A physician reveals the nightmare of transgender ideology in a major children’s hospital.

Christopher Rufo

have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue with a physician who works in a major children’s hospital in a blue city. This physician has witnessed firsthand how transgender ideology has captured the medical profession and jeopardized the first commandment of the healing sciences: do no harm.

He has now chosen to speak out, on condition of anonymity, because he is alarmed by the sudden corruption of the medical community. His colleagues, many of whom oppose transgender interventions, have so far chosen to stay silent. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Christopher Rufo: Please begin by setting the scene. What’s it like in a major children’s hospital in the United States regarding transgender interventions for children?

Physician: I think the best way to answer that question is to talk about the cultural shift that happened in 2020, because transgender ideology and Covid are inextricably linked. Normally, doctors operate by the authority of the professional societies that govern our specific practice. That worked because the individuals in those institutions were reliable, intelligent, and thoughtful. But with Covid in 2020, we started getting medical decrees without peer review or evidence—you saw this with masks, social distancing, and emergency-use authorizations. These decrees were expressed as something that everyone had to do, without justification based on sound science. The other thing was censorship. If you were to ask questions or express doubt about these medical decrees, you would be ostracized within your department, and you stood a good chance of being publicly humiliated, severely reprimanded, or fired.

That’s when transgender ideology really took off. Within these academic institutions, so-called experts in the field of transgender medicine would simply declare that puberty blockers and other interventions were the gold standard of care. The evidence to support this is completely fraudulent, but no dissent was permitted. Everyone within the medical community knew that if he questioned transgender ideology, he would suffer the same type of repercussions that had happened during Covid. The best way to describe the environment would be as an authoritarian, censorious culture that discourages any meaningful debate and encourages the demonization of anyone who asks questions.

Rufo: What are the main tenets of transgender medical theory that are enforced as the conventional wisdom? And how have those tenets changed medical practice?

Harvard dishonesty expert accused of dishonesty

Andrew Hill and Andrew Jack

Francesca Gino is one of HBS’s best-known behavioural scientists and author of Rebel Talent, a 2018 book with the subtitle “Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life”.

The controversy, which centres on the use of allegedly fraudulent data in published papers, is the latest to hit the field of behavioural science and psychology research. Some well-publicised findings in the discipline have proved hard to replicate, casting a shadow over the highly modish branch of management studies and social science.

Gino, whose work has been widely cited, including in the Financial Times, has been a professor of business administration at HBS since 2014. Her HBS profile was recently altered to indicate that she is on administrative leave. She did not respond to FT requests for comment via email and social media. A Harvard Business School spokesman said: “We have no comment at this time.”

A group of academics who compile the Data Colada blog about the evidence behind behavioural science has started publishing a series of posts in which they say they will detail “evidence of fraud in four academic papers” co-authored by Gino. “We believe that many more Gino-authored papers contain fake data,” they wrote in the first post of the series, which appeared on June 17.

The allegations, first reported in the The Chronicle of Higher Education, have unsettled US behavioural scientists. Katy Milkman of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, shared the first Data Colada post on Twitter, urging anyone in the field to read it immediately. Alongside a nauseated-face emoji, she said: “We have to do better.”

“The system itself is a cancer that has metastasized and crept into every classroom across this massive district”

Alliance for education Waukesha:

The School District of Waukesha is doing harm to the students, but it’s not as simple as the School Board blaming pride flags, or disaffected teachers blaming the Superintendent. The system itself is a cancer that has metastasized and crept into every classroom across this massive district, and we know it’s doing harm to students because they show us that it does. To begin to scratch the surface of these problems, we have to identify the goals of the elected school board members, who overwhelmingly support the agenda of the nationally infamous Moms for Liberty organization. Board policies reflect a drive to adopt a curriculum that whitewashes any discussion of discrimination, whether it’s related to race or gender identity. Their narrative has always been to equate the discussion of racism with “critical race theory;” or a student grappling with gender dysmorphia, confiding in their teacher with “grooming.” Material ways that we can observe how this narrative harms students, includes implementing StudySync and TCI into our English and Social Studies curriculum. These so-called “rich” and “complex” texts offer highly outdated and disengaging views of history and literature. TCI, which my class dealt with this year, is three miles wide, and a half-inch deep, so there is no chance to engage in deep inquiry, or time to create projects. Truthfully, the problem isn’t the curricular resource itself, rather the fervor with which it was implemented. At the beginning of the school year, all of the English and Social Studies teachers were gathered for a meeting where school board policies were laid out in front of us, saying that every supplemental resource outside of the aforementioned would have to be approved by our supervising administrator. Every article, video, political cartoon, activity, had to be vetted for indoctrination. What did this meeting tell us? Well, the Director of Secondary Learning told me personally, when I expressed how this would ultimately cause students to disengage, “Rusty, your days of autonomous teaching are behind you.”

So began a cycle: Enforcement of milquetoast curriculum gives way to teachers feeling mistrusted and undervalued, which gives way to subpar instruction, which results in classrooms of disengaged learners who see no incentive to rise to the task. Ultimately, it returns to the problem of curriculum and policy, where the many factors causing these problems are not considered valid in the eyes of many of our stakeholders. In a discussion I held with my classes during final exams, the students reported that they noticed that some of their teachers appear to be phoning it in. Some teachers are asking for work in an unreasonable amount of time; others are too exhausted to lead engaging lessons. Regardless of the way this burnout is expressed, it is not their fault. What we are seeing is neither the students’ fault, nor is it teachers’ fault, because many of Waukesha’s best educators are seeking asylum elsewhere. In some cases, teachers are shifting to different buildings, others to different districts, and some, sadly, are leaving the profession entirely. I am leaving for a school that bears no resemblance to SDW, and I am glad of it. Education is too important to lose learning over culture wars, and students know this. Conservative students and Liberal students at South understand better than any that they have to exist on the same plane, and so they do far more to bridge their differences than the adults, and ultimately they found themselves agreeing with one another in a class discussion that regardless of what their ideology is, they are the ones who are getting the raw deal.

Rewriting History: Sulzberger New York Times Edition

Also in the Sulzberger New York Times:

“They Literally Know Nothing’: Ben Rhodes Bragged About Manipulating Clueless Reporters”

“equality of opportunity, free speech, and open inquiry”

Joel Kotkin:

Like earlier apostates, religious or scientific, ours face an uphill struggle. They must contend with forces within the C-suite and, particularly, academia, where even the sciences are now constrained by ideological edicts. This is where the money flows, often to a host of non-profits, some secretly funded, that spread the gospels of censorship, police reduction, indoctrination in schools and an apocalyptic environmental agenda. One problem the apostates face is therefore an obvious one: despite often impressive media resumes, their research rarely makes it into the mainstream, their voices being carried no further than Twitter, Substack and the more broad-minded corners of the media.

This pushback comes at a propitious time, extending beyond a few dissident intellectuals to the grassroots and business moguls such as Elon Musk, Ken Griffinand Bernie Marcus. The latter, in particular, understand that the new progressive orthodoxy undermines the entire system by embracing anti-capitalist memes and reducing the role of merit in a system built around it. And so a critical front has been the rebellion against ESG (environmental, social, governance) standards. Many US states have moved to take their pension funds out of firms that embrace this ideology; some investment houses, notably Vanguard and upstart Thrive Asset Management, are eschewing corporate policies that stress climate change and other issues over fiduciary obligation to investors.. The fact that returns to ESG firms have been poor, when compared with those tied to fossil fuels and basic industries, could presage a further awakening among financial and business leaders that the balance sheet, rather than ideological back-slapping, constitutes the primary mission of business.

More important still, apostasy is also rising among the general population. The pressure for reparations, for example, is opposed by upwards of two-thirds of Americans. All major ethnic groups, notes Pew, reject race quotas, including African-Americans; overall, almost three in four oppose this, as do a majority of both Democrats and Republicans.

Civics: ProPublica Misleads Its Readers

Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Pro­P­ub­lica has lev­eled two charges against me: first, that I should have re­cused in mat­ters in which an en­tity con­nected with Paul Singer was a party and, sec­ond, that I was ob­lig­ated to list cer­tain items as gifts on my 2008 Fi­nan­cial Dis­close Re­port. Nei­ther charge is valid.

Re­cusal. I had no oblig­a­tion to re­cuse in any of the cases that Pro­P­ub­lica cites. First, even if I had been aware of Mr. Singer’s con­nec­tion to the en­ti­ties in­volved in those cases, re­cusal would not have been re­quired or ap­pro­pri­ate. Pro­P­ub­lica sug­gests that my fail­ure to re­cuse in these cases cre­ated an ap­pear­ance of im­pro­pri­ety, but that is in­cor­rect. “There is an ap­pear­ance of im­pro­pri­ety when an un­bi­ased and rea­son­able per­son who is aware of all rel­e­vant facts would doubt that the Jus­tice could fairly dis­charge his or her du­ties” (State­ment on Ethics Prin­ci­ples and Prac­tices ap­pended to let­ter from the Chief Jus­tice to Sen­a­tor Durbin, April 25, 2023). No such per­son would think that my re­la­tion­ship with Mr. Singer meets that stan­dard. My rec­ol­lec­tion is that I have spo­ken to Mr. Singer on no more than a hand­ful of oc­ca­sions, all of which (with the ex­cep­tion of small talk dur­ing a fish­ing trip 15 years ago) con­sisted of brief and ca­sual com­ments at events at­tended by large groups. On no oc­ca­sion have we dis­cussed the ac­tiv­i­ties of his busi­nesses, and we have never talked about any case or is­sue be­fore the Court. On two oc­ca­sions, he in­tro­duced me be­fore I gave a speech—as have dozens of other peo­ple. And as I will dis­cuss, he al­lowed me to oc­cupy what would have oth­er­wise been an un­oc­cu­pied seat on a pri­vate flight to Alaska. It was and is my judg­ment that these facts would not cause a rea­son­able and un­bi­ased per­son to doubt my abil­ity to de­cide the mat­ters in ques­tion im­par­tially.

Sec­ond, when I re­viewed the cases in ques­tion to de­ter­mine whether I was re­quired to re­cuse, I was not aware and had no good rea­son to be aware that Mr. Singer had an in­ter­est in any party. Dur­ing my time on the Court, I have voted on ap­prox­i­mately 100,000 cer­tio­rari pe­ti­tions. The vast ma­jor­ity re­ceive lit­tle per­sonal at­ten­tion from the jus­tices be­cause even a cur­sory ex­am­i­na­tion re­veals that they do not meet our re­quire­ments for re­view. See Sup. Ct. R. 10. To en­sure that I am not re­quired to re­cuse, mul­ti­ple mem­bers of my staff care­fully check the names of the par­ties in each case and any other en­ti­ties listed in the cor­po­rate dis­clo­sure state­ment re­quired by our rules. See Supreme Court Rule 29.6. Mr. Singer was not listed as a party in any of the cases listed by Pro­P­ub­lica. Nor did his name ap­pear in any of the cor­po­rate dis­clo­sure state­ments or the cer­tio­rari pe­ti­tions or briefs in op­po­si­tion to cer­tio­rari. In the one case in which re­view was granted, Re­pub­lic of Ar­gentina v. NML Cap­i­tal, Ltd., No. 12-842, Mr. Singer’s name did not ap­pear in ei­ther the cer­tio­rari pe­ti­tion, the brief in op­po­si­tion, or the mer­its briefs. Be­cause his name did not ap­pear in these fil­ings, I was un­aware of his con­nec­tion with any of the listed en­ti­ties, and I had no good rea­son to be aware of that. The en­ti­ties that Pro­P­ub­lica claims are con­nected to Mr. Singer all ap­pear to be ei­ther lim­ited li­a­bil­ity cor­po­ra­tions or lim­ited li­a­bil­ity part­ner­ships. It would be ut­terly im­pos­si­ble for my staff or any other Supreme Court em­ploy­ees to search fil­ings with the SEC or other gov­ern­ment bod­ies to find the names of all in­di­vid­u­als with a fi­nan­cial in­ter­est in every such en­tity named as a party in the thou­sands of cases that are brought to us each year.

  • Re­port­ing. Un­til a few months ago, the in­struc­tions for com­plet­ing a Fi­nan­cial Dis­clo­sure Re­port told judges that “[p]er­sonal hos­pi­tal­ity need not be re­ported,” and “hos­pi­tal­ity” was de­fined to in­clude “hos­pi­tal­ity ex­tended for a non-busi­ness pur­pose by one, not a cor­po­ra­tion or or­ga­ni­za­tion, . . . on prop­erty or fa­cil­i­ties owned by [a] per­son . . .” Sec­tion 109(14). The term “fa­cil­i­ties” was not de­fined, but both in or­di­nary and le­gal us­age, the term en­com­passes means of trans­porta­tion. See, e.g., Ran­dom House Web­ster’s Unabridged Dic­tio­nary of the Eng­lish Lan­guage 690 (2001) (defin­ing a “fa­cil­ity” as “some­thing de­signed, built, in­stalled, etc., to serve a spe­cific func­tion af­ford­ing a con­ve­nience or ser­vice: trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties” and “some­thing that per­mits the eas­ier per­for­mance of an ac­tion”). Le­gal us­age is sim­i­lar. Black’s Law Dic­tio­nary has ex­plained that the term “fa­cil­i­ties” may mean “every­thing nec­es­sary for the con­ve­nience of pas­sen­gers.” Fed­eral statu­tory law is sim­i­lar. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C §1958(b) (“ ‘fa­cil­ity of in­ter­state com­merce’ in­cludes means of trans­porta­tion”); 18 U.S.C §2251(a) (re­fer­ring to an item that has been “trans­ported us­ing any means or fa­cil­ity of in­ter­state com­merce”); Kevin F. O’­Mal­ley, Jay E. Grenig, Hon. William C. Lee, Fed­eral Jury Prac­tice and In­struc­tions §54.04 (Feb­ruary 2023) (“the term ‘uses any fa­cil­ity in in­ter­state com­merce’ means em­ploy­ing or uti­liz­ing any method of . . . trans­porta­tion be­tween one state and an­other”).

This un­der­stand­ing of the re­quire­ment to re­port gifts re­flected the ex­pert judg­ment of the body that the Ethics in Gov­ern­ment Act en­trusts with the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ad­min­is­ter com­pli­ance with the Act, see 5 U.S.C. App. §111(3). When I joined the Court and un­til the re­cent amend­ment of the fil­ing in­struc­tions, jus­tices com­monly in­ter­preted this dis­cus­sion of “hos­pi­tal­ity” to mean that ac­com­mo­da­tions and trans­porta­tion for so­cial events were not re­portable gifts. The flight to Alaska was the only oc­ca­sion when I have ac­cepted trans­porta­tion for a purely so­cial event, and in do­ing so I fol­lowed what I un­der­stood to be stan­dard prac­tice.

For these rea­sons, I did not in­clude on my Fi­nan­cial Dis­clo­sure Re­port for 2008 ei­ther the ac­com­mo­da-tions pro­vided by the owner of the King Salmon Lodge, who, to my knowl­edge, has never been in­volved in any mat­ter be­fore the Court, or the seat on the flight to Alaska.

In brief, the rel­e­vant facts re­lat­ing to the fish­ing trip 15 years ago are as fol­lows. I stayed for three nights in a mod­est one-room unit at the King Salmon Lodge, which was a com­fort­able but rus­tic fa­cil­ity. As I re­call, the meals were home­style fare. I can­not re­call whether the group at the lodge, about 20 peo­ple, was served wine, but if there was wine it was cer­tainly not wine that costs $1,000. Since my visit 15 years ago, the lodge has been sold and, I be­lieve, ren­o­vated, but an ex­am­i­na­tion of the pho­tos and in­for­ma­tion on the lodge’s web­site shows that Pro­P­ub­li­ca’s por­trayal is mis­lead­ing.

As for the flight, Mr. Singer and oth­ers had al­ready made arrange­ments to fly to Alaska when I was in­vited shortly be­fore the event, and I was asked whether I would like to fly there in a seat that, as far as I am aware, would have oth­er­wise been va­cant. It was my un­der­stand­ing that this would not im­pose any ex­tra cost on Mr. Singer. Had I taken com­mer­cial flights, that would have im­posed a sub­stan­tial cost and in­con­ve­nience on the deputy U.S. Mar­shals who would have been re­quired for se­cu­rity rea­sons to as­sist me.


ProPublica styles itself as “an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force.” Let me translate “moral force” for you: ambushing conservatives with misleading accounts of dated accusations that, at worst, concerned good faith attempts to comply with the rules. I’ve lost count of the number of times that wild accusations against Justice Thomas have fallen apart. I think the only upshot of this breathless reporting is that the public has become tired/bored/numb to this “moral force.”

ProPublica’s latest research target is (you guessed it) Justice Alito. On Friday, ProPublica contacted Justice Alito, and asked him to respond to questions by a deadline of noon EDT Tuesday. Justice Alito provided such a response–in the Wall Street Journal.

Alito’s decision was a masterstroke. Rather than providing comments to ProPublica, which can be cherry-picked and quoted out of context, Alito spoke directly to the public. Indeed, I long ago decided that if any outlet were running a hit job on me, and asks me for comment, I would pre-empt their story and post my reply on the blog. Alas, most of the hit jobs on me never bother seeking comment. But such is life.

Propublica funding:

“It is no coincidence that several organizations smearing Justice Thomas are funded generously by many of the same donors,” Parker Thayer, an investigative researcher at Capital Research Center, told the DCNF. “The ‘pop-up’ public pressure campaign, where just a few donors pay dozens of ‘grassroots’ activist groups to give the appearance of broad public support for a particular issue, has long been a favored tactic of the Left’s wealthy special interests.”

The Sandler Foundation, which launchedProPublica in 2007 and is the news outlet’s largest donor, has given it almost $40 million since 2010 for general support. The Sandler Foundation has also given over $7.5 million to the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) since 2015 and over $6 million to American Constitution Society (ACS) for general support since 2010, according to tax forms.

The Sandler Foundation was formed by Herbert and Marion Sandler, who, according to Forbes Magazine, “instituted borrowing practices that were largely blamed for the housing market collapse.” Time Magazine listed the Sandlers among the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.”

CLC wrote a letter to the Judicial Conference in April requesting the body refer Thomas to the Department of Justice (DOJ) “for potential criminal and civil penalties” after ProPublica reported that Thomas did not disclose expense-paid trips he took with Crow—allegations that legal experts told the DCNF did not demonstrate wrongdoing. American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold backed this call for a DOJ investigation in April, and he argued Congress “has a duty to check the Supreme Court” by imposing ethics rules and “rigorously investigating violations of federal law and flagrant ethics lapses.”

Glenn Reynolds

Another day, another hit piece on the Supreme Court, this time with ProPublica targeting Justice Samuel Alito

A few weeks back, commenting on a substanceless media attack on Justice Clarence Thomas, law professor Josh Blackman commented, “Wait for the next empty shoe to drop.”

Well, here it is. And honestly it’s not much of a shoe. Nor even a flipflop.

Since the Supreme Court shifted right, media coverage has, well, flip-flopped from hagiography to hit pieces fast enough to make your head spin. 

When the court was reliably liberal, things like Justice Hugo Black’s fomer Klan membership, or William O. Douglas’ history of sexual misbehavior and shady connections to Vegas “businessmen” didn’t matter. 

Now that it’s leaning the other way, the press has stopped swallowing camels and started straining at gnats


Sensational 2021 claims that unmarked Indigenous child graves had been discovered in British Columbia now seem doubtful. But saying so may soon be a criminal offence

Jonathan Kay

It’s now been more than two years since Canada was convulsed by claims that 215 unmarked graves of Indigenous schoolchildren had been discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. No actual bodies or human remains were in evidence—just ground-penetrating radar data indicating regularly-spaced soil dislocations. But you wouldn’t have known that from the breathless manner in which the story was reported at the time. A Global News headline announced the “Discovery of Human Remains at Kamloops Residential School Grounds.” Another, at the Toronto Star, declared, “The Remains of 215 Children Have Been Found.” 

I was one of the many Canadians who believed these headlines. The racist abuses meted out by Canada’s 19th- and 20th-century-era residential-school system, which had been created to “civilize” Indigenous people and strip them of their culture, has been widely discussed for decades. Given this dark history, it wasn’t hard to believe that some of the priests and educators who ran these schools hadn’t just been cruel and negligent (this much was already known), but also had committed acts of mass murder against defenceless children.

Without waiting for the hard evidence to be sprung from the earth, flags were lowered, July 1st Canada Day celebrations were cancelled, Justin Trudeau took a knee for the cameras, and the whole nation went into an utterly unprecedented collective period of self-flagellation. Before the summer was over, Trudeau pledged more than $300 million in new funding for Indigenous communities, so they could complete the grim task of scouring the earth for child corpses. The Canadian Press later called it the story of the year.

YouTube (Google) Censorship

NBC news

YouTube said Monday that it had removed a video of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking with podcast host Jordan Peterson for spreading what the company said was vaccine misinformation

The decision is the latest challenge for Kennedy as he seeks to find support for Democratic presidential run after years as an anti-vaccine crusader. The video was removed amid a broader tug-of-war online between vaccine conspiracy theorists and prominent doctors. 

YouTube’s policies against hosting false medical information are long-standing. 

“We removed a video from the Jordan Peterson channel for violating YouTube’s general vaccine misinformation policy, which prohibits content that alleges that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities,” YouTube said Monday in a statement.

A study on the effectiveness of extra writing time

Gustaf B. Skar, Steve Graham, …Arne Johannes Aasen:

The current study examined the effectiveness of a writing is caught approach with young developing writers in Norway. This method is based on the premise that writing competence is acquired naturally through real use in meaningful contexts. Our longitudinal randomized control trial study tested this proposition by examining if increasing first grade students’ opportunities to write in various genres for different purposes and for a range of audiences over a two-year time period improved the quality of their writing, handwriting fluency, and attitude towards writing. The study included data from 942 students (50.1% girls) in 26 schools randomly assigned to the experimental treatment, and 743 students (50.6% girls) in 25 schools randomly assigned to the business-as-usual (BAU) control condition. Across Grades 1 and 2, experimental teachers were asked to supplement their typical writing instruction by implementing 40 writing activities designed to increase students’ purposeful writing. Increasing experimental students’ writing over the two-year period did not result in statistically detectable differences in the writing quality, handwriting fluency, and attitude towards writing of students in the experimental and BAU control conditions. These findings did not provide support for the effectiveness of the writing is caught approach. Implications for theory, research, and practiced are discussed.


Larissa MacFarquhar

When I finally completed my second novel, Something Happened, The New York Timesinterviewed me about having finished the book, and I talked to them about Bob’s value to me as an editor. The day the interview ran, Bob called me and said he didn’t think it was a good idea to talk about editing and the contributions of editors, since the public likes to think everything in the book comes right from the author. That’s true, and so from that time on, I haven’t.

What I Learned From Two Years of Teaching High School CS

Charlie Meyer:

I’m posting this on my last day teaching high school computer science. In the past two years, I’ve worked with over 200 students and for many, my class was their first experience coding.

I did not succeed in getting 100% of my students interested in programming. (Not even close)

By the end of my class, many were determined to never try coding again in their lives.

As I leave teaching to start Pickcode (a new platform for teaching CS), my primary concern is how to design the product to engage a higher proportion of students. I don’t need every student who tries Pickcode to become a software engineer, but I want every student who uses it to understand the joy of using coding to create programs they’re proud of.

Python Music and Engagement

While I failed to get 100% of students to enjoy coding, almost every student had a couple of “on” days.

Take Braeden, who took my intro to CS class as a junior and found absolutely every opportunity to goof off in class. His final project for our App Inventor unit was a soundboard app with one button: a picture of Pitbull that made the Taco Bell ding when clicked. (He completed this in 25 minutes and played web games for the other three weeks available for the project)

When it came time to learn Python, Braeden was almost universally disinterested. Project 3.10 however, was called “Python Music” and he was tasked with composing a song using a small library I made to wrap a Python waveform package.

Small, Private College Survival Rate?

Kelly Meyerhofer:

No ‘silver bullet’ to solve small schools’ problems

Eric Fulcomer has heard predictions about a looming wave of college closures throughout the three decades he’s worked in higher education. He now leads the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, an organization that represents the state’s private schools.

Nationally, a handful of institutions close every year. But the predicted mass wave hasn’t happened.

Legislation and Early Reading: Wisconsin’s odyssey continues

Tyler Katzenberger:

The new version of the bill, passed Wednesday afternoon by the Assembly in 67-27 vote, would prescribe an “intensive” personal literacy plan, including summer classes, for incoming fourth graders who failed to meet third-grade reading benchmarks. Students would exit the plan after they pass a grade-level reading test and their parents agree the plan is no longer needed.

Eight Democrats voted for the bill: Reps. Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay, Sue Conley of Janesville, Dave Considine of Baraboo, Dora Drake of Milwaukee, Tip McGuire of Kenosha, Tod Ohnstad of Kenosha, Sylvia Ortiz-Velez of Milwaukee, and Shelia Stubbs of Madison. Two Republicans, Reps. Shae Sortwell of Two Rivers and Joy Goeben of Hobart, voted against the GOP-authored bill.

Assembly Democrats tried and failed during debate Wednesday to send the bill back to committee, arguing it needed more work.

“This bill is so close. It is very very close,” Andraca said. “But we just got an amendment literally an hour or so ago, and it fundamentally changed a number of things. I haven’t had a chance to hear from school districts in my district how they feel about this bill. Why? Because they’re teaching.”

The changes introduced Wednesday were “a very short amendment” to a measure that’s remained largely the same since it was first introduced earlier this month, Kitchens responded. Both he and the DPI previously told the Journal Sentinel they’ve been working on the reading overhaul since last November.


State Superintendent Jill Underly after the bill’s passage called it a “step in the right direction.” She said the Department of Public Instruction had “very productive” conversations with legislators in crafting the agreement.

AB 321 would establish an Office of Literacy to contract 64 full-time literacy coaches who would help teachers implement a newer model based on phonics, vocabulary building, reading fluency, and oral language development, among other things.

The body rejected Dems’ request to refer the measure back to committee. Dems argued the bill needs more work and criticized the addition of another amendment. 

The amendment added today includes measures to require students who read below grade level to have individualized reading plans until they catch up and to include the percentage of third-grade students who read at grade level on school report cards. 

Rep. Christine Sinicki said there is no reason to rush the process. 

“It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re doing the work here that gives our teachers and our schools the tools they need to succeed,” the Milwaukee Dem said. 

She said while she didn’t want to oppose the bill, the amendment didn’t address all of her concerns, such as an intensive summer reading program for those with the lowest reading scores. She questioned how it would be paid for.

Co-author Rep. Joel Kitchens, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, said he would challenge anyone to name a bill that has had as much collaboration as the reading bill. 

“It’s a very complicated bill, it’s very long, there’s always going to be something someone doesn’t like, but we need to get this done,” the Sturgeon Bay Republican said.

He also said spending more time on the measure would kill the bill, urging lawmakers to “do the right thing.”

Legislation and Reading: the Wisconsin Experience 2004 –

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Politics and teaching children to read: Mother Jones Edition

Kiera Butlers

Ten years ago, Marilyn Muller began to suspect that her kindergarten daughter, Lauryn, was struggling with reading. Lauryn, a bright child, seemed mystified by the process of sounding out simple words. Still, the teachers at the top-rated Massachusetts public school reassured Muller that nothing was wrong, and Lauryn would pick up the skill—eventually. Surely they knew what they were talking about. Their reading curriculum was well-regarded, and one that encouraged children to use context clues when they couldn’t decode a word. The class was organized into leveled reading groups—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—with everyone starting out the year in the bronze group. By year’s end, everyone had moved up to a new level—except Lauryn. Muller’s daughter was the only kindergartner stuck in bronze all year.

First grade was no better. The teachers continued to brush off Muller’s concerns—but she couldn’t help but worry for all sorts of reasons, especially because not being able to read was starting to affect her daughter emotionally. Tears started each day, as Lauryn began to refuse to go to school in the mornings. Finally, Muller brought Lauryn in for a private neuropsychological evaluation, and the psychologist who tested her found that her daughter was dyslexic. After a long battle with the school, Muller eventually convinced them to provide appropriate services—something to which all students are entitled by law.

In Lauryn’s case, this meant that her current reading curriculum should have been replaced by a method of known as the structured literacy approach. Instead of guessing and looking for context clues, structured literacy—also known as phonics—teaches students how to map sounds onto letters to decode words. There was only one problem: Muller discovered that the teacher the school assigned to Lauren wasn’t trained in structured literacy. Lauryn continued to struggle.

Muller didn’t know it at the time, but she had stumbled into an educational controversy that in recent months has turned into something of a scandal. A spate of recent reporting—in podcasts, national magazines, and major newspapers—has highlighted new research finding that the balanced literacy approach wasn’t as effective as a phonics-based approach for most students—learning disabled or typical. And the national embrace of balanced literacy was particularly bad for low-income students of color. Today, a staggering third of all children—and half of all Black children—read below grade level. In May, leaders in the country’s largest school system of New York City officially announced plans to transition away from a balanced literacy curriculum and apologized for the harm they had caused. Addressing students and parents in a recent New York Times interview, Chancellor David C. Banks said, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your child’s fault. It was our fault. This is the beginning of a massive turnaround.” Understandably, parents are outraged.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Time to return to the beginning. End formal science papers and let scientists talk freely amongst themselves.

WM Briggs:

Here’s why.

Heard about the formal peer-reviewed paper “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria: Parent Reports on 1655 Possible Cases” by Suzanna Diaz & J. Michael Bailey in the Archives of Sexual Behavior?

It was canceled. 

Or, in science speak, retracted. Because why? Not because of any gross error. Because “activists” (i.e. true believers) hated it.

Rapid onset gender dysphoria is the kind of madness that for instance strikes classrooms full of girls, who, under the tutelage of a purple-haired “educator”, or even on their own, suddenly all “discover” they are boys. 

Article says “Parents reported that they had often felt pressured by clinicians to affirm their AYA [adolescents and young adults] child’s new gender and support their transition. According to the parents, AYA children’s mental health deteriorated considerably after social transition.”

Which is no surprise to any sane person. But truth is not a beloved entity in our Regime. So the paper had to go. 

Even more amusing is that “Suzanna Diaz” is a fake name. Imagine. A scholar so frightened of other academics she, or he, had to use a nom de guerre. (There is no typo here.)

You can read all about the cancelling elsewhere. Which is one among many.

Now you and I, dear reader, have looked at hundreds of papers over the years, nearly all bad. Most with mistakes so egregious even Kamala Harris would blush at them. All of them committing scientific sins far in excess in any found in the Rapid Gender Madness paper. None of them have been retracted.

‘Nation’s Report Card’ (NAEP) shows math skills reset to the level of the 1990s, while struggling readers are scoring lower than they did in 1971

Kevin Mahnken:

COVID-19’s cataclysmic impact on K–12 education, coming on the heels of a decade of stagnation in schools, has yielded a lost generation of growth for adolescents, new federal data reveal. 

Wednesday’s publication of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — America’s most prominent benchmark of learning, typically referred to as the Nation’s Report Card — shows the average 13-year-old’s understanding of math plummeting back to levels last seen in the 1990s; struggling readers scored lower than they did in 1971, when the test was first administered. Gaps in performance between children of different backgrounds, already huge during the Bush and Obama presidencies, have stretched to still-greater magnitudes.

The bad tidings are, in a sense, predictable: Beginning in 2022, successive updates from NAEPhave laid bare the consequences of prolonged school closures and spottily delivered virtual instruction. Only last month, disappointing resultson the exam’s history and civics component led to a fresh round of headlines about the pandemic’s ugly hangover. 

But the latest release, highlighting “long-term trends” that extend back to the 1970s, widens the aperture on the nation’s profound academic slump. In doing so, it serves as a complement to the 2020 iteration of the same test, which showed that the math and English skills of 13-year-olds had noticeably eroded even before the emergence of COVID-19.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Security Analysis of the Dominion ImageCast X Voting Machines

Alex Halderman:

Our report explains how attackers could exploit the flaws we found to change votes or potentially even affect election outcomes in Georgia, including how they could defeat the technical and procedural protections the state has in place. While we are not aware of any evidence that the vulnerabilities have been exploited to change votes in past elections, without more precautions and mitigations, there is a serious risk that they will be exploited in the future.

The report was filed under seal on July 1, 2021 and remained confidential until today, but last year the Court allowed us to share it with CISA—the arm of DHS responsible for election infrastructure—through the agency’s coordinated vulnerability disclosure (CVD) program. CISA released a security advisory in June 2022 confirming the vulnerabilities, and Dominion subsequently created updated software in response to the problems. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been aware of our findings for nearly two years, but—astonishingly—he recently announced that the state will not install Dominion’s security update until after the 2024 Presidential election, giving would-be adversaries another 18 months to develop and execute attacks that exploit the known-vulnerable machines.

Beyond these implications for election practice, our work is scientifically significant. It is the first study in more than 10 years to comprehensively and independently assess the security of a widely deployed U.S. voting machine, as well as the first-ever comprehensive security review of a widely deployed ballot marking device. Security researchers studied numerous U.S. voting machines 10-20 years ago, and their findings clearly established that voting equipment tends to suffer from security flaws. Yet one might wonder whether election equipment sold today is more secure than equipment produced in decades past. Our findings suggest that the answer is no. This highlights the need for further enhancements to the software engineering, testing, and certification processes for U.S. voting equipment, and it underscores the importance of conducting rigorous post-election audits of every major electoral contest, as recommended by the National Academies.

Cal-Berkeley & DIE Hiring Practices

The Fire

The University of California, Berkeley used diversity statements to weed out candidates for faculty positions, according to public records the university finally released more than two years after FIRE requested them.

Many universities now require or invite current or prospective faculty todemonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion — often through written statements that factor into hiring, research, evaluation, promotion, or tenure decisions.

As FIRE explained in a public statement last year, these diversity statement requirements can too easily function as ideological litmus tests and cast a pall of orthodoxy over campuses.

Berkeley is no exception. The university expects all new faculty hires to “be committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging[.]” During the 2018-19 academic year, Berkeley’s life sciences departments launched an initiative to advance faculty diversity. As part of the initiative, applicants for full-time faculty positions were required to submit statements on their “contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion,” including information about their “understanding of these topics,” “record of activities to date,” and “specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion.” 

These statements informed the hiring committee’s first round of review: If applicants’ contributions to DEI did not meet a high standard, they were eliminated from consideration.

The district’s lack of transparency has limited our ability to report about Minneapolis Public Schools

Minneapolis School Voices

The district’s lack of transparency has limited our ability to report about Minneapolis Public Schools. 

Since launching in November of 2022, Minneapolis Schools Voices strives to provide accurate, timely and useful information about Minneapolis Public Schools’ district administration, school board, and schools for readers. We aim to reach a diverse group of sources and audience members who are parents, educators and community members in the district. 

For over two decades, student academic data has shown a large, persistent racialized gap in the outcomes of the district’s students. In recent years, the chronic, inequitable, underfunding by the State of economically, racially and linguistically diverse school districts in Minnesota, like Minneapolis Public Schools, has become more apparent. The district is on the precipice of a financial crisis, long in the making, and delayed by the pandemic. At the same time, the district is working to become a more welcoming place for the diverse communities it serves. And, it is searching for a new superintendent to lead the district through an as yet unspecified “transformation.”

Amidst everything happening at the nearly 70 schools serving about 30,000 children in Minneapolis, MPS has a transparency problem.

The district has faced consistent criticism for years about its lack of communication with families, staff and community. Given the challenges ahead for the district, and the likely disruption to students, families and staff as the district confronts its large, structural budget deficit, it is even more important for the public to have factual, timely information.

The Ideological Subversion of Biology

Jerry A. Coyne and Luana S. Maroja

Biology faces a grave threat from “progressive” politics that are changing the way our work is done, delimiting areas of biology that are taboo and will not be funded by the government or published in scientific journals, stipulating what words biologists must avoid in their writing, and decreeing how biology is taught to students and communicated to other scientists and the public through the technical and popular press. We wrote this article not to argue that biology is dead, but to show how ideology is poisoning it. The science that has brought us so much progress and understanding—from the structure of DNA to the green revolution and the design of COVID-19 vaccines—is endangered by political dogma strangling our essential tradition of open research and scientific communication. And because much of what we discuss occurs within academic science, where many scientists are too cowed to speak their minds, the public is largely unfamiliar with these issues. Sadly, by the time they become apparent to everyone, it might be too late.


We’re all familiar with the culture wars that pit progressive Leftists against centrists and those on the Right. In the past, those skirmishes dealt with politics and sociocultural issues and in academia were restricted largely to the humanities. But—apart from the “sociobiology wars” of the seventies and our perennial battles against creationism—we biologists always thought that our field would avoid such struggles. After all, scientific truth would surely be immune to attack or distortion by political ideology, and most of us were too busy working in the lab to engage in partisan squabbles.

We were wrong. Scientists both inside and outside the academy were among the first to begin politically purging their fields by misrepresenting or even lying about inconvenient truths. Campaigns were launched to strip scientific jargon of words deemed offensive, to ensure that results that could “harm” people seen as oppressed were removed from research manuscripts, and to tilt the funding of science away from research and toward social reform. The American government even refused to make genetic data—collected with taxpayer dollars—publicly available if analysis of that data could be considered “stigmatizing.” In other words, science—and here we are speaking of all STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)—has become heavily tainted with politics, as “progressive social justice” elbows aside our real job: finding truth.

Civics: The ACLU is broken beyond repair

Jenny Holland:

In March 1984, 14-year-old Karen Slattery was babysitting two children in a Florida home when Duane Owen broke in. He repeatedly raped her and then stabbed her to death. Two months later, Owen broke into the home of Georgianna Worden, before raping the 38-year-old mother and murdering her with a hammer. She was found in her bed the next morning by one of her children. 

Last week, after he had spent three decades on death row, the state of Florida executed Owen for his crimes. On the day of the execution, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement on social media decrying Florida’s actions. Did the ACLU condemn the use of the death penalty? No. Did it allege that the killer had not received a fair trial? Also no.

Instead, the ACLU’s main complaint was that the Florida prison service was unwilling to provide Owens with the gender-reassignment treatment he had requested before his execution. According to the ACLU, the denial of this ‘medically necessary treatment [caused] her enormous suffering’ (sic).

The ACLU of old used to fight for principles like free speech, gay rights, civil rights and the right to a fair trial. The ACLU of today, however, is fighting for the right of a sexual sadist and murderer to obtain taxpayer-funded breast implants. And it insists on calling that murderer a woman, to boot. What a time to be alive.

Parents angered by Princeton president’s graduation address

Abigail Anthony:

A large contingent of parents of graduating seniors who sat through Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber’s recent commencement address described it as hypocritical and a “woke sermon” in interviews with The College Fix.

They scoffed at his claim that the Ivy League institution is a bastion of free speech and bristled at his embrace of all kinds of diversity except intellectual diversity.

“President Eisgruber’s commencement speech was a disgrace,” a mother of a graduating senior told The College Fix in an email. “The primary assault on free speech takes place on every campus in this country – including Princeton.”

“It takes the form of blocking and shouting down faculty and invited speakers who dare to stray from the liberal orthodoxy,” she said. “…He chose to use his 2023 commencement address to deliver the rantings of a demagogue.”

Eisgruber told the audience “we must stand up and speak up together for the values of free expression and full inclusivity for people of all identities.”

“There are people who claim, for example, that when colleges and universities endorse the value of diversity and inclusivity or teach about racism and sexism, they are ‘indoctrinating students’ or in some other way endangering free speech,” he said.

Eisgruber also criticized Florida legislation without specifying which bills, suggesting students in Florida are now living in fear. He denounced other newly passed laws across the nation that have reined in illiberalism.

The Matrix Cookbook

Kaare Brandt Petersen and Michael Syskind Pedersen

What is this? These pages are a collection of facts (identities, approxima- tions, inequalities, relations, …) about matrices and matters relating to them. It is collected in this form for the convenience of anyone who wants a quick desktop reference .
Disclaimer: The identities, approximations and relations presented here were obviously not invented but collected, borrowed and copied from a large amount of sources.

These sources include similar but shorter notes found on the internet and appendices in books – see the references for a full list.
Errors: Very likely there are errors, typos, and mistakes for which we apolo- gize and would be grateful to receive corrections at cookbook@2302.dk.

Its ongoing: The project of keeping a large repository of relations involving matrices is naturally ongoing and the version will be apparent from the date in the header.

Notes on taxpayer supported K-12 spending

Corrinne Hess

In the 2021-22 school year, Wisconsin’s public schools received a total of $16,859 per student, which came from a combination of local property taxes, federal sources and the state. Of that, about $7,728 came from the state, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

“In fact, some of the federal funding factored into that district per pupil calculation is required to be used for services for private school students, meaning it does not support the kids attending public schools in that district,” said Abigail Swetz, DPI spokeswoman. “It is not legitimate for the Republican legislators to take credit for funds that come from local and federal sources, and if the Republican legislators and voucher advocates are claiming that the state provides $14,000 per student, that is patently untrue.”

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has said he will sign the bill.  

The Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom praised Republicans and Evers for including funding for school choice in the proposal.  

The coalition represents several groups including School Choice Wisconsin, the Badger Institute, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.  

Will Flanders, research director with WILL and a coalition member, said the additional funds will allow private choice schools to be more competitive with teacher retention and hiring. And he said the increased funding may open more slots for students at choice schools.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Lawfare on Wisconsin School Choice Options

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators (2010)

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Non communication and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Elizabeth Wadas:

The Madison Metropolitan School District’s head of communications, Tim LeMonds, is on leave amidst an ongoing investigation. NBC15 Investigates confirmed LeMonds’ employment status with the district’s human resources team Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this month, MMSD broke its silence after a complaint alleging harassment and bullying against its head of communications was made public after NBC15 Investigates went to court to make the complaint public.

After a Dane County judge ruled MMSD had to release the complaint to the public, the district sent a public statement. It was sent byf Communications Manager Ian Folger who confirms the statement was drafted by MMSD’s legal team. The statement addressed a complaint against LeMonds that alleges instances of “emotional abuse, bullying, unequal pay, and harassment on the basis of gender, and race or ethnicity” against current and former district employees.

The complaint details how LeMonds allegedly interacted with and spoke about female journalists, including NBC15′s Elizabeth Wadas. According to the complaint, LeMonds allegedly described Wadas in a Zoom meeting as “Quickly becoming the sleaziest journalist in Madison…What a pig of a journalist” in response to a story Wadas was working on that wascritical of a high school football coach. The school did an initial investigation into the complaint months ago and found most of the claims were found “without merit.” And no action was taken against LeMonds at that time.

More. And.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Law, Betrayed — Identity’s Triumph Over Argument In Legal Education Undermines Democracy

John McGinnis:

But laws are often not entirely clear, and men and women legitimately dispute their content and meaning. A central purpose of the legal system is to clarify these rules through adversarial presentations, leading to authoritative decisions by neutral tribunals. Just as the adversary system perfects the rule of law, so a robust culture of free speech and inquiry perfects the adversary system. What the best arguments are, or even what makes an argument best, is often itself unclear and disputed. A culture of exploring arguments vigorously before they reach court, without fear of retaliation, complements the adversary system and improves our governance.

Any free society needs the rule of law, the adversary system, and a culture of free speech and inquiry in law, but this is particularly true of the United States. Nearly two centuries ago, Alexis de Tocqueville observed of the American republic that almost all political issues there became legal issues, and that remains the case today. It’s the law that preserves the U.S. Constitution’s balance of powers, preventing tyranny.

Closing DIE offices in Texas Universities


All state-funded colleges and universities in Texas will have to close their diversity, equity and inclusion offices under a measure signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The law, which one of its sponsors in the Texas state Senate called the most significant ban on diversity offices in higher education in the country, comes as the U.S. Supreme Court later this month is widely expected to ban colleges and universities from considering race as a factor in their admissions decisions.

Under the Texas law, signed by Abbott on Wednesday, any public college or university that does not certify it is in compliance with the measure would not be able to spend state funds allocated to it.

It also mandates that state officials every two years through 2029 conduct studies to gauge the impact of the law on students broken down by race. It will look at the rates of application, acceptance, matriculations, retention and graduation, along with grade point averages. The law does not explain the reasoning for conducting these studies.

Possible changes to Wisconsin Technical College Property Tax Authority (currently, taxpayers are not represented)

Kimberly Wethal:

An April review from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm and think tank, argued that Wisconsin’s system of partially funding technical colleges through the levy contributes to the idea of taxation without representation because district board members are not elected. Districts do go to the voters to approve referendums to exceed their revenue limits.

How Woke Caused Cultural Decadence: Explaining the triumph of remakes, and the decline of compelling art

Richard Hanania

I haven’t seen much in the way of cultural explanations for what has happened. But I think that it would be a mistake to ignore the impacts of woke. Art reflects and speaks to human nature. When cultural and intellectual elites don’t like human nature and want to change it, they are less able to produce compelling works of fiction.

I’m not just talking about Summer of Floyd level of woke being poisonous to art. Even quite well accepted ideas about gender and sexuality, if taken to their logical conclusion, can wreak havoc.

Morality and ideals are inherently gendered. Men and women are so psychologically different that you should expect different kinds of stories to appeal to each sex. We also expect characters to behave in ways consistent with what are now called “sexual stereotypes.” One template of a male story is a hero goes out in the world and, through bravery and strength, tries to overcome some obstacle or challenge. At the end, through this process he finally saves or wins over the girl of his dreams. Think the original Star Wars, Super Mario games, or The Lion King (yes, it crosses species). 

The female template is more passive. A girl wants to be pretty, and win over the hero. She might have obstacles in her way, but instead of showing physical courage, it’s more about resolving some interpersonal dispute in her favor. Think of Ariel in The Little Mermaid getting away from her overweening father, or Cinderella showing up her stepmom and stepsisters by marrying the handsome prince.

The Seductions of Big Science

Tim Hwang:

Big Science is seductive. It exerts a draw on the imagination that goes beyond purely rational considerations. If you’re romantic about science, Big Science offers some of the most colorful characters, the most dramatic breakthroughs, the boldest public commitments. These projects are breathtaking societal moments, rare points when science broke from its usual staid, plodding, incremental mode and did something dramatically different. 

Big Science is also tangible in a way that a lot of scientific progress is not. You can point to Los Alamos in a perfectly midwit way and say “The Science Happens Here.” Big Science – or at least the dream of it – packages up progress in a way that is concrete, amenable to policy, something we can spend money on. 

I also suspect that, for many, there is a little daydream imagining what it would have been like to be part of something historic like Apollo 11. We should have the bravery to admit that sometimes what underlies an obsession with Big Science is a longing to create such opportunities for ourselves in the present. 

This Big Science imaginary haunts science and technology policy. The pantheon is well-known: Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, DARPA, Apollo, CERN, the Manhattan Project, Operation Warp Speed. We grasp for these templates when thinking about how the government should play a role in advancing progress. 

We need a DARPA for X! An Apollo Program for Y! A Manhattan Project for Z! 

But this infatuation with Big Science as the pinnacle of government involvement in progress can also be corrosive. A love of Big Science can be an obsession about means that causes us to lose sight of the ends.

Google’s Ongoing Censorship Activities

Many taxpayer supported K-12 systems use Google/YouTube services, including Madison.

“The core issue is that changing political mores have established the systematic promotion of the unqualified and sidelining of the competent”

Harold Robertson:

At a casual glance, the recent cascades of American disasters might seem unrelated. In a span of fewer than six months in 2017, three U.S. Naval warships experienced three separate collisions resulting in 17 deaths. A year later, powerlines owned by PG&E started a wildfire that killed 85 people. The pipeline carrying almost half of the East Coast’s gasoline shut down due to a ransomware attack. Almost half a million intermodal containers sat on cargo ships unable to dock at Los Angeles ports. A train carrying thousands of tons of hazardous and flammable chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio. Air Traffic Control cleared a FedEx plane to land on a runway occupied by a Southwest plane preparing to take off. Eye drops contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria killed four and blinded fourteen. 

While disasters like these are often front-page news, the broader connection between the disasters barely elicits any mention. America must be understood as a system of interwoven systems; the healthcare system sends a bill to a patient using the postal system, and that patient uses the mobile phone system to pay the bill with a credit card issued by the banking system. All these systems must be assumed to work for anyone to make even simple decisions. But the failure of one system has cascading consequences for all of the adjacent systems. As a consequence of escalating rates of failure, America’s complex systems are slowly collapsing.

The core issue is that changing political mores have established the systematic promotion of the unqualified and sidelining of the competent. This has continually weakened our society’s ability to manage modern systems. At its inception, it represented a break from the trend of the 1920s to the 1960s, when the direct meritocratic evaluation of competence became the norm across vast swaths of American society. 

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the idea that individuals should be systematically evaluated and selected based on their ability rather than wealth, class, or political connections, led to significant changes in selection techniques at all levels of American society. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) revolutionized college admissions by allowing elite universities to find and recruit talented students from beyond the boarding schools of New England. Following the adoption of the SAT, aptitude tests such as Wonderlic (1936), Graduate Record Examination (1936), Army General Classification Test (1941), and Law School Admission Test (1948) swept the United States. Spurred on by the demands of two world wars, this system of institutional management electrified the Tennessee Valley, created the first atom bomb, invented the transistor, and put a man on the moon.

Politics and taxpayer supported DIE programs on University of Wisconsin Campuses

Lawrence Andrea:

Wisconsin’s top state legislative Republican continued his attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the state’s public universities, calling the programming “the single most important issue” and claiming he was embarrassed to be a University of Wisconsin System alumnus because of it.

“This is probably to me the single most important issue that we are facing as a people, as a nation and as, really, humanity,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in remarks Saturday at the state Republican Party convention.

More:In a video messages to Wisconsin Republicans, Trump repeats false claims about 2020 and gets cheers from the convention

Vos, of Rochester, relabeled the DEI acronym “division, exclusion and indoctrination” and suggested the UW System, and in particular UW-Madison, the state’s flagship university, puts an outsized emphasis on diversity efforts, which he sees as a waste of taxpayer money and source of racial division.

In his remarks during a panel discussion Saturday, he contended he received correspondence from at least one professor who detailed a situation in which her performance was measured by diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

“The overt racism, the overt exclusion, the overt indoctrination is so deep inside the UW System, I am embarrassed to be an alumni.,” said Vos, who graduated from UW-Whitewater in 1991. “We have got to fix that.”

Against Federally Funded Education Research Centers

Richard Phelps:

One of the chapters in my new book, The Malfunction of US Education Policy, relates my experience with a research center focused on educational standards and testing—for decades, the only federally funded research center on the topic. That experience was not good.

Long story short, it grossly misrepresented a study I managed that had been, ironically, funded by a federal agency. In addition, I was told that I could not attend a conference where my study was first misrepresented to the public, and an erratum promised for publication in the center newsletter never appeared. Misrepresentations continued for two decades and can still be found in several of the research center’s publications, available for free download online, paid for with your tax dollars and mine, and in journal publications of the center’s principals.

Because I cannot read minds, I cannot know the motivations of the research center directors, but two coincidences may provide clues. First, they were conducting their own (much smaller) project on the same topic—the costs of educational testing—at about the same time and may have viewed mine as competition for the attention they sought for theirs. Second, they apparently did not like my study’s results.

Evidence for the latter arose a decade later with a report from an amply funded study at a partner organization on the same topic. The authors’ estimates were, in their own words, “about six times higher” than previous estimates. I dissect their estimation methods starting on page 21 here.

As the research center was government funded, naturally there must have been some process available where I could lodge my complaint. That process started with the US Education Department’s official contact for the research center contract, the contract overseer, as it were. I made that contact, and was told he could do nothing, as he had no responsibility for “editorial” decisions made by the center.

In other words, research center members could say whatever they pleased about their and others’ work. Though the center was federally funded, its oversight, at least at that time, was no better than that typically found at academic journals, where whatever passes the cursory review of two unpaid volunteers enters the scholarly record. Once there, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to extract.

Have the Gates Foundation and Its Allies Purchased US Education Journalism?

Richard Phelps:

Curious to track the progress of this foundation-led initiative, I have charted the career paths of 72 US education journalists. To be sure, it is not a scientific sample. The complex employment structure of US journalism does not lend itself to such.

Nonetheless, I have tried to represent a full range of media outlets across the political spectrum. My selection leaned toward print (including online) media, K–12 education coverage, and journalists who write on education research or policy for a national audience. Some media outlets (e.g., Newsweek) do not clearly designate anyone in this way. It would appear that “right-leaning” outlets are more likely to employ an education specialist, whereas “left-leaning” outlets seem more likely to borrow from education-only publications as needed, or to rely on non-journalist stringers (e.g., The Progressive).

You may find the product of my research here.

One overarching trend dominates the results: a migration en masse from traditional independent news outlets to education-only publications heavily subsidized by the Gates and allied foundations (hereafter called “Gates+”). Only two of the younger journalists began their careers at an organization sponsored by Gates+. By the end of their careers, however, 57 of the 72 were so employed.

Just within the past twenty years, Gates+ money has incubated several new education-only media outlets, such as Chalkbeat, EdReports, EdSurge, Education Next, Ed Post, FutureEd, and The 74. Gates+ money has also substantially boosted the efforts of preexisting education-only media organizations, such asEdSource, Education Week, the Education Writers Association, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and the Hechinger Report. All told, this accounts for almost all large-audience, US, K–12-education-only print media outlets, other than those tied to the traditional public education establishment.

An Interview with Rick Hess: The Great School Rethink

Michael F. Shaughnessy, via email:

1. Rick, COVID came, it saw, and it conquered, and it impacted a lot of schools. In your new book, The Great School Rethink, you discuss the pandemic’s effects and the aftermath. Can you talk a bit about the consequences of COVID-19 on the education system?


Look, during COVID-19, when schools shuttered across the nation, educators and families suddenly had to scramble. The shift to remote learning spurred new practices and led teachers to explore new skills and attempt new strategies. The pandemic altered household routines and upended how tens of millions of families interacted with schools. Even as schools opened back up, disruption lingered. Students had suffered staggering learning loss. Behavioral and disciplinary issues were rampant. Enrollment in the nation’s public schools declined by more than one million students, the biggest drop ever recorded. Schools struggled mightily to answer the challenges of a once-in-a-century cataclysm highlighted and exacerbated longtime frailties that were hiding in plain sight.


2. One consequence of COVID was a switch to online instruction for many students. How do you think this worked out?


Initially, harried school leaders responded to school closures by throwing classrooms online—telling unprepared teachers to essentially move their classroom onto a screen filled with glazed-eyed, muted kids. Some schools even implemented a widely reviled practice, derisively termed “Zoom in a room,” in which masked students sat six feet apart in classrooms staring at screens, supervised by a nonteacher, while their teacher taught remotely. This stuff was a debacle. It was glitchy, rote, and dehumanizing. It was technology at its impersonal worst.  


This was always going to make for a worse experience. At the same time, online instruction created new opportunities for instructional delivery. Just three or four years ago, the technology for virtual tutoring was something totally alien to most parents and teachers. Today, millions of families think it’s no big deal to enroll kids in online courses, when appropriate, and students are more acclimated to such settings. Used well, this potentially opens a whole world of opportunities to customize course-taking and instructional support.  


3. As we “catch our breath” and transition back to normal in education, we may have an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-assess what we are doing. But are people doing this? If not, how would you recommend people go about it?


Some of the early signs aren’t promising. When funders, advocates, and the US Secretary of Education started burbling about the need for a post-pandemic “Great Reset,” the grandiose rhetoric left me cold. Look, given what I do all day, I’m well aware that the easiest thing in the world to do is talk about school improvement. It’s a whole lot easier to write white papers, deliver keynotes, and churn out colorful PowerPoints than to change things in real schools for real kids.  


As I pondered the opportunities to do better, it struck me that there’s less need for a Great Reset than a great rethink. Instead of more self-assured answers, there might be more value in helping to ensure that we’re asking the right questions. If that impulse doesn’t come naturally to many of those passionately seeking to improve schools, that just may make it all the more necessary.  


4. In The Great School Rethink, you address some of the issues coming out of the pandemic. What do you see as the main challenges for education leaders?

Here’s how I see it. As families, communities, and neighborhoods dealt with the fallout from COVID-19, many things became newly clear. Too much school time gets wasted. The parent-school relationship has grown distant. Families need more and better school options. Schools are too inflexible and don’t make good use of new technologies. This doesn’t mean that we need yet another eleven-point plan from on high. Leaders should resist the impulse to come up with those complicated plans, and instead ask hard questions about how schools use time and talent, what they do with digital tools, and how they work with parents. 

5. What has COVID taught us about what makes an effective teacher?


During the pandemic, I heard a lot of highly regarded teachers saying that they were having trouble adjusting to online teaching—that their repertoire wasn’t designed for pixel-based instruction. At the same time, plenty of school leaders remarked that they were pleasantly surprised to find that teachers who’d sometimes struggled in classrooms were surprisingly adept when online. The pandemic taught us that some in-person skills translate to remote learning, but not all of them. And remote learning may utilize skills that don’t count for as much in person.  


This can all get pretty complicated. But one simple takeaway is that it’s nuts to solely think of teachers as either “good” or “not good.” When we say that an educator is effective, the first question should be “At what?” And the second question should be, “How do we get them doing more of what they’re effective at?” 

6. I hear from a lot of educators that we need more time in the school day or year. Do you agree that we need to extend those to make up for lost time during COVID?


Advocates and public officials have long argued that American students need to spend more time in school. Reformers will insist that American students spend too little time in the classroom compared to their international peers. But the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reportsthat, on average, U.S. students attend school for 8,903 hours over their first nine years in school—which is 1,264 hours more than the OECD average.


It turns out that enormous amounts of time get wasted in the school year. For instance, researchers studying schools in Providence, Rhode Island, estimated that a typical classroom in a Providence public school is interrupted over 2,000 times per year and that these interruptions combine to consume ten to twenty days of instructional time. Before locking kids into dingy school buildings on a sunny afternoon or warm summer’s day, we should first be sure that we’re productively using the 1,000+ hours a year that schools already command.  


7. In The Great School Rethink, you talk about what teachers actually do during the school day. Can you share some of your thoughts on this?


Teachers perform many, many different tasks each day. They lecture, facilitate discussions, grade quizzes, monitor hallways, fill out forms, counsel kids, struggle with obstinate technology, and much else. Yet when I work with teachers, they almost invariably report that they’ve never been part of a meaningful effort to unpack what they do each day. That makes it tough to know if time is being used effectively or what might be done differently. 


If you get teachers to list out what they do each day, you’ll often find that many teachers are spending a lot of time on things that they don’t think matter the most for kids. Post-Covid, school leaders should start asking how they can get teachers to do more of the hand-on-shoulder work that makes the profession meaningful. 

8. There’s a lot of concern right now about students’ mental and emotional well-being. Given what we saw during the pandemic, is that a product of technology? Or is there any way that these new technologies can help with that?


It’s clear that kids’ mental health took a beating during the COVID-driven isolation. Today, kids are enmeshed in fewer social networks than ever before. They are far less likely than they once were to engage in things like church groups, the Boy Scouts, and 4-H clubs. One oft-overlooked downside of this isolation is that kids now encounter fewer potential mentors, which matters for everything from learning to college admissions to landing a job.  


Technology can help with some of this. They can provide students, especially those who don’t have a lot of educated adults in their lives, with access to mentors they might not otherwise encounter. For instance, platforms like ImBlaze and Tucson, Arizona-based CommunityShare streamline the act of locating experts and potential partners. School systems can partner with these agencies to increase student engagement with potential mentors. This is the human dimension of mentoring, which is something that risks getting lost in all the enthusiasm for AI-enabled tutoring. 


9. Rick, after the pandemic, there has been a lot of consternation about school choice laws coming out of red states. Can you tell us about what’s going on here?


You’re right to be puzzled about the proliferation of school choice laws, commonly billed as education savings accounts. Essentially, they entail states depositing a student’s education funds into a dedicated account which families then use to mix-and-match education goods and services from schools and other providers. ESAs are, in large part, a response to the limits of school choice. School choice isn’t a great solution for parents who like their schools but have more specific concerns.  


And given that the lion’s share of parents say they like their kid’s school, this means that school choice isn’t much help for many students or families. But because these programs frequently require parents to pull their children from public schools to be eligible for the ESA, are subject to a variety of restrictions, depend mightily on execution, and may be available to only a limited number of families, we’re a long way from the kind of radical evolution that supporters seek and critics fear. 


10. Who is publishing your book and how can interested readers get a copy?


The Great School Rethink was published by Harvard Education Press. Readers can purchase a copy on Harvard’s website, or through familiar platforms like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And, if you visit just the right bookstore, you may be able to pluck a copy off the shelves. 


I should say that any readers interested in ordering bulk copies for professional development or book clubs can reach out to my assistant, Greg Fournier (greg.fournier@aei.org), who will be happy to work with Harvard to get them the best possible price.

Learn more, here.

Civics: Pentagon’s Secret Service Trawls Social Media for Mean Tweets About Generals

Daniel Boguslaw, Sam Biddle, Ken Klippenstein

When the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley enters into his scheduled retirement later this year, one of the perks will include a personal security detail to protect him from threats — including “embarrassment.” 

The U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion, the Pentagon’s little-known Secret Service equivalent, is tasked with safeguarding top military brass. The unit protects current as well as former high-ranking military officers from “assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment,” according to Army records.

Protective Services’s mandate has expanded to include monitoring social media for “direct, indirect, and veiled” threats and identifying “negative sentiment” regarding its wards, according to an Army procurement documentdated September 1, 2022, and reviewed by The Intercept. The expansion of the Protective Services Battalion’s purview has not been previously reported.

The country’s national security machinery has become increasingly focused on social media — particularly as it relates to disinformation. Various national security agencies have spent recent years standing up offices all over the federal government to counter the purported threat.

“The ability to express opinions, criticize, make assumptions, or form value judgments — especially regarding public officials — is a quintessential part of democratic society.”

US colleges could make themselves more meritocratic — but do they want to?

Simon Kuper:

Elite US colleges could do that even without affirmative action. First, they would have to abolish affirmative action for white applicants. A study led by Peter Arcidiacono of Duke University found that more than 43 per cent of white undergraduates admitted to Harvard from 2009 to 2014 were recruited athletes, children of alumni, “on the dean’s interest list” (typically relatives of donors) or “children of faculty and staff”. Three-quarters wouldn’t have got in otherwise. This form of corruption doesn’t exist in Britain. One long-time Oxford admissions tutor told me that someone in his job could go decades without even being offered a donation as bait for admitting a student. Nor do British alumni expect preferential treatment for their children.

The solutions to many American societal problems are obvious if politically unfeasible: ban guns, negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Similarly, elite US universities could become less oligarchical simply by agreeing to live with more modest donations — albeit still the world’s biggest. Harvard’s endowment of $50.9bn is more than six times that of the most elite British universities.

But US colleges probably won’t change, says Martin Carnoy of Stanford’s School of Education. Their business model depends on funding from rich people, who expect something in return. He adds: “It’s the same with the electoral system. Once you let private money into a public good, it becomes unfair.”

Research-Misconduct Scandal

Stephanie Lee:

Almost two years ago, a famous study about a clever way to prompt honest behavior was retracted due to an ironic revelation: it relied on fraudulent data. But The Chronicle has learned of yet another twist in the story.

According to one of the authors, Harvard University found that the study contained even more fraudulent data than previously revealed and is now asking the journal to note this new information. The finding is part of an investigation into a series of papers that Harvard has been conducting for more than a year, the author said.

The FBI and a 16 year old

Murtaza Hussain:

Last week, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of a teenager in Massachusetts on allegations of providing financial support to the Islamic State group.

A flurry of reports picked up on the arrest of Mateo Ventura, an 18-year-old resident of the sleepy town of Wakefield, echoing government claims that an international terrorist financier and ISIS supporter had just been busted in the United States. The Department of Justice’s own press release on the case likewise trumpeted Ventura’s arrest for “knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources that he intended to go to a foreign terrorist organization.”

The only “terrorist” he is accused of ever being in contact with was an undercover FBI agent who befriended him online as a 16-year-old.

The only problem with the case and how it has been described, however, is that according to the government’s own criminal complaint, Ventura had never actually funded any terrorist group. The only “terrorist” he is accused of ever being in contact with was an undercover FBI agent who befriended him online as a 16-year-old, solicited small cash donations in the form of gift cards, and directed him not to tell anyone else about their intimate online relationship, including his family.

The arrest has shaken his family, who denied allegations that their son was a terrorist and said that he had been manipulated by the FBI. Ventura’s father, Paul Ventura, told The Intercept that Mateo suffered from childhood developmental issues and had been forced to leave his school due to bullying from other students.

Civics: Power Grabs and Covid era mandates

Mandates, school lockdowns and the taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health bureau…

I’ve met families that moved from Dane County to other states because of our chaotic, school and daycare mandate policies and outcomes. “We cannot plan anything.”

I hope that someone dives into the costs, staffing, errors and outcomes of Dane County Madison Public Health mandates compared to other regions.


In 2021, suicide and homicide rates for children and young adults ages 10 to 24 in the US were the highest they’ve been in decades, according to a new reportfrom the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Civics: IRS and a home “visit”

Wall Street Journal:

When an of­fi­cer called Mr. Haus, Mr. Haus iden­ti­fied him­self as an IRS agent but said Haus wasn’t his real name. He had used an alias. The of­fi­cer, also sus­pect­ing a scam, warned that if he re­turned to the tax­pay­er’s home he’d be ar­rested. Mr. Haus then filed a com­plaint against the Mar­ion po­lice of­fi­cer with the Trea­sury De­part­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral.

The House let­ter says the tax­payer on May 4 spoke with Mr. Haus’s su­per­vi­sor, who clar­i­fied that she owed noth­ing and said—in the un­der­state­ment of the year—that “things never should have got­ten this far.” Yet the fol­low­ing day, the tax­payer re­ceived a let­ter—ad­dressed to the dece­dent—stat­ing that the dece­dent was delin­quent on sev­eral 1040 fil­ings. This was the first and only mail notif­ication the tax­payer re­ceived. The tax­payer was again told by the su­per­vi­sor that noth­ing was owed and was no­ti­fied on May 30 that the case was closed.

If true, this is some­thing else. An agent of the Trea­sury, wield­ing the power of tax en­force­ment, shows up unan­nounced at a tax­pay­er’s home. He lies about his iden­tity and his pur­pose to get in­side, then threat­ens the tax­payer with pun­ish­ment if she doesn’t pay a tax bill that she doesn’t owe. The IRS agent leaves only af­ter an in­ter­ven­tion by her lawyer, and when lo­cal po­lice call the agent he sics the Trea­sury De­part­ment on the of­fi­cer.

Recent survey found that only 43 per cent of people believe bad family news should be told to students studying for important exams

Alice Yan:

A couple in China who hid the death of their eldest daughter from her younger sister for a month until after she sat her university entrance exam have sparked heated online discussion.

News about the unidentified family from Nanjing in Jiangsu province, eastern China, has shocked many in China, with the story widely discussed on mainland social media.

Last week, when the younger daughter returned home after taking China’s national university entrance exam, known as the gaokao, her parents revealed that her older sister had been killed in a road accident a month before, the news site Su Kan Shi Jie reported.

“I don’t have a sister any more,” she said in shock, according to the news report.

A Self-Learning, Modern Computer Science Curriculum


This is a collection of modern resources on various undergrad level computer science topics, for someone with an interest in theory. Use WorldCat or LibGen if you can’t buy these books. You don’t have to do everything here, just whatever interests you. If I list a resource here it’s because I either completed the whole resource or I used parts of it for something I needed to learn and found it a quality enough resource to include here for somebody else who wants deeper coverage of these topics.

Eugenics and Middlebury College

Jane Coleman

But in the early 1900s, eugenics was mainstream. Well-known figures including Helen Keller, Alexander Graham BellMargaret Sanger, and W.E.B. Du Bois supported it. It was a legitimate subject of public discourse and academic study.

So it’s not surprising that Vermont’s Middlebury College, like many other schools at that time, promoted eugenics ideology.

What is surprising, though, given its recent righteous indignation over the subject, is that Middlebury College was a eugenics hotbed: For years, its course catalogs offered and even required its study; one professor was a member of the second International Congress of Eugenics; another lectured on eugenic marriages. And Middlebury’s 20-year president, Paul Dwight Moody, chaired the state committee that studied and reported on Vermont’s racial stock.

It’s rich, because in September of 2021, the college expiated those sins by pushing someone else off the cliff: former Vermont Governor John Abner Mead, Middlebury’s renowned benefactor—all because of a speech he once gave about eugenics. For that crime, Middlebury ripped Mead’s family name off the iconic chapel he endowed.

The Mead estate, led by former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, is suing Middlebury over the de-naming.

Rethinking core Governance Assumptions

Tim Higgins:

The first prin­ci­ples process in­volves en­vi­sion­ing what ul­ti­mate suc­cess looks like and then be­ing open to any path that leads there. Even some­thing so in­grained in tra­di­tional school­ing, such as ac­cred­i­ta­tion, showed how Musk’s mind ap­plied first prin­ci­ples rea­son­ing in de­ci­sion mak­ing, rais­ing very sim­ple ques­tions: “What’s ac­cred­i­ta­tion? Why does it ex­ist? What’s it for? What’s the cost? What’s the op­por­tu­nity cost of do­ing that?”

Meanwhile, Madison largely continues with a static k-12 system. This despite long term, disastrous reading results.

Teacher College Prep Notes

Allie Kohn:

Readers alarmed by your coverage of a report asserting that Massachusetts is “among the worst states … for preparing teachers how to teach children to read in scientifically proven ways” should be aware that the National Council on Teacher Quality, which issued the report, is a political advocacy group founded by the right-wing Thomas B. Fordham Institute (“Colleges earn low grades on preparing reading teachers,” Page A1, June 14).

Some have understandably objected to the basis for the council’s claims about what prospective teachers are actually being taught in education programs. But the problem here runs deeper. The “science of reading” campaign — with references to “evidence-based” methods — represents a distortion of the data. Many experts have objected to the claim that children must receive explicit phonics instruction in order to learn to read. In fact, that approach, particularly when imposed too early or for too long, can adversely affect children’s depth of understanding (their comprehension of meaning) as well as their enjoyment of reading.

Civics: survey on voter views of election cheating

Paul Bedard:

In the latest Rasmussen Reports surveyout Wednesday, 56% said officials have been ignoring reports of cheating that has had an effect on results. That includes 44% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans.

The survey, previewed for Secrets, also said 52% of likely voters believe cheating affected the 2022 midterm elections that delivered a much smaller victory to Republicans than polls predicted. Even 41% of Democrats agreed.

And fears it will continue are clear, especially as the country turns to the 2024 elections and efforts by Democrats to dismantle election integrity reforms put in place by Republican-led states.

Rasmussen said a majority, 54%, believe cheating will “affect the outcome” of the 2024 election. Biden and former President Donald Trump are leading their party’s nomination race in national polls.


K Anders Ericsson:

I have always viewed the APS Observer as a source for up-to-date summaries of advances in the wide research domains of the Association for Psychological Science (APS). Receiving summarized information about research outside my domain of expertise is only helpful if it accurately represents the consensus views of the active APS members and Fellows. The cover article by Eric Jaffe on “Piecing together performance” in the September 2012 issue of the APS Observer focused on my own area of expertise, namely expert performance and deliberate practice, so I feel that I am able to assess the accuracy of its presentation [1].

Although I accept that the process of writing an engaging popular article requires considerable simplification, I think it is essential that the article does not contain incorrect statements and misinformation. My primary goal with this review is to describe several claims in Jaffe’s article that were simply false or clearly misleading and then discuss how APS might successfully develop successful methods for providing research summaries for non-specialists that are informative and accurately presents the major views of APS members and Fellows. At the very least they should not contain factually incorrect statements and avoid reinforcing existing misconceptions in the popular media.

Automation, education and cost savings

The Economist

Many have mused on how Chatgpt could change the world, not least schools. Plenty fear the worst. The college essay has been pronounced dead. Chatgpt is causing an educational “crisis”, claims Inside Higher Ed. Maybe so; but Chatgpt could also be a teacher’s friend.

It is easier to see the threat. Users can ask Chatgpt to compare Milton Friedman with Paul Samuelson, and it will create a five-point summary that contrasts their views. Ask it to create a rap about Friedman, and it delivers lines like: “He was an economist with a unique vision / Spittin’ truth about free markets with precision”. This sophistication and creativity worries lots of teachers and schools. New York City public schools, America’s largest school district, banned Chatgpt in January, only to reverse the decision in May. Some universities abroad have banned its use.

“Initially…everybody was thinking that the sky was falling,” says Jonathan Torres, an assistant professor of English at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. He also trains teachers at Quinnipiac, and argues that ai can push them to become better. For example, before Chatgpt came along, an economics teacher might ask pupils to write an essay describing Keynesianism. With Chatgpt as an option, the teacher might ask the students to assess and revise the chatbot’s response to the same question—a more difficult task. ais have other practical uses for teachers. They can help write lesson plans and worksheets at different reading levels and even in different languages. They can also cut down the time spent on duties, such as writing recommendation letters, that devour time that could be spent teaching.

Studying the Academic Mind

William Briggs:

We are going to explore, in a series of posts, the Mind of The Academic. There is much to say on this depressing-yet-amusing topic, which by itself is worthy of consideration, but which becomes a crucial subject when we realize the role academics play in our Expertocracy.

Before we get to the meat of it, and although we have done untold scores of these in the past, let’s go through a current example to fix our subject. And before you pretend to be “outraged”, we do of course speak of the average academic. I am sure that you, dear reader, if you are an academic are not in this class.

We have the peer-reviewed paper “Christ, Country, and Conspiracies? Christian Nationalism, Biblical Literalism, and Belief in Conspiracy Theories”—nice alliteration!—by the impossibly named team of Brooklyn Walker and Abigail Vegter, in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Which is like The Vegan’s Guide To Steak. The pretense is the same.

The opening sentence of the Abstract: “When misinformation is rampant, ‘fake news’ is rising, and conspiracy theories are widespread, social scientists have a vested interest in understanding who is most susceptible to these false narratives and why.”

I’ve said something like the following many times: Academics make their living coming up with small twists and additions in the theories to which their individual fields are beholden. Some of these are even true and useful. Academics are proud of their intelligence, and magnify its importance. They view themselves benevolently and with great esteem. 

This is why they find it disconcerting to discover they are not as loved by ordinary folk as they love themselves. “Here we are,” say academics, “thinking great thoughts, really quite terrific deep thoughts, thoughts meant to benefit all of personkind, thoughts which because we thought them are obviously true and beautiful, and therefore should be believed by everybody. So why don’t they?”

So, being academics, and needing to “do research”, they research this most pressing question. Hence this paper, and the many like it.

Iceland is the only place in the world with universal swim literacy. Here’s their secret.

Julia Holmes:

When Icelandic filmmaker Jón Karl Helgason hears that there are an estimated 11 million swimming pools in the United States, he nearly spits his hand-rolled cigarette out of the Zoom frame. Put end to end, American swimming pools would make up a river five times the length of the Mississippi; emptied all at once, they’d contain enough water to keep Niagara Falls crashing at full volume for at least two days. But they’re not exactly a national resource — less than 3% of them are open to the public.

In Iceland, it’s pretty much the opposite: The swimming pool is first and foremost a communal space. “The swimming pool is your second home,” Helgason says. “You are brought up in the swimming pool.” There may be only 160, or so, swimming pools in the entire country (which is roughly 305 miles wide by 105 miles long), but every one of them is the essential social hub of a community, large or small.

The swimming pool is a public utility — as critical as the grocery store or the bank. “The British go to the pub, the French go to the cafes — in our culture, you meet in the swimming pool,” says Helgason. Swimmers come from all walks of life, from farmers to artists to clergymen to celebrities. “You can have 10, 15, 20, 30 people [in the pool] — they’re talking about politics and about their lives.”

Fairfax County Public Schools and the National Merit Award suppression

Nick Minock:

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is calling on Fairfax County Public School to hand over the school system’s independent investigation into how FCPS handled National Merit commendation notifications to students.

“Our job is to get to the truth,” said Miyares. “As you know, word got out in public reports that they [FCPS] had not notified some of our hardest working students that they were National Merit Award commendations [winners]. A lot of parents had questions. We were first told it was a one-time error at one school, Thomas Jefferson High School. Now we know it expanded to eight different schools, withheld National Merit recognition and our job as the people’s protector in the Attorney General’s office is to get to the truth whether this was withheld on the basis of race or national origin. I’d remind your viewers that Fairfax County schools hired an equity consultant out of Berkeley, California. Paid this person $455,000 worth of work to come up with this equity strategic plan and in the equity strategic plan, it said that they should strive for equal outcomes for every student without exception. And in the same equity strategic plan, it said you had to be willing to treat some students purposefully unequally. Well, we want to determine whether by that definition, treating some students ‘purposefully unequally’ it meant they were withholding National Merit recognition.”

Miyares said that’s the purpose of his investigation.

Public Sector Governance Reform vs Raising taxes and $pending

Kimberly Strassel:

Unsurprisingly, a very detailed—and far more aggressive—plan is coming from energetic entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, whose warnings about the unelected bureaucracy have been a central campaign feature from the start. He pledges to dismantle the Education Department, which “should not have existed in the first place.” He’d shut down agencies whose “culture . . . cannot be reformed”—including the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service—and replace them with entities that are “built for purpose” and answer to the president. He’d fire “a good portion” of the federal bureaucracy, ignoring civil-service protections that he believes are unconstitutional. He wants an eight-year term limit on federal civil-servant positions. (Ms. Haley has also called for limits.)

Mr. Ramaswamy is getting a rival in the policy-innovation department in Mr. DeSantis, who this week started to roll out his “day one” plan to revamp all of government. According to a RealClearPolitics report, the Florida governor in a weekend strategy session said that in addition to firings, he plans to reorganize entire agencies, which will include limiting and refocusing the roles of both the Justice Department and the FBI. It will also include breaking up federal agencies (including Justice) and shipping them to other parts of the country (doubling down on a few similar small moves during the Trump administration).

Madison’s very well funded K-12 system (> $25k per student) seeks additional property tax increases amidst declining enrollment long term disastrous reading results.

Revisiting Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, Madison’s English 10

Madison’s very well funded K-12 system (> $25k/student) has long attempted and often implemented one size fits all programs: English 10 and the ongoing efforts to abort AP and honors courses.

Yet, years after Madison’s one size fits all English 10 experiment…


Civics: Legacy Media (NYT) and state propaganda

Margo Cleveland:

We now know this narrative is false and that Brady served as a clearinghouse for new intel related to Ukraine and not just Giuliani’s materials. The material Brady screened included the FD-1023’s detailed summary of the alleged Biden bribes. One must wonder if the sources planted this narrative with the pliable press, not merely to mislead the public but also to ensure the Delaware team believed everything coming from Brady was related to Giuliani.

The Times also misrepresented the screening process Barr established, with Goldman framing Brady as conducting a separate investigation or an “inquiry” into Hunter Biden, as opposed to being a clearinghouse for material from Ukraine. For instance, Goldman wrote that “investigators considered Mr. Barr’s decision to empower Mr. Brady as highly unusual because prosecutors in Delaware had already been scrutinizing Hunter Biden for more than a year.” The article also noted, “Brady has not brought any criminal charges.”

Notes on lower taxpayer funding for choice schools

Badger Institute

Parents are hungry for schools where opportunity abounds — where kids are taught to lead lives of purpose for the good of their families, their communities and their futures.

Yet, it’s difficult to create that opportunity when Wisconsin students are so inequitably funded. Students attending choice schools are funded at 60% the value of their public-school counterparts, meaning schools must spend time and energy raising funds in order to provide the quality education that every child deserves.

So, instead of playing favorites, why not fund what should matter most to everybody in the Badger State? Students and the lives of purpose they choose to create.

This video tells the story of how Kingdom Prep Lutheran High School is instilling purpose and character in young men in Milwaukee.

“newly hired teachers in Illinois and Ohio are now receiving a negative retirement benefit”

Ben Carson:

States have also cut benefits for new members. As extreme examples, newly hired teachers in Illinois and Ohio are now receiving a negative retirement benefit — on average, they will contribute more of their own money than they’ll ever get back in benefits.

Like Ponzi schemes, teacher pension plans also assume that new members will continue to be added to the system as it grows over time. But what if those assumptions are no longer correct? What if membership numbers start to flatline or even decline?

Student Enrollment Is Falling

The school closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an immediate decline of 1.4 million public school students (a 2.8% decline). This stemmed from a number of factors: a rise in homeschooling, a shift to private schools, kindergarten delays, and some students who were simply missing.

It may sound crass, but pension plans are concerned about their membership, not students. And thanks to the combination of rising state budgets and a one-time infusion of $190 billion in federal funds, district budgets have remained strong and the lower student enrollment has not translated into a meaningful decline in pension plan membership. The 10 largest teacher pension plans ended the 2021-22 school year with a combined 1,480 fewer members than they had at the same time in 2019, a decline of just 0.05%.

But the disconnect between student enrollment and pension system membership can’t last forever. State budgets are starting to plateau, and the federal money will run out in September of next year. Meanwhile, enrollment is projected to continue falling. Lower immigration and declining birth rates will cause student enrollment to fall through the rest of the decade. The National Center for Education Statistics now projectsthat public schools will lose an additional 2.4 million students (4.9%) between now and 2031.

A growing proportion of children leave school unable to read an instruction manual or do basic maths (despite $pending more)

Roger Partridge:

Over the last twenty years, our education system has slipped from being the envy of the world to barely mediocre.

Kiwi students once ranked near the top of international education league tables. In the latest results from the highly rated Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study, Year 5 students placed last among all English-speaking countries and 24th out of all 26 participating OECD countries. Students suffered similar slides in maths and science.

The New Zealand education system is also now one of the most unequal in the world. The gap between the educational “haves” and “have nots” eclipses all our English-speaking OECD peers. All this, despite Government spending per child increasing in real terms by more than 30% since 2001.


Ideology and higher education

Robert George:

After the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization early last summer, Princeton University’s Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies issued a statementfiercely condemning the ruling. The director stated that the program stood “in solidarity” with the people whose rights had been allegedly stripped away by five conservative justices doing the “racist” and “sexist” bidding of the “Christian Right,” causing women to endure “forced pregnancies,” and waging an “unprecedented attack on democracy.”

I have no doubt that the statement reflected the views of a large majority of those associated with the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. But was the director, speaking on behalf of an official unit of the university, right to declare an institutional stance on the Dobbs decision?

I am myself the director of an academic program at Princeton—the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. A majority of those associated with the Madison Program believe that elective abortion violates the rights of unborn children. So: Would it have been appropriate for the program to put out the following statement?

The James Madison Program of Princeton University applauds the Supreme Court of the United States for rectifying a long-standing constitutional and moral atrocity. The so-called constitutional right to abortion, which had been imposed on the nation by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, lacked any basis in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution of the United States. It was “an act of raw judicial power,” to quote Justice Byron White’s dissent in Roe, which deprived the American people of their right to work through constitutionally prescribed democratic procedures to protect innocent children in the womb from the lethal violence of abortion. The Supreme Court has, finally, relegated a tragic error to the ash heap of history alongside such similarly unjust and ignominious decisions as Dred Scott v. SanfordPlessy v. FergusonBuck v. Bell, and Korematsu v. U.S.

The Madison Program put out no such statement. Nor did I, as director, consider even for a moment issuing such a statement or asking my colleagues to do so. My understanding of what is proper was and is that, although I may certainly speak for myself, and identify myself as a Princeton faculty member while doing so, it would be wrong for me and my colleagues to identify the university or one of its units with a view of the rightness or wrongness of the Dobbs decision, or to make sweeping pronouncements on the justice or injustice of abortion.

Pearson and CRT in the schools

Jonathan Butcher:

Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, calls itself “the world’s learning company.”1 The British publishing giant produced the exam that was once administered to students in 24 U.S. states and Washington, DC, as part of the Common Core national standards; it has contracted with the U.S. government to produce assessments for federal employees; it remains the largest publisher of U.S. college textbooks; and, at one point, had a financial stake in The Economist and owned the Financial Times and the Penguin publishing house.2 Today, Pearson still owns one of the largest virtual charter school networks in the U.S., Connections Academy, and recently released Pearson+, an online subscription service that provides subscribers with access to thousands of textbooks and instructional videos.3

This behemoth company maintains significant influence in the education-publishing world. So, when the publishing giant’s editorial guidelines say that the company will make radical ideas, such as “antiracism,” “colorism,” “colonial discourse,” “genderism,” and “intersectionality,” part of everything it does, parents should know what this influential publisher is producing for students and adults everywhere.4

In December 2022, the company announced that it purchased Personnel Decisions Research Institutes (PDRI), a business that produces “workforce assessment services” for federal agencies.5 With the acquisition, Pearson now controls the company that operates USA Hire, a website operated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Applicants for positions in the federal government use this website to submit their application materials and then complete assessments as a part of the application process for federal positions. Some 40 federal agencies use the platform, and more than 500,000 applications are reviewed each year.6

Local, state, and federal K–12 education officials, as well as federal hiring managers across the U.S. government, must be aware of the radical race-related and “gender”-related content produced by Pearson because such materials may violate state and federal civil rights laws by promoting unlawful discrimination. Pearson created content based on Marxism-inspired ideas, such as critical race theory (CRT) and critical gender theory. These “woke” philosophies promote racial preferences, including in college admissions. Critical race and gender theories promote prejudice in public programs and education instruction and abandon biology by replacing biological sex with “sexual orientation and gender identity.” Public officials should protect students, teachers, and federal employees from discrimination and reject the use of Pearson’s material that advances critical theory in K–12 public schools and across federal employment programs.

Bill tweaking college tuition reciprocity deal with Minnesota gains momentum in Wisconsin Legislature

Rich Kremer:

An effort to rework a tuition reciprocity agreement with Minnesota that would send millions of additional dollars to Wisconsin universities is gaining momentum with state lawmakers. But as drafted, the legislation could temporarily kill reciprocity if Minnesota officials don’t approve.

Under the decades-old reciprocity agreement, students from Minnesota and Wisconsin pay in-state tuition costs while attending public universities in their neighboring state. Since tuition costs more at Minnesota universities, Wisconsin receives a “differential” that varies based on what tuition expenses are at University of Wisconsin campuses. For example, Minnesota students attending UW-River Falls pay around $5,883 per year, while tuition for Wisconsin students attending the same school is around $3,896. 

Under the current reciprocity agreement, any extra money from Minnesota students is sent to Wisconsin’s general fund. This year, a bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill requiring that money to instead be sent to the UW System school enrolling those students from across the border.

During a public hearing Thursday, UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo told members of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee the shift would have a big impact on her campus.

$pending more amidst declining enrollment (no mention of spending growth over the years, now > $25k/student

Scott Girard

But the board also took a big leap of faith, one that will likely require the help of the Madison community, once again, with another operating referendum in fall 2024. It could be the third straight presidential election in which the Madison Metropolitan School District asks voters for more spending authority above state limits, funded by local property tax increases.

The 2023-24 operating deficit is $15 million, but that includes some ongoing costs covered by one-time COVID-19 relief funding that expires at the end of the year. Without that money, there’s a $27 million hole to dig out from to build the 2024-25 budget.

The alternatives to a referendum aren’t pretty. During a budget discussion Monday night at the board’s Operations Work Group meeting, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Ross MacPherson estimated that to balance the budget a year from now would require cutting more than 300 positions.

“It’s going to be north of 300 positions if we only go that way,” he said. “Otherwise we really have to look at cost reductions around entire programming or, heaven forbid, we look at our schools if we need to restructure somehow.”

Madison’s taxpayer supported budget information.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Notes on Wisconsin SB 329(reading)


This bill comes at a critical time for literacy in Wisconsin. According to the most recent data from the Forward Exam, only about 37% of Wisconsin students are proficient in reading.i And this is not just a problem in the largest cities. Districts that “Exceed Expectations” on the state report card often have proficiency levels below 70%—meaning 30% of students aren’t achieving adequately.ii

Sadly, many school districts around the state have not taken the necessary steps to address the problem. Antiquated curricula not based in the “Science of Reading” is pervasive. A recent WILL studyiii found that 44% of districts around the state are using curricula that do not align with the best practices identified in educational research. Those districts had lower reading outcomes on average than districts that used other methods.

Fortunately, there is a better way forward. States that have implemented legislation substantially similar to what’s under consideration today have made significant jumps in reading. One success story is Mississippi, long a bottom-dweller in reading proficiency. In 2013, they ranked 49th in fourth-grade reading as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. After requiring more phonics, today they are ranked 21st. Wisconsin desperately needs a similar revolution.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Civil Rights Litigation over Sun Prairie High School incident: 18-year-old biological male exposed himself to four female girls in the shower


The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) following a troubling incident that occurred at Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD), where an 18-year-old biological male exposed himself to four female girls in the shower and stated “I’m trans, by the way.” Following the school’s failure to sufficiently address the incident, and their stonewalling of an open records request, WILL is seeking an investigation and remedies from the Department of Education under the Biden Administration.

The Quotes: Cory Brewer, WILL Associate Counsel, stated, “Parents and students should feel safe and have peace of mind when kids go back to school this fall. But, the Sun Prairie Area School District has frankly been dismissive in how it has handled the alleged sexual harassment towards these four freshman girls. The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights should promptly investigate the allegations made in this complaint, then act swiftly to remedy unlawful policies and practices.”

K-12 Governance Climate: School Choice Rhetoric

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Maps are symbols, and symbols are powerful,’ says map enthusiast

Natalie Stechyson

The fact is that people don’t know how to read maps anymore. I love maps,” said Professor Bradford Parkinson, according to Yahoo News.

It’s a concern shared by Brad Green, who, along with his partner Petra Thoms, owns the shop World of Maps in Ottawa.

Green estimates that the shop, which has run a successful business since 1994, has thousands of maps in stock, and tens of thousands more in its electronic library, ready to be printed.

“There is a bit of a risk of it becoming a lost skill,’ Green said of map reading. “And I think what you lose is the big picture.”

What a hyper-local phone map doesn’t necessarily give you is perspective, Green explained. For example, if you look from the Arctic Circle down, Canada borders on Greenland; if you look at a map of North America, Point Pelee, Ont., runs along the same latitude as Northern California.

Tuition Discount Rates Are Rising

Chris Corrigan:

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) released its biennial tuition-discounting survey in April. The results indicate that increasing discounts may be the canary in the coal mine for serious financial difficulties looming for private colleges.

The headline from the NACUBO press release is that discount rates for private higher-education institutions are up from 46.4 percent to 56.2 percent in the last 10 years. (The numbers in question apply to first-time undergraduates.) NACUBO defines the tuition discount rate as “the total institutional grant aid awarded to undergraduates” by colleges and universities, as “a percentage of the gross tuition and fee revenue the institution would collect if all students paid the full tuition and fee sticker price.”

In addition to the higher discount rate, the number of students receiving some kind of “grant” rose from 88 percent 10 years ago to 91 percent this year, and the amount of the average grant rose from 53.1 percent to 62.1 percent.

Lower tuition is good for students and families, of course, but enticing students with cheaper fees can be extraordinarily damaging to colleges’ bottom lines. As NACUBO puts it,

Private colleges often advertise high sticker prices compared to public institutions. To enroll students who are unable or unwilling to pay those high prices, colleges employ tuition discounting strategies that subsidize a fraction of the sticker price through financial aid grants. As the competition for students gets more intense, private colleges will be pushed to increase their tuition discount rates in order to enroll the same number of students.

NACUBO tells us what these increasing discount rates have meant for institutions: “After accounting for inflation, net tuition and fee revenue decreased by 5.4 percent per first-time undergraduate and by 5.9 percent among all undergraduates.” Net revenue is what institutions have left to cover their costs, and it is going down.

Notes on taxpayer funded DIE bureaucracies

Baraboo Schools Accused of Holding Racially Discriminatory Focus Groups on ‘Racism as a Public Health Issue’

MD Kittle:

The Baraboo School District held focus groups as part of a “Racism as a Public Health Issue” initiative that was exclusively for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) middle schoolers, offering the minority students in attendance a $100 gift card plus a pizza party.

According to records obtained by The Wisconsin Daily Star, the public health session was part of a $35,000 grant issued to Public Health Sauk County by Governor Tony Evers’ Department of Health Services. The “Qualitative Data for Capacity Building and Alignment” grant program is aimed at engaging with community members or organizations representing “underserved communities in an authentic way,” according to the emails.

Sex Offenders per capita, by state

Maxine Bernstein:

Nearly a decade into an effort to reduce the glut of sex offenders on the state registry to allow more intense focus on the most dangerous, a bureaucratic morass has nearly doubled the registry instead.

The Oregon parole board remains bogged down in state-mandated assessments to gauge the risk of each offender to commit new crimes.

Of 32,523 people on the sex offender registry, almost two-thirds, or 20,575, are waiting to be classified into one of the state’s three notification levels: Level 1 for low risk, Level 2 for medium risk and Level 3 for high risk.

The backlog has kept hundreds of low-level sex offenders in limbo. Those who stay crime-free for years can petition to no longer register. But they must wait until the state gets around to reclassifying their risk level to petition for relief.

State lawmakers have twice extended a 2016 deadline to complete the risk assessments and set aside more than $6 million for the work. The deadline now is December 2026, but state officials tasked with the job aren’t confident they can meet even that date.

Last year, the state parole board’s executive director, Dylan Arthur, told a legislative committee that it would take two more decades with the current funding and staff to finish.

The reclassifications began in 2014 after the Legislature passed a bill the year before that was touted as a public safety measure to allow the state to focus resources on those at highest risk to commit new sex crimes.

The law was supposed to create uniformity in assigning risk levels based on a single assessment tool instead of the discretion of trial judges based on criminal charges and convictions.


Oregon fails to turn page on reading: $250 million spent in 25 years

Alex Baumhardt:

Carl Cole was alarmed by the growing number of students sent to him for special education in the late 1990s. He was director of special education for the Bethel School District near Eugene, and he doubted that so many kids had learning disabilities. 

One of the district’s elementary schools was referring nearly one in five students to special education, and most of them were struggling readers. When he went to visit their classrooms, he realized why.

“Many kids were what we later coined ‘instructionally disabled,’ not special education,” Cole said in a recent interview. In other words, they weren’t being taught to read in ways that many experts, especially those in the field of special education, knew all kids needed to be taught. 

The Capital Chronicle determined that Oregon has spent more than $250 million in the past 25 years on reading. But that money has failed to help more than a generation of students. Over the last 25 years, nearly two in five fourth graders and one in five eighth graders have scored “below basic” on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as the nation’s report card. That means they struggle to read and understand simple words. Today, few Oregon fourth and eighth graders are proficient readers, according to the report card.

To address this, Gov. Tina Kotek is backing the state’s single largest reading investment in two decades, the Early Literacy Success Initiative, a $140 million grant program to get “evidence-based literacy instruction” methods into classrooms in districts that apply for the funding. Kotek and the bill’s supporters have said it will finally get the “science of reading” into Oregon classrooms, though it’s yet to pass the Legislature that’s been stalled by a Republican-led walkout.

“America’s leading coronavirus scientist shared cutting-edge virus manipulation techniques”

Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott

The Sunday Times has reviewed hundreds of documents, including previously confidential reports, internal memos, scientific papers and email correspondence that has been obtained through sources or by freedom of information campaigners in the three years since the pandemic started. We also interviewed the US State Department investigators — including experts on China, emerging pandemic threats, and biowarfare — who conducted the first significant US inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Whether the virus emerged as a result of a leak from a laboratory or from nature has become one the most controversial problems in science. Researchers who have attempted to find conclusive proof have been hampered by China’s lack of transparency.

However, our new investigation paints the clearest picture yet of what happened in the Wuhan laboratory.

The facility, which had started hunting the origins of the Sars virus in 2003, attracted US government funding through a New York-based charity whose president was a British-born and educated zoologist. America’s leading coronavirus scientist shared cutting-edge virus manipulation techniques.

The institute was engaged in increasingly risky experiments on coronaviruses it gathered from bat caves in southern China. Initially, it made its findings public and argued the associated risks were justified because the work might help science develop vaccines.

This changed in 2016 after researchers discovered a new type of coronavirus in a mineshaft in Mojiang in Yunnan province where people had died from symptoms similar to Sars.

Rather than warning the world, the Chinese authorities did not report the fatalities. The viruses found there are now recognised as the only members of Covid-19’s immediate family known to have been in existence pre-pandemic.

They were transported to the Wuhan institute and the work of its scientists became classified. “The trail of papers starts to go dark,” a US investigator said. “That’s exactly when the classified programme kicked off. My view is that the reason Mojiang was covered up was due to military secrecy related to [the army’s] pursuit of dual use capabilities in virological biological weapons and vaccines.”

According to the US investigators, the classified programme was to make the mineshaft viruses more infectious to humans.