Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion

Joanna Walters:

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska?

In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.

Trump’s budget abandons two bipartisan education efforts

Alan Borsuk:

Two of those goals were improving teaching and providing kids who have a lot of needs with time in constructive settings beyond the school day.

That was then, when Congress passed a new national education law with strong bipartisan support.

This is now, and two of the things that would be dropped entirely under President Donald Trump’s budget outline released last week are programs that fund efforts to improve teaching and provide low-income kids good places to go after school.

The budget plan said that $2.4 billion a year in money for professional development programs for teachers (principals, too) “is poorly targeted and spread thinly across thousands of districts with scant evidence of impact.” And cutting $1.2 billion for “Community Learning Centers” for kids is justified because “the program lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.”

The Price Of Elites Creating Monopolies (Madison’s Non Diverse K-12 Governance)


For the record, however, before cheerleading Slim, Gates might want to read the OECD’s 2012 report on telecommunications policy and regulation in Mexico, which estimates the social costs of Slim’s monopoly at U.S. $129 billion and counting. (The latest Forbes list of the world’s richest people puts Slim’s net worth at U.S. $79 billion). So in what way is Mexico better off exactly? Gates also complains in his review that we “ridicule modernization theory.” We don’t. We try to articulate an alternative theory of extractive growth — which takes place under extractive, authoritarian political institutions — where countries grow because their leadership controlling these extractive institutions feels secure and able to control and benefit from the growth process. This occupies a large part of our book because it is a central feature of economic and political development over the last several thousand years. Our theory suggests why extractive growth doesn’t automatically lead to more inclusive institutions: Growth is made possible, at least in most cases, by the leaders and dominant elites’ belief in their relative security.

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB charter school. This, despite our long term, disastrous resding results.

72 Taiwan schools found to have signed ‘inappropriate’ study pledges

Focus Taiwan:

Taipei, March 17 (CNA) A total of 72 colleges and universities in Taiwan have signed pledges relating to the so-called “one China” consensus, the Ministry of Education said Friday, asking these institutes to stop such “inappropriate” behavior.

During a two-week investigation, 72 schools reported to the ministry that they signed such study pledges with their Chinese counterparts from 2005-2017, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said. The ministry “does not recognize” such pledges, he added.

New rules will require all Taiwanese colleges and universities to submit agreements to be signed with schools in China for the approval of the ministry, before they can be inked, Pan said.

Eight candidates vie for four Milwaukee Public Schools board of directors seats

Annysa Johnson, and Brittany Carloni

Four of the nine seats on the Milwaukee Public Schools board of directors are up for grabs in the April 4 election, with two incumbents facing challengers and two others making way for newcomers to join the board.

The election comes at a critical time for MPS, the largest and one of the poorest and lowest-performing districts in the state. It has repelled two legislative takeover attempts in recent years and has embarked on a series of new reforms aimed at improving academic performance. At the same time, it is facing budget constraints and continued competition from charter and private voucher schools.

Civics: Reining In Warrantless Wiretapping of Americans

Jennifer Granick:

The United States is collecting vast amounts of data about regular people around the world for foreign intelligence purposes. Government agency computers are vacuuming up sensitive, detailed, and intimate personal information, tracking web browsing,1 copying address books,2 and scanning emails of hundreds of millions of people.3 When done overseas, and conducted in the name of foreign intelligence gathering, the collection can be massive, opportunistic, and targeted without any factual basis. While international human rights law recognizes the political and privacy rights of all human beings, under U.S. law, foreigners in other countries do not enjoy free expression or privacy rights, so there are few rules and little oversight for how our government uses foreigners’ information. And while foreign governments are certainly legitimate targets for intelligence gathering, reported spying on international social welfare organizations like UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders raises the specter of political abuse without a clear, corresponding national security benefit.4

War on girls in India, visualized

visual loop

Usually, we leave interactive data visualizations to be featured here on Visualoop on Fridays, when we compile all the interesting projects that came our way during the week.

But in this case, we are making an exception to present to you “Unwanted – The ongoing war against daughters in India“, developed by designer Tania Boa, with the help of Gerhard Bliedung (Development) and Benjamin Wiederkehr (Design Advisor). Tania is part of the Interactive Things team, and started a couple of months ago this self-initiated project about a topic that’s sad, tragic and undoubtily in need of more awareness.

War on girls in India, visualized

visual loop

Usually, we leave interactive data visualizations to be featured here on Visualoop on Fridays, when we compile all the interesting projects that came our way during the week.

But in this case, we are making an exception to present to you “Unwanted – The ongoing war against daughters in India“, developed by designer Tania Boa, with the help of Gerhard Bliedung (Development) and Benjamin Wiederkehr (Design Advisor). Tania is part of the Interactive Things team, and started a couple of months ago this self-initiated project about a topic that’s sad, tragic and undoubtily in need of more awareness.

Is Fakebook A Structural Threat To Free Society?


Facebook is the sixth-largest company in the world by market cap. It is approaching two billion users across its platforms, and user growth remains steady. It collects an unprecedented amount of data on those billions of users.

It is possible, if not probable, that Mark Zuckerberg’s company will become the largest in the world. Facebook’s share structure reserves exclusive control of voting power for Zuck, so he will maintain control of the behemoth. It is also not out of the question that as Facebook grows, Zuckerberg will become the world’s wealthiest individual.

As Facebook grows, so will its ownership of the social graph and our digital selves. Systemic risk is highest in centralized systems. Extrapolating trends, I consider it possible, if not probable, that Facebook will become a systemic risk center for free society. The argument goes:

No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chai…

Biesiekierski JR, et al:

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) do not have celiac disease but their symptoms improve when they are placed on gluten-free diets. We investigated the specific effects of gluten after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates (fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols [FODMAPs]) in subjects believed to have NCGS.

METHODS: We performed a double-blind cross-over trial of 37 subjects (aged 24-61 y, 6 men) with NCGS and irritable bowel syndrome (based on Rome III criteria), but not celiac disease. Participants were randomly assigned to groups given a 2-week diet of reduced FODMAPs, and were then placed on high-gluten (16 g gluten/d), low-gluten (2 g gluten/d and 14 g whey protein/d), or control (16 g whey protein/d) diets for 1 week, followed by a washout period of at least 2 weeks. We assessed serum and fecal markers of intestinal inflammation/injury and immune activation, and indices of fatigue. Twenty-two participants then crossed over to groups given gluten (16 g/d), whey (16 g/d), or control (no additional protein) diets for 3 days. Symptoms were evaluated by visual analogue scales.

In 18 Years, A College Degree Could Cost About $500,000

Venessa Wong:

People worried about college affordability today can at least take this to heart: Getting a degree now is an absolute bargain compared to what it could cost if tuition keeps rising this fast for the next couple of decades.

Tuition has been rising by about 6% annually, according to investment management company Vanguard. At this rate, when babies born today are turning 18, a year of higher education at a private school — including tuition, fees, and room and board — will cost more than $120,000, Vanguard said. Public colleges could average out to $54,000 a year.

Migrant Parents Pen Letter to Government About School Quota

Wang Lianzhang:

With fewer than 90 days to go until primary school registration begins, migrant workers sent a letter earlier this month to the education bureau of Guangzhou, the capital of southern China’s Guangdong province, to request more places for their children in public schools.

Migrant workers do not hold permanent residency in Guangzhou and thus do not automatically qualify for free public schooling in the city. The quota for out-of-town students who can attend the city’s schools has increased this year, but parents are still worried that their children will miss out.

“Many friends of mine have no choice,” 26-year-old Zhang Yongqiang, one of the parents behind the letter, told Sixth Tone. “As migrant workers, they couldn’t enroll their children in public schools and had to send them to private schools.” Yearly tuition fees for private schools start at around 6,000 yuan ($870), a significant sum in a region where the average migrant worker earns little over 3,200 yuan per month.

Mission vs Organization: Madison School Board candidate rhetoric

Lisa Speckhard:

We can’t change too much too fast when we have one of the largest achievement gaps in the country,” said candidate Ali Muldrow, who faces Kate Toews in the race for Seat 6 on the board. “My children don’t have 10 years for us to improve …

Notes and links on seat 6 and seat 7 candidates.

More on organization vs mission:

Muldrow’s campaign issued the statement after her answer to a question — about what candidates would say to families who had children in an underperforming school and viewed vouchers as a way out — sparked criticism on social media from some in the community.

A Wisconsin State Journal article published Friday morning paraphrased Muldrow’s answer, alluding to the idea that she supported private school vouchers for students who don’t feel successful in a public school environment.

The article stated: “If the opportunity for students’ success doesn’t exist at a school, Muldrow said, private school vouchers should be offered to students who would learn better at a private school. But Muldrow said she opposes public money going to religious schools.”

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending more than most – now about $18k per student annually.

Report card time for schools: California Dashboard goes live today, but some find it impossible to navigate

Mike Szymanski:

A statewide public school rating system is available today, but some find it difficult to understand.

Rather than having a simple one-number score, the new California School Dashboard Report uses a series of colors to rate various aspects of each school. Some community groups say that makes it hard for parents to compare schools.

Former school board member David Tokofsky told LA School Report on Tuesday, “What do you look at your car dashboard for? To see if you have gas, to see if there’s an emergency, and see how fast you’re going, that’s it. What does this have? A grid with 25 boxes? This dashboard has too much. Parents will be mystified on how to use this.”

4 Things That Surprised me About Self-Publishing an Academic Book

Joshua Gans:

Last year, I wrote a book about scholarly publishing that I knew would not fit well into traditional publishing models. It wasn’t one of those books that claimed the whole traditional publishing system was broken and advocated dumping publishers altogether. Instead, my book was motivated by a distinct, albeit related, concern: that in the scholarly world, journal publishers had too much market power and that academics, despite the best of their intentions, had been mostly unable to do anything about it. Academics had tried boycotts, forming their own journals, and lobbying governments, but the power and profits of the big publishers were undaunted.

The traditional publishing path has worked for me

Google DeepMind and healthcare in an age of algorithms (privacy)

Julia Powles:

Data-driven tools and techniques, particularly machine learning methods that underpin artificial intelligence, offer promise in improving healthcare systems and services. One of the companies aspiring to pioneer these advances is DeepMind Technologies Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Google conglomerate, Alphabet Inc. In 2016, DeepMind announced its first major health project: a collaboration with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, to assist in the management of acute kidney injury. Initially received with great enthusiasm, the collaboration has suffered from a lack of clarity and openness, with issues of privacy and power emerging as potent challenges as the project has unfolded. Taking the DeepMind-Royal Free case study as its pivot, this article draws a number of lessons on the transfer of population-derived datasets to large private prospectors, identifying critical questions f

Why Virtual Classes Can Be Better Than Real Ones

Barbara Oakley:

I teach one of the world’s most popular MOOCs (massive online open courses), “Learning How to Learn,” with neuroscientist Terrence J. Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The course draws on neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and education to explain how our brains absorb and process information, so we can all be better students. Since it launched on the website Coursera in August of 2014, nearly 1 million students from over 200 countries have enrolled in our class. We’ve had cardiologists, engineers, lawyers, linguists, 12-year-olds, and war refugees in Sudan take the course. We get emails like this one that recently arrived: “I’ll keep it short. I’ve recently completed your MOOC and it has already changed my life in ways you cannot imagine. I just turned 29, am in the middle of a career change to computer science, and I’ve never been more excited to learn.”

18-year-old running for Pearland ISD School Board

Brandi Smith:

Michael Floyd isn’t your typical high school senior.

The Dawson High School student says he’s been involved in politics since he was in fourth grade.

“I was the one kid who had a Barack Obama bumper sticker on my bike as I rode around town,” Floyd said. “Since then, I’ve worked on two Congressional campaigns, I’ve managed a state representative race, and I worked on a presidential campaign, managing it for our county.”

This spring break, while his classmates are enjoying their time off, he’s campaigning for a position on the Pearland ISD Board of Trustees.

“As a student, I’ve seen a lot more than the trustees have,” Floyd said. “I’ve been with teachers, students and faculty members for nine and a half months out of the year for 40 hours a week. I just see flagrant issues in our district.”

Man graduates from Texas A&M University at Galveston at 74 years old

Samantha Ketterer:

Galveston resident Mike McAfee knows that it’s never too late in life to learn something new.

At age 74, McAfee completed his college degree and graduated from Texas Texas A&M University at Galveston with a Bachelor of Science in university studies.

McAfee finished his education solely because he wanted to, he said — he was already retired when he graduated in December 2016.

“I didn’t do this to further my career,” he said. “It was the kind of thing in the back of my mind that always bothered me, that I didn’t finish my degree.”

McAfee, who is now 75, attended college in Missouri and Oklahoma earlier in life but said he pulled out to focus on his family and career. He’d been in the business industry for most of his life, and before he retired in 2014, McAfee had worked at Del Papa Distributing Company for 20 years.

Should California teachers have to pay state income tax?

Taryn luna:

A California Senate bill proposes a new way to solve the teacher shortage: Let them keep their state income tax.

California is struggling to recruit and retain teachers as baby boomers retire and meager starting salaries do little to attract young people to the profession. Making matters worse, nearly one in three teachers leave the profession in the first seven years, according to the California Teachers Association.

Mather Heights Elementary School first grade teacher Andy Kotko helps Elmira Hakobyan, left, and Ryan Workman with a math lesson during class on Thursday, September 1, 2016 in Sacramento.
Mather Heights Elementary School first grade teacher Andy Kotko helps Elmira Hakobyan, left, and Ryan Workman with a math lesson during class on Thursday, September 1, 2016 in Sacramento. Randy Pench
Senate Bill 807, introduced by Democratic Sens. Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton, offers an incentive for teachers to remain in the classroom. After teaching for five years, California educators would be exempt from paying a state income tax. The bill would also provide a tax deduction for the cost of attaining a teaching credential. The Legislature has not yet calculated the estimated loss in tax revenue to the state if the measure is approved.

Edina police ask for whole city’s Google searches, and a judge says yes

Mike Mullen:

As detailed in a report from Tony Webster earlier this week, a Hennepin County judge has granted the Edina Police Department an extraordinary degree of access to citizens’ Google history, as cops attempt to crack the case of an attempted wire transfer fraud.

In specific, police want to know who has searched for a particular name used as part of that fraud. Typed into Google, a search for the same name — “Douglas” something, according to a warrant — also turns up photos that were used on a fake passport by the criminal, who was seeking a fraudulent wire transfer of $28,500.

Cops figure if they could just find out who in that affluent suburb has Googled that name, they’d narrow their suspect list right down. Of course, people’s Google search history not only isn’t public, it’s not usually available to local cops trying to bust a small-time swindler.

Teach for America making its mark in Milwaukee

Alan Borsuk;

And in the fall of 2013, she began teaching at Reagan High School, the International Baccalaureate school that has become one of brightest spots in the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

“I loved it,” she says. “I still love education.” After her two-year commitment to TFA ended, she stayed on. She is now an International Baccalaureate program coordinator and teacher at the school, and she envisions being there for years to come.

For good reason, hers is the kind of story TFA is eager to spotlight. There are others who have had less successful involvement and less kind things to say about TFA and its high-profile effort nationwide to attract bright college graduates to work at least two years in schools serving some of America’s most high-needs students.

The Power of Persuasion: A Model for Effective Political Leadership by State Chiefs

Paul Hill, Ashley Jochim:

State chiefs have new responsibilities under the Every Student Succeeds Act, but their formal powers are still limited. Despite these constraints, CRPE analysis finds that chiefs can make a difference by wielding their powers strategically, to build coalitions and persuade others. While turnover in the field is high, with 70% of current chiefs on the job less than two years, newcomers are taking their seats at a time of opportunity.

Drawing on interviews with current and former state chiefs, authors Hill and Jochim identify chiefs’ opportunities for influence in light of the ideas in Richard E. Neustadt’s 1960 book Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership. The analysis and concrete examples are intended to help current and aspiring chiefs understand how to use their authorities as the basis of bargaining, build their professional reputation, and approach decisionmaking.

Key takeaways include:

Chiefs should fully understand their own advantages and think hard about how to bargain effectively with others in the state capital and in school districts

State gives St. Paul school board blessing for secret meetings

James Shiffer:

The members of the St. Paul school board realized they had a problem, starting with themselves.

So as they search for a new superintendent to replace the one they forced out, they will meet in secret to figure out how to get along better.

In September, the board approved a plan to engage the public in searching for a new schools chief. Board members are eager to get beyond the acrimony of the departure of Valeria Silva, the target of the newly elected “Caucus for Change” board majority that took over in January.

Adobe semaphore code cracked by Tennessee high school teacher

Sal Pizzaro:

Waters discovered the project, San Jose Semaphore, last summer while he was looking up something about Thomas Pynchon’s 1966 novel, “The Crying of Lot 49.” The text of that work was the code originally programmed by New York-based artist Ben Rubin in 2006. Seeing there was a new message, Waters began trying to decipher it while watching and writing down the sequences online from Tennessee.

He discovered a pattern that led him to believe it could represent a space — or a silence — in an audio file, and when he graphed the results it looked like an audio wave. He dismissed that as being too difficult but came back to it and eventually ran his results into a program that would convert his numbers to audio. The first results came back sounding like chipmunks squeaking.

Oaks Academy: Vouchers May Not Be a Panacea But They Are Really Working For Some Families

Barato Britt:

True advocates of choice through vouchers shouldn’t suggest vouchers to be the panacea, the proverbial be all end all for education in our nation, no matter how much our President or Education Secretary maintain this assertion.

Vouchers, like all educational options, are one means through which we provide students and families the ability to choose their child’s school, free from arbitrary designations or systems that have for too long demonstrated an inability to serve all students.

While most supporters, generally conservative folks, use phrases like “free market” to bolster the case, vouchers are liberal, almost socialist in nature, when considered from a means tested standpoint with the mission of providing poor families with the same options that wealthier families already enjoy.

Nearly 35,000 Hoosier students today can boast direct access to the private school of theirs and their parent’s choice as a result of this program. And while that number is dwarfed by the nearly 1.05 million Hoosier students in a public school, there is evidence that suggests this effort has not been fought in vain.

Such is the case for 373 students who, through vouchers and Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) opportunities, are being blessed by the opportunity to attend The Oaks Academy. An unabashedly faith based institution, Oaks affords students a high quality classical education, complemented by a commitment to follow students as they matriculate to and through post-secondary opportunities. Based in Indianapolis Near East Side, the school has grown from 53 students in 1998 to 732 students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade, on three campuses purposely housed within close proximity of one another.

Academically, school data bear out the contention for its distinction as a high-quality school. Oaks Academy students are consistently among the state’s top performers on standardized assessments, with 82.2 percent passing both the Language Arts and Math portions of the ISTEP last year.

The schools’ 300 alumni who are tracked carefully after graduation, and the school has determined its 4-year college matriculation rate to be 87 percent.

Additionally, parental involvement is not optional for all Oaks Families, but mandatory as a caring, committed adult must participate in various activities during the admissions cycle and school year to ensure all stakeholders have skin in the game.

Teach Yourself Computer Science


If you’re a self-taught engineer or bootcamp grad, you owe it to yourself to learn computer science. Thankfully, you can give yourself a world-class CS education without investing years and a small fortune in a degree program ?.

There are plenty of resources out there, but some are better than others. You don’t need yet another “200+ Free Online Courses” listicle. You need answers to these questions:

The Ideology Behind Intolerant College Students

Stephen L Carter:

Here’s what’s scariest about the last week’s incident at Middlebury College, where protesters shouted down the social scientist Charles Murray and injured a professor who was escorting him from the venue: It felt like an everyday event. So common has such odious behavior become that it’s tempting to greet it with a shrug.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2016 saw a record number of efforts to keep controversial speakers from being heard on campus — and that’s just in the U.S. To be sure, not all of the attempts succeeded, and the number catalogued, 42, is but a small fraction of the many outsiders who give addresses at colleges and universities each year. The real number of rejected speakers is certainly much higher, once we add in all the people not invited in the first place because some member of this or that committee objects to their views, or because campus authorities fear trouble. But even one would be too many.

Civics: Rand Paul Is Right: NSA Routinely Monitors Americans’ Communications Without Warrants

Paul’s explanation is absolutely correct. That the NSA is empowered to spy on Americans’ communications without a warrant — in direct contravention of the core Fourth Amendment guarantee that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause” — is the dirty little secret of the U.S. Surveillance State.

As I documented at the height of the controversy over the Snowden reporting, top government officials — including President Obama — constantly deceived (and still deceive) the public by falsely telling them that their communications cannot be monitored without a warrant. Responding to the furor created over the first set of Snowden reports about domestic spying, Obama sought to reassure Americans by telling Charlie Rose: “What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls … by law and by rule, and unless they … go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause.”

Bottling Politics

John Robb:

PS> Bots come in two flavors:

software or a combination of software and hardware (robots).

While hardware based bots like drones have some scary/amazing (yet largely unexplored) tactical utility, most of the real action is in software bots or more specifically, social bots. Social bots can be run from a single computer using multiple social networking accounts. Others are operate as a network, using PCs compromised by malware. In general, social bots can do the following:

Civics: US spies still won’t tell Congress the number of Americans caught in dragnet

David Kravets:

In 2013, a National Security Agency contractor named Edward Snowden revealed US surveillance programs that involved the massive and warrantless gathering of Americans’ electronic communications. Two of the programs, called Upstream and Prism, are allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That section expires at year’s end, and President Donald Trump’s administration, like his predecessor’s administration, wants the law renewed so those snooping programs can continue.

That said, even as the administration seeks renewal of the programs, Congress and the public have been left in the dark regarding questions surrounding how many Americans’ electronic communications have been ensnared under the programs. Congress won’t be told in a classified setting either, despite repeated requests.

We Need More ‘Useless’ Knowledge

Robbert Dijkgraaf:

Albert Einstein, honorary chair of the fair’s science advisory committee, presided over the official illumination ceremony, also broadcast live on television. He spoke to a huge crowd on the topic of cosmic rays, highly energetic subatomic particles bombarding the Earth from outer space. But two scientific discoveries that would soon dominate the world were absent at the fair: nuclear energy and electronic computers.

The very beginnings of both technologies, however, could be found at an institution that had been Einstein’s academic home since 1933: the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. The institute was the brainchild of its first director, Abraham Flexner. Intended to be a “paradise for scholars” with no students or administrative duties, it allowed its academic stars to fully concentrate on deep thoughts, as far removed as possible from everyday matters and practical applications. It was the embodiment of Flexner’s vision of the “unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge,” which would only show its use over many decades, if at all.

Illiberal arts colleges: Pay more, get less (free speech)

Richard V. Reeves and Dimitrios Halikias:

The case of Murray v. Middlebury has generated plenty of interest, and for good reason. For those who missed it, Charles Murray, a distinguished if often controversial social scientist, was prevented from speaking at Middlebury College by repeated noisy disruptions to both a public and hastily-arranged private webcast. Things turned nasty when Murray went to leave and an angry mob confronted him. Murray was pushed and shoved. His interlocutor, liberal political science professor Allison Stanger, was grabbed by the hair, and later had to be put in a neck brace in hospital. Once she and Murray managed to get inside the car, protestors banged on the doors and jumped on the hood.

Much more can and is being said about these events, but no better testimonies can be found than those of Murray and Stanger themselves. As Frank Bruni put it in the New York Times, the students at this “liberal” college were in fact displaying “illiberalism…issuing repressive rules about what people should be able to say and hear”. Jonathan Haidt, the NYU social psychologist says the incident “was a modern-day auto-da-fé: the celebration of a religious rite by burning the blasphemer.”

These activists want greater home-school monitoring. Parent groups say no way.

Lisa Grace Lednicer:

Sarah Hunt makes her living educating fellow Republicans about climate change. It requires the cool detachment of the well-trained lawyer that she is.

But for years she has also been building a life advising young women who have fled their sheltered, fundamentalist Christian home-schooling families in search of independence and opportunity. So when a call came from her friend and former Georgetown law school classmate Carmen Green last spring, she listened intently.

A young woman in Oregon was trying to escape her family, Green told her. She had been home-schooled and was eager to go to college. But the woman said her fundamentalist parents believed higher education wasn’t part of “God’s plan” for her. When she insisted, they took away her laptop and cellphone.

Machine Learning And Judges

Tom Simonite:

hen should a criminal defendant be required to await trial in jail rather than at home? Software could significantly improve judges’ ability to make that call—reducing crime or the number of people stuck waiting in jail.

In a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists and computer scientists trained an algorithm to predict whether defendants were a flight risk from their rap sheet and court records using data from hundreds of thousands of cases in New York City. When tested on over a hundred thousand more cases that it hadn’t seen before, the algorithm proved better at predicting what defendants will do after release than judges.

A troubling contagion: The rural 4-day school week

Paul T. Hill and Georgia Heyward:

The first few localities to adopt the four-day school week hoped to save money on transportation, heating, janitorial, and clerical costs. The idea was to add roughly 30 to 90 minutes to each day that students are in school, then on the fifth day (usually Friday) to assign projects and encourage parent and community groups to organize study halls and enrichment activities.

However, savings have been elusive because so many costs—most importantly teacher salaries and equipment leases—are fixed. Even on days off, sports teams use buses and drivers for away games. Savings must come from expendables (for example, fuel for buses and heating, food for student lunches, and pay for hourly employees). There are also offsetting cost increases. School buildings must be kept open longer four days each week and on the fifth day for teacher meetings. Students who spend 90 minutes more per day in school need afternoon snacks.

Power, class, and the new campus religion

William Deresiewicz:

Let us eschew the familiar examples: the disinvited speakers, the Title IX tribunals, the safe zones stocked with Play-Doh, the crusades against banh mi. The flesh-eating bacterium of political correctness, which feeds preferentially on brain tissue, and which has become endemic on elite college campuses, reveals its true virulence not in the sorts of high-profile outbreaks that reach the national consciousness, but in the myriad of ordinary cases—the everyday business-as-usual at institutions around the country—that are rarely even talked about.

A clarification, before I continue (since deliberate misconstrual is itself a tactic of the phenomenon in question). By political correctness, I do not mean the term as it has come to be employed on the right—that is, the expectation of adherence to the norms of basic decency, like refraining from derogatory epithets. I mean its older, intramural denotation: the persistent attempt to suppress the expression of unwelcome beliefs and ideas.

Civics: There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble

Nate Silver:

But those other three conditions? Political journalism fails miserably along those dimensions.

Diversity of opinion? For starters, American newsrooms are not very diverse along racial or gender lines, and it’s not clear the situation is improving much.6 And in a country where educational attainment is an increasingly important predictor of cultural and political behavior, some 92 percent of journalists have college degrees. A degree didn’t used to be a de facto prerequisite7 for a reporting job; just 70 percent of journalists had college degrees in 1982 and only 58 percent did in 1971.

The political diversity of journalists is not very strong, either. As of 2013, only 7 percent of them identified as Republicans (although only 28 percent called themselves Democrats with the majority saying they were independents). And although it’s not a perfect approximation — in most newsrooms, the people who issue endorsements are not the same as the ones who do reporting — there’s reason to think that the industry was particularly out of sync with Trump. Of the major newspapers that endorsed either Clinton or Trump, only 3 percent (2 of 59) endorsed Trump. By comparison, 46 percent of newspapers to endorse either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney endorsed Romney in 2012. Furthermore, as the media has become less representative of right-of-center views — and as conservatives have rebelled against the political establishment — there’s been an increasing and perhaps self-reinforcing cleavage between conservative news and opinion outlets such as Breitbart and the rest of the media.

Tony Evers seeks a third term after battles with conservatives, cancer and Common Core

Molly Beck:

“The ability for school boards to use charters as kind of an incubator — I think that’s great,” Evers said, who lamented that the public often conflates private voucher schools with charter schools.

Evers, who now opposes the expansion of taxpayer-funded school vouchers in Wisconsin, also once voiced support for them in 2000 — when only students in Milwaukee could use them.

“To me, the key is student learning. I don’t care if we find success in voucher schools, charter schools or Milwaukee public schools. The idea is to find what works and replicate it as soon as possible. So from that standpoint, I believe the (voucher) experiment needs to continue,” Evers said in 2000.

By 2001, however, while running against former West High School principal Libby Burmaster, who would go on to beat him, Evers had publicly opposed the expansion of vouchers beyond Milwaukee and said the system’s level of financial and academic accountability must increase.

Evers said he has tried to “thread the needle” on the issue since then.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.

For Pi Day, key figures on math and education in the U.S.

Monica Anderson:

For almost 30 years, math enthusiasts have been taking part in festivities on March 14 to honor an infinitely long number beginning with 3.14 – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, otherwise known as pi.

The first official Pi Day was March 14, 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw led staff and visitors to San Francisco’s Exploratorium in a celebration of all things pi-related. Since then, it has been celebrated across the globe, with universities, conferences and even pizzerias honoring the day.

To mark Pi Day, here are four findings about math and education in the United States:

Related: Math Forum audio and video.

Bill: Workers who decline genetic testing could face penalties

Lena Sun:

Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a House committee this week becomes law.

Employers, in general, don’t have that power under existing federal laws that protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by a House committee would allow employers to get around that if the information is collected as part of workplace wellness programs.

A troubling contagion: The rural 4-day school week

Paul Hill Georgia Heyward:

Americans are waking up to the plight of rural and small town areas. Rural students and workers need government and philanthropic help to link to jobs, higher education, and career opportunities, whether near their homes or in cities.

But rural residents need to avoid making matters worse for themselves. One troubling development, adopted totally by local initiative, is for rural schools to operate only four days per week (usually Monday through Thursday). This phenomenon is sweeping the Intermountain West, spreading to 88 districts in Colorado, 43 in Idaho, 30 in Oregon, and nearly half of the districts in Montana. Other parts of the country will likely follow suit.

Parents, report to my office immediately!

Sian Griffiths:

For more than a decade Clarissa Farr has headed up one of the top private schools in the country. St Paul’s Girls’ School — where fees are more than £23,000 a year and the daughters of QCs, doctors and bankers compete to gain admission — turns out “terrifyingly” brilliant high-flyers.

Alumni include the Labour politician Harriet Harman, the broadcaster Rachel Johnson and the actresses Rachel Weisz and Jennifer Saunders. Farr has presided over this hothouse for bluestockings, which regularly tops exam league tables, for the past 11 years. Unexpectedly, however, a few weeks ago she announced she was to step down.

Tall, glamorous, formidable, clad in a chic, dark two-piece with a string of pearls around her neck, she pours me tea in her airy…

Scientists’ march on Washington is a bad idea – here’s why

Andrea Saltelli:

I’ve seen no serious attempt to rebalance this unequal context.

A third victim of present times is the idea – central to Polanyi’s argument for a Republic of Science – that scientists are capable of keeping their house in order. In the 1960s, scientists still worked in interconnected communities of practice; they knew each other personally. For Polanyi, the overlap among different scientific fields allowed scientists to “exercise a sound critical judgement between disciplines”, ensuring self-governance and accountability.

Today, science is driven by fierce competition and complex technologies. Who can read or even begin to understand the two million scientific articles published each year?

Elijah Millgram calls this phenomenon the “New Endarkment” (the opposite of enlightenment), in which scientists have been transformed into veritable “methodological aliens” to one another.

One illustration of Millgram’s fears is the P-test imbroglio, in which a statistical methodology essential to the conduit of science was misused and abused for decades. How could a well-run Republic let this happen?

The classic vision of science providing society with truth, power and legitimacy is a master narrative whose time has expired. The Washington March for Science organisers have failed to account for the fact that science has devolved intowhat Polanyi feared: it’s an engine for growth and profit.

The Most (and Least) Worthwhile Degrees

Martin Armstrong:

For a great many young people, the decision of whether to extend their education and attend university is a tough one to make. As our infographic below shows, not all that choose to do a bachelor’s degree graduate with the feeling that it was all worthwhile. Emolument surveyed 1,800 UK graduates to reveal that the most regretted major is psychology. Only 33 percent of bachelors of this particular science said their degree was worth it. On the other end of the scale, 87 percent of chemistry and natural sciences alumni said they felt their studies were worth it.

How should our kids play at recess? Alameda schools offer lessons

Jill Tucker:

At one school in Alameda, tag is banned. So is walking up the slides or stopping while going down. There’s no crouching under the play structure, no swinging jackets around one’s head, no playing with sticks and no hiding behind trees.

There are a lot of recess rules at Bay Farm Elementary.

On the opposite side of the island city, kids stuff themselves into car tires and squeal as they fly across the blacktop on the wheels of an old office chair. They can play tag, run up the slide, hide behind trees and crouch pretty much anywhere they want, including within wobbly forts and under the play structure.

There aren’t a lot of recess rules at William G. Paden Elementary.

Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but Their Schools Probably Won’t)

Bill Murphy:

News flash: Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they’re in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt–maybe getting upset–and getting right back into the physical action.

Except at school, where they’re required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess–and thus they sit still longer.)

It’s not just an American issue. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland recently tried to document whether boys actually achieve less in school when they’re restricted from running around and being physically active.

They studied 153 kids, aged 6 to 8, and tracked how much physical activity and sedentary time they had during the day. Sure enough, according to a report by Belinda Luscombe in Time, the less “moderate to vigorous physical activity” the boys had each day, the harder it was for them to develop good reading skills:



An impressive 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, the leading science competition for U.S. high school students, were the children of immigrants. Moreover, 75 percent – 30 out of 40 – of the finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas. That compares to 7 children who had both parents born in the United States. The science competition has been called the “Junior Nobel Prize.” These outstanding children of immigrants would never have been in America if their parents had not been allowed into the U.S.

Today, both the Trump administration and some members of Congress would like to impose new restrictions on legal immigration, including on high-skilled immigrants. Policymakers seeking to restrict high-skilled immigration should note that an important, underappreciated benefit of high-skilled foreign nationals is the contributions made by their children. The findings tells us that if we prevent high-skilled foreign nationals from coming to America, we will not only lose their contributions but the significant contributions that will be made by their children. It is likely there are many more children of H-1B visa holders who will make outstanding contributions beyond those who qualified for one of the coveted 40 finalist spots in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: California exports its poor to Texas, other states, while wealthier people move in

Phillip Reese:

Kiril Kundurazieff, 56, is among the low-income residents who left California. He spent more than a decade working in a small bookstore, then at Target, then at a Verizon call center, in Southern California. After some medical issues that hampered his eyesight, he found himself unemployed in Santa Ana, with monthly rent of about $1,000 in 2012.

“There was really nothing left for me in California,” said Kundurazieff, who also writes a blog about his cats. “The cost of living was high. The rent was high. The job market was debatable.”

Friends in Texas suggested he relocate. He now works at a Walmart in Houston, making a little north of $10 an hour. He works 40 hours a week, riding his bike about 7 miles to work many days. He does not pay state income tax. His rent is just over $500, with utilities.

About the same time that Kundurazieff was leaving, Tamara and Kit Keane were arriving from Oklahoma. Both had been working on their doctorate degrees at Oklahoma universities, Kit in biology and Tamara in education.

The Keanes already knew California. Kit, 34, was born and raised in Sacramento. Tamara, 31, spent most of her life in Southern California. They met at UC Davis about a decade ago.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: “The Reality Is, Half Of Americans Can’t Afford To Write A $500 Check”

Tyler Durden:

It is what he said next that caught our attention: “The reality is, half of Americans can’t afford to write a $500 check,” Colberg said. He spun that stunning statistic by saying that when US customers sign up for a cellular plan, they’re willing to buy protection in case “they lose that phone or something happens to it.”

In other words, there are millions of Americans who don’t have $500 in the bank but are willing to dish out more than that on a cell phone, and then are stupid enough to make monthly payments that ultimately end up being far higher than $500 to protect their purchase… which they clearly couldn’t afford in the first place.

Americans have lost faith in institutions. That’s not because of Trump or ‘fake news.’

Bill Bishop:

Sustained collective action has also become more difficult. Institutions are turning to behavioral “nudges,” hoping to move an increasingly suspicious public to do what once could be accomplished by command or law. As groups based on tradition and consistent association dwindle, they are being replaced by “event communities,” temporary gatherings that come and go without long-term commitment (think Burning Man). The protests spawned by Trump’s election are more about passion than organization and focus. Today’s demonstrations are sometimes compared to civil-rights-era marches, but they have more in common with L.A.’s Sunset Strip riots of 1966, when more than 1,000 young people gathered to object to a 10 p.m. curfew. “There’s something happening here,” goes the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth,” commemorating the riots. “What it is ain’t exactly clear.” In our new politics, expression is a purpose itself.

A polarized and distrustful electorate may stymie the national government, but locally most communities are either overwhelmingly Republican or Democratic. In 2016, 8 out of 10 U.S. counties gave either Trump or Hillary Clinton a landslide victory. In these increasingly homogenous communities, nobody need bother about compromise and the trust it requires. From anti-abortion measures to laws governing factory farming, the policy action is taking place where majorities can do what they want without dealing with “those people” who live the next state over or a few miles down the road. At last count, 1 in 4 Americans supports the idea of their state seceding from the union.

Solutions and action shrink to the size of the individual. Increasing numbers of New York state parents have been holding their children out of end-of-year school tests in a kind of DIY education reform. In some Los Angeles schools, so many parents opt out of the vaccination regime that inoculation rates are on a par with South Sudan’s as people make their own scientific judgments. The “we medicine” of community health, writes Donna Dickenson, is replaced by the “me medicine” of individual genetic testing, tailored drug regimes and all manner of personal “enhancement” technologies. And where once antitrust laws were used to break up monopolies in food markets, Michael Pollan concludes that today, we must “vote with our fork.”

What the CIA WikiLeaks Dump Tells Us: Encryption Works

Associated Press:

Documents purportedly outlining a massive CIA surveillance program suggest that CIA agents must go to great lengths to circumvent encryption they can’t break. In many cases, physical presence is required to carry off these targeted attacks.

“We are in a world where if the U.S. government wants to get your data, they can’t hope to break the encryption,” said Nicholas Weaver, who teaches networking and security at the University of California, Berkeley. “They have to resort to targeted attacks, and that is costly, risky and the kind of thing you do only on targets you care about. Seeing the CIA have to do stuff like this should reassure civil libertarians that the situation is better now than it was four years ago.”

Raising the Bar is the Right Move for Students

Katrina Boone:

Seventy-eight percent of the high school’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch, which indicates a high level of poverty for a district. And until the recent focus on setting the bar equally high for all students, they had the lowest college going rate. But the focus on helping every student select the appropriate college-ready courses has improved their graduation and college-going rate dramatically.

Students feel inspired by the attitude that all students were expected to rise to the occasion and would inevitably persevere. “It was the way [the principal] talked to us, like we actually had a chance…There wasn’t any doubt in her voice,” one student explained.

To many of us who believe in the value of setting high standards for all students, regardless or family income, or zip code, this story sounds familiar.

Senate passes bill on inappropriate teacher-student relationships

Mariana Alfaro:

School principals and superintendents who fail to report teachers involved in inappropriate relationships with students could face criminal charges under a bill passed unanimously Wednesday in the Texas Senate.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said he introduced Senate Bill 7 in response to an uptick of cases in the past eight years where Texas elementary, middle and high school teachers were found in romantic and sexual relationships with their students. In fiscal year 2016, the Texas Education Agency opened 222 investigations that involved inappropriate relationships.

In Defense Of Free Speech

American Political Science Association (APSA):

The American Political Science Association (APSA) condemns the violence surrounding a talk by political scientist Charles Murray at Middlebury College on March 2, 2017, which resulted in an injury to the talk’s moderator, Allison Stanger, the Russell J. Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics The violence surrounding the talk undermined the ability of faculty and students to engage in the free exchange of ideas and debate, thereby impeding academic freedom on the Middlebury campus.

The American Political Science Association is a scholarly association that represents more than 13,000 U.S. and internationally based professors and students of political science. The Association is committed to upholding the core tenet of academic freedom in the study of political science.

The APSA works to promote scholarly understanding of political ideas, norms, behaviors, and institutions, in order to inform public choices about government, governance and public policy. Necessarily, this can at times involve intense exchanges and debates about ideas and evidence – including ideas or arguments that some consider suspect or wrong. Violence, however, is not an appropriate answer to speech. The Association condemns these violent actions on March 2 and it reiterates its support for peaceful discourse to explore, debate, and challenge speech on the range of issues that matter to our society and political system.

David A. Lake, President
Jennifer Hochschild, Past-President Kathleen Thelen, President-Elect
Steven Rathgeb Smith, Executive Director

Seven-year-old Bana al-Abed, the ‘face of Aleppo’

Mehul Srivastava:

Bana has her mouth full, so I speak with Fatemah. She’s 27, and had been training to become a lawyer when the war came to Aleppo. I have to ask her how she feels about her child being used “as a tool for propaganda” — first for the anti-government forces and now by the Turkish government. When the Turkish government brokered the chaotic retreat of fighters and civilians from east Aleppo, they found Bana and her family in a makeshift camp in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, and flew them by helicopter to Ankara. She and her two younger brothers ended up in front of the cameras, sitting on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lap. Now, even as Turkey sends in its own military, arms opposition fighters and demands the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, they are presented as symbols of his magnanimity.

Fatemah has been thinking about this, she says. She worries what it will do to her child. Her sons, aged three and five, have known nothing but war and even today are scared to be alone, crying in their sleep. “Bana wants to help, but also I want the world to understand that Bana is a child,” she says. “We want her to be a normal child, and live like a child of the world, without war, without anything.”

But Bana has a strong personality, she adds. “For my Bana, it’s different because when her father and I raised her, we gave her her own personality. We don’t want to make her what we want — we don’t want a robot, do like this or do like that.” she says.

“The war itself, it’s a big teacher,” she adds. “Even for the children. They know and they recognise that when they hear the bombs, they know the sound, which bomb it is. They know if it was a cluster bomb, if it was a barrel bomb, if it was phosphorus bombs. They know everything.” They pick it up, from listening to adults, from reacting to their fear, from what they hear on the television. “If you ask a little one, three years old, where’s your house, he’ll say it’s destroyed. Why? Because of the bomb. Who sent this bomb? The war plane. He knows.

“But they don’t know real life. If you say, ‘Draw something’, maybe they will draw a rocket, maybe they draw a bomb. [Normal] children draw flowers, butterflies, because they imagine life.”

How small is too small? Friess Lake and Richfield school districts talk merger

Brittany Carloni:

To save money and increase opportunities for students, the Friess Lake School District is considering merging with the neighboring Richfield Joint 1 School District in Washington County.

Although McKenna understands the potential benefits of a consolidated district, she doesn’t want to lose what she knows at Friess Lake.

“It’s the fear of the unknown,” McKenna said. “We know what we’re getting at Friess Lake. I don’t know the staff in Richfield.”
District consolidations are relatively rare in Wisconsin, and in the past 10 years they’ve only occurred among small districts in northern or central parts of the state. The fact that the conversation is now happening in the greater Milwaukee metro area signals the continued pressures on small districts grappling with the one-two punch of declining enrollment and decreased revenue.

How Friendships Change Over Time

Julie Beck:

In the hierarchy of relationships, friendships are at the bottom. Romantic partners, parents, children—all these come first.

This is true in life, and in science, where relationship research tends to focus on couples and families. When Emily Langan, an associate professor of communication at Wheaton College goes to conferences for the International Association of Relationship Researchers, she says, “friendship is the smallest cluster there. Sometimes it’s a panel, if that.”

Staggering number of college students using student loans to pay for spring break

Jon Street:

With March in full swing, millions of college students across the country are gearing up to head south for a week of alcohol-infused beach parties. And a new study has found that many of those students won’t actually be paying for their relaxing getaway — at least not anytime soon.

LendEdu, a student loan news website, asked 500 college students who are going on spring break whether they plan on using money from their student loans to help pay for their travel, whether it be for lodging, airfare or otherwise. Amazingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, nearly one-third (30.6 percent) of those polled said they did plan to apply at least some of their student loan funds toward their spring break vacation.

19 Women Leading Math and Physics Top women in mathematics and physics discuss how they got to where they are—and why there aren’t more of them.

Natalie Wolchover:

n an interview with Quanta Magazine last fall, the eminent theoretical physicist Helen Quinn recalled her uncertainty, as a Stanford University undergraduate in the 1960s, about whether to pursue a career in physics or become a high school teacher. “There were no women in the faculty at Stanford at that time in the physics department,” Quinn said. “I didn’t see myself there.” Her adviser warned her that “graduate schools are usually reluctant to accept women because they get married and they don’t finish.” (He kindly added that “I don’t think we need to worry about that with you.”)

Boundaries and barbarians: ontological (in)security and the [cyber?] war on universities

Jana Bacevic:

In this context, it should not be surprising that many academics fear digital technologies: anything that tests the material/symbolic boundaries of our own existence is bound to be seen as troubling/dirty/dangerous. This brings to mind Kavafy’s poem (and J.M. Coetzee’s novel) Waiting for the Barbarians, in which an outpost of the Empire prepares for the attack of ‘the barbarians’ – that, in fact, never arrives. The trope of the university as a bulwark against and/or at danger of descending into barbarism has been explored by a number of writers, including Thorstein Veblen and, more recently, Roy Coleman. Regardless of the accuracy or historical stretchability of the trope, what I am most interested in is its use as a simultaneously diagnostic and normative narrative that frames and situates the current transformation of higher education and research.

As the last line of Kavafy’s poem suggests, barbarians represent ‘a kind of solution’: a solution for the otherwise unanswered question of the role and purpose of universities in the 21st century, which began to be asked ever more urgently with the post-war expansion of higher education, only to be shut down by the integration/normalization of the soixante-huitards in what Boltanski and Chiapello have recognised as contemporary capitalism’s almost infinite capacity to appropriate critique. Disentangling this dynamic is key to understanding contemporary clashes and conflicts over the nature of knowledge production. Rather than locating dangers to the university firmly beyond the gates, then, perhaps we could use the current crisis to think about how we perceive, negotiate, and preserve the boundaries between ‘in’ and ‘out’. Until we have a space to do that, I believe we will continue building walls only to realise we have been left on the wrong side.

How medicalized language and the therapeutic culture came to dominate Anglo-American institutions of higher education.

Frank Furedi:

Some months back I read a circular issued to Oxford University postgraduate students on the potentially traumatic consequences of social science research. Promoting the availability of “Vicarious (Secondary) Trauma Workshops for post-grads participating in the university’s ‘Social Sciences Research and Skills Training’ programme,” the blurb explained that:

It is increasingly recognised that some social science research places exceptional emotional demands on the researcher, and that managing these emotional demands can be an essential component of the work. In particular, researchers whose fieldwork entails hearing about and engaging with the traumatic experiences of others may be at risk of developing symptoms of vicarious trauma (sometimes called “secondary trauma”) which can parallel symptoms of traumatic stress.

That social science research now comes with a health warning is testimony to the ascendancy of therapy culture in Western institutions of higher education.

Since the 1960s, universities have been in the forefront of promoting theories and practices that encourage people to interpret their anxieties, distress, and disappointment through the language of psychological deficits. Until recently, however, how students and faculty coped with their existential problems remained a personal matter. Today, the therapeutic outlook pervades campus culture so thoroughly that it influences how courses are taught, which topics are discussed, and how verbal exchanges are regulated. Teaching, some educators believe, can be trauma inducing, and so they have adopted an explicit “trauma-informed perspective.”

Outside of hospitals, the university has arguably become the most medicalized institution in Western culture. In 21st-century Anglo-American universities, public displays of emotionalism, vulnerability, and fragility serve as cultural resources through which members of the academic community express their identity or make statements about their plight. On both sides of the Atlantic, professional counselors working in universities report a steady rise in demand for mental-health services.

Politics And Income Inequality

Scott Adams:

Speaking of jobs, if Trump’s job-creation hype evolves from anecdotal to real, that’s a great way to reduce income inequality too. As I have often said, economies run on psychology, and Trump is a master of psychology. He proved that already by injecting enough optimism into the system that it goosed the stock market, and business confidence in general. That should translate into more investments and a better economy.

The Trump administration also recently tightened their connection to historically black colleges to see how they can help. The best way to reduce income inequality is to address the hardest cases first, to get the most bang for the buck. And the African-American community is coming from the deepest hole. We see no results there yet, but the move makes sense from the perspective of addressing income inequality.

Locally, Madison has continued with its long-term nondiverse governance model, this, despite decades long disastrous reading results.

We spend more than most, now around $18,000 per student!

DeepMind just published a mind blowing paper:

Théo Szymkowiak:

Since scientists started building and training neural networks, Transfer Learning has been the main bottleneck. Transfer Learning is the ability of an AI to learn from different tasks and apply its pre-learned knowledge to a completely new task. It is implicit that with this precedent knowledge, the AI will perform better and train faster than de novo neural networks on the new task.

DeepMind is on the path of solving this with PathNet. PathNet is a network of neural networks, trained using both stochastic gradient descent and a genetic selection method.

Report accuses Milwaukee of foot-dragging on mandate to sell vacant MPS buildings

Annysa Johnson:

At least 40 Milwaukee Public Schools buildings are vacant or underused, according to a new report by a conservative law firm that wants to see them sold off to private and public charter schools that will compete with the state’s largest public school system.

The study by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which represents school choice advocates, says only five buildings are currently for sale, despite interest from potential buyers.

It accuses the City of Milwaukee, which owns the buildings, of violating a 2015 state law aimed at forcing the sale of surplus MPS school buildings. And it calls on the Legislature to add enforcement measures, including the awarding of attorney’s fees “if the aggrieved party prevails,” a measure that could bankroll choice schools’ lawsuits against the city and directly benefit WILL.

Federalism And Education Governance

Dana Goldstein:

It is customary for federal agencies to issue detailed regulations on how new laws should be put into effect, and Mr. Obama’s Department of Education did so in November. But some lawmakers from both parties saw the regulations as unusually aggressive and far-reaching, and said they could subvert ESSA’s intent of re-establishing local control over education and decreasing the emphasis on testing.

Last month, the House of Representatives overturned a broad swath of the rules using the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to spike federal regulations. The Senate passed a similar resolution on Thursday, and President Trump has indicated that he will sign it. That would leave ESSA on the books, but Ms. DeVos would have more flexibility in how to apply it.

The Obama regulations pushed states to weight student achievement measures, such as test scores and graduation rates, more heavily than other factors in labeling schools as underperforming. The regulations also required schools to provide parents and the public with an annual report card detailing schoolwide student achievement data and other indicators of success.

Among the most contentious of the Obama rules was one that required schools to test at least 95 percent of their students.

There were some good reasons for such a policy. To avoid the sanctions that come with low scores, schools have sometimes pressured or forced low-performing students to stay home on testing days. But conservatives said the 95 percent rule was excessive federal intervention, while some on the left said it prevented parents and students from “opting out” of standardized tests — a popular protest tactic.

Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF

Electronic Frontier Foundation

San Francisco – Increasingly frequent and invasive searches at the U.S. border have raised questions for those of us who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices. A new guide released today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.

“Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border” helps everyone do a risk assessment, evaluating personal factors like immigration status, travel history, and the sensitivity of the data you are carrying. Depending on which devices come with you on your trip, your gadgets can include information like your client files for work, your political leanings and those of your friends, and even your tax return. Assessing your risk factors helps you choose a path to proactively protect yourself, which might mean leaving some devices at home, moving some information off of your devices and into the cloud, and using encryption. EFF’s guide also explains why some protections, like fingerprint locking of a phone, are less secure than other methods.

Colleges are ground zero for mob attacks on free speech, lawyer says

Robert Shibley:

Free speech on campus is facing a profound threat.

Not at the hands of President Trump, nor even at the hands of the administrators and lawyers who have done so much to erode academia’s respect for freedom of expression.

No, as highlighted by the violent disruption and end of Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College in Vermont last week, the immediate crisis comes from one of freedom’s most ancient enemies: the angry mob.

It’s time for college leaders and law enforcement to take a stand: In our nation, this is not what democracy looks like.

While Americans rightly tend to focus on threats to freedom of speech from the authorities, we cannot overlook the danger of allowing people to be silenced by groups prepared to be violent.

History is littered with such warnings, from Diogenes to Robert F. Kennedy, who, on the day after the Rev. Martin Luther King’s assassination, said, “A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.”

That voice of madness led to Murray being forced to give his talk on social stratification in America by videolink after disruptive protesters made Murray’s actual presence before the audience impossible.

Ivy League Schools Don’t Care About You and That’s an Education Right There

Matthew Strauss:

One sleepless night during the fall semester of my sophomore year at Columbia University, I told my then-girlfriend that all my friends were better than me. I was just a boring guy, and they were all cool. My response: shave my beard (which I grew to update my identity post-high school) down to a mustache using her leg razor. I cried while doing it.

If I couldn’t be good at anything, I was at least going to be the guy with a damn mustache. When she and I broke up about a month later, the mustache stayed.

I can laugh at myself three years later, but that night was the breaking point I needed. Even though I felt weak, giving in to myself was the strongest thing I could have done. That semester I took a course called The History of the State of Israel with about 400 pages of reading a week; this was one of five classes, the university’s unofficial norm. That load was a big reason why I couldn’t keep up as I had in my first year, and my anxiety built steadily. What would happen to me? Surely I’d have to drop out. Everyone would know. This was the end. That anxiety metastasized into depression. I was always hungry, but I wouldn’t eat. My joints ached constantly, which made getting in and out of bed a task. My girlfriend and I both were careening into existential crises, helpless to help the other. Feeling awful about school made me feel awful about everything else. The Ivy League, so often scorned as a refuge for legacy brats and coddled alpha-nerds, turned out to be a fucking crucible.

What students should learn from Uber’s recent troubles

Vivek Wadhwa:

The criticism of Uber continues to pile up.

This week, the car service was found to use secret software to evade government regulators and a video showed its chief executive in a verbal altercation with one of the company’s drivers. Previously, the company’s self-driving cars raised safety concerns in San Francisco when, because of faulty and incomplete technology, they reportedly barreled through red lights and crossed over bike lanes. Uber has recently been accused of sexual harassment, intellectual property theft and other questionable behavior.

Uber isn’t alone. Silicon Valley is gaining a reputation for being obsessed with making money at any cost, i.e. Theranos, which made false claims and risked lives. The tech industry is becoming too much like the finance industry, which a decade ago caused the Great Recession with its greed.

The irony is that both industries compete for top engineering talent from our colleges. And each corrupts these students in a different way. Finance uses their knowledge to engineer our financial system, while tech focuses it on making money rather than on uplifting humanity.

Civics: Feds Blame ‘Self-Styled FOIA Terrorist’ for Their Own Stonewalling Journalists shouldn’t have to sue to get public information.

C.J. Ciaramella:

BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold is a prodigious Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requester who files hundreds of public records requests and dozens of lawsuits a year against federal agencies. In fact, the only news organization that filed more FOIA lawsuits against the government last year was The New York Times.

Most transparency advocates and journalists would think of this as a feather in Leopold’s cap, but according to government lawyers, filing too many lawsuits against agencies for failing to abide by federal records law is a good reason to delay further transparency.

U.S. Justice Department lawyers filed a motion Monday in response to one of Leopold’s many FOIA lawsuits, asking a federal court to allow the National Security Agency to delay releasing a large tranche of documents to him, citing in part his extensive litigation to get public records.

“A Typical Well-Funded But Underperforming School District”

Because of its location near the nation’s capital, its charming historic Old Town, and its median family income of $109,228 (the highest of any city in Virginia), outsiders might think that Alexandria boasts a first-rate public-school system. It doesn’t. The quality of the public schools within the city varies greatly, and system as a whole lags behind those in neighboring Arlington and Fairfax Counties. Pick your measuring stick: U.S. News & World Report, Zillow,, Trulia, parental chat boards, the Washington Post ranking of local high schools. Alexandria performs poorly by any metric. SchoolDigger ranks the district 96th out of 130 districts in the state. This isn’t to say Alexandria schools are bad, exactly, but some of them are particularly subpar for an area with such relative wealth.

Jefferson-Houston, which teaches students from pre-K to eighth grade, lost its accreditation in 2012. The school, which is 67 percent black, narrowly avoided being taken over by the state in a subsequent court battle. A little more than 15,000 students attend 16 public schools in Alexandria, and the district spends $16,999 per student, according to the latest statistics. Class sizes are small, averaging 18 students in elementary school, 20 in middle school, and 22 in high school. Despite those advantages, students in Alexandria’s public schools underperform the statewide average in subject after subject. In the 2015–16 school year, 80 percent of Virginia students passed English proficiency exams; 73 percent of students in Alexandria did. In math, 80 percent statewide passed; 68 percent of Alexandria students did. Statewide, 77 percent of students passed a test of writing proficiency; 69 percent of Alexandria students did. In history, 86 percent of students passed statewide; 77 percent of Alexandria students did. In science, 83 percent of students statewide passed; 69 percent of Alexandria students did.

Madison spends more, about $18,000 per student. Despite this far above average spending, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment“.

When Algorithms Don’t Account for Civil Right

Gilian White:

As people live more of their lives online, the necessity of figuring out how to extend offline protections to virtual practices becomes even more important. One way in which this problem is evident is bullying. Schools have long had punitive systems in place that, though far from perfect, sought to make their classrooms and hallways safe environments. Extending those same systems to the online world has been a significant challenge—how can they monitor what happens online and in private? And what’s the appropriate punishment for bad behavior that happens on the internet?

Another area that has proven difficult for this act of offline-to-online translation is the rules that protect Americans from discriminatory advertising. The internet is chock-full of ads, many of which are uncomplicated efforts to get people to buy more home goods and see more movies and so on. But things get a lot more tricky when the goods being advertised—such as housing, jobs, and credit—are those that have histories of being off-limits to women, black people, and other minorities. For these industries, the federal government has sought to make sure that advertisers do not help further historical oppression, via laws such as the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

In Puerto Rico, Teachers’ Pension Fund Works Like a Ponzi Scheme

Mary Williams Walsh:

The teachers’ pension fund in Puerto Rico looks very much like a legalized Ponzi scheme — one that might hold a warning for teachers across America.

Puerto Rico, where the money to pay teachers’ pensions is expected to run out next year, has become a particularly extreme example of a problem facing states including Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania: As teachers’ pension costs keep rising, young teachers are being squeezed — sometimes hard. One study found that more than three-fourths of all American teachers hired at age 25 will end up paying more into pension plans than they ever get back.

“I think they’re really being taken advantage of,” said Richard W. Johnson of the Urban Institute, a co-author of the research. “What’s so tragic about this is, often the new hires aren’t aware that they’re getting such a bad deal.”

Milwaukee Public Schools bracing for $50 million-plus budget gap

Annysa Johnson and Erin Richards:

Driver said the gap between projected revenues and expenditures is being driven in part by proposed cuts in federal funding and legacy costs for retiree health-care benefits.
She said the district is evaluating programs to ensure it is funding only those that are working and will continue to pursue philanthropic dollars, which have more than doubled to $36 million this year, to offset its costs.

“This requires us to make some difficult decisions,” said Driver who is in the midst of the district’s so-called budget carousels, brief meetings with every school and department as the budget takes shape.

Laziness isn’t why people are poor. And iPhones aren’t why they lack health care.

Stephen Pimpare:

Third — and conveniently, perhaps, for people like Chaffetz or House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — this stubborn insistence that people could have more money or more health care if only they wanted them more absolves government of having to intervene and use its power on their behalf. In this way of thinking, reducing access to subsidized health insurance isn’t cruel, it’s responsible, a form of tough love in which people are forced to make good choices instead of bad ones. This is both patronizing and, of course, a gross misreading of the actual outcome of laws like these.

There’s one final problem with these kinds of arguments, and that is the implication that we should be worried by the possibility of poor people buying the occasional steak, lottery ticket or, yes, even an iPhone. Set aside the fact that a better cut of meat may be more nutritious than a meal Chaffetz would approve of, or the fact that a smartphone may be your only access to email, job notices, benefit applications, school work, and so on. Why do we begrudge people struggling to get by the occasional indulgence? Why do we so little value pleasure and joy? Why do we insist that if you are poor, you should also be miserable? Why do we require penitence?

Just because what Chaffetz is saying isn’t novel doesn’t mean it isn’t uninformed and dangerous. Chaffetz, Ryan and their compatriots offer us tough love without the love, made possible through their willful ignorance of (or utter disregard for) what life is actually like for so many Americans who do their very best against great odds and still, nonetheless, have little to show for it. Sometimes, not even an iPhone.

Three Years of Nights Violence convulses the city after dark. Reporting on it leaves its own scars.

Peter Nickeas:

Snow reflected light from dirty yellow streetlamps, casting an industrial glow over the neighborhood. The sky was an eerie shade of lavender. A police officer wanted to know who I was, then told me I’d get a better picture of the body if I circled back through the alley to the other side of the crime scene. The cops said a man had been shot after stepping on someone’s shoe at a house party. A murder over nothing, almost too petty to be believed.

I didn’t know the body would still be there. I didn’t know the police would be OK with me being there. I didn’t know what to do when the family showed up—the dead man’s son was there. I didn’t know how to talk to them. This was only my second murder scene in the city. Being out in the night was still new, and I carried an anxiety in my stomach wherever I went.

I tried to make myself invisible, but I was the only white person outside the police tape. As family members started walking away, I stopped a few of them and handed out my card, in case they wanted to talk. (They didn’t.)

Berkeley Will Delete Online Content: Starting March 15, the university will begin removing more than 20,000 video and audio lectures from public view as a result of a Justice Department accessibility order.

Carl Straumsheim:

The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities.

Today, the content is available to the public on YouTube, iTunes U and the university’s webcast.berkeley site. On March 15, the university will begin removing the more than 20,000 audio and video files from those platforms — a process that will take three to five months — and require users sign in with University of California credentials to view or listen to them.

The university will continue to offer massive open online courses on edX and said it plans to create new public content that is accessible to listeners or viewers with disabilities.

Cathy Koshland, vice chancellor for undergraduate education, made the announcement in a March 1 statement.

“This move will also partially address recent findings by the Department of Justice, which suggests that the YouTube and iTunes U content meet higher accessibility standards as a condition of remaining publicly available,” Koshland said. “Finally, moving our content behind authentication allows us to better protect instructor intellectual property from ‘pirates’ who have reused content for personal profit without consent.”

D.C. Charter Teachers Seek to Unionize

Rachel Cohen:

This morning, teachers at Paul Public Charter School, one of the oldest charters in Washington, D.C., publicly announced their intent to unionize—a first for charter schoolteachers in the nation’s capital. As in other cities where charter teachers have formed unions, the Paul educators are forming their own local—the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (DC ACTS)—which will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Seventy-five percent of Paul’s teaching staff signed a petition in support of joining DC ACTS, and asked administrators to voluntarily recognize their union.

The Center for Education Reform estimates that 10 percent of charter schools are unionized nationally, up from 7 percent in 2012. As more and more charter teachers have launched organizing efforts, the absence of charter unions in Washington, D.C., has been notable—particularly given the city’s high density of charter schools. There are 118 charters—run by 65 nonprofits—within D.C., educating 44 percent of the city’s public school students.

Patricia Sanabria, a high school English and special education teacher at Paul, is excited about unionizing with her colleagues. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Sanabria is a product of D.C. public schools, and spent two years teaching at Ballou High School, a traditional public school in one of the poorest parts of the city, before coming to her charter.

Wisconsin’s black-white achievement gap worst in nation despite decades of efforts

Abigail Becker:

Wisconsin has been labeled one of the worst states in the nation for black children based on measures including poverty, single-parent households and math proficiency. Statewide, just over 15 percent of black students tested proficient on statewide exams in math, compared to 43 percent of white students, according to 2013-14 test scores from the state Department of Public Instruction.

Tony Evers, the state superintendent of public instruction since 2009, conceded there is only one way to describe Wisconsin’s achievement gap: “It’s extraordinarily horrible.”

The gap, he said, has racial and economic causes.

“Wisconsin has a history of not being able to solve this issue and, frankly, not being able to lift people of color out of poverty in any significant way,” Evers said.

“Can we do more in our schools? Yes, and we should do more. But the fact of the matter is, we need the entire state to rally around people of poverty or this will never be solved in a satisfactory way.”

Dear Millennials: Your Love of Socialism Could be America’s Downfall…

Courtney Kirchoff:

Well, the education system kind of screwed fooled you. They told some white lies here and there. Why shouldn’t they? A public school is just a state school. A government school. Why wouldn’t those schools promote the same system which would ensure they continue on regardless of their quality? Regardless of the outcome? Follow the money. Public schools are funded by governments. It doesn’t seem to matter how poorly performing a school is, does it? Why is that? Because it doesn’t matter. FAIRNESS. EQUALITY. SCHOOL IS A RIGHT. HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, YOU BIGOT!

The truth about socialism is much different. While you may think the tenets are lofty, fair, reasonable, and give you the feels, the reality is darker (read WW2 Survivor’s Account Draws Chilling Similarities between Nazism and Liberalism…). See, socialism removes human ambition from the equation. Actually it does more than that. Socialism punishes human ambition. Those who strive to be their best, to do their best, only highlight the masses of humans who do not strive. Who fail. And that’s just. Not. Fair. It’s not fair for a few people to succeed while others don’t.


Ryan Muldoon:

In my previous essay, I wrote about the value of factions, and how liberalism’s strengths come from diversity and disagreement. I mentioned that diversity is hard because it asks us to tolerate views that we abhor. As Will Wilkinson has argued, the United States has been slowly sorting itself into two competing tribes that come with rather different sets of values.

A stark challenge for liberalism is managing this level of disagreement. Of course, we have a set of procedures that are designed for just that—they are embodied in the Constitution. The liberal order is built upon the rule of law, and so we might expect the Constitution to carry us through potential dark times and see us through to the other side. I want to suggest that a reliance on the law won’t be good enough.

The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives

Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

People are living longer and working longer — but few organizations have come to grips with the opportunities and challenges that greater longevity brings.

Across the world, people today are living longer. Whether it is in the United States, China, or Rwanda, average human life expectancy has increased over the past few decades. If life expectancy continues to grow at the rate of two to three years every decade, as it has done over the last 150 years, then a child born in Japan in 2007 will have a more than 50% chance of living past the age of 107. Under the same assumptions, children born in that year in most of the advanced economies will have similar odds of living past their 100th birthday.1

Student union bans Conservative society from speaking out – because they challenged its position on free speech

Harry Yorke:

A student union has banned a university Conservative society from using its social media accounts – because they challenged its position on free speech.

Lincoln University’s Conservative Society has been censored by its student union after it posted an image online showing that the university had been ranked “very intolerant” on free speech in a recent survey.

In response, the Students’ Union swiftly suspended the society’s social media accounts, on the grounds that highlighting the university’s ranking had brought it into disrepute.
However, the decision has been met with widespread derision from social media users and Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, who said that union officials should be “ashamed”.


Clint Smith:

I was fifteen, and watching the game on television. I remember thinking that this is what we had been waiting for. “We” meaning American fans of “the beautiful game”— o jogo bonito, as the Brazilians call it—a style of soccer that had eluded us for so long. We lived for the double step-over that turns a player’s legs into small windmills, feet moving from the inside to the outside of the ball in quick succession. Or the Cruyff Turn, in which a player drags the ball between his legs, allowing him to change direction before a defender is able to respond. Or the roulette, in which a player, running at full speed, spins his body three hundred and sixty degrees atop the ball in graceful synchrony. Adu moved with this kind of grace. It was exhilarating to watch.

There was another “we” I thought of as well: black boys, who might not have to look across the ocean any longer to see a global soccer star who resembled one of us. America had never had an international black soccer superstar. We had stars, to be sure. Cobi Jones and Eddie Pope had been the faces of the M.L.S. during their time, but neither made his way to success on the world stage. Earnie Stewart and Tim Howard spent a number of years in Europe but never quite secured a place among the true global élite. My childhood room was decorated with posters of black players from other countries, filling the space American players did not: Thierry Henry, Jay-Jay Okocha, Didier Drogba. I was proud of them in ways that felt familial, no matter how different their worlds were from mine.

The Tainted Sources of ‘The Bell Curve’

Charles Lane:

For all the shock value of its assertion that blacks are intractably, and probably biologically, inferior in intelligence to whites and Asians, The Bell Curve is not quite an original piece of research. It is, in spite of all the controversy that is attending its publication, only a review of the literature—an elaborate interpretation of data culled from the work of other social scientists. For this reason, the credibility of its authors, Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, rests significantly on the credibility of their sources.

The press and television have for the most part taken The Bell Curve’s extensive bibliography and footnotes at face value. And, to be sure, many of the book’s data are drawn from relatively reputable academic sources, or from neutral ones such as the Census Bureau. Certain of the book’s major factual contentions are not in dispute—such as the claim that blacks consistently have scored lower than whites on IQ tests, or that affirmative action generally promotes minorities who scored lower on aptitude tests than whites. And obviously intelligence is both to some degree definable and to some degree heritable.

Your understanding of the size of countries and continents is completely wrong.

Relatively Interesting:

One of the most common maps of the world is in fact, one of the most misleading. The problem is that the size of countries and continents have been either exaggerated or downplayed. Why? The Earth is a sphere, making it very difficult to have an accurate representation on a two dimensional flat surface, like a map.

The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection of a sphere to a two dimensional surface created by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes, and although the linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, the Mercator projection distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases from the Equator to the poles, where the scale becomes infinite.

Civics: Life and death: Anti-Japanese order devastated S.F. citizens

Peter Hartlaub:

The directives started in late December 1941, with a command for San Francisco citizens of Japanese ancestry to surrender their cameras and short-wave radios to the nearest police station.

In just a few months, federal authorities would forcibly expel a racial demographic from the city — using euphemisms like “relocation” while threatening severe measures, should anyone resist orders to move to the nearest internment camp.

“Japanese aliens and citizens have two more days to leave the West Coast under their own power,” The Chronicle reported on March 8, 1942. “After Sunday night, the Army will take over.”

This month marks the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942 in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt ordered 110,000 Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast, including more than 5,000 from San Francisco.

A recently discovered cache of negatives, taken in 1941 and 1942 by unnamed Chronicle photographers, covers the agonizing journey of these citizens — from that first request to turn in radios, to their expulsion out of the state in crowded train cars.

The collapse of Turkish academia

Turkey Pulse:

The government had claimed that the purges — conducted at a stroke via legislative decrees — would target supporters of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, the accused mastermind of the putsch. After coming to power in 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had opened dozens of new universities, and a large number of Gulenists had been appointed to their faculties as the alliance between the AKP and Gulen flourished. Indeed, the initial legislative decrees were largely aimed at scholars known as Gulenists.

But soon things changed, and academics of various stripes critical of the government came into the crosshairs. The latest legislative decree of Feb. 7 dealt perhaps the most devastating blow in this respect. More than 300 academics were expelled from their universities, including signatories of a Peace Declaration in January 2016, which had condemned a military crackdown in Kurdish-majority cities and towns. Academics who did not sign the original declaration but issued a separate one later to defend the right to free speech after their colleagues faced a judicial onslaught were not spared either. Illustrating just how wide the net was cast, the list included medical professor Cihangir Islam, a prominent Islamic activist and husband of Merve Kavakci, the first veiled woman to be elected to the Turkish parliament.

Civics: FBI Director Comey: ‘There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America’

Mary Kay Mallonee and Eugene Scott:

There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey said at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity. He made the remark as he discussed the rise of encryption since 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed sensitive US spy practices.

“Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America,” Comey added. “In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any one of us to testify in court about those very private communications.”

But, he also said Americans “have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, in our cars, in our devices.

“It is a vital part of being an American. The government cannot invade our privacy without good reason, reviewable in court,” Comey continued.

4th Amendment.

Duckduckgo: privacy and the Constitution.

UW-Madison wins, UW-Milwaukee and Parkside lose under Scott Walker’s performance funding plan

Karen Herzog:

Consider the highly touted goal the UW System announced in April 2010 to boost the number of four-year degree holders in Wisconsin.

At the time, 26% of Wisconsin residents had a four-year college degree — a bit lower than the national average and significantly less than the 32% of Minnesota residents with a four-year degree.

The UW System announced it would raise the number of degrees campuses award each year by 30% over 15 years, with a goal of producing a total of 80,000 more four-year degree holders by 2025 than they would otherwise. To accomplish that, officials determined schools would have to confer 33,700 bachelor’s degrees annually by 2025, up from a rate of 24,766 bachelor’s degrees in 2009-’10.

In the last academic year — six years into the 15-year initiative — UW campuses awarded a total of 27,489 bachelor’s degrees. That’s 11% of the way toward the goal of a 30% increase over 15 years.

Attention, Student Protesters: Use Your Words

Megan McArdle:

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Or so we were told by our mothers. But events on both sides of continent in recent weeks seem to belie that old adage. A new generation of protesters has come to the conclusion that words do hurt — and that therefore, extreme measures, up to and including physical force, are justified to keep them from being spoken.

At Berkeley last month, a riot broke out over a speech planned by Milo Yiannopoulos, a sort of professional conservative troll who worked for Breitbart until a scandal over some hebephilic remarks cost him his job and his book contract. This was not simply setting things on fire or breaking a few windows (though those would have been quite bad enough); multiple people seem to have been beaten by the “antifas” (anti-fascists). In the videos that have been released so far, the anti-fascists look a lot closer Nazi brownshirts than the people they’re trying to stop. There was further violence this weekend in Berkeley at a pro-Trump march.

Then a few days ago, a speech by Charles Murray at Middlebury College in Vermont also turned violent, and a professor was injured as she walked with Murray after his speech. Murray has given his own personal account of what occurred, and a lengthy video of the proceedings is available on the web. They are not as frightening as what happened at Berkeley, but they are plenty horrifying enough: they shouted him down, refusing to allow him to speak, then banged on the building and pulled fire alarms when he was transferred him to a private room to do a streaming talk they were unable to disrupt. Finally, they tried to physically prevent him from leaving.

Radical change for struggling schools? It’s reliably doable.

Mitchell Chester and John White:

But without exception and irrespective of the policies involved, the radical changes we’re describing happened because local leaders had the courage to insist that schools operate in conditions politically difficult to achieve, but essential to success. Those conditions include:

* Leadership: Every success we’ve seen involves empowering a new leader to make decisions that unflinchingly put the needs of students first.

* Autonomy: Radical improvement requires control over staffing, budget, schedules and school culture in ways that are often politically hard in traditional school systems.

* Teacher leadership: Great schools always feature increased collaboration for teachers and a willingness to provide wider avenues for their leadership within the school.

* A third-party player: Nonprofits external to the school system have helped guide nearly every real transformation we’ve seen, because they provide not just guidance and support, but also political insulation and durability.

* Flexibility given community conditions: While they require these principles, successful changes aren’t cookie-cutter solutions; they vary with their communities and cannot be replicated by exact recipe.

* Accountability: It must be clear who is responsible for achieving results and what happens in the event things don’t work out.

It’s no accident that these are precisely the principles that apply to the creation of successful new schools in neighborhoods where schools struggle. Indeed, there is much evidence that new school creation can be a profoundly effective strategy.

Locally, Madison has continued with its long-term nondiverse governance model, this, despite decades long disastrous reading results.

Madison School District delays second Personalized Pathways implementation

Amber Walker:

The Madison Metropolitan School District will not add a second thematic learning community, or Personalized Pathway, at its high schools in the 2018-2019 school year as initially planned due to feedback from teachers, parents and community partners.

Alex Fralin, chief of secondary schools at MMSD, told the Madison School Board Monday night that pushing back the timeline will allow Pathways teams to evaluate the implementation process.

“We want to make sure that we are creating the space and the time for our teachers and our teams to go really deep, which is why we decided not to implement a second Pathway year two,” he said. “We also believe this will provide more time for a deeper study through an evaluation process.”

Personalized Pathways is a change to the current high school model. It emphasizes small learning communities where students take their core classes together, all tied to a central theme. The first theme, or Pathway, is health services. MMSD argues that the model will keep students engaged in their learning and allow them to graduate “college, career and community ready.”

Across MMSD, over 500 eighth graders applied to be a part of the health services Pathway when they enter high school in the 2017-2018 school year. Each high school has a cohort ranging in size from 112 to 130 students. Demand exceeded the amount of spaces available for Pathways at East and La Follette, where there are waitlists for students. Two-thirds of the Pathways cohort identify as students of color, and 58 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. Students who are already in high school are not affected by the Pathways implementation.

Related: English 10

As students move away from the humanities, universities adapt

Simona Choise:

Until a couple of years ago, Emma Thompson thought she would study theatre or music in university. She had been involved in musical theatre and decided to attend a specialized Toronto arts high school.

But in grade 11, a physics teacher sparked her interest in science. He helped her look for summer internships and choose the kind of high-school courses top engineering or science programs would require. So this fall, Ms. Thompson applied to half a dozen such university programs and is now waiting to hear which have accepted her. Already, Ryerson University has offered early admission.

“I am still taking musical theatre,” she said. “It’s a lot of work all the time, [but] … I want to keep the arts as a hobby, as something I could do as an extracurricular in university,” Ms. Thompson said.

Tyler Cowen On America’s ‘Complacent Class’: How Self-Segregation Is Leading To Stagnation

Heidi Glenn:

In a new book, The Complacent Class, economist Tyler Cowen argues that the United States is standing still.

People have grown more risk averse and are reluctant to switch jobs or move to another state, he says, and the desire to innovate — to grow and change — has gone away.

In an interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Cowen says he’s worried that more and more communities are self-segregating — by income, education or race.

“We’re making decisions that are rational and even pleasurable from an individual point of view, but when everyone in society behaves this way — to cement in their own security, their own mobility — social mobility as a whole goes down, inequality goes up, many measures of segregation go up,” he says. “And ultimately a bill for this comes due.”

The American Scholar: On Political Correctness

William Deresiewicz:

Let us eschew the familiar examples: the disinvited speakers, the Title IX tribunals, the safe zones stocked with Play-Doh, the crusades against banh mi. The flesh-eating bacterium of political correctness, which feeds preferentially on brain tissue, and which has become endemic on elite college campuses, reveals its true virulence not in the sorts of high-profile outbreaks that reach the national consciousness, but in the myriad of ordinary cases—the everyday business-as-usual at institutions around the country—that are rarely even talked about.

A clarification, before I continue (since deliberate misconstrual is itself a tactic of the phenomenon in question). By political correctness, I do not mean the term as it has come to be employed on the right—that is, the expectation of adherence to the norms of basic decency, like refraining from derogatory epithets. I mean its older, intramural denotation: the persistent attempt to suppress the expression of unwelcome beliefs and ideas.