakthrough in Random Number Generation

Michael Mimoso:

academics have made what some experts believe is a breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding implications for cryptography and computer security. David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

Coding school 42 plans to educate 10,000 students in Silicon Valley for free

Romain Dillet:

Xavier Niel’s new project is an ambitious coding university in Silicon Valley called 42. But the trick is that it’s nothing like other universities out there. 42 is free, doesn’t care about your SAT and wants to educate 10,000 students within the next 5 years.

This isn’t Niel’s first try at building a coding school. 42 has been doing well in France. The French businessman started 42 in 2013, and there are already 2,500 students learning to code right now in Paris. But what makes 42 different?

Cost disease: Why U.S. Infrastructure Costs So Much

Justin Fox:

That said, the U.S. probably also ought to be spending less on infrastructure. Not overall, but on something like a per-mile basis. Broad international cost comparisons across all kinds of infrastructure don’t seem to be available, but there is a growing body of evidence on one particular infrastructure area that matters a lot to me as a New York City commuter: subways and other rail systems. And it shows that U.S. construction costs are among the world’s highest.
 Transportation blogger Alon Levy has probably done the most to raise awareness of this, with five years of posts documenting the cost differences. And last year, Tracy Gordon of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and David Schleicher of Yale Law School examined 144 planned and finished rail projects in 44 countries and found that the four most expensive on a per-kilometer basis (and six of the top 12) were in the U.S.
 To put these numbers in global perspective, New York’s Second Avenue Subway will cost roughly eight times more than Tokyo’s Koto Waterfront line and 36 times more than Madrid’s Metrosur tunnels on a per-kilometer, purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.
 Why is this? It’s actually pretty hard to answer. Here’s Levy, writing in November 2014:
 I try to avoid giving explanations for these patterns of construction costs. If I knew for certain what caused them, I would not be blogging; I would be forming a consultancy and teaching New York and other high-cost cities how to build subways for less than $100 million per kilometer.
 Still, others have been willing to offer explanations. In a 2012 Bloomberg View piece, New York land-use and transit writer Stephen Smith blamed over-reliance on outside consultants, overly ambitious station architecture and a legal system that favors contractors over the agencies paying them to build things. Gordon and Schleicher agreed that the legal system may be an issue, but for other reasons:

The Science of Speaking is the Art of Being Heard

First Round Review:

For years, people have constructed cairns, a human-made stack of stones, as landmarks, monuments or tributes. These days, hikers will add a rock to a cairn as they reach a summit of a mountain or a turning point on a trail. The longer one sits across from Khalid Halim in Reboot’s San Francisco office, the more one realizes his sofa is a modern day cairn. Instead of stones, well-known tech leaders, angels and VCs have dropped their guard there—along with their stories, ambitions and fears. It marks the start of many technologists’ inflection points.

The entrepreneurship craze is solidifying the corporatization of American universities.

Avery J. Wiscomb

American colleges and universities are feeling the entrepreneurial spirit. The number of formal programs (majors, minors, certificates) in entrepreneurship is well over 500, quintupled in the past thirty years according to a Kauffman Foundation report. Entrepreneurship courses for students and faculty numbers top 5,000, taught on more than 2,500 campuses — up from only 250 courses in 1975. In 2013, roughly 400,000 US students took courses related to entrepreneurship taught by 9,000 different faculty members.

The following year nearly a quarter of all incoming college freshmen declared they “wanted to be entrepreneurs” of some kind. Meanwhile, faculty hiring and tenure decisions at research universities are increasingly based on professors’ entrepreneurial ability to generate revenue streams.

Elite scribes find the source of America’s weakness

Chris Lehman:

First up was crusading lady-savior Nick Kristof, who weighed in this past Sunday with an anguished thumbsucker on the alleged plague of “liberal intolerance” in the American university. Kristof here joins the great trolling chorus of liberal critics of alleged PC trespasses against the spirit of free inquiry. And like those heroes of responsible discourse, he adduces virtually no evidence that any grim show-trial system of intellectual conformity has seized control of the U.S. academy. Yes, he talks with conservative professors who complain of a broad culture of sinister left-leaning groupthink—and yes, they compare themselves to oppressed minorities and other marginalized population. “I am the equivalent of someone who was gay in Mississippi in 1950” confesses one conservative faculty member in a study cited by Kristof—the sort of thing you hear from someone who actually has no idea what it meant to be gay in Mississippi in the 1950s.

Speaking Multiple Languages Staves Off Dementia

Emilie Reas:

arlez-vous francais? If you answered yes, then you’re well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of bilingualism. Speaking both English and French, for example, can enrich your cultural experiences in multilingual destinations like Belgium, Morocco, or Egypt, and broaden your access to books, music, and films.

But the benefits of speaking another language aren’t limited to just cultural perks. “Studies have shown that bilingual individuals consistently outperform their monolingual counterparts on tasks involving executive control,” says Ellen Bialystok, a cognitive psychologist at York University. In other words, speaking more than one language can improve your ability to pay attention, plan, solve problems, or switch between tasks (like making sure you don’t miss your freeway exit while attending to your kids in the back seat). You may think it’s just higher intelligence that underlies these benefits, but evidence suggests otherwise. A 2014 study, for example, showed that those who learned a second language, in youth or adulthood, had better executive functions than those who didn’t, even after accounting for childhood IQ.

Milwaukee K-12 Governance Debate

Annysa Johnson:

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga on Tuesday called the dismal performance of some Milwaukee Public Schools “a humanitarian issue” and defended the turnaround district he helped to create as one way to address their shortcomings.

“We cannot accept the status quo; we need to be open to change,” the Brookfield Republican told Milwaukee teachers union Executive Director Lauren Baker in a wide-ranging debate at the Marquette University Law School. “I know you disagree, but I believe this will help MPS do better.”

Baker said the “takeover district,” as she called it, could divert as much as $41 million from MPS over the next five years. In addition, she said, all of the reforms Kooyenga envisions, including intensive wrap-around services for students, could take place without usurping control from Milwaukee’s democratically elected school board.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Linguistic purism in English


Linguistic purism in the English language is the belief that words of native origin should be used instead of foreign-derived ones (which are mainly Latinate and Greek). “Native” (inborn) can mean “Anglo-Saxon” (Engelsaxish) or it can be widened to include all Germanic (Theedish) words. In its mild form, it merely means using existing native words instead of foreign-derived ones (such as using begin instead of commence). In its more extreme form, it involves reviving native words that are no longer widely used (such as ettle for intend) and/or coining new words from Germanic roots (such as wordstock for vocabulary). The resulting language is sometimes called Anglish (coined by the author and humorist Paul Jennings), Roots English (referring to the idea that it is a “return to the roots” of English), among other names. The mild form is often advocated as part of Plain English, but the more extreme form has been and continues to be a fringe movement.

Girls outscore boys on inaugural national test of technology, engineering skills

Emma Brown:

Girls outperformed boys on a national test of technology and engineering literacy that the federal government administered for the first time in 2014, according to results made public Tuesday.

Among eighth-grade students in public and private schools, 45 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys scored proficient on the exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. Overall, 43 percent of all students were proficient.

The test was designed to measure students’ abilities in areas such as understanding technological principles, designing solutions and communicating and collaborating. Girls were particularly strong in the latter.

Unfunded Mandate: Columbia College, Arts and Sciences, and the Bollinger Era

Michael Ouimette:

Columbia’s marketing won me over. I came to Columbia because I did not want to choose between the close interaction with faculty of liberal arts colleges and the world-class scholars of top research universities. Columbia College promised it all—not just some of the best scholarship in the world, but also the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with faculty right away through the Core Curriculum.

But the reality of my experience was quite different.

In eight semesters of the signature Core classes, I was taught by a tenure-track faculty member just once. As an American history major, a significant number of my classes were taught by adjunct and visiting professors. Columbia was slow to hire tenure-track replacements for the legends I came to Columbia to study under.

The Partnership Between Colleges and Helicopter Parents

Laura Hamilton:

A few days after dropping off her youngest child at college, Andrea got a phone call. The wounds in her daughter’s mouth from a recent wisdom-tooth surgery had gone septic. Andrea drove there immediately, located an oral surgeon in town, booked a room at the university hotel, and put her daughter to bed to recover. The next morning, Andrea went to her daughter’s classes, taking notes on her behalf. It was important to Andrea, a professor, and her husband, an MBA, that their daughter head into the first semester of college without missing a beat: A future dental career required four years of a stellar undergraduate academic record.

At the same time, another parent faced a different type of problem. Alexis had handpicked her daughter’s new university specifically for its Greek life, big-time sports, and array of not particularly challenging majors. She and her husband, a CFO of a major Fortune 500 company, were intent on giving their daughter the ideal social experience in college. But when she got there, she seemed not to hit her stride. Alexis blamed it on a working-class roommate who “didn’t ever want to go out [and] meet people”—and told her daughter, in no uncertain terms, to change roommates. Alexis also shipped bags of designer clothes to help her child fit in with affluent sorority members.

Liberal condescension towards white workers is code for a broader anti-working class agenda.

Connor Kilpatrick:

The white working class is a zombie that doesn’t know it’s dead.

Or if it’s not fully zombified yet, its members are all too busy cleaning their AR-15s and posting racist comments on YouTube to vote for a progressive. That is, if they’re not already on the Trump bandwagon, which they probably are.

At least that’s what the Democratic Party wants you to believe.

Last Tuesday, Bernie Sanders won the 93.7 percent white state of West Virginia with ease, beating Clinton among men and women, young and old. The week prior, he cruised to victory in Indiana, despite no longer apparently being a serious contender for the nomination.

Leftists were ecstatic: a socialist winning over middle America!

Mainstream observers were less enthused. In fact, they were quick to dismiss Bernie’s victory on this very basis. They saw an old, infirm, and irrelevant group thwarting their desired coalition of what Michael Lind calls business-friendly “urban cosmopolitanism.”

3 years into effort at Carver Academy, partners remain committed

Alan Borsuk:

Janel Hawkins recalls the situation when she became principal of Carver Academy in 2012: “There was so much wrong that I didn’t know where to start.”

Carver, a kindergarten through eighth grade school at 1900 N. 1st St., was one of the most difficult schools in the Milwaukee Public Schools system. It had been that way for many years, going back to when it was called Palmer School.

Now, Hawkins says, Carver is “a very different place.” There is no question that the educational environment at Carver is much better — more orderly, more focused, more energetic.

What is Education For?

Danielle Allen:

Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, Danielle Allen calls for a paradigm shift in the way we think about education, moving away from instrumentalism to the cultivation of civic and social engagement. I find the notion of citizenship as “co-creating” and “world-building” compelling, and I have seen the most profound manifestations of this idea inside a state prison in Massachusetts, where I taught creative writing and literature to a group of men serving life sentences.

In the current discourse around prison education, the efficacy of enrichment programs is often determined by recidivism post-release employment rates: Does the former fall and the latter rise? As the Massachusetts Division of Inmate Training and Education puts it, the purpose of these programs “is to provide comprehensive academic and occupational (vocational training) programs and services that will assist offenders in becoming more productive citizens upon release.” But one of every nine individuals in U.S. prisons is serving a life sentence, almost a third of whom—about 50,000 people—have no possibility of parole. What of those who will never be released? My experience has taught me that we need a different framework for thinking about the role of education in incarcerated spaces, just as Allen suggests that we need a shift in how we think of education more broadly.

Restoring local control of education


As I said in my post yesterday, I think that this directive of the Obama administration on transgender students in public school bathrooms is likely to anger a lot of people (even many liberal Democrats) about federal government intrusion into local control of education. The GOP has the opportunity to exploit that anger and emphasize that they favor localities regaining the upper hand in decisions involving the education of children. Whether it be Trump or other down-ticket GOP candidates, this is an issue that I think could resonate, and it is not tied to specific things such as what bathrooms transgender students will use or the curriculum of Common Core. It has to do with whether the federal government will further take over an important societal function—the education of children—that has traditionally been something over which parents and communities have wanted to exercise a great deal of control.

Why Free Speech Matters on Campus

Michael Bloomberg and Charles Koch:

During college commencement season, it is traditional for speakers to offer words of advice to the graduating class. But this year the two of us—who don’t see eye to eye on every issue—believe that the most urgent advice we can offer is actually to college presidents, boards, administrators and faculty.

Our advice is this: Stop stifling free speech and coddling intolerance for controversial ideas, which are crucial to a college education—as well as to human happiness and progress.

Ontario may require anti-vaxxers to attend an education course

Jacob Kastrenakes:

Not getting your child vaccinated is dangerous and dumb, and the Ontario government wants to educate the parents who think otherwise. It introduced legislation this week that, if passed, would require parents to attend an educational session before they’re allowed to get a vaccine exemption for their child.

A “local public health unit” would run the educational sessions; exactly what they’d involve still needs to be determined. The government says “public health units and other stakeholders” would be involved in deciding what they look like.

Charter school teacher named 2016 Minn. Teacher of the Year

Karen Zamora:

Besides being named Minnesota Teacher of the Year on Sunday, Abdul Wright scored two firsts.

Wright, who teaches eighth-grade language arts at the Best Academy in Minneapolis, is the first black male to win the honor, and also the first charter-school teacher so honored.

“I know that I have an opportunity to give young people who come from across this country, especially African-American people, a model of excellence to aspire to,” Wright told the gathering at the Radisson Blu hotel at Mall of America in Bloomington. “I know I will represent every educator in this room and every parent in this room. I want you to know that I will be deserving of this award.”

As his name was announced, Wright stood and had the other finalists come in for a group hug.

“Everyone in this room is deserving of this award,” he said. “We come from a diverse group of backgrounds, and we all have our own experiences. And to know that so many people who come from all over the state have one thing in common, and that’s to make our students rock stars.”

How computer programming languages for kids have evolved and where they’re going


With the President’s recent #CSforall initiative and an increasing focus on STEM, all signs point to the need to establish standards and best practices for teaching computer science to young children. The consensus in the industry is that the best way to introduce computer science and computational thinking to young children is through visual programming languages. Get rid of painstaking syntax to give kids flexibility and control of software at a young age.

Commentary On K – 12 Math Preparation

Vauhini Vara:

Teachers pack their items outside of Everest College, in City of Industry, California, one of the shuttered Corinthian Colleges.

Last year, I met fifteen former students and graduates of Corinthian Colleges who had taken a remarkable action to protest the collection of their student debt. Corinthian, a for-profit institution that was, at the time, facing a financial meltdown and several lawsuits over alleged fraud in its recruitment process, had recently started shutting down or selling off its campuses. The students, calling themselves the Corinthian Fifteen, had organized a “debt strike,” refusing to repay their student loans even at the risk of going into default. Their argument was that the Department of Education shouldn’t collect on loans that students were misled into incurring, especially since they earned a degree that was all but worthless or, in some cases, found that their college had shut down before they could graduate.

Related: connected math and the math forum audio/video.

Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to

Andrea Peterson:

When asked to list their biggest concerns, nearly two out of three respondents cited identity theft, while nearly half brought up credit card or banking fraud. About one in five listed data collection by the government.

The NTIA survey also showed that the more connected devices people owned, the more they experienced a breach of data. For those with only one laptop or computer or smartphone, 9 percent reported a security incident. That number more than tripled for those with at least five devices.

The Small London Company That Makes the World’s Most Beautiful Globes

Luke Spencer:

looking at a globe close up is a wonderful thing. Interacting with a round replica of our world gives an entirely different sensation to say looking at Google maps and even a physical atlas doesn’t really give the true geographical sense of our planet. Two dimensional maps, often relying on the Mercator Projection, can show Greenland to be the size of all of Africa when it’s really more like Mexico. It takes a globe to really see that Texas may be the largest state in the continental U.S. but Australia’s largest state is three times its size. Or that the entire eastern seaboard of America fits quite comfortably into Kazakhstan.

For Peter Bellerby, a passion for globes has quite unexpectedly turned into a successful business—his company is one of the world’s only remaining traditional globe makers. “I think everyone has some sort of soft spot for globes,” he explains. “Maps are wonderful but globes are tangible and tell so much more of a story.”

If We Could Put King Solomon in an MRI Machine, Could We See the Wisdom in his Brain?

Anil Ananthaswamy:

At the 2010 Cannes Film Festival premiere of You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, director Woody Allen was asked about aging. He replied with his characteristic, straight-faced pessimism. “I find it a lousy deal. There is no advantage in getting older. I’m 74 now. You don’t get smarter, you don’t get wiser … Your back hurts more, you get more indigestion … It’s a bad business, getting old. I’d advise you not to do it if you can avoid it.”

Creaking bones and bad digestion notwithstanding, is that really the only face of aging? Turns out, it’s not. At least for the fortunate few, old age may not be Woody Allenesque; instead old age is when they become compassionate and wise. Yes, wise.

Charles Dickens and the Linguistic Art of the Minor Character

Chi Luu:

Of course, some may consider the prose stylings of Charles Dickens a bit overwrought and irrelevant to contemporary life. (If you believe this “scientific evaluation,” he writes no better than the dark and stormy posturings of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, because statistics never lie.) If you’re not a huge fan, you might say that Charles Dickens gives you the creeps… and you would be right, because he was the first to coin the expression, in David Copperfield (1849): “She was constantly complaining of the cold, and of its occasioning a visitation in her back which she called ‘the creeps.’” The truth is, Dickens was something of a linguistic revolutionary in his day and his influence on the English language can still be seen today. Other common expressions we use today, such as to “clap eyes” on someone, “butter-fingers,” “slow-coach,” and even “fairy story” were all things Dickens said first.

UC students suit claims Google scanned accounts without permission

Ethan Barron:

Legal action against Google by four UC Berkeley students has ballooned into two lawsuits by 890 U.S. college students and alumni alleging the firm harvested their data for commercial gain without their consent.

But the students’ claims may be derailed by a dispute over whether they should file their cases individually, rather than as a group.

Hundreds of U.S. college students and alumni in 21 states joined the original lawsuit filed in January by the four Berkeley students. On April 29, another 180 filed a separate lawsuit making the same claim: that Google’s Apps for Education, which provided them with official university email accounts to use for school and personal communication, allowed Google until April 2014 to scan their emails without their consent for advertising purposes.

Ancient Greek as a gateway drug to mastery

Langerman Blog:

Conversing with my colleagues during our weekly management meeting is always a bit exasperating. Their marathons, mountain bike challenges and adventure races put my weekend activity of pruning roses to shame. The insult to injury is that these activities always take place in some exotic location. Think of a beach, desert or some God forsaken area in the wild. It was during one of these sessions that it struck me that I needed a constructive hobby.

It is self-evident to people that know me that a sport related hobby will not cut muster with me. The closest I come to exercise is ambling down the escalator to have lunch with a colleague. So where to start? I had to first figure out what my “thing” is. This is far easier said than done. I always imagined myself as an Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. What could be better than exploring an ancient cave, blowing dust off some ancient tablet and deciphering messages that were hidden for thousands of years? Throw in a bi-plane, a gorgeous girl, a couple of Nazi thugs and you have yourself a great hobby. As an example consider a cryptic statement like “Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν”.

My nephew brought home this menacing maths problem, happened next is a sad indictment of school maths

Junaid Mubeen:

The challenge is to hit 9000 dead-on.

I was surprised. My nephew is in Year 8 and punches above his weight in maths. I have seen him rattle off multi-digit addition problems with maddening accuracy. Why had the solution eluded him?

I scribbled away, beginning with trial and error before turning my focus to the Ones column. That already narrows the choices, because the four digits in this column must add up to 10. Regardless of how I rearrange the four numbers, the final digits must comprise 4,4,1,1 or 3,3,3,1 or 4,3,2,1. I continued down this path, hoping to systematically arrive at the solution. It was exhausting work and I could see why my nephew was struggling — there is no obvious combination that works, and there are a lot of possibilities to burn through.

Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Has Declared War on Free Speech

Camille Puglia:

Our current controversies over free speech on campus actually represent the second set of battles in a culture war that erupted in the U.S. during the late 1980s and that subsided by the mid-1990s — its cessation probably due to the emergence of the World Wide Web as a vast, new forum for dissenting ideas. The openness of the web scattered and partly dissipated the hostile energies that had been building and raging in the mainstream media about political correctness for nearly a decade. However, those problems have stubbornly returned, because they were never fully or honestly addressed by university administrations or faculty the first time around. Now a new generation of college students, born in the 1990s and never exposed to open public debate over free speech, has brought its own assumptions and expectations to the conflict.

As a veteran of more than four decades of college teaching, almost entirely at art schools, my primary disappointment is with American faculty, the overwhelming majority of whom failed from the start to acknowledge the seriousness of political correctness as an academic issue and who passively permitted a swollen campus bureaucracy, empowered by intrusive federal regulation, to usurp the faculty’s historic responsibility and prerogative to shape the educational mission and to protect the free flow of ideas. The end result, I believe, is a violation of the free speech rights of students as well as faculty.

What is political correctness? As I see it, it is a predictable feature of the life cycle of modern revolutions, beginning with the French Revolution of 1789, which was inspired by the American Revolution of the prior decade but turned far more violent. A first generation of daring rebels overthrows a fossilized establishment and leaves the landscape littered with ruins. In the post-revolutionary era, the rebels begin to fight among themselves, which may lead to persecutions and assassinations. The victorious survivor then rules like the tyrants who were toppled in the first place. This is the phase of political correctness — when the vitality of the founding revolution is gone and when revolutionary principles have become merely slogans, verbal formulas enforced by apparatchiks, that is, party functionaries or administrators who kill great ideas by institutionalizing them.

What I have just sketched is the political psychobiography of the past 45 years of American university life. My premises, based on my own college experience at the dawn of the counterculture, are those of the radical Free Speech Movement that erupted at the University of California at Berkeley in the Fall of 1964, my first semester at the State University of New York at Binghamton. The Berkeley protests were led by a New York-born Italian-American, Mario Savio, who had worked the prior summer in a voter-registration drive for disenfranchised African-Americans in Mississippi, where he and two colleagues were physically attacked for their activities. When Savio tried to raise money at Berkeley for a prominent unit of the Civil Rights Movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was stopped by the university because of its official ban on political activity on campus.

The uprising at Berkeley climaxed in Savio’s fiery speech from the steps of Sproul Hall, where he denounced the university administration. Of the 4000 protestors in Sproul Plaza, 800 were arrested. That demonstration embodied the essence of 1960s activism: it challenged, rebuked, and curtailed authority in the pursuit of freedom and equality; it did not demand, as happens too often today, that authority be expanded to create special protections for groups reductively defined as weak or vulnerable or to create buffers to spare sensitive young feelings from offense. The progressive 1960s, predicated on assertive individualism and the liberation of natural energy from social controls, wanted less surveillance and paternalism, not more.

Ideology And Education

Neil Gross:

IN 1979, in a short book called “The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class,” the sociologist Alvin Gouldner took up a question then being vigorously debated by social analysts: Did the student movements of the 1960s signal that the highly educated were on their way to becoming a major political force in American society?

Dr. Gouldner’s answer was yes. As a man of the left, he had mixed feelings about this development, since he thought the intelligentsia might be tempted to put its own interests ahead of the marginalized groups for whom it often claimed to speak.

Today, with an ideological gap widening along educational lines in the United States, Dr. Gouldner’s arguments are worth revisiting. Now that so many people go to college, Americans with bachelor’s degrees no longer constitute an educational elite. But the most highly educated Americans — those who have attended graduate or professional school — are starting to come together as a political bloc.

What happened when a professor built a chatbot to be his teaching assistant

Matt McFarland:

To help with his class this spring, a Georgia Tech professor hired Jill Watson, a teaching assistant unlike any other in the world. Throughout the semester, she answered questions online for students, relieving the professor’s overworked teaching staff.

But, in fact, Jill Watson was an artificial intelligence bot.

Ashok Goel, a computer science professor, did not reveal Watson’s true identity to students until after they’d turned in their final exams.

Students were amazed. “I feel like I am part of history because of Jill and this class!” wrote one in the class’s online forum. “Just when I wanted to nominate Jill Watson as an outstanding TA in the CIOS survey!” said another.

Where the Middle Class Is Shrinking

Quoctrung Boi:

The percentage of families earning middle-class incomes fell in nearly nine out of 10 major metro areas across the country between 2000 and 2014, according to new research by the Pew Research Center. The study defined middle-class households as those making between two-thirds and twice the national median income. That was roughly $42,000 to $125,000 a year for a family of three in 2014, though adjustments were also made for the cost of living in different areas.

Political Correctness Is War By Other Means

Angelo Codevilla

Our ruling class’s forceful exaltation of the persons, proclivities, and symbols by which it defines itself, along with its pretense that its preferences trump reality, defeat themselves by their absurdity. That absurdity stems from its members’ conceit about who they are.

Led by Barack Obama’s Democrats, echoed by the media, backed by big corporations’ muscle, and trailed by Republicans with tail tucked between legs, our rulers demand no less than the paradigm of totalitarianism in George Orwell’s novel, “1984.”

Recall that Big Brother’s agent berated the hapless Winston for preferring his own views to society’s dictates, then finished breaking his spirit by holding up four fingers and demanding that Winston acknowledge seeing five. Our rulers, like Big Brother, hector us to accept their rewritten history and to superimpose their scales of value on ours. They end by demanding that we substitute their will for what our very senses tell us is reality—because they please to be who they are.

There is a sense in which the ruling icons of political correctness—lesser Americans are racist, sexist, religiously bigoted, and infested by pathologies for which they must make amends—are petty partisanship meant to squeeze the last drops of voter participation out of the Democratic Party’s habitual constituencies. But our Progressive rulers’ partisanship is more. It is identity politics waged as war.

Ignoring the irony, Obama described what the war is about by accusing Americans unlike himself (and the progressives to whom he was speaking) of being inferior because of their “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” Specifically, he said, they “cling to guns or religion.” Hence, pursuing identity war requires breaking the American people’s grip on their sense of worth, on their very connection to reality. That is why, over decades, our Progressive ruling class has penalized Americans who say the wrong thing in front of the wrong person, re-written schoolbooks, etc.

Springfield Purges Men in Literature

Peter Wood:

NAS presents a new case of bias against a faculty member over his course “Men in Literature.”

Editor’s note. The following is a fairly lengthy (3,300-word) essay introducing a new case of bias against a faculty member. Professor Dennis Gouws is a tenured professor at Springfield College in Massachusetts who has run afoul of college authorities who in 2014 abruptly began to find fault with his teaching a long-established course, “Men in Literature.” In 2016, they cancelled his course, culminating a long campaign of petty hostility against him because of his scholarly and professional interest in “biological maleness.”

We present this case in detail because it exemplifies a development in the campus culture wars that has not yet come into focus for many observers. The Gouws affair shows the intensification of efforts by campus feminists to use bureaucratic authority to enforce their ideological preferences on the faculty as a whole.

Professor Gouws is an academic engaged in teaching his courses, expressing his opinions through ordinary channels, and advocating for open debate over his ideas. He is not someone who was spoiling for a fight, but his department, his dean, his provost, and his president decided that his views were impermissible. This is his story.

* * *

The attempt to marginalize, discredit, and silence the views of faculty members who dissent from the current campus orthodoxies never stops. It happens at large universities and at small colleges. It happens in the sciences and in the humanities. It happens on big public issues that everyone cares about and on small matters that could hardly muster a quorum on a rainy afternoon.

It happens explicitly at some colleges and universities that wear their leftist commitments to “social justice” openly, like armbands, and it happens implicitly at other colleges and universities that try to maintain the pretense of intellectual openness while crushing dissenting views behind closed doors.

Put all the pieces together, and the picture of the faculty side of contemporary higher education is pretty grim. Faculty members, no matter their private views, know that the price of open dissent is very high. It doesn’t really matter whether a faculty member has tenure. There are plenty of levers besides the threat of job loss. Course assignments. Teaching loads. Promotions. Salary increases. Sabbatical leaves. Petty harassment. Departmental ostracism.

You probably haven’t even noticed Google’s sketchy quest to control the world’s knowledge

Caitlin Dewey:

Google’s “knowledge panels” materialize at random, as unsourced and absolute as if handed down by God:

Betty White is 94 years old.

The Honda Civic is 2016’s best car.

Taipei is the capital of — ahem — the “small island nation” of Taiwan.

If you’ve ever Googled a person, place or thing — which, survey suggests, you almost definitely have — then you’ve encountered these aggressive, bold-faced modules, one of Google’s many bids for your fleeting attention. Since their quiet, casual introduction in 2012, knowledge panels and other sorts of “rich answers” have mushroomed across Google, appearing atop the results on roughly one-third of its 100 billion monthly searches, not only in response to simple, numerical queries like “Betty White age,” but also to more complex, nuanced questions like “capital of Israel” or “D.C.’s best restaurant.”

To Google, that’s proof of its semantic search technology; to Googlers, it’s a convenience that saves them a few clicks. But to skeptics, of whom there are a growing number, it’s a looming public literacy threat — one that arguably dwarfs the recent revelations that Facebook’s trending topics are curated by humans.

“It undermines people’s ability to verify information and, ultimately, to develop well-informed opinions,” said Dario Taraborelli, head of research at the Wikimedia Foundation and a social computing researcher who studies knowledge production online. “And that is something I think we really need to study and process as a society.”

China’s Pediatricians Left Holding the Baby

Ni Dandan:

In Dr. Yu Huiju’s office at Xin Hua Hospital, there are no chairs for her patients. It’s a trick that she picked up from other doctors working in one of Shanghai’s biggest pediatrics departments, she told Sixth Tone.

“People come with so many questions that if I give them a chair, they keep raising one question after another,” she said. “But I can’t afford the time.”

In one morning, Yu will typically see around 36 patients, without allowing herself so much as a sip of water or a trip to the bathroom. This kind of heavy workload is very common for doctors in China.

While in the U.S. there are fewer than 700 children for each doctor, in China there’s one pediatrician for every 2,300 children, and the ratio is growing worse.

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of pediatricians in China dropped from 105,000 to 100,000, and earlier this year the central government estimated that 200,000 more doctors are needed to solve the current staffing shortage. With an expected baby boom on the way as a result of the recent implementation of the two-child policy, China’s child-doctor shortage could become even more pronounced.

targeting students in the “academic middle” at all Madison high schools and several middle schools.

Ogechi Emechebee:

Once accepted, students focus on techniques that will prepare them for college and beyond such as organization, writing, reading and self-advocacy. The program also takes students on college campus tours and works to place them in paid summer internships.

Johnson said Thursday that donors have given $1.4 million in scholarships for the students.

“This celebration is about you,” he told the students. “The community is here to support you and we’ll support you throughout your journey. You will persist and succeed.”

The keynote speaker was Gloria Ladson-Billings, UW-Madison’s Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education. Her speech was delivered using several phrases millennial youth today use such as “turn up,” “stay woke,” and “take several seats.” She advised students to “turn up” for class by showing up on time and taking their studies seriously.

Konrad Zuse and the digital revolution he started with the Z3 computer 75 years ago

Even for the skeptics among us, it’s hard to overstate the importance of this anniversary: 75 years ago – at the height of the Second World War – a 31-year-old German civil engineer called Konrad Zuse presented the Z3. It was the first programmable, automatic digital computer – and was widely viewed as the child of a family of machines we take for granted today, from desktop computers and mobile devices to the massive data centers controlling the world.

Compared to the phones and pads we carry in our pockets, however, the Z3 was huge. It was a cluster of glass-fronted wooden cabinets and wiring looms.

And its use was not intended for gaming or social networking on trams and in school yards, but for the German Aircraft Research Institute to perform statistical analyses of wing-flutter.

After analyzing 200 founders’ postmortems, researchers say these are the reasons startups fail

Alice Truong:

It’s a common adage in Silicon Valley that 90% of startups ultimately fail. To understand why that’s the case, a pair of researchers meticulously pored over 193 blog posts—startup postmortems, if you will—written by founders examining what went wrong.
 It was a heartwrenching experience for Kerry Jones, an employees at data-marketing firm Fractl, to be involved in the project. “It’s extremely emotional, and I think it’s really obvious how much of their lives most people sink into their companies,” she says. (Here’s one sample from Zirtual founder Maren Kate: “I cry for all the employees we hurt. I cry for all the clients we infuriated. And I cry for the investors we let down.”)
 There are, of course, limitations to this data set. For starters, there are fewer than 200 posts in it, and they all were written by founders willing to share their stories—or the portions of their stories that they were willing to reveal, anyway. “There isn’t some outside entity that went in and evaluated this company,” Jones notes. “That’s something important to keep in mind.”

TFA drops social justice training

Joanne Jacobs:

Teach for America‘s Education for Justice pilot, which trained would-be teachers in social justice and cultural competency, has been canceled, writes Stephen Sawchuk in Ed Week. College students took courses for a year to prepare to teach in low-income, minority communities.

TFA is cutting 150 positions, including its national diversity office, notes Sawchuk. “Still, this is somewhat surprising news. After all, the pilot was one that TFA CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard announced in 2014 to great fanfare.”

After nearly a year of E4J, Kailee Lewis, a future TFA corps member, believes telling teachers they’ll show low-income students “what’s possible when they work hard and dream big” is a false and dangerous lie.

Analysis: What Newark’s School Board Election Says About the Rising Influence of City’s Charter Parents

Laura Waters:

ew Jersey may be the Garden State, but don’t think you’ll find any country bumpkins in Newark, the state’s largest city with a school district that enrolls 44,000 children. Every Newarkian knows that mayors, city councilmen, and ward operators control municipal elections, including the three seats up this year for the nine-member School Advisory Board (SAB). Consequently, voter-turnout rates on school board candidate election days typically hover at a sparse 7 percent; residents know it’s not their vote that truly matters.

But the April 19th school board election three weeks ago was different because “an army of charter parents” found their voice — and started speaking as one.

Madison Government Schools’ K – 12 System Continues To Fight Diversity

Chris Rickert:

Comparing Madison’s daycare and early childhood education programs with Madison’s public schools would not be apples-to-apples. But the quality of care available to Madison’s young children appears to stand in stark contrast to the quality of education those children later receive in Madison’s public schools.

Everyone knows about the district’s racial achievement gaps, but quality overall is also solidly mediocre, according to the most recent state report card and other state-reported metrics, including test scores.

Despite this, Madison administrators and School Board members have long resisted spending tax dollars to educate Madison students at schools they don’t directly control

Related: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results and a focus on adult employment.

11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don’t Exist In English

Marie Sugo:

Once, when I asked my friend from a small tribe in Burma how they would say “breakfast” there, she told me that they didn’t have a word for it because they only ate twice a day–lunch and dinner. I happen to have a lot of friends who speak English as their second language and that made me realize that a language has a lot to do with its culture’s uniqueness. Because of that there are some untranslatable words.

Shrinking Middle Class Neighborhoods

Pat Lee:

The report by Pew Research Center found that the share of the middle class fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined from 2000 to 2014, including major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, which saw a relatively sharp drop in its middle class.

For many areas, a big culprit in the declining middle was the falloff in manufacturing jobs during that 14-year period, when factories shed about 5 million workers from their payrolls nationally.

“The 10 metropolitan areas with the greatest losses in economic status from 2000 to 2014 have one thing in common — a greater than average reliance on manufacturing,” the Pew report said, referring to places such as Detroit; Rockford, Ill.; Springfield, Ohio; and the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area in North Carolina.

Affordable options for college students are disappearing fast

Mikhail Zinshteyn:

The converging trends of falling state investment, rising tuition, and stagnant incomes has finally pushed higher education out of the grasp of low- and middle-income Americans, even at community colleges, a new report contends.

College is less affordable now, when adjusted for inflation, than it was before the economic downturn, student financial aid no longer is enough to fill the gap, and low- and middle-income families already are having trouble making ends meet just to cover living expenses, the report said.

Open Knowledge Maps

Discover Maps:

visual interface to the world’s scientific knowledge that can be used by anyone in order to dramatically improve the discoverability of research results.

We are going to provide a large-scale system of open, interactive and interlinked knowledge maps spanning all fields of research. Around these maps, we will develop a space for collective knowledge organisation and exploration, connecting researchers, students, librarians, journalists, practitioners and citizens.

Do shorter hours or higher wages make better teachers?

The Economist:

motivated people into teaching is a struggle in many countries. Low pay is often blamed, especially when it is combined with long working hours. The difficulties of teacher recruitment, one argument goes, is why pupils in some countries do so poorly in school. But data from the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, suggest that—at least for educational outcomes—neither hours nor pay matters much. Japanese and South Korean pupils are neck-and-neck near the top of the PISA rankings of 15-year-olds’ literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge. Their teachers are paid about the same, but put in vastly different hours: a whopping 54 hours per week in Japan, compared with 37 in South Korea. Pupils in Estonia, which has the lowest-paid teachers in the group, do better than those in the Netherlands, where teachers’ salaries are five times as high and hours just the same. Even when GDP per person is taken into account the Netherlands is unusually generous to teachers, and Estonia unusually stingy.

Doug Keillor leads MTI in a post-Act 10 world


At the direction of the Legislature, the UW System recently created the new Office of Educational Opportunity to oversee the creation of charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee without oversight from local school districts. How do you react to that?

I’m opposed to the concept. I find it objectionable that the state has allowed one person to essentially make decisions that our local community can make through school boards and allow that person to authorize who can operate a school that’s not accountable to the public but has a call on our resources. I find that offensive. It’s repugnant that they think it’s acceptable policy when I think most people in Madison would say it’s unacceptable policy.

The best defense is a good offense and having our public schools be the best public schools we can is certainly one of the strong directions that we need to emphasize. We’re fortunate to have really good schools in Madison but I think we need to do even more to bring in staff voices and parent voices into the schools to have the public own them even more. If we see proposals coming in for non-public charter entities, we can actively organize an opposition to those sorts of things if we’re concerned as a city that we don’t want to have our public dollars controlled by non-public entities without any oversight.

There have been mixed reactions to the district’s new Behavior Education Plan. What have union members said about the BEP?

Much more on Madison Teachers, Inc., here.

University gender gap a national scandal, says thinktank – the guardian

Sally Weale:

Men are less likely than women to go to university, those who do are more likely to drop out and those who complete their course are less likely to get a good degree, according to a thinktank report.

Universities are being urged to set themselves targets to recruit more male students amid growing alarm about the widening gender gap in higher education.

One of the report’s authors said the underachievement of men in higher education was a national scandal and called on universities to focus funding for widening participation on young men.

WV state school board OKs alternative paths to teaching

Ryan Quinn:

The West Virginia Board of Education has approved alternative teacher certification programs for Kanawha and seven other counties, including a McDowell County program that will begin to bring Teach For America’s services to the state.

At the board’s meeting Wednesday, members also heard criticism from school administrators about their plans to start giving entire schools and counties A-F grades; approved significantly amending a construction and renovation plan at the Romney Schools for the Deaf and the Blind to drop the cost from $45.5 million to $16.5 million; returned control over personnel issues to the local school board in Gilmer County, one of the state’s last two takeover counties; and approved a plan for Kanawha’s St. Albans High to reduce student instructional time in order to incorporate 30 minutes of teacher collaboration into each school day.

Dry Rot In Academia

Thomas Sowell:

Jason Riley has now joined the long and distinguished list of people invited — and then disinvited — to give a talk on a college campus, in this case Virginia Tech.

Mr. Riley is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and, perhaps most relevantly, author of a very insightful book titled Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.

In short, Jason Riley’s views on race are different from the views that prevail on most college campuses. At one time, 50 years ago or earlier, exposing students to a different viewpoint was considered to be a valuable part of their education. But that was before academia — and the education system in general — became virtually a monopoly of the political left.

It’s a Tough Job Market for the Young Without College Degrees

Patricia Cohen:

For seniors graduating from the University of Michigan this month, employers have been lining up since the fall to offer interviews and boast of their companies’ benefits. Recruiters would ask when their competitors were coming, said Geni Harclerode, the university’s assistant director of employer development, and then they’d say: “Well, we want to come the week before.”

“This has been one of our largest seasons of hiring,” she said. “The job market has been very good.”

The outlook for many high school graduates is more challenging, as Vynny Brown can attest. Now 20, he graduated two years ago from Waller High School in Texas, and has been working for nearly a year at Pappasito’s Cantina in Houston, part of a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants. He earns $7.25 an hour filling takeout orders or $2.13 an hour plus tips as a server, which rarely adds up to more than the minimum, he said. He would like to apply to be a manager, but those jobs require some college experience.

“That is something I don’t have,” said Mr. Brown, who says he cannot afford to go to college now. “It’s the biggest struggle I’ve had.”

Why we shouldn’t protect teenagers from controversial issues in fiction

Chris Vick:

That’s a quotation from a blogger’s review of my book, Kook. A response to the risky, and sometimes illegal, activities the characters get up to. Set in a world of die-hard Cornish surfers, Kook is about a young guy (Sam) falling for a girl who is, in every way, trouble. Jade is obsessed with riding the biggest wave she can find, as soon as she can find it. Whether she’s ready to or not. And that’s only part of what Jade and her crew get up to. It’s not just the surfing. It’s fighting, raves, drinking, getting into trouble with the police.

What the ‘Gap Year’ Phenomenon Tells Us about American Colleges

Rachel DiCarlo Currie:

While I normally cast a skeptical eye on fashionable trends in American education, count me among those who fully support the “gap year” between high school and college. Already a growing phenomenon, its popularity will surely increase following the announcement that Malia Obama will delay her inaugural semester at Harvard until the fall of 2017. As the New York Times noted earlier this week, a bevy of research and anecdotal evidence suggests that gap-year students arrive on campus better prepared—academically, socially, and emotionally—than their non-gap-year classmates. University administrators have thus become some of the biggest advocates for postponing enrollment.

What they don’t seem to appreciate is that the gap-year trend represents a subtle indictment of their institutions. After all, if people believe that a gap year will accelerate students’ maturation, help them cultivate practical and/or vocational skills, make them more sophisticated, or give them (in the words of journalist Susan Greenberg) “a newfound sense of purpose and perspective,” the implication is that colleges will fall short in each of these areas. For that matter, the gap year raises important questions about why so many people are attending college in the first place.

Governance: The Costs of the Katehi Affair

Chris Newfield:

The simplest political question posed by the ongoing Katehi crisis is, “Can state government trust the University of California to clean its own house?” The non-firing of Linda Katehi says, “No.” It’s hard to imagine a better targeted confirmation of UC’s reputation in Sacramento for poor management. If we didn’t have the Katehi Affair, Jerry Brown would have had to invent it.

Yes she deserves due process, yes women chancellors deserve it as much as male chancellors do, and yes the campus view should be decisive rather than UCOP’s. But UC’s bureaucracy should have prevented the chancellor’s “mistakes” before they happened, or an internal investigation should have caught them before the Sacramento Bee did, or President Napolitano should have completed her investigation before she tried to fire Chancellor Katehi, or she should have succeeded in firing her on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence she already had. None of these things happened.

It’s Time to Get Over QWERTY — A Q&A with Tom Mullaney on Alphabets, Chinese Characters, and Computing

Jeffrey Wasserstrom inverviews Tom Mullaney

EFF WASSERSTROM: When we spoke at Microsoft, you stressed that many things about China’s current place in the IT world fly in the face of past conventional wisdom about characters and alphabets. What exactly did you have in mind?

TOM MULLANEY: When it comes to technologies of communication and the Chinese language, we live in a time that hardly anyone could have anticipated at the dawn of the 20th century. Not only are Chinese characters still with us — they are one of the fastest, most widespread, and successful languages of the digital age. More than ever before, Chinese is a world script, and China is an IT giant. This would shock the many people who, for the past two centuries, assumed that such an outcome was conceivable only if China got rid of character-based writing and went the route of wholesale alphabetization — which it did not. This outcome was not supposed to have been possible — and yet here we are. What did we miss?

You argued at Microsoft that once we get to computers, any notion that using Chinese characters rather than letters is a disadvantage gets exploded. Would you elaborate on this — and, for those who haven’t followed these issues, say a little about the long history of claims that using characters inevitably impedes adopting new technologies ?

This is a really important question, and one that comes up a lot when I give lectures and do consultations at tech companies like Google and Microsoft. In the Q&A to my Google Tech talk back in 2011 — “A Chinese Typewriter in Silicon Valley” — we spent a good two hours on this, in fact. This is also a major inspiration for the computing and conference this weekend at Stanford (Shift CTRL: New Perspectives on Computing and New Media).

Ever since the mass manufacture of typewriters began in the U.S. in the 19th century, engineers and entrepreneurs imagined a day when this new technology would conquer the Chinese language and open up a vast new market to Remington, Underwood, Olivetti, and more — just the way it had other languages and markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.

It never did (for reasons I explain in my new book coming out soon from MIT Press), and yet the fantasy didn’t die. It was renewed in the age of computing and, by the 1990s, seemed to many to have come true: computers throughout China began to look “just like ours,” even including the familiar QWERTY keyboard, which today is ubiquitous in the Chinese-speaking world.

In the Western world, people began to assume that the Latin alphabet had finally “conquered” Chinese — just like they assumed it always would. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Mizzou Misery: Exclusive Emails Reveal The Brutal Backlash

Jillian Kay Melchior

Mizzou’s vice chancellor for marketing and communications, Ellen De Graffenreid, received a disheartening email last fall at the pinnacle of the crisis on campus. A disgruntled parent wrote to the university’s Board of Curators, describing how her son, a sophomore, considered transferring out, while their two high-school-aged children “have all but eliminated Mizzou from their college list.”

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Someone had forwarded the note to the university’s Department of Marketing and Communications, adding: “I’m sure you already know this but you have a PR nightmare on your hands.” De Graffenreid, in turn, forwarded it to the college’s leadership, adding the letter from a parent was “pretty representative of the middle of the road people we are losing.”

New correspondence reviewed by Heat Street and National Review depicts the cataclysmic backlash against the University of Missouri as its administrators grappled with demands from rowdy protestors, a hunger-striking grad student, and a boycotting football team. The protests ultimately toppled both the president and the chancellor.

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