$1.2 Billion in Property Tax Increases Up for Vote in November School Referenda (Madison, by far the largest)

Ola Lisowski:

Voters will consider nearly $1.2 billion in property tax increases in the November election, thanks to school district referenda. Taxpayers in 41 school districts across the state will consider a total of 51 questions on their ballots for projects ranging from brand new buildings, upgrades to existing facilities and permission to spend beyond state-imposed property tax protections and 

The vast majority of the referenda, totaling $925 million, would issue new debt. Twenty-one different referendum questions across the state will ask taxpayers to issue new debt for various school projects. 

According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), 77 percent of the referenda up for vote will issue debt directly to taxpayers. Another 19 percent are non-recurring or one-time increases on district spending caps, while recurring increases to spending camps make up the remaining 4 percent.

Of the districts asking to issue new debt, the Madison Metropolitan referendum question is by far the largest. Madison voters will consider whether to issue $317 million in debt to build a new elementary school, combine Madison High East and West into a single school, among many other renovations and improvements. 

Recent reports show enrollment in the district fell by more than 1,000 students in the last year.

Much more on Madison’s substantial Fall 2020 tax & spending increase referendum, here.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: The next economic crisis: Empty retail space

Katy O’Donnell:

Because the crisis has hit some places and industries much harder than others, it’s difficult to get a clear, big picture of the market’s troubles — one reason lobbyists have struggled to convey the urgency to policymakers. Some assets have been wiped out, while others are thriving.

Hotels and retail, which together make up 40 percent of the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, have been hit the hardest. Months after lockdowns lifted, 1 out of every 2 hotel rooms remains unoccupied. Urban hotels, which have some of the largest operating costs, are faring the worst, with just 38 percent occupancy rates.

And retail, which was already struggling before Covid struck thanks to the rise of e-commerce, has seen its decline hasten. It’s not just small strip malls, either: The owner of the $1.9 billion Mall of America entered into an agreement with its special servicer in August to avoid foreclosure.

One quarter of all CMBS hotel loans are in special servicing today, compared with just 1.9 percent at the end of 2019. And 18.3 percent of retail loans are in special servicing, up from 5 percent at the end of last year.

Much more on Madison’s substantial Fall 2020 tax & spending increase referendum, here.

In a steely anti-government polemic, Betsy DeVos says America’s public schools are designed to replace home and family

Valerie Strauss:

In 2015, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos declared that “government really sucks” — and after serving nearly four years as U.S. education secretary, she has not tempered that view one iota. She gave a speech this week at a Christian college disparaging the U.S. public education system, saying it is set up to replace the home and family.

“The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: 4 in 10 Children Live in a Household Struggling to Afford Basics

cbpp:

More than 4 in 10 children live in households that struggle to meet usual household expenses, our analysis of Census Bureau data released today finds. Along with other data showing that hardship has significantly worsened due to COVID-19 and the recession that it spurred, the figures underscore the need for policymakers to agree on a strong, bipartisan economic relief package.

An estimated 42 percent of children live in households that reported it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans, according to CBPP analysis of detailed data collected from September 16 to 28 from Census’ Household Pulse Survey. By contrast, 27 percent of adults in households without children reported that it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses. Between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where children didn’t eat enough because the household couldn’t afford it.

The detailed data released today allow a closer look at the hardship findings that Census released on October 7, which showed hardship rates for adults from September 16 to 28. Our new analysis focuses on children, whose hardship rates for that period are higher. Hardship can inflict lasting harm on children’s health and education, studies show.

Much more on Madison’s Fall 2020 tax & spending increase referendum, here.

NU Community Not Cops calls on President Schapiro to resign following his condemnation of abolitionist protests

Isabelle Sarraf and James Pollard:

Standing outside University President Morton Schapiro’s house, students led by Northwestern Community Not Cops, a campaign demanding the abolition of University Police, called for Schapiro’s resignation Monday night.

Several hours earlier, Schapiro sent an email saying NU has no intentions to abolish UP after a week of ongoing protests led by the group.

“Your students see through you, Morton,” NU Community Not Cops said in a statement. “Black people are not safe anywhere in a world with police, including in their homes, a reality that Black students at Northwestern also contend with.” 

Over 200 students participated in the eighth straight day of action to abolish UP and invest in Black students. The group, flanked by students walking with bicycles, was trailed by 12 officers on bikes. The officers were part of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System Mobile Field Force, a group created in 1994 to maximize “the effectiveness of initial response efforts by police when a major civil disturbance occurs.”

Teaching white privilege as uncontested fact is illegal, minister says Kemi Badenoch

Jessica Murray:

Schools which teach pupils that “white privilege” is an uncontested fact are breaking the law, the women and equalities minister has said.

Addressing MPs during a Commons debate on Black History Month, Kemi Badenoch said the government does not want children being taught about “white privilege and their inherited racial guilt”.

“Any school which teaches these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law,” she said.

She added that schools have a statutory duty to remain politically impartial and should not openly support “the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group”.

Badenoch was speaking in response to Labour MP Dawn Butler, who had told the Commons that black children are made to feel inferior by what they are taught in school and history “needs to be decolonised”.

“At the moment history is taught to make one group of people feel inferior and another group of people feel superior, and this has to stop,” Butler said.

Top Universities Took Billions in Unreported Foreign Funds, U.S. Finds

Aruna Viswanatha and Melissa Korn:

Cornell University initially failed to report to U.S. authorities more than $1.2 billion in foreign funds it has received in recent years, including $760 million related to its campus in Qatar and about $1 million in contracts from Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co., the U.S. Education Department indicated in its latest report on schools and foreign contracts.

The names of Cornell and other universities are redacted in a report the department released Tuesday, but are identifiable based on other details provided in the report and related correspondence by the department with the schools.

The 34-page report provides an update to a broad investigation the Education Department undertook last year into whether U.S. universities are appropriately reporting all foreign contracts and gifts that total more than $250,000 in one year. It isn’t illegal to take such funds, but universities are obligated to disclose them under a statute that is decades old but hasn’t been vigorously enforced in past years.

The Cost of the Trump and Biden Campaign Plans

CRFB:

Whoever is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, will face many fiscal challenges over his term. Under current law, trillion-dollar annual budget deficits will become the new normal, even after the current public health emergency subsides. Meanwhile, the national debt is projected to exceed the post-World War II record high over the next four-year term and reach twice the size of the economy within 30 years. Four major trust funds are also headed for insolvency, including the Highway and Medicare Hospital Insurance trust funds, within the next presidential term.

The national debt was growing rapidly before the necessary borrowing to combat the COVID-19 crisis, and this trajectory will continue after the crisis ends. Fiscal irresponsibility prior to the pandemic worsened structural deficits that were already growing due to rising health and retirement costs and insufficient revenue.

The country’s large and growing national debt threatens to slow economic growth, constrain the choices available to future policymakers, and is ultimately unsustainable. Yet neither presidential candidate has a plan to address the growth in debt. In fact, we find both candidates’ plans are likely to increase the debt.

Civics: Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis

Marcella Alsan , Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer, Minjeong Joyce Kim, Stefanie Stantcheva, David Y. Yang:

The respect for and protection of civil liberties are one of the fundamental roles of the state, and many consider civil liberties as sacred and “nontradable.” Using cross-country representative surveys that cover 15 countries and over 370,000 respondents, we study whether and the extent to which citizens are willing to trade off civil liberties during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the largest crises in recent history. We find four main results. First, many around the world reveal a clear willingness to trade off civil liberties for improved public health conditions. Second, consistent across countries, exposure to health risks is associated with citizens’ greater willingness to trade off civil liberties, though individuals who are more economically disadvantaged are less willing to do so. Third, attitudes concerning such trade-offs are elastic to information. Fourth, we document a gradual decline and then plateau in citizens’ overall willingness to sacrifice rights and freedom as the pandemic progresses, though the underlying correlation between individuals’ worry about health and their attitudes over the trade-offs has been remarkably constant. Our results suggest that citizens do not view civil liberties as sacred values; rather, they are willing to trade off civil liberties more or less readily, at least in the short-run, depending on their own circumstances and information.

10 Tips for Camping With Kids and Babies

Phil Morgan:

Taking a kid camping? Intimidating, yes—but if you equip yourself with a bit of know-how, mitigate risk, and practice overall good judgement, a night in the woods with a tot in tow is not only possible but also actually rollicking good fun.
share this article
flipboard

For years, my wife, Ella, and I wandered relentlessly. We guided whitewater rafting trips on North Carolina’s Nantahala River, camped up and down the Appalachians, and spent entire summers backpacking Latin America. When our baby boy Gabriel came along, all of that changed. We mostly stayed home “nesting,” as they call it.

Growing soft, moody, and restless, we decided it was time for our first overnight backpacking camping trip as a family. For young kids, after all, a camping trip marks the commencement of an era, the beginning of a glorious childhood spent exploring the outdoors. Here are the lessons we gleaned along the way:

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: 2021 City of Madison Budget Brief

Wisconsin Policy Forum:

As we noted in our first Madison budget brief last year, Wisconsin’s capital city relies heavily on a single source of revenue – local property taxes – that is limited by state law. Because of these restrictions, the proposed budget would increase 2021 property taxes on this December’s bills by one of the smallest percentages in years even as other forms of revenues — such as charges for city services, interest income, and fines — will remain depressed amid the pandemic. Add in labor contract commitments for healthy raises for police and firefighters and lagging state aid and the result is a $16.5 million potential budget gap for the coming year.

To avoid the shortfall, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is asking the Madison city council to make some permanent spending cuts and accept some one-time measures such as furloughs and a substantial use of the city fund balance. Together, the current proposal and the city’s likely future revenues leave a high probability that a new shortfall for 2022 will appear next fall. In other closely watched areas, the city would increase rather than cut police spending and push off some capital projects such as the rollout of bus rapid transit.

A substantial Madison School District tax & spending increase referendum is on the November ballot.

PISA 2018 Results (Volume VI)

OECD, via a kind reader:

OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) examines what students know in reading, mathematics and science, and what they can do with what they know. It provides the most comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of student learning outcomes to date. Results from PISA indicate the quality and equity of learning outcomes attained around the world, and allow educators and policy makers to learn from the policies and practices applied in other countries. This is one of six volumes that present the results of the PISA 2018 survey, the seventh round of the triennial assessment. Volume VI: Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World? explores students’ ability to examine issues of local, global and cultural significance; understand and appreciate the perspectives and worldviews of others; engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions across cultures; and take action for collective well-being and sustainable development. The volume explores students’ outcomes on the cognitive test and corresponding questionnaire in addition to their experiences of global and intercultural learning at school and beyond.

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: ‘This is going to be a long haul’: Local taverns close for the winter

Lindsay Christians:

“It’s not an economic environment or a political environment for a business like mine to stay open,” Warnke said. “The government can’t get its stuff together. We can’t control the pandemic, and it’s getting worse in Wisconsin. I’m looking at it, going … this might be the right time to gracefully exit, before I run out of cash.”

It’s small comfort to Warnke that he and Rockhound are not alone. Beloved breakfast spot Manna Café on the north side, elegant Graft on the Capitol Square, Charlie’s on Main in Oregon with its hidden speakeasy and the family friendly Italian spot Vin Santo in Middleton — all have been casualties of COVID-19.

Much more on Madison’s Fall 2020 tax & spending increase referendum, here.

Teacher Union Climate Commentary

Mike Antonucci:

I provide a lot of criticism of teacher unions on this site, so in the interest of balance, here are a couple of stories from major publications portraying them in a holy light.

* “New teachers union boss fighting Trump, school reopening battles” by Nicole Gaudiano in Politico, is a profile of new National Education Association President Becky Pringle.

Pringle said a second Trump term wouldn’t stop the union’s work in states that are supportive of public education or its fight, for example, for the inclusion of ethnic studies in schools. And the union will keep pushing aggressively for safety and equity in schools during the pandemic through strikes, protests and sickouts — or by backing lawsuits, as it has in Florida, Iowa and Georgia, she said.

…Pringle’s tenure begins during a national moment of reckoning on racial justice, which is the very reason she became involved in unions.

Lily Eskelsen García, who headed the union before Pringle, said her successor “changed the conversation” within NEA around racial justice issues in education and led that work as the union’s vice president.

“As we talked about, ‘How do we get test scores up?’ And she’d say, ‘Shut up about the test scores. Why don’t these kids have the resources, the staff, the class size?’” Eskelsen García recalled.

* “The Teacher Unions Reinvigorating Progressive Politics” by Lauren Anderson in the Harvard Political Review, takes us on a slow tour of recent teacher union activism.

End the School Shutdown

David R. Henderson and Ryan Sullivan:

Tens of millions of students started the school year completely online, including those in 13 of the 15 largest school districts in the U.S. The primary reason is concern over safety for students and staff. But recent data are shifting the discussion on school safety and infection rates of Covid-19. They argue strongly for opening K-12 schools.

Previous evidence has suggested that schools are not superspreaders. That research came from other countries (whose rates and environments are different) or very specific cases in America, such as YMCA summer camps. While this suggested little impact on infection rates from opening the schools, it was possible that the unique environment of U.S. public schools would cause different outcomes.

Thinking Forward: New Ideas for a New Era of Public Education

Robin Lake:

Marking CRPE’s 25th anniversary, this volume of essays rethinks foundational aspects of the current education system, from funding to accountability to equity, with an eye toward preparing every student for the future. The goal is not to propose what the education system of the future ought to look like, but to reexamine past assumptions, look for gaps in existing education policies and reforms, and offer provocative new ideas to address them.

These essays consider ways to unbundle learning. But they also focus on the rebundling, elevating concerns about social mobility, opportunity for the disadvantaged, educational coherence, and safeguards for the public interest that have always been a part of the unique lens through which CRPE views the future of public education.

Many questions—and potential risks—exist in even a gradual transition to more agile, student-centered learning systems. Yet, fundamentally rigid and inequitable structures prevent the current system from doing what is necessary to meet the needs of all students. Stagnant debates over issues that have long been the focus of education reformers—funding, parental choice, school accountability—demand an injection of fresh thinking that can awaken new political coalitions and bridge long-standing divides.

Teen’s COVID speech lawsuit tied up in court

MD Kittle:

The lawsuit of an Oxford, Wis. teen threatened with arrest for posting on Instagram that she had COVID-19 remains mired in delays six months after her parents took the sheriff’s department to court.

Luke Berg, deputy counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), tells Empower Wisconsin that Amyiah Cohoon and her parents are still waiting for the U.S. District Court to rule.

“The case was recently re-assigned to the newly appointed Judge (Brett) Ludwig, so hopefully we’ll get a decision sooner since he has less of a backlog,” Berg said.

WILL is suing Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and Sergeant Cameron Klump, alleging they violated Amyiah Cohoon’s First Amendment rights. The Milwaukee-based public interest law firm is representing the girl and her parents, Rick and Angela Cohoon.

As Empower Wisconsin reported, on March 27 Klump threatened to cite or jail Amyiah or her parents if she did not remove the social network post indicating she was recovering from COVID-19, according to the lawsuit.

US Undergrad Student Enrollment

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Fall 2020 Enrollment (As of Sept 24)

Enrollment picture worsens, with more colleges reporting data. Roughly one month into the fall semester, undergraduate enrollment is running 4.0 percent below last year’s level, and the upward trend for graduate enrollment has slipped to 2.7 percent. Overall postsecondary enrollment is down 3.0 percent as of September 24.

Most strikingly, first-time students are by far the biggest decline of any student group from last year (-16.1% nationwide and -22.7% at community colleges).

All student groups identified on a path of decline in the First Look report have fallen further.

Wisconsin Dells School District will switch cleaning products after students report clothing damage

Erica Dynes:

Wisconsin Dells School District will switch its disinfectant to clean frequently touched surfaces to kill the COVID-19 virus after reports of damage to students’ clothing.

Buildings and Grounds Director Scott Walsh said the school district will switch from using Vital Oxide to a hydrogen peroxide based disinfectant product after reports from parents saying their childrens’ clothing have been damaged from the product. He said the high school will switch products this week while the middle and elementary school will also discontinue the use of Vital Oxide.

Walsh said he received some complaints from the high school level about damaged clothing while some have also come at the elementary school level.

“It hasn’t been a lot of complaints,” Walsh said.

Walsh believed students would sit on the treated surface before it had dried, which might have damaged clothing. The disinfectant also could have affected certain fabrics or dyes in the clothing, he said.

Idaho parents fight to ensure the teachers union won’t shut down schools again

Liberty Justice Center:

As the West Ada School District announced it would reopen on Wednesday, a group of parents filed a lawsuit arguing this week’s “sick out” was an illegal union strike, and that the teachers union cannot use the threat of another work stoppage to force the district to meet its demands.

“After weeks and months of preparing to return to school, the teachers union held kids’ education hostage because it was not happy with the reopening plans agreed upon by school officials and the community. Not only is this type of behavior morally reprehensible and harmful to our kids, it’s illegal,” said Dustin Hurst, vice president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which is supporting the parents in this lawsuit. “The teachers union must know that it cannot threaten to withhold education from our kids in order to pressure the community to meet its demands.”

The parents are represented by attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that won a pivotal Supreme Court case against the government unions in 2018.

How does Google’s monopoly hurt you? Try these searches.

Geoffrey Fowler:

Let’s Google together. Open a Web browser and search for T-shirts. I’ll wait.

Is the first thing you see a search result? I’m not talking about the stuff labeled Ads or Maps. On my screen, the actual result is not in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or even eighth row of stuff. It’s buried on row nine.

Googling didn’t used to require so much … scrolling. On some searches, it’s like Where’s Waldo but for information.

Without us even realizing it, the Internet’s most-used website has been getting worse. On too many queries, Google is more interested in making search lucrative than a better product for us.

There’s one reason it gets away with this, according to a recent congressional investigation: Google is so darn big. An impending antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department is expected to make a similar point.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Google services, including Madison.

Civics: What Explains Temporal and Geographic Variation in the Early US Coronavirus Pandemic?

Hunt Allcott, Levi Boxell, Jacob C. Conway, Billy A. Ferguson, Matthew Gentzkow, Benny Goldman:

We provide new evidence on the drivers of the early US coronavirus pandemic. We combine an epidemiological model of disease transmission with quasi-random variation arising from the timing of stay-at-home orders to estimate the causal roles of policy interventions and voluntary social distancing. We then relate the residual variation in disease transmission rates to observable features of cities. We estimate significant impacts of policy and social distancing responses, but we show that the magnitude of policy effects is modest, and most social distancing is driven by voluntary responses. Moreover, we show that neither policy nor rates of voluntary social distancing explain a meaningful share of geographic variation. The most important predictors of which cities were hardest hit by the pandemic are exogenous characteristics such as population and density.

Students from northern England facing ‘toxic attitude’ at Durham University

Nazia Parveen:

Students from northern England are being ridiculed over their accents and backgrounds at one of the country’s leading universities, and even forced out, according to a report compiled by a Durham student.

Lauren White, 20, is demanding action after interviews with fellow northern students at Durham revealed a “toxic attitude” towards them from some peers and tutors. Its vice-chancellor said her report highlighted unacceptable behaviours at odds with the university’s values and that the findings would be looked into.

Last year a freedom of information request revealed that on average 7.8% of graduates over the last five years from Durham University – one of the country’s best-rated institutions – were from the north-east England.

Two years ago, White, who grew up 15 miles from Durham and is in her third year, found herself in this minority. She said discrimination and ridiculing of her local roots began almost immediately.

“At first when they mocked and mimicked my accent, I sort of went along with it, even laughed, but then when I persistently became the butt of jokes about coalmining and started to get called feral because I was local it started to feel malicious,” she said.

Civics: Why can’t we talk about the Great Barrington Declaration?

Tony Young:

You probably haven’t heard of the Great Barrington Declaration. This is a petition started by three scientists on October 4 calling for governments to adopt a policy of ‘focused protection’ when it comes to COVID-19. They believe those most at risk should be offered protection — although it shouldn’t be mandatory — and those not at risk, which is pretty much everyone under 65 without an underlying health condition, should be encouraged to return to normal. In this way, the majority will get infected and then recover, gradually building up herd immunity, and that in turn will mean the elderly and the vulnerable no longer have to hide themselves away. According to these experts, this is the tried and tested way of managing the risk posed by a new infectious disease, dating back thousands of years.

The three scientists who created it aren’t outliers or cranks, but professors at Oxford, Harvard and Stanford. And since its launch, the declaration been signed by tens of thousands of epidemiologists and public health scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner. So why haven’t you heard of it? The short answer is there’s been a well-orchestrated attempt to suppress and discredit it. I searched for it on Google last Saturday and the top link was to an article in an obscure left-wing magazine claiming the petition was the work of a ‘climate science denial network’ funded by a right-wing billionaire. The top video link was to a Channel 4 News report in which Devi Sridhar, a public health advisor to the Scottish government, denounced the declaration as not ‘scientific’. A bit rich considering Devi’s PhD is in social anthropology, whereas Sunetra Gupta, one of the petition’s authors, is a global expert on infectious diseases. In the first 10 pages of Google search results, not one took me to the actual declaration.

It is hard to find any mention of it on Reddit, the world’s best-known discussion website. The two most popular subreddits devoted to the virus — r/COVID19 and r/Coronavirus — have excised all references to it, with the moderators of the latter denouncing it as ‘spam’. A similar line has been taken by nearly all left-leaning newspapers. TheGuardian ran an article on the declaration last Saturday, but only to flag up that its more than 400,000 signatories included a handful of dubious-sounding ‘experts’, such as ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’ and ‘Prof Cominic Dummings’. Hardly surprising, given that lockdown zealots have been openly encouraging their followers on social media to sign up with fake names.

K-12 Tax, Spending and Referendum Climate: 8 million Americans slipped into poverty amid coronavirus pandemic, new study says

Stefan Sykes:

The number of Americans living in poverty grew by 8 million since May, according to a Columbia University study, which found an increase in poverty rates after early coronavirus relief ended without more to follow.

Although the federal Cares Act, which gave Americans a one-time stimulus check of $1,200 and unemployed workers an extra $600 each week, was successful at offsetting growing poverty rates in the spring, the effects were short-lived, researchers found in the study published Thursday.

After aid diminished toward the end of summer, poverty rates, especially those among minorities and children, rebounded, they said.

“The Cares Act, despite its flaws, was broadly successful in preventing large increases in poverty,” said Zach Parolin, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University and one of the study’s authors.

The federal stimulus saved about 18 million Americans from poverty in April, he said, but as of September, that number is down to 4 million.

Madison has a substantial property tax & spending increase referendum on the 2020 November ballot.

Google’s Penalty Against the Online Slang Dictionary

Walter:

This website has been penalized by Google under suspicious circumstances. The penalty causes our web pages to appear at lower positions in Google’s search results than what they’ve earned on their merit. It is an intentional, hidden, manual penalty executed by Google against this site.

Publicly, the company says that websites can discover and fight these manual penalties via a tool they provide. What they don’t disclose is that Google can and does execute hidden penalties against sites. Since they’re hidden, there’s no way for site owners to respond to – or even know about – the fact that Google is intentionally limiting visitors to their sites. Websites live or die based on people visiting the site. This means that Google kills websites in private, with no recourse for the site owners. And there is no oversight or accountability.

To my knowledge, Google’s ability to destroy websites in this manner has not been disclosed before.

I was only made aware of the penalty after a whistle-blower informed me of it.

Separately, when confronted about this hidden penalty, a Google employee lied to me and to the public about it. That Google employee is Matt Cutts, the former head of the Google team that executes penalties against websites. He quietly left the company after an extended “sabbatical” and, tellingly, no one has been hired to replace him.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts use Google services, including Madison.

Boston parents square off over entrance exam proposal

Gal Tziperman:

Those were the dueling messages traded Sunday by parents, alumni, and others who made clear where they stand on a controversial proposal to eliminate for the next school year the test students must pass to enter one of Boston’s three prestigious exam schools.

A working group appointed by School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius recommended this month suspending the test for the 2021-2022 school year for Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group noted that the test would be difficult to administer safely during the pandemic under public health guidelines, and that the COVID-19 crisis has already made day-to-day life more difficult for families who are low-income, Black, or Latino.

The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights

The Economist:

People were hungry during lockdown. So Francis Zaake, a Ugandan member of parliament, bought some rice and sugar and had it delivered to his neediest constituents. For this charitable act, he was arrested. Mr Zaake is a member of the opposition, and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that only the government may hand out food aid. Anyone else who does so can be charged with murder, Mr Museveni has threatened, since they might do it in a disorderly way, attract crowds and thereby spread the coronavirus.

Mr Zaake had been careful not to put his constituents at risk. Rather than having crowds converge on one place to pick up the food parcels, he had them delivered to people’s doors by motorbike-taxi. Nonetheless, the next day police and soldiers jumped over his fence while he was showering and broke into his house. They dragged him into a van and threw him in a cell. He says they beat, kicked and cut him, crushed his testicles, sprayed a blinding chemical into his eyes, called him a dog and told him to quit politics. He claims that one sneered: “We can do whatever we want to you or even kill you…No one will demonstrate for you because they are under lockdown.” The police say he inflicted the injuries on himself and is fishing for sympathy with foreign donors.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Mad, Mad World of Niche Sports Among Ivy League–Obsessed Parents

Ruth Barrett:

On paper, Sloane, a buoyant, chatty, stay-at-home mom from Fairfield County, Connecticut, seems almost unbelievably well prepared to shepherd her three daughters through the roiling world of competitive youth sports. She played tennis and ran track in high school and has an advanced degree in behavioral medicine. She wrote her master’s thesis on the connection between increased aerobic activity and attention span. She is also versed in statistics, which comes in handy when she’s analyzing her eldest daughter’s junior-squash rating—and whiteboarding the consequences if she doesn’t step up her game. “She needs at least a 5.0 rating, or she’s going to Ohio State,” Sloane told me.

She laughed: “I don’t mean to throw Ohio State under the bus. It’s an amazing school with amazing school spirit.”

But a little over a year ago, during the Fourth of July weekend, Sloane began to think that maybe it was time to call it quits. She was crouched in the vestibule of the Bay Club in Redwood City, strategizing on the phone with her husband about a “malicious refereeing” dispute that had victimized her daughter at the California Summer Gold tournament. He had his own problem. In Columbus, Ohio, at the junior-fencing nationals with the couple’s two younger girls and son, he reported that their middle daughter, a 12-year-old saber fencer, had been stabbed in the jugular during her first bout. The wound was right next to the carotid artery, and he was withdrawing her from the tournament and flying home.

She’d been hurt before while fencing—on one occasion gashed so deeply in the thigh that blood seeped through her pants—but this was the first time a blade had jabbed her in the throat. It was a Fourth of July massacre.

[Question] Is Stupidity Expanding? Some Hypotheses.

David Gross:

To be ex­plained: It feels to me that in re­cent years, peo­ple have got­ten stupi­der, or that stupid has got­ten big­ger, or that the parts of peo­ple that were always stupid have got­ten louder, or some­thing like that.

I’ve come up with a suite of hy­pothe­ses to ex­plain this (with a lit­tle help from my friends). I thought I’d throw them out here to see which ones the wise crowd here think are most likely. Bonus points if you come up with some new ones. Gold stars if you can rule some out based on ex­ist­ing data or can pro­pose tests by which they might be ren­dered more or less plau­si­ble.

The hy­pothe­ses come in two broad fam­i­lies: 1) my feel­ing that stupid is ex­pand­ing is an illu­sion or mis­per­cep­tion, and 2) stupid is ex­pand­ing and here is why:

1 I have be­come more at­tuned to stu­pidity for [rea­sons], so even though there is no more of it than usual, it stands out more to me. (Baader-Mein­hof phe­nomenon)

2 What used to look like non-stu­pidity was ac­tu­ally wide­spread con­for­mity to a com­mon menu of fool­ish­nesses. To­day the cul­tural bea­cons of re­spectable idiocy have been over­thrown and there is in­creas­ing di­ver­sity in fool­ish­ness. Diver­gent fools seem more fool­ish to each other when in fact we’re all just as stupid as we’ve always been.

Why Are Some Bilingual People Dyslexic in English but Not Their Other Language?

Neuroscience news:

Summary: The characteristics of language structure and writing system may explain why some bilingual people are dyslexic in English, but not in their other proficient language.

Source: Brunel University

In the English-speaking world, dyslexia is a learning disorder we’re all familiar with – if we don’t have it ourselves or have a friend or family member that struggles with it, we’re likely to have known someone at school or university who found reading and writing trickier than their peers.

n fact, more than 1 in 10 people that grew up with English as their first language are said to have dyslexia, with wide consensus pointing towards a person’s genetic history as the leading cause. One, it would appear, is either born dyslexic or not.

So, how then have we ended up with the phenomenon that some people who speak both English and another language can be dyslexic in one, but not the other?

Vote NO! for better schools; Referendums should have Price Tags….


Madison LaFollette High School Saturday, 17 October 2020.

2020 Madison School District Tax & Spending Increase Referendum: David Blaska:

Another election is approaching, which means the Madison school district has its hands out for more money. Time to do like Sister Mary Rosaria and slap that hand with a steel-edge ruler!

The Madison Metropolitan School District seeks a one-time infusion of $317 million to fix stuff, buy a new boiler, etc. (Let’s hope they get a Menard’s BIG® card for savings on gasoline at Kwik Trip.) Got to think spending on bricks and mortar will be a hard sell when buildings have been empty since March and won’t fill back up until after Christmas — if then! Distance learning, home schooling — once the hobgoblin of the teachers union — is now the new normal. And can’t MMSD ever schedule maintenance?!

former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz:

But here’s the thing. Unless you’ve been following this stuff closely, you would have no idea what this actually means for your tax bill. The referendum questions include only the gross dollar amounts, but no information about what it will cost the average homeowner.

If both referendums are approved, taxes on the average $311,000 home would go up a whopping $470 or so when the new spending is fully implemented in a few years. If every voter knew that it would make it a tougher sell, which is why, I suspect, that information isn’t on the ballot.

Almost $500 is a lot to ask for in any year, but in the context of COVID-induced furloughs, pay reductions and outright job losses this may be an even harder sell than usual. Nonetheless, more information is always better. The Legislature loves to mess around in local government and shortchange local control in counter-productive ways. But one thing they should do is mandate that all referendum questions include information on the impact to the tax bill on the average home in the community.

…..

Finally, they’ve made so little progress on the racial achievement gap that in August a group of Black leaders came out against the referendums to send a message. They note that 90% of Black students cannot read or do math at grade level. In their statement they write, “We have not been presented with evidence that links additional public expenditures with increasing the academic performance of African American students. More of the same for African American students is unacceptable.”

Much more on the 2020 tax & spending increase referendum, here.

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

The outcome of this substantial tax & spending increase referendum may be informative vis a vis civic awareness, governance and the stomach for the present system. Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K-12 spending and taxes, while tolerating disastrous reading results.

The Madison School District recently sought a waiver for the State of Wisconsin’s civic education requirement.

I wonder what the implications of a reduction in Madison’s property tax base might be for this referendum – and homeowners? More.

San Diego Unified School District Changes Grading System to ‘Combat Racism

Alexis Rivas:

Students will no longer be graded based on a yearly average, or on how late they turn in assignments. Those are just some of the major grading changes approved this week by California’s second-largest school district.

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is overhauling the way it grades students. Board members say the changes are part of a larger effort to combat racism.

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” says SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.”

The taxpayer supported Madison school district has also implemented grading changes.

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: California Exodus: An online industry seizes COVID-19 to sell the Red State Dream

Lauren Hepler:

Exit California is emblematic of a growing number of online relocation companies marketed heavily on social media. They target prospective transplants who skew white, right and over age 30, though renters post alongside members in the market for million-dollar houses. Between photos of tidy brick facades, crystal-clear pools and recommended moving truck routes, the Facebook pages revolve around ominous articles about Black Lives Matter protests, crime, immigration and, of late, pandemic shutdowns. 

Prospective movers who click through to the website can pick a state — Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas — and see financial incentives to use selected realtors, mortgage lenders or other service providers. Beyond the mechanics of buying a house, the online groups are a platform for places to pitch fed-up Californians who don’t know where to start. 

“There’s a fair percentage of them that don’t know where they wanna go,” said Scott Fuller, an Arizona transplant and real estate investor who started LeavingTheBayArea.com and LeavingSoCal.com three years ago. “They just know they want to go somewhere else.” 

“I’ve heard parents say that they feel like their children have wilted,”

David Wahlberg:

Suicides are up in Dane County this year compared to last year, especially among youth and young adults, with mental health providers seeing a link to COVID-19 and a related uptick in treatment for depression.

The county had 57 suicides this year as of last week, more than the total of 54 for all of last year, according to preliminary data collected by Journey Mental Health Center, said Hannah Flanagan, its director of emergency services .

Among people age 24 and younger, 15 suicides were reported as of mid-September, up from eight for all of last year. Suicides are also up for ages 25 to 38, according to this year’s unofficial data, Flanagan said.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Where are All the Successful Rationalists?

Applied divinity studies:

It’s been 13 years since Yudkowsky published the sequences, and 11 years since he wrote “Rationality is Systematized Winning“.

So where are all the winners?

The people that jump to mind are Nick Bostrom (Oxford Professor of Philosophy, author), Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld (run OpenPhil and GiveWell, directing ~300M in annual donations) and Will MacAskill (Oxford Professor of Philosophy, author).

But somehow that feels like cheating. We know rationalism is a good meme, so it doesn’t seem fair to cite people whose accomplishments are largely built off of convincing someone else that rationalism is important. They’re successful, but at a meta-level, only in the same way Steve Bannon is successful, and to a much lesser extent.

By comparison, Miyamoto Musashi, who Yudkowsky quotes extensively in the post, and who coined the phrase “the Ichi school is the spirit of winning”, appears to have been one of the greatest swordsmen of his era. According to Wikipedia, he:

  • Fought duels against the most famous schools in Kyoto, and never lost
  • Defeated an “adept” at age 13
  • Was granted the title “Unrivaled Under Heaven” by the shogun at 21
  • Single handedly ended the Yoshioka School by defeating 3 masters, and then a 70 person ambush of followers

The World Henry Ford Made

Justin Vassallo:

Forging Global Fordism: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order

Stefan J. Link

Princeton University Press, $39.95 (cloth)

The utopian ideal of globalization has imploded over the past decade. Rising demand in Western countries for greater state control over the economy reflects a range of grievances, from a chronic shortage of well-compensated work to a sense of national decline. In the United States, the dearth of domestic supply chains exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened alarm over the acute infrastructural weaknesses decades of outsourced production have created. Post-industrial society, rather than an advanced stage of shared affluence, is not only more unequal but fundamentally insecure. Rich but increasingly oligarchic countries are experiencing what we might call, following scholars of democratization, a dramatic “de-consolidation” of development.

RUN FOR OFFICE – 2021 SPRING ELECTIONS: MADISON SCHOOL BOARD SEAT 2

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results

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

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

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

Madison School Board.

Run for local office details.

Key Dates:

December 1, 2020: Nomination Papers may be circulated.

December 25, 2020: Deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file Notice of Non-Candidacy.

January 5, 2021 All papers and forms due in City Clerk’s Office at 5 p.m.

January 8, 2021 Deadline to challenge nomination papers.

PRIMARY DATE (if needed): February 16, 2021

ELECTION DATE: April 6, 2021

School Board campaign finance information.

** Note that just one of 7 local offices were competitive on my August, 2020 ballot. The District Attorney was unopposed (the linked article appeared after the election).

California teacher unions fight calls to reopen schools

Howard Blume and Laura Newberry:

As parents express widespread dissatisfaction with distance learning, two influential California teachers unions are pushing against growing momentum to reopen schools in many communities, saying that campuses are not yet safe enough amid the pandemic.

Leaders with the California Teachers Assn., with 300,000 members, and United Teachers Los Angeles, representing 30,000 in the state’s largest school district, said that districts do not have the resources to provide the level of protection they say is needed to bring teachers and children together in classrooms.

Related: Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’.

Recall Mount Horeb School Board Member Leah Lipska.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

West Ada cancels school Monday after more than 650 teachers call out sick

CBS2:

Hundreds of teachers are taking a sick day for Monday, according to the West Ada School District, one day after the board voted in favor of a hybrid schedule.

A spokeswoman for the district says out of 2,145 classroom teachers, 652 have taken a sick day for Monday.

The sick calls leave approximately 500 positions unfilled, the district’s superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Ranells, said in a letter to parents.

“Principals, administration, teachers and staff worked hard to cover the absences, but unfortunately, we cannot,” the letter said. “With safety in mind, and due to supervision concerns, we are regretfully unable to hold school Monday.

The district will “reassess the situation” on Monday, the letter said.

Related: Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’.

Recall Mount Horeb School Board Member Leah Lipska.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Beware the Casual Polymath

Applied divinity studies:

We live in times of great disaggregation, and yet, seem to learn increasingly from generalists.

In the past, an expert in one field of Psychology might have been forced to teach a broad survey class. Today, you could have each lecture delivered by the world’s leading expert.

Outside of academia, you might follow one writer’s account to learn about SaaS pricing, another to understand the intricacies of the electoral college, and yet another to understand personal finance. In economic terms, content disaggregation enabled by digital platforms ought to create efficiencies through intellectual hyper-specialization.

Instead, we have the endless hellscape of the casual polymath. A newsletter about venture capital will find time to opine on herd immunity. The tech blog you visit to learn about data science is also your source of financial strategies for early retirement. The Twitter account you followed to understand politics now seems more focused on their mindfulness practice. We have maxed out variety of interests within people, at the cost of diversity across them.

It’s not difficult to imagine how this happened. The flip side of disaggregation is that each would-be expert is able to read broadly as well. The world of atomized content through hyper-specialization isn’t a stable equilibrium. We are all casual polymaths now.

As romantic as the idea seems, I worry it’s grossly suboptimal. Sure, there are cases where combining ideas from disparate fields can lead to new insight, but today’s generalists are not curating a portfolio of skills so much as they are stumbling about. Behavioral Econ is the love child of economics and psychology, early AI researchers maintained a serious interest in cognitive science. What exactly are your cursory interests in space exploration, meta-science and bayesian statistics preparing you for?

The level of debate in this country

Andres Fonseca:

There’s a lot to unpack. Grade levels haven’t strictly decreased: 2008 saw a level of debate not seen in 20 years. The decline isn’t recent: there is a drastic difference between pre- and post- Reagan debates. Only 8 (of 33) debates saw a republican speak at a higher grade level than their opponent. The highest score went to a peanut farmer and Naval Academy graduate, the lowest to a billionaire and Wharton School graduate.

Context

Perhaps it’s been a while since you were in the grade levels reached by these transcripts and aren’t sure what Donald Trump’s 3.69 or Joe Biden’s 4.51 should remind you of. Think “Charlotte’s Web”(3.44) and “The Outsiders” (4.25). When you see Jimmy Carter’s 12.4, think “A Brief History Of Time” (11.88). When you see that half of all debate performances are below 7.8, think “To Kill A Mockingbird” (8.01).

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Your Technology Is Tracking You. Take These Steps For Better Online Privacy

Laurel Wamsley:

Before I became a reporter at NPR, I worked for a few years at tech companies.

One of the companies was in the marketing technology business — the industry that’s devoted in part to tracking people and merging their information, so they can be advertised to more effectively.

That tracking happens in multiple senses: physical tracking, because we carry our phones everywhere we go. And virtual tracking, of all the places we go online.

The more I understood how my information was being collected, shared and sold, the more I wanted to protect my privacy. But it’s still hard to know which of my efforts is actually effective and which is a waste of time.

So I reached out to experts in digital security and privacy to find out what they do to protect their stuff – and what they recommend most to us regular folks.

Students at Ohio charter schools show greater academic gains, report finds

Catherine Candisky:

A new report found many Ohio students attending charter schools had larger gains on achievement tests, better attendance and fewer disciplinary incidents compared to their peers enrolled in traditional public schools.

Black, low achieving, and urban students at the tax-funded, privately operated and tuition-free schools benefitted most, according to the analysis by Ohio State political science professor Stephane Lavertu, “The Impact of Ohio Charter Schools on Student Outcomes, 2016-2019.”

Columbus charter schools, the report found, academically outperformed those in other urban areas.

“It’s approximately as if a student had an extra year of learning by 8th grade if they attended a charter school for all those grades, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, about 35 to 40 days of learning per year.” Lavertu told reporters during a conference call.

Civics: Amazon Prime Cancels Shelby Steele

David Harsanyi:

Though most of the focus is on Twitter’s White Knighting of Joe Biden, it’s also worth noting that many other voices are inhibited by Big Tech because they fail to conform to leftist orthodoxy.

Just today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Shelby Steele’s documentary What Killed Michael Brown?, which explores race relations in the United States, has been rejected because it “doesn’t meet Prime Video’s content quality expectations.” Amazon claims the documentary, which Steele made with his son Eli, isn’t “eligible for publishing” and that they “will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed.”

Shelby is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a well-regarded intellectual who has been writing on race in America for decades. Steele received a National Humanities Medal and won a National Book Critics Circle Award for his essay collection The Content of Our Character. In the same year, he produced an Emmy-Award winning documentary “Seven Days in Bensonhurst,” about Yusef Hawkins, a black teenager who was murdered by a white mob in 1989.

I don’t mention Shelby’s impressive resume as an appeal to authority. I mention it to put all of this in perspective. Here are some of the non-fiction efforts that apparently do meet Amazon’s “quality expectations”:

Influential literacy expert Lucy Calkins is changing her views

Emily Hanford:

The author of one of the nation’s most influential and widely used curriculum for teaching reading is beginning to change her views. 

The group headed by Lucy Calkins, a leading figure in the long-running fight over how best to teach children to read, is admitting that its materials need to be changed to align with scientific research. In an internal document obtained by APM Reports, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, where Calkins has served as founding director for more than 30 years, says it has been poring over the work of reading researchers and has determined that aspects of its approach need “rebalancing.” 

Calkins’ changing views could shift the way millions of children are taught to read. Her curriculum is the third most widely used core reading program in the nation, according to a 2019 Education Week survey. In addition, her group at Columbia works with teachers in at least 30 countries, including Mexico, Singapore and Japan.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools

Todd Feathers:

As a privacy-minded computer science student preparing to start his first year at Miami University, Erik Johnson was concerned this fall when he learned that two of his professors would require him to use the digital proctoring software Proctorio for their classes. The software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators—webcams monitor eye and head movements, microphones record noise in the room, and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse, scrolls up and down on a page, and pushes keys. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious for later viewing by the class instructor.

In the end, Johnson never had to use Proctorio. Not long after he began airing his concerns on Twitter and posted a simple analysis of the software’s code on Pastebin, he discovered that his IP address was banned from accessing the company’s services. He also received a direct message from Proctorio’s CEO, Mike Olsen, who demanded that he take the Pastebin posts down, according to a copy of the message Johnson shared with Motherboard. Johnson refused to do so, and is now waiting to see if Proctorio will follow up with more concrete legal action, as it has done to other critics in recent weeks.

“If my professors weren’t flexible, I’d be completely unable to take exams,” Johnson said. “It’s insane to think that a company [or] CEO can affect my academic career just for raising concerns.”

Civics: Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor

Glenn Greenwald:

The New York Post is one of the country’s oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism.

On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a “blockbuster” scoop: “smoking gun” evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, traded on his father’s position by securing favors from the then-Vice President to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails.

The Post’s hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine’s internal affairs.  

Along with emails relating to Burisma, the New York Post also gratuitously published several photographs of Hunter, who has spoken openly and commendably of his past struggles with substance abuse, in what appeared to various states of drug use. There was no conceivable public interest in publishing those, and every reason not to.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Facebook (and Instagram) services, including Madison.

San Francisco Mayor Urges Opening Schools

Related: Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’.

Recall Mount Horeb School Board Member Leah Lipska.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Wisconsin public school enrollments see biggest drop in decades in first count since COVID-19, adding to budget challenges

Annysa Johnson, Samantha West and Alec Johnson:

Enrollment in Wisconsin public schools fell by 3% this year, the largest dip in decades, and private schools that accept taxpayer-funded vouchers saw an increase, though not as much as last year.

In all, according to new data released Thursday by the state Department of Public Instruction, public schools enrolled 818,922 full-time equivalent students in the current school year, down more than 25,000 students, based on the headcount taken in late September. Private voucher schools added 2,577 students for a total of 45,954.

Because school funding is tied to enrollment, the shifts will be costly for many districts around the state at a time when they are spending millions more on expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. In all, nearly a third of the state’s 421 public districts will see a decline in their state aid totaling more than $23 million this year, losses that will continue because schools are funded in part on a three-year rolling average.

“There will be significant, long-term structural effects on school districts’ finances,” said Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. 

K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

A substantial 2020 tax and spending increase referendum is on Madison school district voter ballots this fall.

Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Elizabeth Beyer:

She said the curriculum offered to students was not intended to be delivered digitally and her children now have online meetings with their teachers for five hours each week compared to 30 hours of live teaching prior to the pandemic.

“We need to give parents options so those who feel safe sending their children to the school should have that option, teachers who feel they can teach in the classrooms better than they can virtually should have that option, and the school board has not given us that option,” she said.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Writing teachers: Standard English is racist

Joanne Jacobs:

In the name of “linguistic justice,” college writing instructors have agreed that teachers should “stop using academic language and standard English as the accepted communicative norm,” writes Matthew Stewart, associate professor of humanities and rhetoric at Boston University, on the Martin Center blog.

The executive committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the largest and most important association of college-level writing teachers, has approved “demands” by six professors, writes Stewart. CCCC is closely associated with the National Council of Teachers of English, an even larger group predominantly made up of middle and high school teachers.

The CCCC statement, written in academic/woke English with a “cain’t” here and a “respeck” there, includes:

Teachers (must) develop and teach Black Linguistic Consciousness that works to decolonize the mind (and/or) language, unlearn white supremacy, and unravel anti-Black linguistic racism!

. . . teachers STOP telling Black students that they have to ‘learn standard English to be successful because that’s just the way it is in the real world.’ No, that’s not just the way it is; that’s anti-Black linguistic racism.

In short, writes Stewart, the CCCC has declared that teaching black students standard English is racist and therefore “destructive and injurious.”

Lilley: Murphy’s Pension Payment Is “Throwing Good Money After Bad.”

Laura Waters:

This isn’t new news but it’s also not good news.  Pew Charitable Trusts updated its pension study to include 2018 data, and NJ comes in dead last among the 50 states.  NJ only has 38 cents set aside for each dollar it owes.  That means that 62 cents of every dollar owed is an unfunded liability – a debt that the state owes to retirees that will have to be paid off.

Even broke IL comes in better than NJ.  The national funding average is 70.7%, so NJ is a huge outlier when it comes to fiscal irresponsibility.  All of this shows why Gov. Murphy’s making a record $4.7 billion payment into NJ’s broken and unreformed pension system is throwing $4.7 billion of good money after bad.  The governor is borrowing $4.5 billion to help him make this payment, which only increases NJ’s overall debt load, but $4.7 billion is still only 78% of the required payment, so NJ’s unfunded pension liabilities will also increase.  What a waste of money that is much needed elsewhere during these COVID-stressed times!  

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: San Francisco’s political leadership has squandered a fortune.

Philip Sprincin:

What has San Francisco done with this wealth? Not much. The Municipal Transportation Agency (“Muni”), which runs the busses and metro, has struggled with failure after failure this year. The housing shortage in the city is so bad that it is driving people to live in cars and even boats. Homelessness is up 14 percent in the past 6 years. Dirty streets, with needles and worse on the sidewalks, were an issue in last year’s mayoral race. A city seemingly rich enough to pave its roads with gold finds them covered in trash.

San Francisco has squandered its fortune. Proclaiming itself a “Transit First” city, density and geography make it one of the U.S. cities best suited for public transport. The city could have used its $23 billion excess to build dozens of miles of subway. Instead, it dug just 1.6 miles of the Central Subway, still not open. San Francisco did build a downtown train station, the Salesforce Transit Center, billed as the “Grand Central of the West”—except that it didn’t fund a tunnel to the station, so no trains go there yet, only busses.

San Francisco politicians also claim to care about affordable housing. Even at the inflated rate to build such housing in the Bay Area—up to $700,000 per unit—$23 billion could have built 33,000 units in the past 20 years. The total number of subsidized units in the city was only about 33,000 in 2018, and just 3,741 of them came from city programs like public housing or the mayor’s office. The rest came from federal, state, or private investment.

Expanding One City charter school moves into new south Madison space

Scott Girard:

The leadership of the Madison charter school signed the lease Aug. 28 after a search for new space, and D’Abell recalled the busy weekend of preparing the building while also communicating with parents about where the year would begin.

“We didn’t know where we were going to be,” D’Abell said during a recent interview in his office. “We looked at potentially having school in Penn Park, at least when it was still warm, and having tents. We looked at mobile classrooms.”

One City first opened in 2015 offering preschool and 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten. It now has students from age 2 through second grade, split between two sites. The new Coyier Lane building is set up for 101 students in grades K-2, with 40 of them learning remotely.

For D’Abell’s first year on the job, a new building combined with setting up instruction during a pandemic has kept him busy.

Wisconsin DPI releases fall student count and revenue limit information

WDPI:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year.

Wisconsin school districts, independent charter schools, and private school parental choice programs reported overall slowdowns or declines in enrollment, particularly in 4K. Districts also reported summer school participation declined by more than half between 2019 and 2020. The data published is unaudited and is based off of enrollment counts performed on Sept. 18, 2020, the third Friday of September, and reported to the DPI.

The student count data includes unduplicated(1) headcounts and membership FTE (full-time equivalent). Headcount is the number of students enrolled for instruction in a given school or district on the count date. Membership is a full-time equivalent value used for school finance purposes, where students in preschool special education, 4K, and part-time kindergarten are counted as less than 1.0 FTE. Membership for school districts reflects residency, not enrollment; a student in the open enrollment program is included in the headcount for the district they attend, but the membership for the district where they reside. District membership also includes an addition of summer school FTE(2).

Madison’s enrollment drops by more than 1000 students.

Poor numerical literacy linked to greater susceptibility to Covid-19 fake news

Natalie Grover:

People with poor numerical literacy are more likely to believe Covid-19 misinformation, according to a survey conducted in five countries.

Researchers at Cambridge University said the findings suggested improving people’s analytical skills could help turn the tide against an epidemic of “fake news” surrounding the health crisis.

Five national surveys – reflecting national quotas for age and gender – were conducted this year to evaluate susceptibility to coronavirus-related misinformation and its influence on key health-related behaviours.

The study found the most consistent predictor of decreased susceptibility to misinformation about Covid-19 was numerical literacy – the ability to digest and apply quantitative information broadly.

People in Ireland, Spain, Mexico, the US and the UK took part in the study. Their numerical literacy levels were calculated on the basis of three different numeracy tests.

Participants were presented with nine statements about Covid-19, some false (for example, 5G networks may be making us more susceptible to the coronavirus) and some true (for instance, people with diabetes are at higher risk of complications from coronavirus).

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Civics: Yelp’s anti-racist social credit nightmare

Melissa Chen:

It’s seven in the evening and you’re working late. You’re interrupted by the soft rumble of hunger pangs, an unmistakable reminder that you haven’t eaten dinner yet. There’s this newish fusion restaurant a couple of blocks away that you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t had the chance to. Every time you’ve walked past, it’s buzzing with activity. So you look the restaurant up on Yelp to see if it’s worth your time and money. You launch the app and search, only to be hit with an alert emblazoned with an ominously large exclamation point:

‘Business Accused of Racist Behavior’

The R word. It’s the new scarlet letter. You’re so taken aback that you almost forget that you’re hungry. Your mind races to find a possible explanation. Could it be that the staff racially profiled a diner? Perhaps, like Starbucks, the staff allegedly denied bathroom access to a non-customer who happened to be black? Then you remember that these days, fusion cuisine itself is often a flashpoint in debates about cultural appropriation. Maybe the restaurant is just racist by virtue of its existence?

Who knows. Luckily, Yelp has kindly provided a link to a news article where you can learn about the incident. Another stomach grumble urges you to stick to your original mission to find sustenance quickly. You’ll do the research later. Instead you order takeout from somewhere that’s familiar, consistent and fast. You’ve seen ads promoting the Travis Scott meal at McDonald’s and he just won BET’s rapper of the year so there’s no way you’re making a racist dining decision. McDonald’s it is.

Effect of school closures on mortality from coronavirus disease 2019: old and new predictions

School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FD, UK:

Objective To replicate and analyse the information available to UK policymakers when the lockdown decision was taken in March 2020 in the United Kingdom.

Design Independent calculations using the CovidSim code, which implements Imperial College London’s individual based model, with data available in March 2020 applied to the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) epidemic.

Setting Simulations considering the spread of covid-19 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Population About 70 million simulated people matched as closely as possible to actual UK demographics, geography, and social behaviours.

Main outcome measures Replication of summary data on the covid-19 epidemic reported to the UK government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and a detailed study of unpublished results, especially the effect of school closures.

The Teachers Union’s Tiny New Enemy

Eliot Kaufman:

Why is the elephant afraid of the mouse? Your child’s teacher may not know, but his union does. In September the National Education Association, America’s largest labor union, produced an internal “opposition report” on Prenda, a tiny Arizona-based “microschool” provider. I obtained a copy of the document, which picks apart Prenda’s vulnerabilities but also offers a warning: “The Opposition Report has documented widespread support for micro-schools.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to receive a presentation about Prenda on Thursday at a charter school in Phoenix.

Midway between home schools and private schools, microschools bring together a small group of students, five to 10 a school at Prenda, usually at a private residence. Instruction is handled by an education-service provider like Prenda.

Surplus Property Law Results in Just One Vacant Milwaukee School

WILL:

WILL Policy Brief revisits how state law was thwarted by local actors for the last five years

The News: A new Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) policy brief reveals how a state law passed in 2015 intended to make vacant Milwaukee schools available to charter and private schools has been thwarted by local actors. Empty Handed: How Milwaukee Thwarted a State Law Meant to Help Schools reveals that just one vacant Milwaukee school was sold to a Milwaukee charter school in the last five years despite the intent of a state law intended to facilitate sales.

The Quote: Director of Education Policy Libby Sobic said, “This is a story of hard lessons. Good intentions were thwarted by a lack of taxpayer accountability at the local level. And a state law intended to help meet the high demand for school facilities has resulted in just one sale to a charter school. The problems haven’t gone away and it’s time to develop new solutions.”

Diving Deeper: In 2015, state lawmakers were fed up with repeated stories from Milwaukee where thriving charter and private schools couldn’t purchase vacant Milwaukee school buildings. A Surplus Property Law, supported by Sen. Alberta Darling and then-Rep. Dale Kooyenga, was added to the state budget and a new process was established that required the City of Milwaukee to facilitate the sale of dozens of empty former public school buildings.

But by 2020, just one Milwaukee charter school had purchased a vacant school despite interest by local school leaders. What happened? Director of Education Policy Libby Sobic takes a deep dive into the sordid history of vacant schools in Milwaukee in Empty Handed: How Milwaukee Thwarted a State Law Meant to Help Schools. This important policy brief reveals:

Elite Lowell High School admissions would become a lottery under new San Francisco district proposal

Jill Tucker:

San Francisco school officials dropped a bombshell proposal Friday, recommending that admissions to the academically exclusive Lowell High School be subject to random lottery for the fall, meaning all entering freshmen would have equal odds of getting in regardless of grades or test scores.

District officials told The Chronicle that the recommendation is yet more fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Lowell generally admits students based on a score that takes into account grade-point average and test results while setting aside a limited number of spots for qualified students from underrepresented schools. But Lowell continues to be largely white and Asian, with few other people of color.

The school has long been at the center of a debate about elitism and equal opportunity, and its admission process has been under scrutiny in the past. Though the new proposal was not driven by a push to increase diversity, that could be an outcome.

Officials said the new policy is needed because there is no way to adequately assess students for admission given the lack of letter grades from the spring semester, when the district used pass/fail grades after schools closed, and the district’s inability to administer standardized tests during the pandemic.

Civics: Graduates of Elite Universities Dominate the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Study Finds

Zaid Jilani:

Following the 2016 election, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet reflected on his industry’s coverage of the country. “If I have a mea culpa for journalists and journalism, it’s that we’ve got to do a much better job of being on the road, out in the country, talking to different kinds of people than we talk to — especially if you happen to be a New York-based news organization — and remind ourselves that New York is not the real world,” he said.

It has been a longstanding criticism of the news media that at least some portions of it are too culturally and socially insular. A recent study published in the Journal of Expertise adds some data points to that thesis.

Authors Jonathan Wai, a research fellow at Geisinger Health System at the Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute, and Kaja Perina, the editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, collected a sample of 1,979 employees working at two of America’s most prominent and influential newspapers, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, during 2016.

They set out with a simple question: How many of those employees attended elite schools for college (if they attended college)? The researchers sought to address the question of whether journalism, at the highest level, “is a profession only of the culturally elite,” or it is also “a profession of the cognitively elite.”  They did not have access to individual employees’ SAT scores or academic performance, so, pulling information from staffers’ LinkedIn profiles, they looked at schools as a proxy for cognitive ability — with the assumption that highly selective schools mostly admit people with very high academic achievement.

There are, of course, problems with using SAT scores to define a “cognitive elite.” Factors such as race and class have been shown to affect performance on standardized tests, as well as admissions to elite schools.

Madison’s Cost To Service State Facilities Is Growing, As State Financial Support Stagnates

Jonah Chester:

The cost Wisconsin’s cities incur from maintaining and serving state facilities have steadily climbed since the mid-1980s. But, for the past ten years, reimbursements on those costs from the state government have remained the same, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The result is an ever-increasing financial burden on cities, forcing them to shoulder service costs for the state’s buildings. That impact is especially high in Madison — which, as the state capitol, has a disproportionately high number of state facilities to maintain.

For more, WORT Producer Jonah Chester spoke with Mark Sommerhauser, a policy researcher with the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Civics: How a Road Trip Through America’s Battlegrounds Revealed a Nation Plagued by Misinformation

Charlotte Alter:

A lifetime ago, on Sept. 14, Greg Vanlandeghem sat outside a café in Holly, Mich., and explained to me that he planned to vote for the President’s re-election because he saw the race as a contest between two bad options. “We’ve got a guy trying not to die,” he told me, “and we’ve got Trump.”

The candidate Vanlandeghem described as “trying not to die” was Joe Biden, the 77-year-old former Vice President, who’s been dogged by right-wing attacks on his mental acuity. But now, the “guy trying not to die” might well be the 74-year-old President, who was being treated with supplemental oxygen and a battery of drugs after , a lethal virus that can cause everything from pneumonia to strokes to neurological impairment. Vanlandeghem, a 37-year-old home builder, is a social and fiscal conservative, but he didn’t vote for Trump four years ago and considers the President a “buffoon.” If anyone’s mind was going to be changed by , I thought perhaps it might be him.

Vanlandeghem was unfazed. “I think it’s unfortunate,” he said, after I called him back to ask his opinion on the latest updates. “But it’s something that a vast majority of the population is going to come down with at one point or another.” He still isn’t considering voting for Biden.

I wasn’t surprised. Once again, history was unfolding in Washington; once again, voters seemed to be reacting with a collective shrug. If there is one constant in this extraordinary presidential election, it’s that every time the political class declares that a news event will permanently reshape the race, it usually seems to evaporate into the ether. The President could be impeached for abuse of power, publicly muster white supremacists, tear-gas peaceful protesters for a photo op, pay less than his employees in taxes, declare that he’d refuse to accept the results of the election, hold a possible superspreader event at the White House–and millions of Americans will ignore it. To half of us, all this is an outrage; to the other half, none of it matters.

How voters are processing Trump’s behavior at this fractured moment may be the most important question of the 2020 election. But it’s a tricky one to answer in the midst of a pandemic that has turned the campaign into one interminable Zoom call. It’s hard to get a read on a race that has limited travel for both candidates and reporters, a contest with countless polls but few insights, lots of speeches but few crowds, plenty of talking heads but few ordinary voices. So in September, after recovering from COVID-19 myself, I spent three weeks driving across the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, trying to get a fix on what’s happening between the ears of the people most likely to determine the winner on Nov. 3.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Civics: The New York Times Guild Once Again Demands Censorship Of Colleagues

Glenn Greenwald:

THE NEW YORK TIMES GUILD, the union of employees of the Paper of Record, tweeted a condemnation on Sunday of one of their own colleagues, op-ed columnist Bret Stephens. Their denunciation was marred by humiliating typos and even more so by creepy and authoritarian censorship demands and petulant appeals to management for enforcement of company “rules” against other journalists. To say that this is bizarre behavior from a union of journalists, of all people, is to woefully understate the case.

What angered the union today was an op-ed by Stephens on Friday which voiced numerous criticisms of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “1619 Project,” published last year by the New York Times Magazine and spearheaded by reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones. One of the Project’s principal arguments was expressed by a now-silently-deleted sentence that introduced it: “that the country’s true birth date” is not 1776, as has long been widely believed, but rather late 1619, when, the article claims, the first African slaves arrived on U.S. soil.

Despite its Pulitzer, the “1619 Project” has become a hotly contested political and academic controversy, with the Trump administration seeking to block attempts to integrate its assertions into school curriculums, while numerous scholars of history accuse it of radically distorting historical fact, with some, such as Brown University’s Glenn Loury, calling on the Pulitzer Board to revoke its award. Scholars have also vocally criticized the Times for stealth edits of the article’s key claims long after publication, without even noting to readers that it made these substantive changes let alone explaining why it made them.

Lord Nelson’s heroic status under review in scheme to re-evaluate UK’s ‘barbaric history’

Brian McGleenon:

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

The admiral was not an admirer of abolitionist William Wilberforce. Before his death, Lord Nelson wrote that William Wilberforce and his cause were “damnable”. He added in a letter that “I have ever been and shall die a firm friend to our present colonial system”.

These are the controversial views that will be held to account by the National Maritime Museum’s re-evaluation of Lord Nelson’s display.

He also said that he was “taught to appreciate the value of our West India possessions”, where slaves toiled in plantations. He died two years before the abolition of slavery.

The admiral who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar has many of his personal effects stored and on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The Gap: Where Machine Learning Education Falls Short

The Gradient:

As the field of machine learning has become ever more popular, a litany of online courses has emerged claiming to teach the skills necessary to “build a career in AI”. But before signing up for such a course, you should know whether the skills acquired will directly allow you to apply machine learning better. These questions are not limited to online courses but rather encompass machine learning classes that have begun to fill lecture halls at many universities. Are these classes that students flock towards actually helping them achieve their practical goals?

The Current State of Machine Learning Education

Having taken the main slate of the seminal machine learning courses at one of the top universities for AI, I have found a general guideline most classes follow. First, they tend to start with linear classifiers and introduce the concepts of both regression and classification along with the concepts of loss functions and optimization. Afterward, a week or two is spent on honing the skill of backpropagation after which they dive into neural networks fully. If the course focuses on deep learning, it tends to spend the majority of the remaining time diving extensively into the different forms of neural networks (RNN, LSTMs, CNNs, etc) and about recently published seminal architectures (ResNet, BERT, etc). If the course instead focuses on more general machine learning principles, it introduces other avenues such as unsupervised and reinforcement learning.

Thus we see that the key topics covered in these courses can be distilled into the following: an overview of supervised learning, a brief introduction to the mathematical foundations underlying supervised learning and neural networks, and then either an introduction to deep learning methodologies or to other areas of machine learning.

AI cameras introduced in London to monitor social distancing and lockdown restrictions

April Roach:

Artificial Intelligence cameras are being used in London and other cities in the UK to monitor social distancing.

The sensors were initially developed by Vivacity to track the flow of traffic, cyclists and pedestrians and monitor how roads are being used.

But when the country went into lockdown in March, Vivacity added on an extra feature to the AI scanners so it could register the distance between pedestrians. This data is shared in a monthly report with the Government.

Vivacity Labs said they have more than 1,000 sensors installed across the UK, in cities including London, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham.

Madison police tell UW-Madison students they could be fined at least $376 for attending indoor gatherings of more than 10 people

Addison Lathers:

To thwart the continued transmission of COVID-19, the Madison Police Department began instituting measures to limit social gatherings in the downtown area with the support of UW-Madison leadership. 

In a letter sent to downtown apartment buildings, Madison Police Department Acting Chief Victor Wahl said students attending gatherings may be fined a minimum of $376 for “permit[ting] a health nuisance.”

To avoid a fine, indoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people or less and outdoor gatherings to 25 people or less. 

The “final warning” sent to residents specifically referenced any gatherings related to the start of UW-Madison’s football season and the annual Freakfest Halloween celebration, which was recently-cancelled. Deputy Mayor Katie Crawley confirmed Tuesday night there would be no festival due to public health guidelines.

As the Governor and the Mayor Disagree, NYC Parents and Educators Search for Clear Guidance on In-Person Schooling

Zoe Kirsch:

For Brooklyn parent Priscilla Santos, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Tuesday announcement that he was releasing his own plan for temporary New York City COVID-related school closures dispelled any lingering remnants of faith she had in political leadership after a bleak, confusing summer.

Santos is the special education representative for her district’s Community Education Council in Coney Island. Her children, ages 12 and 14, attend Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted and Talented, where they study media and art. The area where her family resides is currently marked yellow on the governor’s map, signaling that school closures could happen there, if neighborhood positivity rates worsen.

Meanwhile, the blocks around nearby Brighton Beach Avenue and the famed amusement park are marked orange. The confounding boundary between Santos’s zip code and the “hotter” neighboring ones cut right through some streets and buildings, she noticed.

The advocate and mother knows the value of virus containment measures firsthand: her community was among those hit hardest when the pandemic overtook the city this spring. Still, she’s troubled by the way officials have laid everything out.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Staffing Wisconsin schools is a ‘nightmare’ amid teacher unease, substitute shortage and quarantines

Samantha West and Annysa Johnson:

What had been a relaxing Sunday away from the stress of leading Wisconsin’s fourth-largest school district through a pandemic quickly turned chaotic when, late that night, Green Bay Superintendent Steve Murley’s phone rang.

A food service staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. But that didn’t equate to just one absence that would easily be filled. It meant the majority of food service staff at that school would need to quarantine for the next two weeks. 

Who was going to cook and deliver the food that thousands of students and families were counting on the next day?

“At one point, we were thinking the administrative team would need to be there, driving delivery trucks and cooking food, and we were preparing to do that,” Murley said.

Samantha Bee’s Opposition to School Choice is Wrong and Hypocritical.

Erika Sanzi:

Samantha Bee decided to go on the attack against school choice this week during her show, Full Frontal. Based on the first clip she played during her school choice rant, it was clear that the president’s support for parents having educational options for their children has really gotten under her skin. And she’s not alone—if the Trump administration has shown us one thing, it is that even when he’s right on an issue, his most passionate opponents won’t admit it. They do not subscribe to the “even a broken clock is right twice a day” philosophy.

But Samantha Bee is a hypocrite on this issue. She does not send her own children to their zip code assigned school. She made a choice to get them into a school that is so selective with its admissions, it keeps the “holistic” admission criterion under wraps. According to NYC education consultant Alina Adams, “they have their completely own independent rubric which they don’t have to release or justify. Nobody knows how kids get into that school.” But whatever it is, somehow her children along with the children of Cynthia Nixon and Louis C.K. managed to crack the admission code and secure one of 55 spots. 350 children applied.

Now, Samantha would likely defend her uninformed and inaccurate commentary by saying that she at least sends her kids to a “public” school. But that would ring really hollow because she indicts charter schools in her meant-to-be-funny diatribe and they too are public. And while she waxes poetic about how there is so much more oversight in traditional public schools and not in charter schools or private schools, she seems to forget that the admissions process of her own kids’ schools is literally a secret. She belittles and mocks Florida for its schools—guess she missed the memo that Florida was the only state to show significant improvement in math at both grade levels and in 8th grade reading on the most recent NAEP testing. It was also clear from her error laden monologue that she does not know that Florida has school choice programs specifically designed to serve students with special needs.

DC Education Reform Ten Years After, Part 2: Test Cheats

Richard P Phelps:

Ten years ago, I worked as the Director of Assessments for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). For temporal context, I arrived after the first of the infamous test cheating scandals and left just before the incident that spawned a second. Indeed, I filled a new position created to both manage test security and design an expanded testing program. I departed shortly after Vincent Gray, who opposed an expanded testing program, defeated Adrian Fenty in the September 2010 DC mayoral primary. My tenure coincided with Michelle Rhee’s last nine months as Chancellor.

The recurring test cheating scandals of the Rhee-Henderson years may seem extraordinary but, in fairness, DCPS was more likely than the average US school district to be caught because it received a much higher degree of scrutiny. Given how tests are typically administered in this country, the incidence of cheating is likely far greater than news accounts suggest, for several reasons:

· in most cases, those who administer tests—schoolteachers and administrators—have an interest in their results;

· test security protocols are numerous and complicated yet, nonetheless, the responsibility of non-expert ordinary school personnel, guaranteeing their inconsistent application across schools and over time;

· after-the-fact statistical analyses are not legal proof—the odds of a certain amount of wrong-to-right erasures in a single classroom on a paper-and-pencil test being coincidental may be a thousand to one, but one-in-a-thousand is still legally plausible; and

· after-the-fact investigations based on interviews are time-consuming, scattershot, and uneven.

Still, there were measures that the Rhee-Henderson administrations could have adopted to substantially reduce the incidence of cheating, but they chose none that might have been effective. Rather, they dug in their heels, insisted that only a few schools had issues, which they thoroughly resolved, and repeatedly denied any systematic problem.

Looking Back on DC Education Reform 10 Years After, Part 1: The Grand Tour

Richard P Phelps:

Ten years ago, I worked as the Director of Assessments for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). My tenure coincided with Michelle Rhee’s last nine months as Chancellor. I departed shortly after Vincent Gray defeated Adrian Fenty in the September 2010 DC mayoral primary.

My primary task was to design an expansion of that testing program that served the IMPACT teacher evaluation system to include all core subjects and all grade levels. Despite its fame (or infamy), the test score aspect of the IMPACT program affected only 13% of teachers, those teaching either reading or math in grades four through eight. Only those subjects and grade levels included the requisite pre- and post-tests required for teacher “value added” measurements (VAM). Not included were most subjects (e.g., science, social studies, art, music, physical education), grades kindergarten to two, and high school.

Chancellor Rhee wanted many more teachers included. So, I designed a system that would cover more than half the DCPS teacher force, from kindergarten through high school. You haven’t heard about it because it never happened. The newly elected Vincent Gray had promised during his mayoral campaign to reduce the amount of testing; the proposed expansion would have increased it fourfold.

VAM affected teachers’ jobs. A low value-added score could lead to termination; a high score, to promotion and a cash bonus. VAM as it was then structured was obviously, glaringly flawed,[1] as anyone with a strong background in educational testing could have seen. Unfortunately, among the many new central office hires from the elite of ed reform circles, none had such a background.

Mount Horeb School board narrowly votes down proposal to allow K-2 students back

Mount Horeb Mail:

The Mount Horeb Area Board of Education voted Monday night against a proposal that would have allowed some K-2 students to return to local classrooms. The decision came after hours of testimony and discussion, during which nearly every parent who spoke – some through tears – pleaded with the board to allow in-person learning to resume. At the same meeting, the board reviewed surveys that showed most teachers are not comfortable allowing children to return, and many would consider taking leave through the federal CARES Act if they did so.

Near the end of the meeting, board supervisors Rod Hise, Jeff Hanna and Dani Michels voted in a favor of a motion, which was made my Michels, to allow K-2 students to return at the start of the second quarter. Supervisors Leah Lipska, Kimberly Sailor, Jessica Arrigoni and Diana Rothamer voted against the plan, saying they will not support a return to the classroom until positive cases of the COVID-19 virus across Dane County are less than half of what they are right now.

Public Health of Madison & Dane County’s current recommendations allow K-2 students return to the classroom, but a plan previously approved by the local school board sets markers – including positive tests and multiple other factors – for a return that have not yet been met.

At the heart of the debate, was disagreement over which is more harmful: the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus or requiring young children to learn almost entirely on a screen, from home.

Recall Mount Horeb School Board Member Leah Lipska

recalllipska.org:

People are asking “Why Leah? Why not all the board members who voted No?”

Ms. Lipska failed to fulfill her duty as an elected official to represent the will of the constituents who voted for her. This is evidenced by numerous personal correspondence with a small group who pushed for 100% virtual.

Although other school board members voted for 100% virtual, Ms. Lipska is different because there is written evidence of lack of transparency on her part by engaging in behind the scenes and informal discussions and collusion with a small group in support of their agenda for 100% virtual. A proper forum for these discussions would have been at school board meetings, which many parents and teachers participated in. Alternatively, this group of people could have written a letter to ALL school board members (which several teachers and parents did.)

Ms. Lipska only engaged in discussions with people who wanted 100% virtual. At no point did she encourage people who wanted in person classes to join her or speak at school board meetings. She only encouraged those who wanted 100% virtual. In addition, she completely stopped correspondence after one person clarified she didn’t want all virtual.

Ms. Lipska is on public record as asking the experts (PHMDC) if it’s safe for k-2 to go back to school, in which they told her straight away that it was, and she still voted No.

Leah Lipska on Facebook

Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Madison School Board Seat 1

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results

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

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

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

Madison School Board.

Run for local office details.

Key Dates:

December 1, 2020: Nomination Papers may be circulated.

December 25, 2020: Deadline for incumbents not seeking re-election to file Notice of Non-Candidacy.

January 5, 2021 All papers and forms due in City Clerk’s Office at 5 p.m.

January 8, 2021 Deadline to challenge nomination papers.

PRIMARY DATE (if needed): February 16, 2021

ELECTION DATE: April 6, 2021

School Board campaign finance information.

** Note that just one of 7 local offices were competitive on my August, 2020 ballot. The District Attorney was unopposed (the linked article appeared after the election).

Miami does more with less (about half of Madison’s per student spending)

Joanne Jacobs:

Public-school enrollment grew by 16 percent from 1994 to 2017, the number of teachers by  28 percent and the number of all other staff grew 51 percent, according to Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State. The “staffing surge” has inflated school budgets.

But not in Miami-Dade, the fourth-largest district in the U.S., writes Michael Q. McShane  in Education Next. By adding teachers, but not administrators, Miami schools are doing more with less.

Miami spends $9,240 per student per year, compared to more than $13,400 in Chicago, which has a similar cost of living, writes McShane. Yet, “compared with other large cities, Miami-Dade tends to end up near the top.”

How? In Miami-Dade, from 1994 to 2017, the number of students rose 16 percent, the number of teachers 35 percent, and the number all other staff 18 percent, Scafidi’s research shows.

McShane credits Alberto Carvalho, who became superintendent in 2008, for cutting administrative staff by 55 percent. Former educators moved to schools to work directly with students; others were laid off.

Latest Madison school district tax and spending data.

Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science

Hillel Ofik:

Contemporary Islam is not known for its engagement in the modern scientific project. But it is heir to a legendary “Golden Age” of Arabic science frequently invoked by commentators hoping to make Muslims and Westerners more respectful and understanding of each other. President Obama, for instance, in his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, praised Muslims for their historical scientific and intellectual contributions to civilization:

It was Islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.

Such tributes to the Arab world’s era of scientific achievement are generally made in service of a broader political point, as they usually precede discussion of the region’s contemporary problems. They serve as an implicit exhortation: the great age of Arab science demonstrates that there is no categorical or congenital barrier to tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and advancement in the Islamic Middle East.

The Cost of the Trump and Biden Campaign Plans

crfb.org

Whoever is inaugurated on January 20, 2021, will face many fiscal challenges over his term. Under current law, trillion-dollar annual budget deficits will become the new normal, even after the current public health emergency subsides. Meanwhile, the national debt is projected to exceed the post-World War II record high over the next four-year term and reach twice the size of the economy within 30 years. Four major trust funds are also headed for insolvency, including the Highway and Medicare Hospital Insurance trust funds, within the next presidential term.

The national debt was growing rapidly before the necessary borrowing to combat the COVID-19 crisis, and this trajectory will continue after the crisis ends. Fiscal irresponsibility prior to the pandemic worsened structural deficits that were already growing due to rising health and retirement costs and insufficient revenue.

The country’s large and growing national debt threatens to slow economic growth, constrain the choices available to future policymakers, and is ultimately unsustainable. Yet neither presidential candidate has a plan to address the growth in debt. In fact, we find both candidates’ plans are likely to increase the debt.

Another victory from my efforts to advance civil rights and challenge systemic sexism in higher education

Mark Perry:

I was informed last Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that another of my (now) 231 complaints (probably the most ever filed by a single individual) alleging Title IX violations in higher education has been successfully resolved in my favor. That brings the total number of Title IX complaints to date that have been resolved in my favor to 27 and there are more than 80 ongoing OCR investigations based on my complaints that I expect to also be successfully resolved in my favor (given the clarity of Title IX above and the clear violations of that law). Successful resolutions are illegal Title IX violations involving sex-specific female-only programs that are corrected with one of three outcomes: 1) the discriminatory program is discontinued, 2) the discriminatory female-only program is offset with an equivalent male-only program, or 3) the discriminatory female-only program is converted to a program open to all genders.

West Virginia teachers union seeks to toss school virus map

John Raby:

A West Virginia teachers union on Monday filed a legal challenge to the state’s color-coded map that determines whether counties can hold in-person public school classes and athletic competitions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The West Virginia Education Association said the filing in Kanawha County Circuit Court seeks to replace the school reentry map that has undergone multiple changes by Republican Gov. Jim Justice and state officials with one compiled by independent health experts.

The map uses five colors ranging from green to red to determine a county’s public school status, depending on the local spread of virus cases. But critics, including the WVEA, said the sheer number of changes to the map has been confusing.

“Our members have watched the constant manipulation of the map,” union President Dale Lee said in a statement. “As each rendition failed to provide the desired results sought by our state leaders, additional changes were made.”

The Importance of Waiting: 4-H Teaches That Some Things Can’t Be Rushed

Jennifer Shike:

Waiting is a hard lesson to learn. It’s a lesson that seems more elusive than ever in our instant gratification world. I appreciate that 4-H has taught our kids the importance of waiting and observing what they learn through that time.

Whether it’s waiting on a garden to grow or feeding an animal to market weight, 4-H has taught our kids that you can’t rush some things, but the end result is worth the wait. They discover the joy of expectation, of hope for what’s to come. 

I think that’s one of the understated benefits of 4-H. 

Justice Department Sues Yale University for Illegal Discrimination Practices in Undergraduate Admissions

US Justice Department:

The Justice Department today filed suit against Yale University for race and national origin discrimination. The complaint alleges that Yale discriminated against applicants to Yale College on the grounds of race and national origin, and that Yale’s discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular most Asian and White applicants.

The complaint also alleges that Yale injures applicants and students because Yale’s race discrimination relies upon and reinforces damaging race-based stereotypes, including in particular such stereotypes against Yale’s racially-favored applicants. And, the complaint alleges that Yale engages in racial balancing by, among other things, keeping the annual percentage of African-American admitted applicants to within one percentage point of the previous year’s admitted class as reflected in U.S. Department of Education data. The complaint alleges similar racial balancing about Asian-American applicants.   

The department’s complaint alleges that Yale’s race and national origin discrimination violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation into allegations of illegal discrimination contained in a complaint filed by Asian American groups concerning Yale’s conduct.   

Civics: Pulitzer Board Must Revoke Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Prize

Peter Wood

We call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2020 Prize for Commentary awarded to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in “The 1619 Project.” That essay was entitled, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.” But it turns out the article itself was false when written, making a large claim that protecting the institution of slavery was a primary motive for the American Revolution, a claim for which there is simply no evidence.

We call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2020 Prize for Commentary awarded to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in “The 1619 Project.”

When the Board announced the prize on May 4, 2020, it praised Hannah-Jones for “a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story, prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution.” Note well the last five words. Clearly the award was meant not merely to honor this one isolated essay, but the Project as a whole, with its framing contention that the year 1619, the date when some twenty Africans arrived at Jamestown, ought to be regarded as the nation’s “true founding,” supplanting the long-honored date of July 4, 1776, which marked the emergence of the United States as an independent nation.

Beginning almost immediately after its publication, though, the essay and the Project ran into controversy. It has been subjected to searching criticism by many of the foremost historians of our time and by the Times’ own fact checker. The scrutiny has left the essay discredited, so much so that the Times has felt the need to go back and change a crucial passage in it, softening but not eliminating its unsupported assertion about slavery and the Revolution.

Diversity Work, Interrupted

Colleen Flaherty:

Two campuses are halting diversity efforts in relation to the White House’s recent executive order against “divisive concepts” in federally funded programs.

In a campus memo, the University of Iowa’s interim associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, Liz Tovar, said, “Let us state unequivocally that diversity, equity and inclusion remain as core values within our institution.” However, she continued, “after consulting with multiple entities, and given the seriousness of the penalties for non-compliance with the order, which include the loss of federal funding, we are recommending that all units temporarily pause for a two-week period.”

John A. Logan College in Illinois also suspended diversity events, including a Hispanic Heritage Month talk planned for next week.

In contrast, the University of Michigan’s president and provost released a statement in response to the order recommitting the campus to diversity, equity and inclusion work. “The educational efforts this order seeks to prohibit are critical to much-needed action to create equitable economic and social opportunities for all members of society,” they said, “to confront our blind spots; and to encourage us all to be better teachers, scholars and citizens.”

The executive order, released Sept. 22, invokes the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. and describes the “fundamental premises underpinning our Republic” as follows: “All individuals are created equal and should be allowed an equal opportunity under the law to pursue happiness and prosper based on individual merit.”

A Failed Experiment The lockdowns must end.

John Tierney:

Lockdowns are typically portrayed as prudent precautions against Covid-19, but they are surely the most risky experiment ever conducted on the public. From the start, researchers have warned that lockdowns could prove far deadlier than the coronavirus. People who lose their jobs or businesses are more prone to fatal drug overdoses and suicide, and evidence already exists that many more will die from cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, and tuberculosis and other diseases because the lockdown prevented their ailments from being diagnosed early and treated properly.

Yet politicians and public-health officials conducting this unprecedented experiment have paid little attention to these risks. In their initial rush to lock down society, they insisted that there was no time for such analysis—and besides, these were just temporary measures to “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm hospitals. But since that danger passed, the lockdown enforcers have found one reason after another to persevere with closures, bans, quarantines, curfews, and other mandates. Anthony Fauci, the White House advisor, recently said that even if a vaccine arrives soon, he does not expect a return to normality before late next year.

He and politicians like New York governor Andrew Cuomo and British prime minister Boris Johnson profess to be following “the science,” but no ethical scientist would conduct such a risky experiment without carefully considering the dangers and monitoring the results. After doing so, a group of leading researchers this week called for an end to the experiment. In a joint statement, the Great Barrington Declaration, they predicted that continued lockdowns will lead to “excess mortality in years to come” and warned of “irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

While the economic and social costs have been enormous, it’s not clear that the lockdowns have brought significant health benefits beyond what was achieved by people’s voluntary social distancing and other actions. Some researchers have credited lockdowns with slowing the pandemic, but they’ve relied on mathematical models with assumptions about people’s behavior and the virus’s tendency to spread—the kinds of models and assumptions that previously produced wild overestimates of how many people would die during the pandemic. Other researchers have sought more direct evidence, looking at mortality patterns. They have detected little impact.

Civics: Predictive policing algorithms are racist. They need to be dismantled.

Will Douglas Heaven:

Yeshimabeit Milner was in high school the first time she saw kids she knew getting handcuffed and stuffed into police cars. It was February 29, 2008, and the principal of a nearby school in Miami, with a majority Haitian and African-American population, had put one of his students in a chokehold. The next day several dozen kids staged a peaceful demonstration. It didn’t go well.

That night, Miami’s NBC 6 News at Six kicked off with a segment called “Chaos on Campus.” (There’s a clip on YouTube.) “Tensions run high at Edison Senior High after a fight for rights ends in a battle with the law,” the broadcast said. Cut to blurry phone footage of screaming teenagers: “The chaos you see is an all-out brawl inside the school’s cafeteria.”

Students told reporters that police hit them with batons, threw them on the floor, and pushed them up against walls. The police claimed they were the ones getting attacked—“with water bottles, soda pops, milk, and so on”—and called for emergency backup. Around 25 students were arrested, and many were charged with multiple crimes, including resisting arrest with violence. Milner remembers watching on TV and seeing kids she’d gone to elementary school with being taken into custody. “It was so crazy,” she says. 

The Great Barrington Declaration and Its Critics

Jenin Younes:

Early this week, three of the world’s top epidemiologists published the Great Barrington Declaration, a short treatise that advocates a controversial approach to managing the coronavirus pandemic. Professors Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University argue that societies across the globe should reopen immediately and completely.

Instead of observing measures designed to slow the spread of the virus, the young and healthy should resume normal activity in order to incur herd immunity and thereby protect those vulnerable to severe illness. The authors urge the adoption of this strategy, which they call “Focused Protection,” in light of increasing evidence that “current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. . . Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

The Post-Pandemic ‘New Normal’ Looks Awfully Authoritarian

JD Tuccille:

We’re told that life is never getting back to normal, so we need to suck it up and accept a world of mask-wearing, economic disruption, and social distancing. It’s a denatured echo of the warnings we’ve heard before that government responses to COVID-19 are pushing the world toward authoritarianism—but dressed up as if that’s a good thing.

That’s unfortunate, given that less-intrusive responses to the pandemic are proving at least as effective as heavy-handed ones. And that’s before we even discuss the inherent value of the freedom that looks destined to be pushed aside by public health concerns and by disingenuous government officials.

“As 2020 slides into and probably infects 2021, try to take heart in one discomfiting fact: Things are most likely never going ‘back to normal,'” wrote CNN International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh last week. In his piece he discusses the likely permanency of mask mandates, telecommuting, reduced physical contact, and similar changes to life.

Some of the alterations Walsh mentions may be matters of personal choice, but a good many of them are imposed by “politicians who pretend that ‘normal’ is just around the corner,” as Babson College’s Thomas Davenport says in the article.

K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

Elizabeth Beyer:

Enrollment in the Madison School District has dropped by more than 1,000 students for the 2020-2021 school, the district said Friday.

The decrease in enrollment is significant compared to the previous school year when the district lost only 33 students between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

The drop in enrollment could spell trouble for district funding. A portion of state school aid funding is doled out to districts per student, and district enrollment impacts how much money it receives in state equalization aid.

The district had planned for a 3% drop in enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after administering a survey to student families in July. Respondents to the survey who said they planned to leave the district indicated they would enroll students in homeschooling, transfer to a virtual school, transfer to another district or transfer to a private school.

Elementary and 4K grade levels accounted for 90% of the 2020-2021 school year decrease, according to a memo released by the district. Kindergarten and 4K enrollment accounted for a loss of 500 students, and there were “noticeable” decreases in 5th and 9th grades, the memo said.

Scott Girard:

Middle school enrollment dropped from 5,486 to 5,455 and high school decreased from 7,891 to 7,834.

More than half of the drop, 56%, is accounted for by students moving to another district in Wisconsin, according to the memo. Another 15% is students who moved out of state, with open enrollment, private school, international move, drop outs and homeschooling accounting for the rest.

[MMSD plans to pilot full-day 4K program next year]

A July 13-26 survey on reopening schools found that about 3% of respondents planned to not enroll their children in MMSD for the school year. District administrators then used that number to plan the budget. The drop of 1,006 students equals about 3.7%.

Covid-19 and Madison’s K-12 World

Scott Girard (Machine generated transcript):

Hi, I’m cap tines K-12 education reporter Scott Gerard. Today. Our cap times IDFs panel will discuss how will COVID-19 change K-12 education. I’m lucky to have three wonderful panelists with me to help answer that question. Marilee McKenzie is a teacher at Middleton’s Clark street community school, where she has worked since the school was in its planning stages.

She’s in her [00:03:00] 11th year of teaching. Dr. Gloria Ladson billings is a nationally recognized education expert who was a U w Madison faculty member for more than 26 years, including as a professor in the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational policy studies and educational leadership and policy analysis.

She is also the current president of the national Academy of education. Finally dr. Carlton Jenkins is the new superintendent of the Madison metropolitan school district. He started the districts top job in August, coming from the Robbinsdale school district in Minnesota, where he worked for the past five years, Jenkins began his career in the Madison area.

Having worked in Beloit and at Memorial high school in early 1990s before moving to various districts around the country. Thank you all so much for being here. Mary Lee, I’m going to start with you. You’ve been working with students directly throughout this pandemic. How has it gone? Both in the spring when changes were very sudden, and then this fall with a summer to reflect and [00:04:00] plan, it’s been interesting for sure.

Um, overall, I would say the it’s been hard. There has been nothing about this have been like, ah, It’s really, it makes my life easy. It’s been really challenging. And at the same time, the amount of growth and learning that we’ve been able to do as staff has been incredible. And I think about how teachers have moved from face-to-face to online to then planning for.

A myriad of possibilities. And then, you know, ultimately not knowing where the next step might be. And so, um, although it’s been challenging and there has been so many times where there’s been frustration or glitches or those kinds of pieces, I also have watched. Staff, um, grow and blossom and try to [00:05:00] make the best of a situation.

Um, and I’ve also watched our district try to figure out, okay, how do we negotiate this? So it’s been hard. There’s no, no way around that. And, um, I also think we are learning and positioning ourselves to make some bigger changes down the road. Thank you, dr. Jenkins. You’ve spoken about how the transition to virtual learning went and Robbinsdale.
When you were there this spring, what lessons did you learn from that experience that you were able to bring here in Madison as you started the job with just a month until the school year began? Well, um, there were a lot of lessons out of this, the first one, the whole idea that the science. Was real. Um, we initially, uh, sent out a communication about COVID-19 February to six in our district.

And then again in February 28th, and we were watching what was coming out of Hopkins in terms of the information CDC, [00:06:00] but it was from afar, but when it hit us and we had the initial, um, case in our district, even though we had read up on it, it was real. And so in terms of all of your plans, when you have a crisis that we’ve done before, we’ve had crisis in schools, but nothing like this things we had talked about doing way out five years, 10 years from now with technology, we talked about it.

We’ve been talking about building our infrastructure. We went from being the first district to close in the state of Minnesota thinking we were closing for two days to disinfect, right. And we’ll be right back. To now the real reality of what we’re going through. But the lessons we learned in is in terms of how much we depend on one another and how much we need our children to be in close proximity to us, our realization of the children who are [00:07:00] behind, uh, during the traditional schools.

Or just illuminated 10 times, you know, more that, wow, we really need to do a better job of trying to engage, not only the children, but the families. This went from her, just totally child centered to whole family, whole community. And so COVID-19 for us has said let’s pause and check on the social, emotional wellbeing, the mental health aspect, and understanding our community even deeper.

Because the economic employment, the health, all these things that happened. So as a staff, we had to change our delivery models for instruction. Uh, initially in a crisis, we were trying to put in model the same things we were doing in traditional schools that did not work. And we learned from our students and our staff and our community, we needed to change it and not be so much it’s just on associate motion or that we didn’t.

Continue to [00:08:00] try to continue with the high levels of instruction. But initially we were just thrown off guard. I’m gonna be honest with you. And over the summer, you know, we worked together to really come up with a model that we think is better, but we’re not done. We’re still learning. Even being here in Madison.

Now the transition Madison staff did a lot in terms of just like across the country. People were taking food out to the community, getting devices out in the community, getting hotspots out. And we were not prepared for that level of support that we needed to give, but I was amazed at how all the staff and the community came together to try to get those things done.

Yeah. I still remember the lack of sharedness around the closures and how long it would be here. I talked to a number of teachers who said bye to their students for two weeks, and then it ended up being the whole semester. Thank you so much, dr. Ladson billings, this summer, you were involved in a program at Penn park that had some students outdoors learning STEM lessons for three [00:09:00] days a week.
What were the most important aspects of that sort of programming this summer for you? Well, I think dr. Jenkins actually hit upon what was central for me. I know that people are concerned about learning loss or learning, uh, opportunities, missed learning opportunities. But first let’s be clear. Our children are learning all the time.
They are human beings. There is no time when they are not normal. Maybe when they’re sleeping, I learned they’re always learning. Now, whether they’re learning academic things or curricular based things, that’s something different. But what I was doing really focused on and developing that program and we call it smartly in the park, um, I knew that the, the STEM.

Attraction will be there for the wider community. But my focus was on the children’s social, emotional and mental health needs. So many of [00:10:00] our kids are isolated. They, you know, they got a parent who was trying to go to work. Who says you may not leave the house. Okay. You got to stay here. And we figured that out when we started this with the lunches kids, weren’t coming to get the lunches because they were told don’t leave the house.

So, uh, at Mount Zion, one of the things we did is we got, we got the van together. We collected the lunches and we delivered them. So I said, this can’t be good for our kids to be this isolated. So, you know, we did not have sort of assessment metrics or any of those things in place for the summer. What it was, was the opportunity for kids to be in face to face communication with one another and with caring adults.

And I think that’s what we’re learning in this whole process. We can talk about curriculum. We can talk about instruction. But we are in the human being business. We don’t have any human beings. We have no business. And so indeed until we meet those basic [00:11:00] needs, those social, emotional, and mental health needs, we are, we’re not going to be successful.

And I think those were really underscored, uh, as, as spring went on and into the summer. Thank you very much. And that actually leads into another question I have here. Uh, all of you have spoken to me or publicly about social, emotional learning, being as important right now, uh, as academic learning, but how can that be done through a screen?
Um, I’m going to start with Mary Lee just because you’ve been trying to do that with your students. Okay. Um, so there’s a number of ways to do it. Um, It would be a misnomer to think that all of our students were showing up to school on a daily basis when we were seeing them face to face. And so, as teachers, as staff members, we’ve developed ways of connecting with students beyond the physical classroom to begin with.

Right. But there’s also ways to do that in front of a screen. Right. Taking the [00:12:00] time to check in with students. Yeah. I have 50 minutes with my group of students. But guess what? I spend that first five, 10, and that’s at least checking in, maybe it’s a silly question. What’s your favorite fall activity to do or fall flavor.

Right? It could be something silly like that, but it also could be something of like, how are you right now? Where are you at? Um, and then on top of that, it’s meeting students where they’re at some of our students. I have students who are not ready to do a zoom meeting. It’s too much for them. The and a number of ways.

So guess what I’m doing? Phone calls and text messaging and finding ways to connect with them in, in lots of different ways. Do I wish that I could be face to face with them? Absolutely. A hundred percent. And we are, we are finding ways to make those small connections that then lead to being able to open up to bigger connections.

And trying to provide some space during our class time or whatever, you know, [00:13:00] synchronous time that we have to also let them talk with each other. Because like dr. Ladson billings said our kids are isolated in their houses and some of them haven’t seen peers or reached out to peers. So creating some structures and spaces to have some of those conversations, to be able to have engaged in that discussion, that would happen in a classroom.

And, you know, creating those spaces. What are you hearing from staff and what are staff doing in Madison to foster those sorts of things? First of all, let me just say thank you, Mary. I mean, she really spoke to what I’m hearing from a number of our staff and, uh, not just here in Madison, but just throughout the country, as a meeting with other superintendents regularly on a national level to talk about what we can do to continue to build these relationships.
And funny go back to doctor Lassen billings. When she started talking about culturally relevant pedagogy and always look at that in terms of relationship building. [00:14:00] And that’s what Mary was talking about so way before everyone else was talking about it, that the last and bill has been talking about this whole thing of relationship relationship.
And we talk about relationships, but the reality of relationships as just describe that’s where our teachers are. Another thing in terms of uplifting. The voices of the teachers, all of the assessments. Some individuals think that when still need to be hard on the AP exam, harder and act, that’s not the main thing right now.

The main thing is that we put our arms around our students, around our staff, around our community. We see one another and we uplift the voices of the students and of the staff. How are they really experiencing this new thing? Taking those voices in the emphasis of our planning in the past, a lot of times we have gotten to planning from my office, all the other offices, the hierarchy that we’ve known must be flipped up on his head right [00:15:00] now that has not even worked doing a traditional for all.

Children serve some children. Well, but not all children. This is the time that we’re saying before you start the lesson, ask a simple question. But a big question. How are you today? And then pause and listen. Okay. And so our staff intentionally, but when we design our lessons and coming back and looking at how we get students in groups, how we’ll listen to them, individually, students talk to students and we have to be very careful about, um, just doing the content at this time.

But at the same time, our students. They want the structure. They need the structure to help them have some sense of what am I to do today. Parents need it. The other thing we’re doing, trying to connect more with parents and for us, we’re finding that we are actually having more contact with some parents than what we did prior to COVID in particular black and Brown [00:16:00] families.

We have the one group that’s been disengaged before Kobe that’s even more now. Particularly with black and Brown and special needs students. But right now, at this time, we’re trying to make sure we have that additional communication for those students who have been most marginalized prior to covert and now doing covert.

And so I think those things, uh, and students know we’re paying attention to them, staff know that we’re hearing their voices, parents know that we’re hearing their voice and then being prepared to pivot right now we’re in the middle of making shifts from what we’ve learned, even since school started back.

Our early learners, we have to define what the screen time mean, how we’re approaching our earliest learners, our ELL students, how do we give them the support? How do we support our students who may be special needs and just students who may be having anxiety and social, emotional issues and staff. So that’s what we’re trying to do to build a relationship, see people, and then actually.

Serve them based on [00:17:00] their needs and then provide the overall support, uh, systematically, not just an isolated classroom, how will all of our teachers in our face with our students now, that’s what we’re doing. Thank you so much for detailing all of that. Dr. Ladson billings, what sorts of best practices are you seeing on social, emotional learning right now?

So, you know, it’s interesting, there is an instructional practice that we had before all of this called the flipped classroom. And it suggests that a lot of the learning take place online and then you come face to face to do sort of minimal things. Well, I’m seeing that we have in flipped relationships.

What do I mean by that? Is this this stuff worried about in terms of communicating electronically, our kids already know how to do that. They can sit in a room right next to their best friend, and they’re not talking, they’re texting them. It’s become their way of communicating so we can learn some things [00:18:00] from them and not presume that we have to be the ones who are telling them, uh, I want to know, and visited a class, you know, visit as an electronic yeah.
In Baltimore. And I asked the kids, uh, what they liked or didn’t like about. Oh, virtual learning. And one kid said, Oh, I love it. He said, cause when she gets on my nerves, I just turn her off. He’s he’s I couldn’t do that when, when I was in the class, but to sit there and listen. So it’s interesting that the way that they are adjusting and adapting, um, and I think we can take some hints from them.
Uh, no, we don’t want everybody on screens all the time. I think we’re all sick of that. But I do think we can be a lot more creative with it and what I will say. And I think, you know, thinking of dr. Jenkins sitting there, I think that we’re having a diff totally different relationship with our it departments that before they were this group on the side, they were the [00:19:00] resource people.

If my internet goes down, if I can’t get my email, I call them they’re there moved to the center. And we are now in a partnership with them, which is the way it should have been, that they should have been our instructional technology folks as opposed to information technology on the side. So I think we’re learning a lot of how to improve education, uh, as a result of this.

Thank you so much. Are any of you concerned about the screen time for students right now? Does anyone want to talk about how they’re trying to manage it? Well, interesting. You asked that question because that’s been our conversation the last several weeks from parents, from students and staff, uh, and our team.

First of all, we need to redefine what the screen time and all the research prior to Colvin, we need to look at that research with a critical eye [00:20:00] because. You may be on a zoom. And as with dr. Lessen villain just said, the kid may be there. It may be working independently. It’s on, but you’re working independently.

You’re not just interfacing eyes and concerned about, um, whether or not the students engage from a visual straight up point. It just may be on. And so we need to define it first of all, and that’s what we’ve been talking about, but we do need to pay attention to our learning earliest learners. You know, four and five year olds and what can they really manage?

And do we want them to be in such a structured environment? Whereas they’re not being able to be them be independent learners because students can learn independent in what some would call it, unstructured environment. I’d say playtime playtime is very important. So we need to think about it on levels of primary and secondary.

Now, secondary students. They’re on it, but they’re doing it in a totally different way than what our early learners. And so we just need to be respectful. Then [00:21:00] that goes back to listening to the student. And sometimes they can’t manage as much as we were trying to. We’re trying to give them, we have, the pendulum has swung from last spring, not being as much.

And people say, Hey, we want more too. I think sometimes now we’ve got a little too far. And we need to engage the students, hear that voice engaged the teachers. The most important thing right now is to engage that teacher, those formative assessments will allow us to know how we need to pivot along with engaging the voices of the studio.

That’s where we are with. What about you for high schoolers, Mary Lee. I mean screen time is a conversation that we have with our high schoolers, even when we’re face to face in the building of how much time are they spending on their Chromebook in the classroom. Um, because. It’s still a lot. And then we expect them to go home and do homework.

And that a lot of times is on [00:22:00] the Chromebook or on a computer or on their phones. And then you bring in the phone piece. So are a lot of times my high schoolers are definitely multitasking with a phone in one hand and a zoom meeting in the other. And we’ve had some really good conversations about that.

Um, because as we kind of go back to that social, emotional learning, The high school students. And not that the elementary aren’t either, but like the high school students are searching and seeking that social connection. And right now it’s the device. It’s the phone that brings that social connection right level than it already did, even beyond, you know, students sitting next to each other and texting each other.

Like there’s, there’s so much more there. Um, I don’t know if there’s a good answer. For any of that? I think we have to keep learning. I think we have to keep a critical eye of thinking about how can we make our screen-time meaningful. And how can we also pull off the [00:23:00] screen? How can we get creative and pull off of the screen and get kids back outside?

I think of the STEM program that dr. LED’s and billings talked about of being outside working, um, one benefit we’ve had is we’ve had students in our, uh, community garden that we have outside of our school. And I look at that and seeing that is been amazing. Um, that they are engaging with, um, the food chain and how things are produced and you know, how can we build that into schools all over, not just at school, but in their homes, in their communities and connecting there.

I feel that it’s in billings. I know screen time was a concern. And part of the reason that you were so happy with the program this summer, that was outdoors. What are your thoughts on students avoiding too much screen time? So earlier this year, well, probably late, late, late summer, as we were thinking about going back to school, I did a workshop [00:24:00] for.

A local bank that has branches in Milwaukee and green Bay. And because a lot of those, uh, employees, so, you know, I still have to work, but what about my kids? And so we had really good conversation and I literally helped them build a schedule for whether it was elementary, middle, or high school. And I built into that schedule, like stop and go outside.

Like that was like written there. Oh, cause one of the things that we are forgetting is that, you know, as human beings, we, we are mind, body and spirit. We’re not just minds. And so this is an opportunity to literally say it’s important that you get some exercise. I talked to, to the parents about having more than one in one place in their home.
Or their kids to be engaged in their learning. So yeah, maybe the, the den or their room is where they, they might do English or [00:25:00] literacy or reading and mathematics, but maybe it’s the kitchen table or the kitchen Island where you’re going to do the craft activity. And then get outside, you know, minimum amount of time.

We need the very things that we need to do in a well-developed face to face program. We still can keep going, uh, modify at home. We want to make sure that our kids are taking care of their bodies. Um, you know, one of the unanticipated. A result of this pandemic is that a number of our high school students are, are taking jobs.

And we hadn’t thought about that. A merely talked about knowing that that some of the kids are not checking in. They’re not checking in cause they’re working. Uh, and they’re adding hours if they already had a job. So they need to be active. They need to minimize the amount of time that they have to be.

In front of those [00:26:00] screens. Um, cause they haven’t drawn to the many way. Um, my generation was drawn to the TV and back then it was like the television producers had enough sense to turn us off at midnight. It’s like, we go watch no more, but we are, you know, we’re in, in a generation in which. People getting most of their information through the screen.

So we’ve got to break it up and make it, uh, an opportunity for them to also get their bodies moving. And so that they just don’t, you know, secondary, um, activity is what leads to all the sort of heart disease and diabetes and things like that. So we don’t want to set them up for, um, a negative future.

Well, I have one other part about that, and I know we we’re talking about with the students screen time. We’ve also been talking about we’re wrestling as adults. When do we begin our day? When does our day end? So we’ve got to have more calibration around this whole moment. We’re [00:27:00] in, it seems like there’s no ending to it.

We did have a set time doing traditional, but now you’re at that desk. You’re in your space working from early morning to late at night. So we have to recalibrate on that. And I think as we think about ourselves, That will help influence what we’re doing with our students. Realizing too, as you mentioned about the phone’s constantly going, and if we don’t do that as dr.

said, it impacts our health. When our minds never shut down. And that’s whole about the whole sleep time study. And that’s another discussion, but yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, Mary Lee, how, how has that been for you as a teacher wanting to connect with students, but trying to live your own life? Well, and I, I thank you for bringing that up.

I really appreciate it because I do think as teachers, we spend a lot of time thinking about our students screen time, and then we’re not necessarily reflecting on how exhausted we are and understanding why that is. Um, I, I taught [00:28:00] online before online was the cool thing too do. And so I had to learn that I was, I was balancing both teaching some face to face some online.

And when I first started teaching that online piece, I realized I was working all hours of the day and I was responding to emails at eight o’clock at night and at five 30 in the morning. And I realized I had to set some boundaries for myself and. As a community of staff members, we haven’t, we haven’t, I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet because we feel like there’s so much to do and we’re learning and trying to stay on top of so many things.

And as I think about our staff, um, yesterday we were in a professional development and we, we did try to take some times to take a break, but it just becomes all consuming. And, um, I appreciate dr. Jenkins thinking about the staff and how [00:29:00] yes. We might be teaching face to face or not face to face, but on zoom, synchronous, you know, from nine to two, but guess what?

Our job doesn’t end there. And so then we’re on the computer on a screen beyond those hours, a lot of times, many hours beyond those hours. And so, um, And I think we are, we’re learning and we’re going to hopefully get into a place where we’ve gotten through the first term. We’ve started to realize, okay, here’s some strategies that really work and how we can set some of those boundaries.

Thank you both for speaking to that aspect of this, one of the other pieces that we’ve spoken about Mary Lee is that sort of this time has illustrated. That no learning system is going to work for everyone, including virtual, but, but I think, uh, a lot of people assumed the other system was just the way it was, but this has highlighted that it’s not going to work universally.

How can education move forward with that? [00:30:00] Understanding that not all systems work for every student. Um, I’ll actually start with dr. Ladson billings on this one. So now that you’ve, um, Toss me a nice softball, cause it’s kind of what I’ve been talking about all along all, since we’ve been in the pandemic and I’ve suggested that, um, this is an opportunity for us to do what I’ve called the hard reset, and I’ve actually used the analogy of the devices that we all have, that when they don’t work.

Um, we, you know, try something, things, we take the SIM cards out, put them back in the battery out, put it back. They don’t work, they don’t work. And we, we, we head off to the store, whether it’s the Apple store or the Samsung store, Android, wherever you got your device and somebody who was about 17 years old, wearing a tee shirt, tells you the dreaded words, we’re going to have to do a hard reset.

And what they mean. I mean, by that is if you haven’t backed up everything. When [00:31:00] they give you that phone back, all your contacts are going to be gone. All your pictures are going to be gone wherever you were in the candy crush. Thing’s going to be gone. You’re going to have a phone that’s like it was when it came to you from the factory.

And that’s really where I believe we are in education. I don’t think, I think we can, you know, when people say I can’t wait to get back to normal, well, normal. For the kids that I’m most concerned about was a disaster. Normal was they weren’t reading normal was that they were being suspended at a disproportionate rate.

Normal was, they were over identified for special education. Normal was, they were being expelled normal was they weren’t getting an advanced placement. So with the heart reset, We have this opportunity, you know, I’ve been siting a Indian novelist by the name of our Arundhati Roy who says this, the pandemic is a portal.

It’s a gateway from the old world into the new, [00:32:00] and that we have an opportunity. I know we’re all talking about how horrible this is, but I want to say that it’s also an opportunity. There’s also a chance for us to have a clean slate, to think differently about what we’re doing too. Focus differently.

I’ve got a panel coming up next week with the national Academy. And one of the things I’m going to say is that we need to center science and I’m not just saying science curriculum, but the problems of living in a democracy, whether it is climate change, whether it’s economic downturn, whether it’s an inability for people to access a quality education, that if we send it problems, then the curriculum will come along because.

You know, you, you can’t make a case if you’re not literate. Right. So I don’t want you to, just to read, because I want you to have a set of skills. I want you to be able to solve a problem. So I just think, yeah, again, I can’t remember whether it was [00:33:00] Ronald manual or some political person who said we should never let you know, not take advantage of a good crisis.

Well, we got a good crisis here and we need to take advantage of it. Mary Lee, how can you bring that idea of systems? Not universally working for every student into teaching? Uh, so I I’ve been really lucky. Um, I work at Clark street community school. We have started this step. We’ve gotten rid of grades.

Not, standard-based not one, two, three, four. Like we have truly, there is no GPA, there’s no grades. We are mastery-based. So we’re actually looking at when you write something or when you read something or when you do some math work, we’re looking at that and saying, okay, where can you improve? Where have you really mastered this skill, that kind of piece.

Um, we’ve looked at how do we. [00:34:00] Look at personalized plans for students. And how are the students taking the lead on that plan? What do they want to do? What do they want to pursue? I do think this, I cannot second enough. What doctor Ladson billings is saying is this is such an opportunity. That we can start saying maybe one size doesn’t fit all.

And here is our chance to actually make those changes that maybe we don’t need all of our students in our building at the same time, in order for them to be growing and learning, maybe we can connect with our communities. I think of, um, what dr. Jenkins was saying about how, you know, the outreach and the connection with community centers and community groups.

Maybe we need to make that the norm as compared to just the crisis situation. So I think there’s so many different opportunities within that to say, huh? Turns out when we take some of these pieces away, not everything [00:35:00] falls apart and maybe we are actually seeing students grow and seeing students thrive in, in a way that we haven’t seen before.

How can a whole school district embrace those ideas? Do you think. I think it’s critical that we all pause and look at what we have and turns out COVID-19 intersecting with the whole racial injustice. Um, since the emphasi of our country. For me, when I publicly witnessed mr. Floyd being lynched 16.2 miles from our home.

Um, a moment as an educator of 30 years, I said, I’m not doing my job. I’m not being disruptive enough. It came full circle, the historical wrongs of black and Brown, poor children, special needs children. [00:36:00] And I’m saying, what can we do? That was the question I asked. And I said, it’s time that we go back and look on the promise of America.
Of America and hold America accountable, but it’s reciprocal accountability. We have to do our parts and America must do their parts. We’re fundamentally flawed, no matter which system we try to implement right now, we’re fundamentally flawed how we resource education. We need to make education, the main thing.

And when I say resource, see, it’s not just money. It’s the resources. Be it human. Be it an opportunity for advancement once. An individual would come educated. This is an opportunity for us to hold America true to his promise. When Abraham Lincoln said we came together to form a more perfect union. This is the time to form a more perfect union and to be all inclusive, put the schools in a community and hold the community accountable.

Put the community in the schools [00:37:00] to hold schools accountable. It’s a shared responsibility. It’s not just schools is businesses. Is healthcare. It’s all about the employment. And I just think, regardless of where we stand, which system, if we don’t see the people, and if we don’t have a service mentality about the people, right.
And trying to support the people and we develop policies that impact our practices, that impact the people that are still not taken into that promise. We are Americans. I think this is the greatest opportunity in my time in education. It’s like I’ve had a rebirth. I consider myself as a first year educator right now, not superintendent dropped the titles.
That’s nonsensical, drop the titles and let’s just come together and do the work whichever system we designed, make sure it’s one of excellence and not non excellence. I think critically when we say excellent [00:38:00] excellence is not some children reading at 18% and other children reading it. 64%. And we’re trying to compare the students, black and Brown students to white students who are scoring at 64%.
64% does not put us on a competitive level internationally. That’s the very reason in math and science, we had 32 and 34 in terms of our rating. When you look at the performance of international that says, this is an opportunity for America to really lead how America can lead. And I truly believe with the great science that’s here in Madison.

Number one public institution share parking lots with MMS D share a parking lot is no reason that we can’t come together. Take the science, take the practice, listening to the students, listen to the staff and listen to the community. Whichever system we come up with. We’ve come up with it together. And it’s all in.

That’s what I believe that we have to do in a system that we choose must maintain [00:39:00] unhuman perspective. And not just test outcome perspective. Thank you all very much for that per those perspectives. We need to take a quick break here and we’ll be back to talk more about teaching and learning. Going forward.

Cap times idea Fest 2020 is made possible by the generous support of our spots. Presenting sponsor the bear-ish group that UBS a financial services firm with global access and a local focus to pursue what matters most. For its clients. Major sponsors are health X ventures, backing entrepreneurs who are creating value with digital health solutions, exact sciences pursuing earlier detections and life changing answers in the fight against cancer courts.

Health plans built with you in mind and Madison gas and electric. Your community energy company with goal is net zero carbon electricity. By 2050 co-sponsors are Epic systems and the Godfrey con law firm, [00:40:00] other sponsors are Wisconsin alumni research foundation savings bank, UnityPoint health Meriter cargo coffee, and the forward theater company, media partners are the Wisconsin state journal and madison.com.

Welcome back to our panel on how COVID-19 will change the future of education. So one of the things I think a lot of students and adults are facing right now through this pandemic is uncertainty. Uh, in their lives, how can teachers and, uh, educational institutions help students through that uncertainty, uh, while also managing, you know, their, their own, uh, challenges, Mary Lee, I’ll start with you.
Um, I think it starts with. Well, going back to the question of [00:41:00] how are we approaching social, emotional wellness? How are we looking at the wellness needs of our students, of our families and of our teachers? Um, I think we have spent a lot of last spring. Early this fall saying, okay, we’re going to check the box on making sure our kids are okay.

And I do have some concern that we’re going to, you know, get further in and be like, Oh, well we already checked that box. So we don’t need to continue to do that. And that’s where I think parents and staff members and students and administration and the greater community can help, continue to check in to.

Keep that pulse. Um, we’re going to head into winter here soon, whether or not the weather today actually looks like that. Um, and that’s going to change the dynamic. And so as we continue through these different phases, as the data changes as well, different events come through in the next few months, we need to continue [00:42:00] to check in, um, because the uncertainty is not right, going away, not for awhile.

And. The more that we are being aware of the mental health need. The more that we continue to message to families that the wellness of your family is of the utmost importance. Yes. We want students learning. We want students growing and they’re going to continue to do that. Especially when they are. Wow.

Especially when they have levels of security and that could look like a lot of different things, whether that’s a schedule. I love how dr. Ladson billings talked about working with families of how do you do a schedule? How do you actually, we make a schedule I’m going, I wonder if we’ve done that with our parents?

I don’t know if we have, we’ve talked with some of our high schools students about doing that, but that might be really great for our elementary students to think about. We’ve actually set up a schedule as teachers I’m really skilled at that. It’s what I live in, right? Like that’s my world that I live in.

Not everybody lives in that world. So as we [00:43:00] continue on, we have to continue doing those checkpoints. We can’t just check a box and say that we’re moving forward. Dr. Jenkins on that similar note. I mean, how can the district give parents and students certainty right now? I think right now we have to truly just be honest with the community.
We’re in a state of uncertainty and it’s all about how you view it. Uh, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world because we’re uncertain. We’ll give you as much information as we can, based upon the information we’re getting, but I’m also really pushing for parents and for staff to be very careful about what information coming to you.

For example, there is a, an economist out of Harvard Shetty. He just put this piece out based upon his metrics really would fall into discern online curriculum about Wisconsin [00:44:00] and the high socio economic students have increased learning 83.3% on his own online curriculum and the lower socioeconomic students have.

Decrease by 1%. So we know we have gaps, we’re Wisconsin, number one in the nation. Right. But what does this type of data mean inflammation when you get it, it contained to perpetuate narratives of someone else versus trying to understand your own realities. And so that narrative individual may take, do we even use the Zurn curriculum in all of Wisconsin?

No, but right now the narrative is, these are the things that’s happening. So no, the information and from where it come, no, the metrics do your homework as much as you can to be in alignment with the guidance that’s coming out, we’re in a medical situation, the academic piece. And I wholeheartedly agree [00:45:00] with dr.

Our students are learning right to the staff. I’m saying, Hey, give yourself some space and grace and give the students in space and grace. You didn’t turn it in about two o’clock. Nope. Zero, hold up. Wait a minute. That kid was at home helping three of their siblings. You don’t know all the situation, ask questions before we make those final decisions.

Same thing to parents in particular, parents who are working and have children at home, give yourself some space and grace give you students in space and grace. And one of my former people, uh, student services, um, supervisor, she said that to our team. Because when we first started, we were in a crisis. She say, hold up, everybody, let’s just give some space.

And grace. And I really embraced that philosophy of saying, you’re not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be perfect, but we’re just striving to do better. And as long as we can understand that we’re going to strive to get better. You don’t have to be perfect. That’s the other thing, [00:46:00] too. Right? As long as we know our intent and we’re really working hard.

To get there. I think we’ll be a little bit better off, but that adds to the social emotional. I have to be perfect. I’ve had to have more psychologists talking to our 4.0 students over time because of the anxieties they have. Wait a minute. I just scored a 97 on that test. Oh my goodness. I didn’t get a hundred, hold up, slow down.

You know, that wasn’t all that bad, you know, and that’s not low expectations. But it’s just saying, relax, you know, and we all going to have to do that, help one another, uh, do that. And I think we’ll be better off the anxiety’s a real amongst all of us right now, dr. Ladson billings, how can uncertainty and, you know, disruption to routine affect kids’ learning, um, and development.

Um, so I think what’s important for us to understand is even though this panel is about COVID-19, we are in the midst of four readily [00:47:00] identifiable pandemics. We do have COVID-19 it’s the reason why, you know, people are distancing, why I’m here and not in the studio with you. We understand that one, but we’re also in a pandemic of anti-black racism that that’s everywhere.

I mean, was George Floyd and Arbery, um, C’mon Arbery and Brianna Taylor, and then lo and behold, Jacob Blake, I mean, right down the road and Kenosha. So that’s all around too, but we also are facing a terrible economic situation. We haven’t talked much about it, but the truth of the matter is that, um, even though the governor has, you know, had a landlord stay the requirement for people to pay their rent, those rents are going to come due.

And people don’t have jobs or they’ve had to cut hours. So rents and mortgages and all those things will come down, come, come due. And then the fourth one, although we think of [00:48:00] ourselves as kind of safe from it in the upper middle is the coming climate catastrophe. You know, I’m a grandmother who all of her grandchildren are on the West coast, so they can’t even go outside because the air is so bad.

So those fires raging in California, or if you live in that, um, in the, in the Gulf coast area, uh, we are now through all of the regular alphabet with storms and now into the Greek alphabet, Louisiana is bracing for, uh, the Delta, right? So all of these things are happening. So uncertainty is not just around COVID-19 it’s around living in this world right now.

So one of the things that I think will help us with the uncertainty is that as teachers, we have to begin to build our pedagogical repertoires, COVID-19, it’s forced you to do it. To some extent you can’t just do the same old [00:49:00] stuff. Uh, I recall as a professor at UWA because, you know, unlike, um, K-12 school and we don’t get a room.

You know, you don’t have a room. That’s your room. You have your office, what you teach, wherever they assign you, wherever their space. And I, I made a decision that whatever space I’m in, I’m going to take advantage of whatever, whatever resources are there. So my last. Couple of rooms were connected to our IMC, which meant I had all of this technology.

I had smart boards, I had docu cams. I had, uh, all kinds of listening and I decided to start doing some things differently. I began to run a, um, uh, a class hashtag. A Twitter feed. And what did I find out that many of my international students absolutely loved because they don’t like raising their hands and speaking out because that’s not how they came into education in their countries, but they can pull out their [00:50:00] devices and tweet about what we’re doing.

I would not have thought about that without that resource there in front of me. So I think the, again, you know, I want to look at the opportunity. So the opportunities are for us to build, um, better, um, pedagogical repertoires to learn, to teach together. That’s another thing that I think we, we, we give lip service to team teaching, but I think now we do have to work together.

Uh, and that as that Jenkins had said earlier, the whole notion of the community and the school and the school and the community, that, that, that gives us another opportunity. Um, Mary Lee talked about a community garden. Um, we could be doing so many more things, uh, and not letting the assessment tail wag the dog here that.

Uh, I just wanna, I just don’t want us to lose this opportunity to miss it because it really is, uh, an [00:51:00] opportunity. Thank you so much, dr. Jenkins, dr. Ladson billings just spoke a lot about teacher development and growth and learning right now. What are you doing as an administrator to learn and grow through this period of time?
JFK said that leadership and learning are indispensable. You can’t be a leader without wanting to continue to grow. And I am listening a whole lot more to everyone. Uh, and what I’m hearing from the children, uh, when I go out in the community, when I’m going and tapping into the schools, when I’m meeting yesterday with the principal groups and what, uh, when I’m listening to the parents.

Okay. When I say I’m in my first year of my new education, As a leader, this is my first year. And it’s exciting. It’s given, it’s rejuvenated me in a way as a learner, you know, reading, uh, [00:52:00] any and everything, because there’s not a blueprint for this where we are now. So as I walked through it and looking at the models, not of what has been, but what could be, I think what dr.

Less ability to say, this is an opportunity. I am in that mode of saying this is the learning should be occurring for myself, trying to educate also working in collaboration with our board, working with the staff and yesterday the principals, we had a great time conversations and we’re going to flip our model central office, bringing in all the experts central office, come in and leave.

No, no, no, no, no. Principals will lead the PD. They were going to come up with the topics and working in concert with the staff. And, um, I met with some amazing principals. Yes,
we have so much talent in MMS. D I just, I mean, I’ve been in a lot of places and I knew that when I left and it’s still [00:53:00] here. So that’s what I say as a, as a new leader, you know, I am in a learning mode. And I think I’ve been rejuvenated by this COVID-19, but it’s racial the whole injustice piece. So I think that’s what, from my level and lens, we have to do throw out what we were before this and start a new.

Yeah, in sort of to build on that. Are there any specific curricular or content changes that you see happening as a result of everything that’s going on right now? Mary Lee? I mean, do you plan to build any of what’s been going on in the world into your content going forward? We are, that’s a really amazing part.

Um, so the school that, uh, I work at, um, we’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now of looking at, um, how do we bring what students are already passionate about? How do we bring what is already, um, in [00:54:00] both popular culture, in the news in science and bring it into our focus. So right now our students are split into two cohorts.

One cohort is working on a, um, the theme is growing. You’re growing our future. So looking at food, sustainability, planetary health, looking at philosophy, how does philosophy impact how we, we, um, interact with the world poetry? So how can poetry and. Within that hip hop and language be impactful for communicating your ideas.

So that’s our one strand. And so we have a group of teachers who are then working with our half of our students for this entire first term interspersing, all of those ideas I’m in the coming of age. So thinking about what does it look like to come of age? Both in this time and in times, All over the world.

Right. [00:55:00] So thinking about it from a global perspective and right here in our community, so what are we looking at? What are we doing? How do we look at statistics and use that to inform our, our decisions that we’re making? How do we use literature to have that windows and mirrors effect? Right. What do I see in literature that is similar to me?

What is literature that opens my eyes to different pieces? Um, so. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been doing this for many years now. And I think we are now we have an opportunity to say, how can we use what is happening in our world right now? If you take any of the pandemics that dr. Ladson billings talked about, you could develop curriculum for years on those topics alone.

And. We have an opportunity to do that. We have the materials, we have the ideas out there, but it’s going to take a massive shift. It’s a massive shift to shift away [00:56:00] from what we’ve been doing to what we can do. And I think this might be the time and yes, it’s going to be hard. It’s already hard. So what can, what are those steps that we can start taking as we look at that?

Dr. Ladson billings, how important do you think it is for teachers to do that sort of curricular adjustment, uh, for their students? Um, I think it’s imperative, you know, it’s interesting some years ago, um, psychologist, how a gardener who most people know from multiple intelligences, Howard said, you know, We keep talking about what schools need to do or what, you know, how, how to get better.

He said the truth of the matter is if you look around the world, there are different places in the world that are X.
[00:57:00] We keep talking about what schools need to do or what w you know, how, how to get better. He said the truth of the matter there is, if you look around the world, there are different places in the world that are expert at different aspects of it. He said, if you want, wanted to have a child have a perfect education, you put them in preschool, Italy at Reggio Emilia.

You put them in elementary school in Finland. You then put them in high school in Germany, and then you send them to college in United States. That indeed that’s the best system seemed to be. So we have this opportunity to look or what what’s going on at Reggio Emilia, how can our preschools be less sort of structured and focused and more whole child oriented what’s going on in Finland?

Why are the fins doing so well in elementary school? Uh, How much [00:58:00] latitude do their teachers have to make curricular decisions what’s going on in Germany, uh, with high school? Well, one of the things I know for sure is that German high school offers a promise. If you stick through this, this is what we’re promising you at the end.

So they’ve sat down with industry and ha and postsecondary ed and said, Buhr people come through the program. We guarantee them a route to one of these. They want to go work in the Mercedes Benz plant. They can do that, but if they want to go to belong, yeah. Uh, to study, they can do that. And then of course our colleges are the cream of the crop.

Everybody comes here. Everybody wants to go to a college and university in the U S we have to find a way to synthesize all of this great information and great opportunities, because we were one of the best resource countries, nations the world’s ever seen. And I don’t actually think it’s about quote money.
I think it is about our [00:59:00] political will. It is about our political, do we want to invest in just the fence or do we want to invest in our people? Thank you so much, dr. Jenkin, you spoke a little earlier about sort of some conversation about achievement gaps, uh, nationally, and that’s something that’s been certainly a big part of the conversation over the past seven months is the potential for widening achievement gaps through this time.

Uh, is that a concern here and how can you stop that from happening? Well, I think achievement gap is one thing, but the opportunity gap and based upon just even what you just heard. They were talking opportunities, right? And the higher, more wealthy families have opportunities before school, after schools on the weekend spoken language at home is so many opportunities.

And when I said there’s a resource with fundamental flaw, how we resource, this [01:00:00] is what I mean, it’s bigger than just money to these opportunities we can create, uh, for our children. And I’m still on the narratives. We have to shift the narratives. I said this when I was speaking at, um, the editorial board for the state journal, I think the media has a lot to do with shifting this narrative.
And when I mentioned Shetty’s work earlier or some other individuals who are economists or, and we should be shooting, what were you doing? The other side?

…. the remaining audio is indecipherable.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Schools Aren’t Super-Spreaders

Emily Oster:

In early August, the first kids in America went back to school during the pandemic. Many of these openings happened in areas where cases were high or growing: in Georgia, Indiana, Florida. Parents, teachers, and scientists feared what might happen next. The New York Times reported that, in parts of Georgia, a school of 1,000 kids could expect to see 20 or 30 people arrive with COVID-19 during week one. Many assumed that school infections would balloon and spread outward to the broader community, triggering new waves. On social media, people shared pictures of high schools with crowded hallways and no masking as if to say I told you so.

Fear and bad press slowed down or canceled school reopenings elsewhere. Many large urban school districts chose not to open for in-person instruction, even in places with relatively low positivity rates. Chicago, L.A., Houston—all remote, at least so far.

It’s now October. We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school reopenings and remote learning are going (those photos of hallways don’t count), and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be a major spreader of COVID-19.

Since early last month, I’ve been working with a group of data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics, as well as with school-principal and superintendent associations, to collect data on COVID-19 in schools. (See more on that project here.) Our data on almost 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September revealed an infection rate of 0.13 percent among students and 0.24 percent among staff. That’s about 1.3 infections over two weeks in a school of 1,000 kids, or 2.2 infections over two weeks in a group of 1,000 staff. Even in high-risk areas of the country, the student rates were well under half a percent. (You can see all the data here.)

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Facebook Just Forced Its Most Powerful Critics Offline

David Gilbert:

Facebook is using its vast legal muscle to silence one of its most prominent critics.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group established last month in response to the tech giant’s failure to get its actual Oversight Board up and running before the presidential election, was forced offline on Wednesday night after Facebook wrote to the internet service provider demanding the group’s website — realfacebookoversight.org — be taken offline.

The group is made up of dozens of prominent academics, activists, lawyers, and journalists whose goal is to hold Facebook accountable in the run-up to the election next month. Facebook’s own Oversight Board, which was announced 13 months ago, will not meet for the first time until later this month, and won’t consider any issues related to the election.

In a letter sent to one of the founders of the RFOB, journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the ISP SupportNation said the website was being taken offline after Facebook complained that the site was involved in “phishing.”

Phishing is when cybercriminals try and trick unsuspecting individuals into clicking on malicious links or disclosing personal information for the purpose of profiting from those actions. It’s unclear what evidence Facebook presented to support its claim that RFOB was operating a phishing website.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Facebook (and Instagram) services, including Madison.