Parenthood Is a Conservative Value, Too

Dan McLaughlin

But are parental rights really just a hollow abstraction? I’d say no, and Hochman doesn’t really make the case that they are. He concedes that strong families are a bulwark against totalitarian governments, and are despised for that reason by statists, but in assessing the value of the family, Hochman lapses into utilitarianism:

As Nisbet alludes to, the “mediating institutions” that sit in the space between the state and the individual — the family, the church, the community centers, parochial schools, and so on — are the basis of civic virtue. For those institutions to flourish, the political regime must allow them a wide sphere of freedom. In this sense, parental freedom is a cornerstone of a good society. But the “freedom” is the means; the “good” is the end.

There is something very important missing here: The family is a good in itself. Its very existence is one of the ends for which we constitute a society and a civilization. It is more important to most people than politics or civic health. The duty of parents to bring up their children, and of parents to obey them, is deeply grounded in Christian and other faiths; from the Fourth Commandment forward, it is emphasized throughout the Bible. Catholic men are instructed in the model of St. Joseph for that reason. Strong parental authority over the upbringing of children is one of the things that parents value and children need and deserve. That’s why it’s long been recognized as fundamental to our laws, even when that meant giving parents broad latitude to bring up kids in ideas, faiths, and languages that the majority mistrusts or disapproves of. To say that conservatives value parental rights and parental authority is not to say that conservatives are obsessed with some stale procedural formula but that we treasure what matters most.

How the “Censorship Industrial Complex” Case Was Built

Matt Taibbi:

I almost blew a top reading Brandy Zadrozny’s NBC piece that claimed it was “conspiracy theory” to suggest organizations like Stanford’s Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) acted as “proxies” for government censorship. Three different groups — Twitter Files reporters, staffers for House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan’s Weaponization of Government Committee, and lawyers in the Murthy v. Missouri case — spent more than a year of work building that case. We didn’t come to the exact same conclusions, but all three investigations agreed on the basic premise, backed by a mountain of documentation.

Many emails and other communications describing the creation of the EIP (and outlining the platforms’ relationship to agencies like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security) were never published. Zadrozny’s piece was sufficiently irritating that I decided to lay out, one more time, just how overwhelming and even redundant the evidence is that agencies like the DHS designed these programs to be pliant cutouts for state content control:

civics: “rolling out liberal legal titan Marc Elias to file complaints of campaign irregularities.”

Kimberley Strasser:

Democrats are finally alive to the threat of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—and it’s about time. They worry not only that the gadfly might pull crucial votes away from Joe Biden. They worry more that Republicans will help make that happen—by running the same playbook Democrats honed in GOP primaries. And why not? All’s fair in love and meddling.

Mr. Kennedy’s announcement this week of a running mate—tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan—was met with louder-than-usual howls of “Spoiler!” The Democratic National Committee is assembling a team dedicated to the destruction of Mr. Kennedy and other third-party candidates, led by veteran strategist Mary Beth Cahill. Left-wing groups are already working to block Mr. Kennedy from the ballot in key swing states, rolling out liberal legal titan Marc Elias to file complaints of campaign irregularities.

‘Misinformation’ specialist apologizes for her Covid-related misinformation and criticism of other doctors

By Sharyl Attkisson 

Underscoring the point that many self-proclaimed factcheck and misinformation groups are actually propagandists distributing misinformation themselves, the founder of “the independent research group MisinformationKills” is now apologizing to several doctors who are on the leading edge of treating Covid and Covid vaccine injuries.

Dr. Allison Neitzel repeatedly disparaged Drs. Paul Marik and Pierre Kory, founders of Front Line Covid Critical Care (FLCCC). Her criticisms included a study by Dr. Marik on the effect of Vitamin C on sepsis, and a meta-analysis by Drs. Marik and Kory on the use of ivermectin to treat Covid.

I regret my use of words like fraudulent and grift, which I should not have used. I apologize to the FLCCC, Dr. Marik and Dr. Kory.Dr. Allison Neitzel, founder of the propaganda group “MisinformationKills”

Neitzel has attacked other vaccine industry foes, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. She also claims Aaron Rodgers spread of misinformation about Covid vaccines. The football star declined to get vaccinated.

Read more of Neitzel’s apology below.

“is not supported by science”

Candice Rodgers:

Hundreds of researchers, myself included, have searched for the kind of large effects suggested by Haidt. Our efforts have produced a mix of no, small and mixed associations. Most data are correlative. When associations over time are found, they suggest not that social-media use predicts or causes depression, but that young people who already have mental-health problems use such platforms more often or in different ways from their healthy peers1.

These are not just our data or my opinion. Several meta-analyses and systematic reviews converge on the same message25. An analysis done in 72 countries shows no consistent or measurable associations between well-being and the roll-out of social media globally6. Moreover, findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, the largest long-term study of adolescent brain development in the United States, has found no evidence of drastic changes associated with digital-technology use7. Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, is a gifted storyteller, but his tale is currently one searching for evidence.

Of course, our current understanding is incomplete, and more research is always needed. As a psychologist who has studied children’s and adolescents’ mental health for the past 20 years and tracked their well-being and digital-technology use, I appreciate the frustration and desire for simple answers. As a parent of adolescents, I would also like to identify a simple source for the sadness and pain that this generation is reporting.

A complex problem

There are, unfortunately, no simple answers. The onset and development of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are driven by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors. Suicide rates among people in most age groups have been increasing steadily for the past 20 years in the United States. Researchers cite access to guns, exposure to violence, structural discrimination and racism, sexism and sexual abuse, the opioid epidemic, economic hardship and social isolation as leading contributors8.



“religion seems linked to better mental health in young people”.

Mellon grant to apply critical race studies’ to the classics

Brandy Perez:

The Mellon Foundation granted the funds to Brown University Professor Sasha-Mae Eccleston and Dan-el Peralta, a Princeton University professor, for their “Racing the Classics” fellowship.

Neither responded to two emailed requests for comment sent in the past two weeks. The College Fix asked for more information on the program, including if the goal was to inspire activism against current representations of classics.

Specifically, The Fix asked about a failedeffort at Brown to remove Greek and Roman status on campus because they represented white supremacy. Activists called their campaign “one step in a broader project of decolonization by confronting Brown’s institutional and ideological legacies of colonialism and white supremacy.”

School Absentee Explosion

Sarah Mervosh and Francesca Paris

But perhaps no issue has been as stubborn and pervasive as a sharp increase in student absenteeism, a problem that cuts across demographics and has continued long after schools reopened.

Nationally, an estimated 26 percent of public school students were considered chronically absent last school year, up from 15 percent before the pandemic, according to the most recent data, from 40 states and Washington, D.C., compiled by the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Chronic absence is typically defined as missing at least 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days, for any reason.

A Chronicle reporter went undercover in high school. Everyone is still weighing the fallout

Peter Hartlaub:

The result was the four-part “Undercover Student” project, a front-page exposé that today is both increasingly fascinating and increasingly shocking, as time has made the decision to send a reporter into the maw of a high school ecosystem seem more like fiction than reality. This is the plot of the 1999 Drew Barrymore romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed,” not real life, where there are ramifications.

U.C. Berkeley Parents Hired Private Security to Patrol Near Campus

Lola Fadalu

Some parents of students at the University of California, Berkeley, hired private security workers to patrol near the campus, something the school says should be left up to the campus police.

The group, called SafeBears, says it represents more than 1,300 parents of students at the university. It said it decided to hire the security guards after several crimes involving students last year, including a carjacking near a fraternity house and another one near campus.

The university, which has about 45,000 students, said in a statement that the hiring raised concerns about training and experience, and that “university funds are better spent hiring more” campus police officers.

“How on God’s green earth do you have a 76% graduation rate at a high school in which math and science proficiency is in the single digits?”


At that 91% non-white high school in San Francisco that has a higher acceptance rate at Berkeley than most of the top-rated high schools in the state:

Math proficiency: 7%
Science: 6%


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”

Notes on School Board Candidates and Political Parties

Mitchell Schmidt:

Ripp said she ultimately accepted an in-kind donation from the state party that provided access to a mailing list of area residents who have historically voted for Democratic candidates. Later, she accepted an offer from DPW for a mailer highlighting her campaign goals.

“I was thinking this is a great opportunity to reach a lot more people who are probably like-minded who would be interested in voting for me,” Ripp said.

The flyer identifies Ripp as a “progressive candidate for Lodi schools” and highlights three campaign goals: ensuring schools have proper funding and resources, recruiting and retaining teachers and preparing students for success after graduation.

Virginia Board of Education school rating system rigor…

Anna Bryson

On Thursday, board member Andy Rotherham, a Youngkin appointee who also served on the board from 2005 to 2009 as an appointee of Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, pushed back on Holton’s criticisms of the adopted system.

He said the grade does not have to be an A to F system, and that talking about it as such is a way to “get everybody spun out and create a … big political storm.”

“You can call it a blow, but Ms. Holton, respectfully, telling the truth is not a blow. It is our obligation, and it’s an obligation we have failed for far, far too long,” said Rotherham, who is a co-founder of the national nonprofit Bellwether.

The A-F school rating system is used in at least 10 other states including Florida and North Carolina, but is generally not viewed favorably in Virginia and has been voted down by the state legislature.

Facebooking snooping

Discovery Brief:

FILED UNDER SEAL May 31, 2023 Via CM/ECF Re: Klein v. Meta Platforms, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-08570-JD (N.D. Cal.) Dear Judge Donato: Advertiser Plaintiffs (“Advertisers”) respectfully request that the Court find that a prima facie case exists under the crime-fraud exception with respect to certain communications currently being withheld by Defendant Meta Platforms, Inc. (“Facebook”) as attorney-client privileged. The communications at issue relate to Facebook’s so-called In-App Action Panel (“IAAP”) program, which existed between June 2016 and approximately May 2019. The IAAP program, launched at the request of Mark Zuckerberg, used a cyberattack method called “SSL man-in-the-middle” to intercept and decrypt Snapchat’s—and later YouTube’s and Amazon’s—SSL-protected analytics traffic to inform Facebook’s competitive decisionmaking. As described below, Facebook’s IAAP program conduct was not merely anticompetitive, but criminal—the program violated 18 U.S.C. § 2511(a) and (d), the so-called “Wiretap Act,” with no applicable exception. Facebook’s attorneys were pervasively involved in the design, execution, and expansion of this program. On May 15, 2023, Advertisers sent Facebook a nineteen-page single-spaced letter providing screenshots, quotations from documents, and evidentiary citations setting forth the company’s applicable conduct; analyzing that conduct under 18 U.S.C. § 2511, et seq. and under the Ninth Circuit’s crime-fraud test, see In re Grand Jury Investigation, 810 F.3d 1110, 1113 (9th Cir. 2016); and seeking a prompt meet-and-confer.1 Over the next two weeks, Advertisers sent additional letters and emails. On May 31, the parties met and conferred and reached impasse. I. Facebook’s IAAP Program Targets Competition By Wiretapping Competitors On June 9, 2016, Mark Zuckerberg emailed three of the company’s top executives a message titled “Snapchat analytics.” PX 2255 (PALM-016564834) at 3. According to Zuckerberg: Whenever someone asks a question about Snapchat, the answer is usually that because their traffic is encrypted we have no analytics about them. . . . Given how quickly they’re growing, it seems important to figure out a new way to get reliable analytics about them. Perhaps we need to do panels or write custom software. You should figure out how to do this. Id. Javier Olivan, now Facebook’s COO, promptly replied, “fully agree[ing] that this was one of the most important market analysis questions we need to answer.” Id. However, Olivan “ha[d] been looking into this with the onavo team” and the technology to look inside Snapchat’s SSL- protected analytics traffic “[wa]s really complicated,” likely “requir[ing] legal approval.” Id. Five minutes later, Olivan forwarded Zuckerberg’s email to Facebook’s Onavo team, asking for “out of the box thinking” on a task that “is really important.” Id. at 2. Olivan suggested potentially paying users to “let us install a really heavy piece of software (that could even do man in the middle, etc.).” Id. Later that morning, Onavo founder Guy Rosen replied: “we are going to figure out a plan for a lockdown effort during June to bring a step change to our Snapchat visibility. This is an opportunity for our team to shine.” Id. at 1. Two days later, Olivan forwarded the whole email thread to then-General Counsel Colin Stretch, saying “[w]e should move as fast as possible on this (budget will not be an issue assuming Colin greenlights this type of research on the thread @ Colin 1 Advertisers stand ready to provide full briefing, exhibits, and/or Advertisers’ letters to Facebook at the Court’s request. Case 3:20-cv-08570-JD

Twilight of the Wonks

Walter Russell Mead:

Impostor syndrome isn’t always a voice of unwarranted self-doubt that you should stifle. Sometimes, it is the voice of God telling you to stand down. If, for example, you are an academic with a track record of citation lapses, you might not be the right person to lead a famous university through a critical time. If you are a moral jellyfish whose life is founded on the “go along to get along” principle and who recognizes only the power of the almighty donor, you might not be the right person to serve on the board of an embattled college when the future of civilization is on the line. And if you are someone who believes that “misgenderment” is a serious offense that demands heavy punishment while calls for the murder of Jews fall into a gray zone, you will likely lead a happier and more useful life if you avoid the public sphere.

The spectacle of the presidents of three important American universities reduced to helpless gibbering in a 2023 congressional hearing may have passed from the news cycle, but it will resonate in American politics and culture for a long time. Admittedly, examination by a grandstanding member of Congress seeking to score political points at your expense is not the most favorable forum for self-expression. Even so, discussing the core mission of their institutions before a national audience is an event that ought to have brought out whatever mental clarity, moral earnestness, and rhetorical skills that three leaders of major American institutions had. My fear is it did exactly that.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Inflation

Veronique de Rugy:

The economy is growing, unemployment is low, wages are up, and inflation is down. However, the American people remain grumpy about the state of the economy. This puzzle was just investigated by four economists. They found that people often know that something is wrong even if statistics don’t reflect the problem. In this case, people are perceiving that inflation is still, in fact, high.

For months now, Americans have been told that inflation’s downward trend, from almost 9 percent annually to around 3 percent, should make them feel good about the economy. But it isn’t working. A recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent say the state of the economy is getting worse and 45 percent think it’s already “poor.” One reason, many have speculated, is that while the rate at which prices are rising might have slowed considerably, prices remain very high. Food and rent in particular are still expensive. These prices are felt everyday by Americans when they pay for their housing and go to the supermarket.

Civics: “Of course, no state would secede over an issue of less than enormous importance”

John Hindraker:

Whether or not the influx of millions of illegals across the southern border is an invasion in constitutional terms, it certainly is an invasion in common parlance. And for a border state like Texas, it is a comprehensive disaster. The people of Texas plainly have a right to defend themselves against this evil. If being part of the Union makes it legally impossible to defend themselves, it is only right that they should consider whether they want to remain in the Union. This is doubly true if the problem arises from a malicious determination on the part of the federal government to abandon, indeed subvert, one of the basic responsibilities that Texas and other states have delegated to that government.

Civics: Digital signs around Brookline are collecting data from your phone as you walk by

River Simard and Rebecca Bloome

The digital signs installed by the Cambridge startup Soofa, have a hidden feature unknown to most who pass them: collecting data from people’s phones to count the number of pedestrians who walk by, and then sharing that information with the town.

Soofa says the company does not pull in any personal data from the phones, but a privacy expert with the ACLU told Brookline.News that the practice is troubling.

The window for great-grandmothers is closing


For instance, with the way things are going (i.e. me not being close to having kids), my parents will likely become grandparents when they’re nearing 70, a couple decades later than my grandmother. 

In Brazil, where I’m from, this shift is quite recent. Until just one or two generations ago people were having multiple kids, and at very young ages. Now, I don’t have a single friend in my mid-to-late twenties friend group who has already had a kid.

So while the older generations are living longer and giving themselves a better shot at having great-grandkids, their descendants’ habits aren’t really helping.

But even more interesting is that this “age of great-grandmothers” as I like to call it not only is ending, but it hasn’t been here for long either.

“For prominent American businessmen and academics to ape the performance is nothing less than delicious”

China Heritage:

Today, China Experts and China Watchers flourish once more. A once nearly-defunct claque of people working in government for national political ends, journalists, academics, ne’er-do-wells, as well as the talented curious and literary dilettantes jostle and contend with each other in the New Epoch of Chairman of Everything Xi Jinping. The long-overlooked, or underestimated, skills of being able to read, listen to and understand the bloviations of the Chinese party-state are even somewhat in vogue. Although Xi Jinping has been a boon for strategic thinkers, think tanks and academic opinionators in Euramerica, China’s own market for strategists — 戰略家、謀略家、謀士、縱橫家、說客, and so on — has fallen under the sway of the Communist Party. [Note: The colourful and wildly imaginative efforts of the previous ‘hundred schools’ have been reduced to a far more modest and grey palette of opinion. Those on both sides of the divide do, nonetheless, share similar ambitions: to serve ideological interests, to make a name, curry favour and influence while enjoying a slice of the cake that through their efforts is ever bigger. One of the time-honoured ways of grabbing the discursive spotlight is to formulate an expression or catch-phrase that gains currency.

Book launch, simulcast dialogue with a Party apparatchiki, media coverage and book sales all topped off by meeting with and addressing The One, Xi Jinping — Professor Allison delights in an ego trap of his own making.

On average, 79% of U.S. adults nationwide are literate in 2024.

National Literacy Institute:

  • 21% of adults in the US are illiterate in 2024.
  • 54% of adults have a literacy below a 6th-grade level (20% are below 5th-grade level).
  • Low levels of literacy costs the US up to 2.2 trillion per year.
  • 34% of adults lacking literacy proficiency were born outside the US.
  • Massachusetts was the state with the highest rate of child literacy.
  • New Mexico was the state with the lowest child literacy rate.
  • New Hampshire was the state with the highest percentage of adults considered literate.
  • The state with the lowest adult literacy rate was California.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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?

Notes on Mathematics

John Baez:

I don’t really think mathematics is boring. I hope you don’t either. But I can’t count the number of times I’ve launched into reading a math paper, dewy-eyed and eager to learn, only to have my enthusiasm slowly but remorselessly crushed by pages and pages of bad writing. There are many ways math writing can be bad. But here I want to focus on just one: it can be dull. This happens when it neglects the human dimension.

The reader’s interest a delicate thing. It can die at any moment. But properly fed, and encouraged, it can grow to a powerful force. Clarity, well-organized prose, saying just enough at just the right time — these are tremendously important. You can learn these virtues from good math writers. But it also makes sense to look to people whose whole business is keeping us interested: story-tellers.

Everyone loves a good story. We have been telling and listening to stories for untold millennia. Stories are one of our basic ways of understanding the world. I believe that when we read a piece of mathematics, part of us is reading it as a highly refined and sublimated sort of story, with characters and a plot, conflict and resolution. 

If this is true, maybe we should consider some tips for short story writers, taken from a typical online guide [K] and see how they can be applied — in transmuted form — to the writing of mathematics. These tips may sound a bit crass. But they go straight to the heart of what gets people interested, and keeps them interested

Credentialism and Taxpayer funded K-12 Governance

Corri Hess:

.@GovEvers just vetoed a bill that would have allowed Wisconsin school administrators to be hired without a license or experience.

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


Quinton Klabon:

The teacher shortage is massive. @GovEvers vetoed @RepPenterman’s bill to fix it with teacher apprenticeships to do his version. Okay.


Governor Evers Vetoes Local Control and Workforce Relief

Madison, WI – Governor Evers vetoed SB 335, which would have removed the requirement that school districts only hire a person DPI has licensed to be a superintendent for their school district. Senator Duey Stroebel (R – Cedarburg) issued the following statement in response to both the veto and Governor Evers’ press release on his action:

“The people of Wisconsin should look at actions, not words. Governor Evers just proudly vetoed a bill that would have allowed school boards to exercise local control by choosing the superintendent of their liking. As a result, we remain locked in with some of the strictest licensing requirements in the region, which exacerbates our workforce problems.

Being superintendent is like being the CEO of a company. One does not need to have spent a lifetime in the field to effectively manage the professionals working for you. There are probably thousands of Wisconsinites who would do a great job serving their communities in this role who have not spent their entire careers licensed in a classroom.

This veto maintains the absolute prohibition on locally elected officials considering anyone outside the box.

No matter what he may say about addressing workforce problems for our kids, Governor Evers thinks DPI’s paper pushers know better than local communities. After making headway with bipartisan education efforts this session, like school choice expansion and science-based literacy reform, it is disappointing to see the Governor return to tribal politics despite some school districts having requested these flexibilities.

Senator Stroebel represents the 20th Senate District, which until 2023 Act 94 included parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Sheboygan Counties. He now resides in the 8th Senate District, which includes parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties.


Pandemic school closures, 4 years later

AP Dillon:

Earlier this month, the anniversary of one of the most impactful and controversial decisions in North Carolina education history passed without so much as a mention from state officials.

On March 10, 2020, Gov. Roy Cooper issued executive order No. 116, declaring a state of emergency because of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Four days later, Cooper followed that with executive order No. 117, which prohibited mass gatherings and also closed public schools through the end of the month.

Just over six weeks later, Cooper announced all schools would remain closed through the rest of the school year.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, now director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the Biden administration, unveiled the “Strong Schools Toolkit” in June 2020 to provide guidance during the pandemic.

NYC schools’ low literacy

Jessica Gould:

But since announcing an overhaul of readinginstruction and implementing new curricula in half of all elementary schools last September, the city education department has declined to release data from seasonal assessments, called “screeners,” saying it would be premature.

Gothamist has now obtained preliminary screener data shared with some public school educators that shows stubbornly low proficiency rates among students. According to the data, two-thirds of students are not meeting reading targets, which resembles literacy rates Banks slammed as a “betrayal” when he was first appointed chancellor more than two years ago. The data shows proficiency at schools using the new curricula dropped slightly more than at schools using other materials. Education officials insisted such a comparison was inaccurate because of demographic differences and other variables between the sets of schools.

Banks and other top education officials did not have a clear answer when asked when the department will be able to assess the effectiveness of the literacy overhaul, saying such a major shift will need more time to show results.

“To reset New York City’s reading and literacy foundation as an entire system is probably one of the biggest undertakings the system has ever had,” Banks said on Thursday. “And it does not happen easily.”

Proposed 3.75 percent tuition hike comes after 5 percent raise this year

Corrinne Hess:

Wisconsin’s in-state undergraduate students will see a tuition hike of 3.75 percent in the fall, Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman announced Thursday.

The proposal will be considered by the Board of Regents April 4. 

This year tuition increased 5 percent. That was the first increase in 10 years. It came after the state lifted an in-state tuition freeze originally put in place by Republican legislators in 2013.

Notes on higher Ed price increases

Shannon Larson:

Boston University, Tufts, Wellesley, and Yale will now top $90,000 a year for tuition, housing, and other expenses, according to the schools’admissions websites. Other private colleges around New England are also likely to cross the $90,000 annual threshold, but haven’t released their updated costs.

Let’s pause for a moment here. More than $90,000. A year. For college.What does look like? Well, at BU, the total cost for the 2024-2025 academic year includes $66,670 in tuition, $19,020 for housing and food, plus the cost of books and various fees for a grand total of $90,207. That’s a nearly 42 percent jump from a decade ago, the 2014-2015 academic year, when the all-in cost for a year at BU was $63,644.

Instead of cutting taxes this year the Milwaukee Board of School Directors voted to increase its Fund 80 levy by $77.7 million. 

Corrinne Hess:

Fund 80 is a special fund for non-classroom activities that serve the entire community including adult education, recreation and day care services. 

By increasing the fund, the district’s total tax levy is $320 million this year. 

MPS officials told the Policy Forum that over $40 million of the Fund 80 increase will be spent on a new recreation community center and aquatic facility at the former Browning School and Browning Playfield location that has been in the planning stages since 2018. 

The district had previously considered issuing debt for the project but now will pay cash to avoid interest costs. The remaining amount will be used to address a backlog of repair needs for other MPS-owned recreational facilities.

The $77.7 million could have been used to reduce taxes this year. 


Over the last few months, the central argument from MPS and referendum proponents has been that these resources will preserve the status quo for the next five years, and they have laid out no certain path toward improvement in educational outcomes. Preservation of the current state should be acceptable to no one. 

A scientist with West African heritage refuses to “check the box” on his NIH application.

Stev McGuire:

It means his team’s “application is more likely to lose on ‘diversity’ grounds,” but he thinks it’s “immoral and narcissistic to use race to gain an advantage over other applicants. All that should matter is the merit of my application.”

The NIH’s insistence on DEI criteria is “a double wrong. Not only is the system rigged based on nonscientific—and possibly illegal—criteria; it encourages me to join in the rigging.”

Kevin Jon Williams:

Do I deserve to jump the line? If I say yes, I may play a leading role in ending the scourge of atherosclerosis—also known as hardening of the arteries. If I play fair, I may lose the opportunity to save people around the world from heart attacks and strokes. I’m angry at the National Institutes of Health for putting me in this position. I’m even angrier it has done so in the name of racial equity. 

My quandary comes down to whether I should “check the box” on an upcoming NIH grant application attesting to my recent African heritage. Since at least 2015, the NIH has asserted its belief in the intrinsic superiority of racially diverse research teams, all but stating that such diversity influences funding decisions. My family’s origins qualify me under the federal definition of African-American. Yet I feel it’s immoral and narcissistic to use race to gain an advantage over other applicants. All that should matter is the merit of my application and the body of my work, which is generally accepted as foundational in atherosclerosis research.

Stanford Education School Professor and declining math rigor

Sanjana Friedman:

Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor of math education, is arguably the person most responsible for the new California Math Framework, a set of curriculum recommendations that advocate against teaching most middle-schoolers algebra in the name of equity.

Though she advocates for these changes in the public school system, she’s sent her own children to a $48,000-a-year private school that teaches its middle schoolers algebra, and charged an underfunded school district $5,000 an hour for her consulting services.

An anonymous 100-page complaint recently documented over 30 claims of alleged citation misrepresentation in her research — the very research that underpins the CMF.



You Count the Votes Over and Over Until They Add Up Right

By John Kass

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker—the perpetually frightened rich kid born on third base thinking he hit a triple—has a big fat political problem.

He’s hosting the Democratic National Convention, his big fat coming out party in Chicago, in August. His fantasy? Becoming president of the United States of America.

As he’s planning his party, America is starting to focus on the absolute political wasteland that Illinois has become. And if they but open their eyes they’ll see exactly how the Democrats treat the sanctity of the vote.

The leftists preen like perfumed apes dressed in velvet suits when speechifying about how much they revere the institutions of democracy. Democracy Dies in Darkness is the slogan of The Washington Post, the leftist paper that promoted the Russia Collusion Hoax designed to destabilize the Trump administration. But they received the highest prize of corporate media. They’re all about democracy and darkness.

But in Chicago, where the DNC is to be held, there is another way, the Chicago Way, the Johnny Rocco Way.

“Senior US journalist attacks leading scientists for ‘misleading’ him over Covid lab-leak theory”

Susie Cohen:

A former New York Times journalist has attacked a group of leading scientists for “clearly” misleading him over the Covid lab-leak theory in the early days of the pandemic.

Donald McNeil Jr said he became sceptical of the hypothesis the virus was engineered in a Wuhan lab after several top epidemiological virologists insisted it wasn’t possible.

Mr McNeil Jr said their efforts to throw him “off track” influenced the newspaper’s coverage of the theory and likely contributed to the topic being “dropped” for a year.

However, the experts initially thought the lab leak theory was plausible but didn’t want to disclose so for political reasons, according to a raft of messages between them accidentally released by a US congressional committee last year.

In his book The Wisdom of Plagues, which looks back at 25 years covering pandemics, Mr McNeil Jr said the scientists “clearly misled me early on” and he was a “victim of deception”.

He said he was “disappointed, both in them and in myself, that I was so easily taken in”.

“Don… pretty much nailed it,” Prof Andersen added. “Let’s not tell him.” They told him the rumours were “demonstrably false” and 10 days later published Proximal Origins.

Discussing his response to another email from Mr McNeil Jr nine days later, Prof Andersen told his colleagues he had used “humour to deflect the fact I’m dismissing him” and added a “very deliberate” smiley face.


On Feb 6, 2020, NY Times reporter Don McNeil asked both Kristian Andersen & Richard Ebright about the possibility COVID-19 had a lab origin. In response, Andersen lied (see Slack chat) & Ebright told the truth (see below).


Correct. Andersen and I received the same question on the same day from the same journalist. Andersen responded with pre-meditated disinformation. I responded with truthful, balanced, and detailed information.

Misinformation (Censorship) experts are perhaps not quite unbiased

Bjorn Lomborg:

“Experts leaned strongly toward the left of the political spectrum” Data from Harvard Misinformation Review, survey of 150 misinformation experts

Antonio Garcia Martinez:

It’s incredible there used to be this entire Misinformation Industrial Complex–experts, institutes, studies, corporate teams with censorship power–that operated like a powerful nomenklatura.

Marc Andreessen:

This is who determines what you can read and who you can talk to.

The best part is, if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying her salary.

Bill Ackman:

For example, the reporter’s description of a closed end fund is patently false and her description of my wife’s degree is also incorrect. So out of spite, the NY Times prefers to misinform its readers rather than admit it has made mistakes. To be clear, these are not disputes about opinions. These are disputes about basic facts

Mike Benz:

More than that, Kate Starbird was the formal head of CISA’s “misinformation / disinformation” advisory committee in 2021-2022 making formal censorship advisory proposals for DHS’s review

Influence and the 2024 Milwaukee K-12 Tax & $pending increase referendum

Rory Linnane:

When Milwaukee Public Schools turned to city voters for more funding in 2020, it was smooth sailing. The dynamics are different this year as the district asks voters for more funding April 2.

The 2020 referendum passed with 78% of the vote, providing the district with up to $87 million in annual funds as it committed to expand arts and music programs that were nearly extinct in many schools.

This time around, its case could be considered less exciting: it’s simply trying to maintain staff and avoid cuts as state education funding has fallen behind inflation.

Another challenge: The district is facing a deep-pocketed opponent.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has spent over $400,000 campaigning against the MPS referendum, finance reports filed this week show.

That’s more than the Vote Yes for MPS campaign, which is funded by the teachers union and other public schools supporters. That group has spent about $277,000 as of March 18. That’s less than the same campaign had spent at this time in 2020.

“excessive sentence findings”


Increased focus on state judiciaries has significant potential to improve the criminal legal system. Recognizing the need for evaluation metrics for judges, this report pioneers a data-driven, evidence-based approach to assessing the judiciary. We analyze written appellate decisions to quantify individual trial court judges’ decisions and impacts. This methodology transforms complex judicial texts into accessible data, creating metrics of judicial performance for use by policymakers and the public.

This report introduces ‘excessive sentence findings’ as a method to assess individual judges’ decisions and their impact. In New York, appellate courts review sentences for excessiveness and can reduce them in the “interest of justice,” a rare and clear signal—from highly-respected institutional actors—that a lower court judge made an exceptionally troubling choice. We identify lower court judges with sentences reduced by appellate courts for being excessive and calculate the total number of years reduced from those sentences.

Vast Archive of Rare Japanese Textbooks Now Online To Explore for Free

By Madeleine Muzdakis 

What did your school textbooks look like? Chances are they were old, ripped, and written in. Their computer-printed images were certainly not fine art, especially with other students’ layering doodles over the years. However, textbooks do not always have to be boring; they can be works of art. An online archive of historic Japanese textbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries—hosted by the National Institute for Educational Policy Research—exemplifies the textbook as an art form. Decorated in everything from hand painting and calligraphy to traditional block printing, the books are explorable in PDF format for free.

The collection includes artwork such as hanging drawings, elementary primers, and brushwork guides for calligraphy. These works span a broad period, from the 19th century till after World War II—a time of immense change for Japan. Some texts are many pages long, combining elegant writing with detailed illustrations. Horses dance across a page beneath simple characters; whereas in another book, plants found in the garden are illustrated. Others depict teachers and small pupils cross-legged in front of their lecturers. It’s fascinating even for those who cannot read Japanese.

Civics: The corporate media are all-in on government censorship

Michael Shellenberger:

The 60 Minutes segment was particularly shocking. Lesly Stahl never mentioned the mass censorship of accurate information about COVID’S origins, COVID vaccines, and lockdowns. She falsely suggested that shining a light on the censorship activists was tantamount to persecution. And she suggested that if the government didn’t do more to censor misinformation, Trump supporters would overthrow the government, which is a form of disinformation aimed at scaring people into giving up our first and most fundamental freedom.

There are many reasons why they are doing this….

I didn’t know that college would be a factory of unreason

Theo Baker

“We’ve had protests in the past,” Richard Saller, the university’s interim president, told me in November—about the environment, and apartheid, and Vietnam. But they didn’t pit “students against each other” the way that this conflict has.

I’ve spoken with Saller, a scholar of Roman history, a few times over the past six months in my capacity as a student journalist. We first met in September, a few weeks into his tenure. His predecessor, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, had resigned as president after my reporting for The Stanford Daily exposed misconduct in his academic research. (Tessier-Lavigne had failed to retract papers with faked data over the course of 20 years. In his resignation statement, he denied allegations of fraud and misconduct; a Stanford investigation determined that he had not personally manipulated data or ordered any manipulation but that he had repeatedly “failed to decisively and forthrightly correct mistakes” from his lab.)

In that first conversation, Saller told me that everyone was “eager to move on” from the Tessier-Lavigne scandal. He was cheerful and upbeat. He knew he wasn’t staying in the job long; he hadn’t even bothered to move into the recently vacated presidential manor. In any case, campus, at that time, was serene. Then, a week later, came October 7.

Civics: Non-Citizens Have Been Voting Since 2008

David Catron:

Why would a president running for reelection refuse to meet with the Speaker of the House to discuss a national crisis that most voters blame on the president himself? This would be regarded as bizarre behavior under any circumstances, but it’s particularly perverse considering that the crisis in question is illegal immigration — the signature issue of Biden’s probable challenger in November. Moreover, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, 63 percent of the voters disapprove of the way he has handled immigration. Yet Biden refuses to discuss the problem. It’s almost as if he thinks it somehow works to his advantage.

Democrats may well have reached the conclusion that they can’t stay in power with legal votes by natural born or naturalized citizens.

What benefit would Biden gain by letting millions of illegal immigrants into the country? House speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) provided the answer during a recent appearance on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria Bartiromo: “I genuinely believe that originally the idea was to bring people in, open the border, have the flow come in and turn them into voters, there’s no other reason that seems to make sense.” This has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by the White House and its allies in the media. Yet Biden has often made public statements that suggest Johnson is right. In 2016, when he was Vice President, he put it thus:

The academic performance and mental wellbeing of world cup babies

Dirk Bethmann and Jae Il Cho


The 2002 FIFA World Cup led to an unexpected and temporary increase in South Korea’s fertility rate.

We use the quasi-experimental nature of the event to examine Becker’s trade-off between quantity and quality of children.

Our results support the notion of adverse effects on child quality measured by academic performance or school test scores.

We uncover that the same students exhibit significantly higher degrees of mental wellbeing.

Data From 9,500 Districts Shows Another Boom Year for School Staffing Even as Fiscal Cliff Looms

Chad Aldeman:

An all-time high in 2022-23, with 173,000 students & 159,000 employees, including 15,000 more teachers. See latest numbers.

According to new data from the National Center on Education Statistics, public schools added 173,000 students and 159,000 employees in the 2022-23 school year, including 15,000 additional teachers. 

On a per-student basis, staffing levels hit an all-time high.  

These numbers are in full-time equivalents (FTEs), which are adjusted based on the number of hours worked by part-time staff. The FTE numbers are a better measure of total staff time available, but the raw headcount numbers come out faster, and those suggest schools may be in for another new high in 2023-24. 

The outlook beyond that looks murkier. As districts spend down the last of their federal ESSER dollars, they may have to lay off staff or close under-enrolled buildings. To identify which communities are most at risk, I worked with Eamonn Fitzmaurice, The 74’s art and technology director, to update our data on how student-to-teacher ratios are changing across the country. Click on the map below to see the results in your community. 

Civics: What is an “earmark”?

Sadie Frankel’s article might tell readers where the $ came from:

The money is part of the $1.2 trillion budget bill President Joe Biden signed into law early Saturday and will go toward the Chamber’s $15 million goal to renovate and expand its 15,000-square-foot facility at 5262 Verona Road in Fitchburg. The project is intended to increase the resources available and provide a space for entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas.

The grant was announced by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.


$1.00 from 2020, right before $4 trillion in stimulus was handed out, is worth just $0.80 today.

That’s a 20% decrease in purchasing power in just 4 years.

We are paying for stimulus and its costing a lot more than 4$ trillion.

Inflation is the biggest involuntary tax of all time.


Fiscal Indulgences. More.

US Debt Clock

Federal taxes and $pending

The federal government now spends twice what it takes in tax revenue. While debt service alone eats nearly 2/3 of individual income tax.

Federal government spending is inimical to economic growth. The government takes all of its resources (money) from the real economy. Government spending is paid for by taxes, borrowing, or printing money. One way or another, the people end up paying for it.

“In the hour-plus we spent talking in the ornate Speaker’s Lobby this week, the United States descended $350 million deeper into the red. The national debt is now at a record high of nearly $34.6 trillion. “

Thank you @Robert_Aderholt for listing some of the objectionable earmarks the Senate slipped into this giant omnibus. More.

A Conservative Thought Experiment on a Liberal College Campus

Rachel Slade:

Twitchy and youthful with a quick wit, Hersh is a 40-year-old Tufts graduate and political science professor renowned on campus for his tightly structured lecture classes, which draw impressive crowds. While co-teaching a seminar class with him a couple of years ago, I learned how he’d carved out a place for himself as a self-styled “right-leaning centrist” who is working to counteract what he sees as the overabundance of liberal thinking on campus.

Hersh is not quite a code-red alarmist, à la Bill Ackman—the Harvard-educated hedge-fund billionaire who told New York magazine that after his daughter came home from Harvard “an anti-capitalist…practically a Marxist,” he decided to wage war on higher ed, which he said had all but indoctrinated his daughter into a “cult.” Already vocal about his opposition to Harvard’s DEI initiatives, he became the poster boy of the conservative attack on higher ed when he spearheaded calls for a plagiarism investigation of the school’s then president, Claudine Gay, which resulted in her resignation in January.

Hersh hasn’t come to quite the same conclusion as Ackman, but he does know that there’s a paucity of conservative teaching on campus—liberal professors, after all, outnumber conservative professors 28 to 1 in New England, according to a 2016 study of data from the Higher Education Research Institute—and he believes it’s pedagogically important to offer diverse perspectives and voices. “Sometimes good ideas emerge from the right, and sometimes they emerge from the left,” Hersh tells me. “And you’ve got to burst the bubble that either democracy or the good life for American society is going to emerge exclusively from the left.”

Fourth Black Female Harvard Scholar Accused of Plagiarism Amid Assault on DEI Initiatives

Tilly R. Robinson and Neil H. Shah

Harvard Sociology assistant professor Christina J. Cross was accused of plagiarism in an anonymous complaint to Harvard’s Office of Research Integrity, conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo reported in the City Journal — the fourth Black woman at Harvard who studies race or social justice to be accused of plagiarism.

The allegations against Cross mark the fourth in a rapid series of anonymous plagiarism complaints of varying severity lodged against Black women at Harvard amid a growing right-wing attack against diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.

Cross follows former Harvard president Claudine GaySherri A. Charleston, Harvard’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer; and Shirley R. Greene, a Title IX coordinator at the Harvard Extension School, who have all faced plagiarism allegations since December.

Though the allegations against Cross are the weakest of the four, plagiarism expert Jonathan Bailey said, Rufo’s posts on X received more than a million views and were amplified by X owner Elon Musk.

Deportation delayed for German home-schooling family living in East Tennessee

Evan Mealins:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement granted the German home-schooling family in East Tennessee a one-year reprieve from deportation, according to an update from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

HSLDA applauded ICE’s decision to delay the deportation of the Romeike family, of Morristown, but said it will not be finalized until Oct. 11, the date they were told they must leave the country.

“This is excellent news! According to our friends on Capitol Hill, this outcome is the direct result of your calls, your petition signatures, and your outreach to Congress on this issue,” HSLDA Action Executive Director Joel Grewe wrote on Oct. 6. “Now the reality is that until this is signed on October 11, this is not guaranteed, but we do expect a positive outcome.”

U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., who has introduced legislation to grant the Romeikes permanent residency, praised the decision on social media.

K-12 Tax & $pending climate: “The US faces a Liz Truss-style market shock if the government ignores the country’s ballooning federal debt”

Claire Jones:

Swagel, who served in the US Treasury under Republican president George W Bush, acknowledged that next year would be important “for fiscal policy in particular”, given debate over extending the tax cuts and Obama-era healthcare subsidies that are also due to expire.

The CBO projections issued this week showed debt-to-GDP levels surpassing their second world war high of 116 per cent in 2029 — a trajectory that Swagel described as “unprecedented”.

“The debt that was run up during World War Two, was largely paid back within the generation of the people who fought the war,” Swagel said.

“The fiscal burdens being generated today are not ones the current generation is going to bear the burden of.” The dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency would not always insulate the US from market pressures as debt interest payments increased, Swagel warned.


US Debt Clock.

Madison School Board Candidate Forum (both unopposed)

Simpson Street Free Press:

Local Journalists Interview School Board Candidates

Simpson Street Free Press hosts Q&A session for Madison school board candidates. Questions are posed by local education reporters. You can watch the video here:

Our panel of journalists — Abbey Machtig (Wisconsin State Journal), Kayla Huynh (Cap Times), Abigail Leavins (Isthmus), Sandy Flores Ruiz (Simpson Street Free Press), and Scott Girard (former Cap Times ed-beat reporter).

The candidates are Savion Castro (seat 2 incumbent, unopposed), and Maia Pearson (seat 1 incumbent, unopposed).

The moderators are Taylor Kilgore and Leila Fletcher from Simpson Street Free Press.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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?

K-12 Governance and Conflicts of interest

Gaius Mucius Scaevola

Superintendent Nyah Hamlett of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, not immune from controversy after allegedly plagiarizing her doctoral dissertation, has now opened herself up to charges of conflicts of interest after strong patterns in her hiring practices have been revealed.

This October the Superintendent approved the hiring of her husband, Breon Hamlett, to work at Carrboro High School as their head basketball coach. While not necessarily a coveted position within the district, the position does come with a taxpayer funded salary and raises the question of whether fair hiring practices were used.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board Policy 7100, section C, subsection 3, part C clearly outlines that “When making recommendations for the selection and assignment of personnel, the superintendent shall attempt to avoid situations in which one employee occupies a position in which he or she has influence over the employment status, including hiring, salary, and promotion, of another employee who is a member of the first employee’s immediate family.” The General Assembly of North Carolina also requires all employees of a school district’s administrative unit to undergo at least two hours of conflict of interest training a year. 

“Not communicating with media, low academic achievement scores at the St. Paul school district he recently led are worrisome”

Dave Cieslewicz:

The selection of Joe Gothard as Madison’s next public schools superintendent has met with widespread praise, including from me. But digging a little deeper into his record raises some concerns.

Let’s start with the good stuff. Gothard has led the St. Paul school district since 2017. That district is bigger and more diverse than ours and so he should be up to the task here. In fact, Gothard was named Minnesota Superintendent of the Year and then won National Superintendent of the Year just before he was selected for the Madison job in late February.

In addition, Gothard is well known in Madison and, apparently, well-respected by many. He grew up here, went to Madison public schools, got his education degrees from Edgewood College, started his teaching career with MMSD, and had administration experience in the Doyle Building. In fact, he was a runner-up for the top job when the board picked Jen Cheatham instead back in 2013.

Now for the concerns.

Let’s start with that Superintendent of the Year award. It’s given out by the School Superintendents Association. The criteria for selection include leadership, communication, professionalism and community involvement. Notice what’s missing? None of the criteria for that award have anything to do with the actual success of students. And, in fact, the criteria the Madison school board developed for selecting the new superintendent didn’t include that either.

That was lucky for Gothard because St. Paul students are not performing well. Numbers available as of August 2023 showed that only 26% of St. Paul third through eighth graders were proficient in math, only 34% in reading and only 24% in science. In addition, only 57% of St. Paul students were showing up in school at least 90% of the time, compared to almost 70% statewide in Minnesota. The St. Paul math scores are even worse than Madison’s, and those lag both the state and national averages.

“It’s just that people sometimes give privilege to some things and not others.”

Abbey Machtig:
Still, at least once major American leader of the balanced literacy movement, Lucy Calkins, has rolled out changes to her reading curriculum under pressure from the science of reading movement. And initial test scores from around the country show this science of reading model seems to be working. Mississippi was one of the first states to pass a law related to “evidence-based” reading instruction. More than 30 states, including Wisconsin, have followed suit, especially after 2019, when Mississippi became the only state in the nation to meaningfully improve its fourth-grade reading scores. —– The Madison School District adopted EL Education in 2022, one of the four curricula that ended up on the state’s final list, which the school district estimated at the time to cost about $3.5 million for materials, including shipping. The Oregon School District also has been using EL Education since the beginning of the school year. The McFarland School District started using a curriculum called Wonders last fall. McFarland schools said it meets the standards outlined in Wisconsin’s reading law even though it’s not one of the four approved by the state. The Waunakee School District has been using an early literacy curriculum called Meaning Making since fall 2022. This curriculum also does not appear on the state’s short list but still meets ACT 20’s requirements, according to Amy Johnson, the district’s director of elementary curriculum and instruction. Waunakee already is looking for a new elementary math curriculum. Johnson said the district will be focusing on that work, rather than pursuing another reading curriculum change.
Abbey Machtig interviewed Mariana Castro from the Multilingual Learning Resource Center for this article.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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?

Georgia’s School Choice Revival

Wall Street Journal:

Sixteen Georgia House Republicans dealt school choice a setback a year ago, voting against education savings accounts, or ESAs, for students in poorly performing districts. This month the ESAs came back to life, imperfectly, but at least it’s a start.

The Georgia House voted 91-82 last week to pass the scholarships, which are worth $6,500 each. They can be used toward private school tuition and other education expenses by students in the worst-performing 25% of Georgia public schools. Eight of last year’s Republican “nays” flipped their votes. The Senate, which passed the bill last year, voted for it again on Wednesday, and it heads to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.

The success is thanks to Mr. Kemp getting over his seeming ambivalence from a year ago. He gave school choice top billing in his State of the State address, telling lawmakers the state had “run out of ‘next years.’” Last year his tepid public support came too late.

House Speaker Jon Burns also supported ESAs more forcefully, taking the unusual step of promoting the bill in committee last week. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Speaker pro tem Jan Jones kept up their commitment. House Republicans in rural areas were the main force joining Democrats against the bill last year, and seven still voted “no” last week.

In presentation to staff of brain-computer company, quadriplegic Arizona man details improvements after procedure

Alexa Corse:

Elon Musk announced in January that his Neuralink company had implanted its brain chip in a human for the first time.

Arbaugh said he was surprised how fast Neuralink moved, saying it took about five months from when he applied to when he got the surgery.

“Brain surgery was easy,” he quipped. “I was expecting a much longer recovery time, and they kicked me out of the hospital like a day later.”

Arbaugh also said he played a joke on his mom. When she walked in after the surgery, he pretended not to know her for a couple seconds. “She was not happy,” he said.

The presentation showed video clips of Arbaugh from the month after his surgery. One clip, for example, showed him and his dad playing “Mario Kart.”

A Neuralink employee said during the video that he had been spending long days at Arbaugh’s home working with him.

Moving a computer cursor isn’t a major technical leap for brain-computer interfaces. An older brain chip first implanted in a human in 2004 also helped a paralyzed person move a cursor with only their thoughts. But the older chip must be attached to a device on the outside of the brain to transmit data, requiring wires protruding through the skin. Neuralink’s device transmits data wirelessly.

Two Wisconsin teachers inducted into National Teachers Hall of Fame

Adrianne Davis:

The National Teachers Hall of Fame has named two Southeast Wisconsin teachers as inductees for its class of 2024.

English and language arts teacher Shelly Moore Krajacic of South Milwaukee High School and sixth grade history teacher Terry Kaldhusdal of Kettle Moraine Middle School were both honored Thursday with surprise celebrations from their students and the NTHF. Maddie Fennell, Acting Executive Director of NTHF, presented the awards to both teachers.

Krajacic and Kaldhusdal have been in the education field since the 1990s.

As of 2024 only one other Wisconsin teacher, Deborah Lynn Tackmann, has been given the prestigious honor.

Civics: The FDA Settled With Us Because They Knew They Were Going To Lose

Pierre Kory:

Obviously my readers know why “they” had to bury the evidence of efficacy of ivermectin at all costs: little ‘ole ivermectin threatened both the EUA for the vaccines and the global vaccine market (north of a $100 billion). It also threatened the markets for all the competing pricey, patented, pipeline pharmaceuticals like Remdesivir, Paxlovid, molnupiravir and the monoclonal antibodies (also massive global markets in the many billions). 

Pharma’s greatest weapon to attack ivermectin is the FDA. Pharma (and especially Pfizer) has near complete control of the FDA (and the CDC and the NIH). But the FDA couldn’t do it all by themselves so they called in the CDC to do some dirty work: 5 days after the FDA tweet the CDC sent out a warning advisory to all the state medical boards (which was then forwarded to every licensed physician in the country): 

Civics: Feds Ordered Google To Unmask Certain YouTube Users. Critics Say It’s ‘Terrifying.’

Thomas Brewster:

Federal investigators have ordered Google to provide information on all viewers of select YouTube videos, according to multiple search warrants obtained by Forbes. Privacy experts from multiple civil rights groups told Forbes they think the orders are unconstitutional because they threaten to turn innocent YouTube viewers into criminal suspects.

In a just-unsealed case from Kentucky reviewed by Forbes, undercover cops sought to identify the individual behind the online moniker “elonmuskwhm,” who they suspect of selling bitcoin for cash, potentially running afoul of money laundering laws and rules around unlicensed money transmitting.

In conversations with the user in early January, undercover agents sent links of YouTube tutorials for mapping via drones and augmented reality software, then asked Google for information on who had viewed the videos, which collectively have been watched over 30,000 times.

An introduction to Algorithmic Mathematical Art

Xah Lee

Here is an introduction and survey of Algorithmic Mathematical Art.

In the early 1990s, they were merely visualization aids in the study of mathematics. Gradually, the complexity and artistry of the images becomes an end itself.

Here, i examine the various methods of algorithmic mathematical art, and indicate the states of the art and possibilities. At the end, i give a definition of Algorithmic Mathematical Art.

Warrantless Surveillance on American Citizens

Harriett Hageman and Jim Jordan:

The Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government are conducting oversight of the federal government’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to surveil American citizens’ financial information. Based on recent reporting and other information obtained by the Committee and Select Subcommittee, we believe that the Department of the Treasury possesses information necessary for our oversight and we request your full cooperation.

In September 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it was using AI to “help IRS compliance teams better detect tax cheating, identify emerging compliance threats and improve case selection tools.”1 According to the announcement, “the IRS is deploying new resources towards cutting-edge technology to improve our visibility on where the wealthy shield their income and focus staff attention on the areas of greatest abuse,
” including “cutting-edge machine learning technology.”2 On February 28, 2024, the Treasury Department publicly be acknowledged that it has “implemented an enhanced process using AI to mitigate check fraud in near real-time by strengthening and expediting processes to recover potentially fraudulent payments from financial institutions” since late 2022. 3 As noted in a Treasury Department press release, “[t]he enhanced AI process and OPI’s [Office of Payment Integrity] strong partnership with federal law enforcement agencies have led to multiple active cases and arrests with law
enforcement” and the recovery of $375 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 alone.4



Political Power and the Chicago Teachers Union

The Economist:

As election-night parties go, the mood was bleak. On March 19th primary-election voters in Chicago were asked to vote on a ballot measure that would have raised the transfer tax on properties worth over $1m so as to generate money to pay for homelessness relief. The measure was backed by the city’s entire progressive establishment. Its opponents, mostly from the real-estate industry, did not even bother to organise a rival event. And yet by 9pm on election night, “No” was leading by around eight percentage points. “Let’s just pretend,” said Myron Byrd, from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, an activist group, mournfully, before he belted out a song he had wanted to perform to celebrate victory. The party ended with chants of “we will not give up”, long after most attendees gave up and left.

The defeat of the “Bring Chicago Home” measure was crushing for Chicago’s mayor, Brandon Johnson, who had heavily promoted it. But it is perhaps an even bigger defeat for his former employer, the Chicago Teachers Union (ctu), which put $400,000 and the organising work of its 28,000 members into getting a Yes vote. In the past decade or so, the union has become one of the most powerful in the country by adopting a model of radical left-wing political organising. From 2022 to the end of last year it put $2.3m into Mr Johnson’s campaign fund. Its support helped elevate Mr Johnson, previously an unknown county commissioner, into office. This year it hopes to reap the spoils—the teachers’ contract is up for renewal. But is the union overreaching?

WEAC: $1.54M for four State Senators.

How science sleuths track down bad research

Nidhi Subarraman:

It was early January when the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute received a complaint about signs of image manipulation in dozens of papers by senior researchers. Days later, the organization said it was seeking to retract or correct several of the studies, sending shock waves through the scientific community.

Mass General Brigham and Harvard Medical School were sent a complaint the same month: A collection of nearly 30 papers co-authored by another professor appeared to contain copied or doctored images.

The complaints were from different critics, but they had something in common. Both scientists—molecular biologist Sholto David and image expert Elisabeth Bik—had used the same tool in their analyses: an image-scanning software called Imagetwin.

Behind the recent spotlight on suspect science lies software such as Imagetwin, from a company based in Vienna, and another called Proofig AI, made by a company in Israel. The software brands aid scientists in scouring hundreds of studies and are turbocharging the process of spotting deceptive images.

Stanford Math-Education Expert Has ‘Reckless Disregard for Accuracy,’ Complaint Alleges

Stephanie M. Lee

Jo Boaler, a Stanford University professor and one of the country’s most influential experts on math education, has misrepresented scholars’ findings in her work to the point of showing a “reckless disregard for accuracy,” according to an anonymous complaint reportedly filed with Stanford on Wednesday.

The 100-page document details 52 instances in which Boaler, a professor of math education at the university’s Graduate School of Education, allegedly misstated or misconstrued outside studies about learning, neuroscience, and math education in her own articles, lectures, and books. Several of its examples appeared in a draft of the California math framework, a guidance document Boaler co-authored about how math should be taught in K-12 schools.

A look at Large Language Models

Sherlock Xu:

Over the past year, the AI world has been abuzz with the rapid release of large language models (LLMs), each boasting advancements that push the boundaries of what’s possible with generative AI. The pace at which new models are emerging is breathtaking. Just last weekend, xAI released its Grok language model, a behemoth with 314 billion parameters, under the Apache 2.0 license.

These models, powered by an ever-increasing number of parameters and trained on colossal datasets, have improved our efficiency to generate text and write (as well as understand) complex code. However, the sheer number of options available can feel both exciting and daunting. Making informed decisions about which to use — considering output quality, speed, and cost — becomes a problem.

The answer lies not just in the specifications sheets or benchmark scores but in a holistic understanding of what each model brings to the table. In this blog post, we curate a select list of LLMs making waves over the past year. At the same time, we look to provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

Caulkins Commentary

Lucy Caulkins:

Your Feb. 29 cover story, “When Kids Can’t Read,” references Springfield public schools and my curriculum, Units of Study.

I applaud Springfield for attending to the individual differences among children as readers. It is fundamentally important to recognize that children are all different. Assessments from reading specialists and individualized support for those who need it are foundational parts of a successful education strategy. Some children will need help segmenting and blending sounds as they read, while others need more opportunities to read nonfiction texts and to develop world knowledge and vocabulary.

Springfield’s programs such as Real Men Read and Compass for Kids similarly show that the district is making sound, research-based decisions that will move readers forward. The Real Men Read program provides valuable mentorship, allowing children to grow up seeing themselves as readers and thinking, “Reading is something cool people do.” And Springfield’s decision to supplement classroom learning with after-school and summer programs to support readers is wise. Kids need time to practice reading. These efforts make a real difference. These programs matter.


Much more on Lucy Caulkins.


Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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?

Complaint Alleges University of Wisconsin DEI Czar, Husband of Harvard’s DEI Chief, Has Decades-Long History of Research Misconduct

Aaron Sibarium:

The complaint, which was filed anonymously, implicates eight of Charleston’s publications, many of them coauthored, and accuses him of plagiarizing other scholars as well as duplicating his own work. It comes as the university is already investigating Charleston over a separate complaint filed in January, alleging that a 2014 study by him and his wife—Harvard University’s chief diversity officer, Sherri Ann Charleston—is a facsimile of a study he published in 2012.

“This is an extraordinary case of serial misrepresentation and deception,” said Peter Wood, the head of the National Association of Scholars and a former associate provost at Boston University. “The closest analogy would be someone who sells the same real estate to five different buyers, all of whom are unaware of the others.”

In January, Charleston won a lifetime achievement award for “excellence in higher education.” The university trumpeted the award in a press release, praising his “unwavering dedication to creating inclusive environments in academia” and noting his “wealth of academic accolades.”

Copy and Paste: Another Harvard racial-justice scholar is accused of plagiarism.

Christopher Rufo:

Harvard professor Christina Cross is a rising star in the field of critical race studies. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, secured the support of the National Science Foundation, and garnered attention from the New York Times, where she published an influential article titled “The Myth of the Two-Parent Home.”

Cross’s 2019 dissertation, “The Color, Class, and Context of Family Structure and Its Association with Children’s Educational Performance,” won a slate of awards, including the American Sociological Association Dissertation Award and the ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award, and helped catapult her onto the Harvard faculty.

According to a new complaint filed with Harvard’s office of research integrity, however, Cross’s work is compromised by multiple instances of plagiarism, including “verbatim plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, uncited paraphrasing, and uncited quotations from other sources.”

I have obtained a copy of the complaint, which documents a pattern of misappropriation in Cross’s dissertation and one other academic paper. The complaint begins with a dozen allegations of plagiarism related to the dissertation that range in severity from small bits of “duplicative language,” which may not constitute an offense, to multiple passages heavily plagiarized from other sources without proper attribution. (Cross did not respond to a request for comment.)

Comparative advantage is very subtle, but incredibly powerful.

Noah Smith:

I hang out with a lot of people in the AI world, and if there’s one thing they’re certain of, it’s that the technology they’re making is going to put a lot of people out of a job. Maybe not all people — they argue back and forth about that — but certainly a lot of people. 

It’s understandable that they think this way; after all, this is pretty much how they go about inventing stuff. They think “OK, what sort of things would people pay to have done for them?”, and then they try to figure out how to get AI to do that. And since those tasks are almost always things that humans currently do, it means that AI engineers, founders, and VCs are pretty much always working on automating human labor. So it’s not too much of a stretch to think that if we keep doing that, over and over, eventually a lot of humans just won’t have anything to do. 

It’s also natural to think that this kind of activity would push down wages. Intuitively, if there’s a set of things that humans get paid to do, and some of those things keep getting automated away, human labor will get squeezed into a shrinking set of tasks. Basically, the idea is that it looks like this:

Doubts About Value Are Deterring College Enrollment

Jessica Blake:

Enrollment has been declining in higher education for more than a decade, and the most common explanations in recent years have been lingering effects of the pandemic and a looming demographic cliff expected to shrink the number of traditional-age college students. But new research suggests that public doubts about the value of a college degree are a key contributor.

The study—conducted by Edge Research, a marketing research firm, and HCM Strategists, a public policy and advocacy consulting firm with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—uses focus groups and parallel national surveys of current high school students and of adults who decided to leave college or who didn’t go at all to link the value proposition of a college degree and Americans’ behaviors after high school.

The Man-Made Miracle of SpaceX

Max Meyer:

So don’t let any sour punditry confuse you. What happened in Texas last week is a man-made miracle—emphasis on man-made, because it took the men and women of SpaceX 20 years to build a sustainable company that could pull off such a feat.

Oh, and billions of dollars of cash.

To build rockets, especially big rockets, you need money. Lots of it. NASA gets it from Congress—about $25 billion a year. SpaceX didn’t have money from Uncle Sam at the beginning. It had to raise money from private investors—about $10 billion since 2002.

In 2024, the company projects billions in profitsfrom two major revenue sources: launching rockets for commercial and government clients, and providing internet via Starlink satellites.

SpaceX has won an effective monopoly on space launches in the West by making them much cheaper and more reliable thanks to reusable rockets. The company launches the outright majority of worldwide material to orbit—that’s mostly commercial satellites and cargo for the International Space Station, though Elon Musk did once launch his personal Tesla Roadster sports car as well (it passed Mars in October 2020 and will swing past Earth in 2047). Outside of Russia and China, SpaceX accounted for over 99.9 percent of material sent to orbit at the end of 2023. The Falcon Heavy has achieved a cargo-cost-per-kilogram of just $1,500, about a quarter of the closest Chinese competitor. 

Notes on “ai” research

By Naomi Nix, Cat Zakrzewski and Gerrit De Vynck

University academics often have little choice but to work with industry researchers, with the company footing the bill for computing power and offering data. Nearly 40 percent of papers presented at leading AI conferences in 2020 had at least one tech employee author, according to the 2023 report.And industry grants often fund PhD students to perform research, said Mohamed Abdalla, a scientist at the Canadian-based Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners, who has conducted research on the effect of industry on academics’ AI research.

My Clients, the Liars


All this puts some of my clients of the guilty persuasion in a bind. Sure, they don’t want me sitting on my ass doing nothing for their case, but they also can’t have me snooping around on my own too much. . . because who knows what I might find? So they take steps to surreptitiously install guardrails around my scrutiny, hoping I won’t notice.

You might wonder why any chicanery from my clients is warranted. After all, am I not professionally obligated to strictly maintain client confidentiality? It’s true, a client can show me where they buried their dozen murder victims and I wouldn’t be allowed to tell a soul, even if an innocent person is sitting in prison for their crimes. Part of my clients’ clammed-up demeanors rests on a deluded notion that I won’t fight as hard for their cases unless I am infatuated by their innocence. Perhaps they don’t realize that representing the guilty is the overwhelmingly banal reality of my job.[1] More importantly, it’s myopic to forget that judges, prosecutors, and jurors want to see proof, not just emphatic assurances on the matter. 

But clients still lie to me — exclusively to their own detriment

Voters reject Chicago tax & $pending increase

Dylan Sharkey:

Chicago voters were rejecting the referendum dubbed “Bring Chicago Home,” with 54% voting “no” to 46% “yes” with 98% of precincts reporting.

While 98% of precincts had reported, The Associated Press was estimating only 82% of the vote had been counted with another two weeks during which mail-in ballots could be received. Still, the Bring Chicago Home coalition was conceding the election.

The referendum would have given Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and the city council voter approval to raise the real estate transfer tax on properties worth more than $1 million. Johnson predicted it would give him $100 million a year in revenue.

What was the plan?

Chicago charges 0.75% on the sale of all property. The plan would have:

What The Milwaukee k-12 tax & $pending Referendum Could Cost You…


Recently, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) proposed a $252 million annual referendum that will raise taxes on those in the city in perpetuity. The question will be put to voters on the April 2 ballot. The district claims that, without the passage of the referendum, a 13% cut in schools and a 26% cut in central office administration will be required. Yet the district lacks a clear plan for how the increased spending will be put to work to improve student outcomes.

With nearly 70,000 students, MPS is by far the largest school district in the state. It is also a district where proficiency rates have been abysmal for decades. As such, this referendum request deserves a certain level of scrutiny. In this policy brief, WILL examines a number of different aspects of current spending in MPS to determine if this request for additional funding is truly warranted.

Police chief makes case to bring cops back to Madison high schools

Paul Fanlund:

When Shon Barnes became Madison police chief in 2021, the School Board had already removed police officers who had been stationed in each of the city’s four mainstream public high schools.

The year before, raucous protests against the school resource officers — SROs — had been visceral in the racial upheaval that followed the George Floyd murder at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Opponents of using SROs argue that they are a key cog in the “school-to-prison pipeline,” particularly for students of color, but former Chief Noble Wray told me that officers who raised their hands for SRO assignments were those most committed to keeping young people out of the criminal justice system.

And Wray was not alone. Every Madison police official I ever talked with, including four police chiefs, have told me that only the best and brightest officers served as SROs, possessing the policing skills and emotional intelligence to make it work.



Drug Poisonings are a leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that over 110,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2022, almost 70% of these deaths were caused by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. 

Like most states across the country, the State of Washington has not been immune to the alarming increase in the availability of fentanyl and overdoses.  In Washington, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) records show that from 2019 to 2022 the amount of fentanyl seized by the DEA in Washington increased by 1670%.  In 2022, the DEA Seattle Field Division seized twice as much fentanyl in Washington as was seized in 2021.

Bar exam will no longer be required to become attorney in Washington State

Emma Epperly:

The bar exam will no longer be required to become a lawyer in Washington, the state Supreme Court ruled in a pair of orders Friday.

The court approved alternative ways to show competency and earn a law license after appointing a task force to examine the issue in 2020.

The Bar Licensure Task Force found that the traditional exam “disproportionally and unnecessarily blocks” marginalized groups from becoming practicing attorneys and is “at best minimally effective” for ensuring competency, according to a news release from the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts.

Washington is the second state to not require the bar exam, following Oregon, which implemented the change at the start of this year. Other states, including Minnesota, Nevada, South Dakota and Utah, are examining alternative pathways to licensure.

“These recommendations come from a diverse body of lawyers in private and public practice, academics, and researchers who contributed immense insight, counterpoints and research to get us where we are today,” Washington Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, who chaired the task force, said in a statement. “With these alternative pathways, we recognize that there are multiple ways to ensure a competent, licensed body of new attorneys who are so desperately needed around the state.”

Why Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Failed

Keith Humphreys and Rob Bovett

America’s most radical experiment with drug decriminalization has ended, after more than three years of painful results. Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has pledged to sign legislation repealing the principal elements of the ballot initiative known as Measure 110: Possessing hard drugs is again a crime in Oregon, and courts will return to mandating treatment for offenders. Oregonians had supported Measure 110 with 59 percent of the vote in 2020, but three years later, polling showed that 64 percent wanted some or all of it repealed. Although the measure was touted by advocates as a racial-justice policy, support for its repeal was especially strong among African American and Hispanic Oregonians.

The key elements of Measure 110 were the removal of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl, and a sharper focus, instead, on reducing the harm that drugs cause to their users. More than $260 million were allocated to services such as naloxone distribution, employment and housing services, and voluntary treatment. The original campaign for the measure was well funded by multiple backers, most prominently the Drug Policy Alliance, based in New York. Supporters hoped that ending penalties—and reducing the associated stigma of drug use—would bring a range of benefits. Once drugs were decriminalized and destigmatized, the thinking went, those who wanted to continue using would be more willing to access harm-reduction services that helped them use in safer ways. Meanwhile, the many people who wanted to quit using drugs but had been too ashamed or fearful to seek treatment would do so. Advocates foresaw a surge of help-seeking, a reduction in drug-overdose deaths, fewer racial disparities in the health and criminal-justice systems, lower rates of incarceration, and safer neighborhoods for all.

“The growing turmoil in the world of scholarly publishing has been weighing heavily on my mind for several years”

Donald Knuth (2003):

Editorial Board, Journal of Algorithms

Dear Board member,

Let me begin with some background information from my personal perspective. I “grew up” professionally with Academic Press journals: Part of my thesis was printed in Volume 2 of the Journal of Algebra

(1965); soon afterward I published an article about trees in the Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Volume 3. I was eventually destined to publish six more papers in the latter journal, and one each in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications, the Journal of Number Theory, and the Journal of Computer and System Sciences. Those papers were typeset so beautifully, I used Academic Press style as the model in my first demo of TEX to the American Math Society in 1978.

Therefore I was pleased when Herb Wilf approached me later that year with the idea to start a new Academic Press publication, to be called the Journal of Algorithms. On January 4, 1979, 1 replied to him that “Journal of Algorithms is a great title. Surely there must be a journal of that name someday.” We agreed that computer science had matured to the point where such a journal would be an ideal outlet for some of the explosive growth in high-quality algorithmic research.

Over the years the issues of this journal have accumulated to fill nearly five feet of shelf space in my office at home, and I couldn’t be more proud of the quality of many of the articles they contain. The experience of compiling and typesetting the index to Volumes 1-20 that appeared on pages 634 660 of the May 1996 issue gave me a special pleasure; and next year we shall reach Volume 50.

Academic Press built its reputation on producing high-quality scientific books and journals at reasonable prices. That is why Wilf and I were attracted to them initially, and why we continued to be satisfied as the years went by. Academic Press was acquired in 1989 by Harcourt Brace Javonovich, later to become known as Harcourt X for various other values of X, but at first their publishing team stayed fairly intact.

I became concerned about journal pricing in 1990, and I wrote a two-page letter asking them to do their best to minimize the effect on libraries; they promptly sent me a completely satisfactory reply, and indeed they kept price increases below the level of inflation during the next few years.

Civics: “lawful intercept engineer”

PC Mag:

“You will engage with other SpaceX engineers as well as our Legal and Market Access teams to understand the best solution for each country in our quest to connect the globe,” the job post notes. In addition, the same engineer will need to test the technology with “various law enforcement agencies around the world” while also “training the Network Operations Team in the day-to-day operations of these systems.”

Refuted papers continue to be cited more than their failed replications: Can a new search engine be built that will fix this problem?


Kind of, but not quite. A key difference is that in the courtroom there is some reasonable chance that the opposing lawyer or the judge will notice that the key case has been overruled, so that your argument that hinges on that case will fail. You have a clear incentive to not rely on overruled cases. In science, however, there’s no opposing lawyer and no judge: you can build an entire career on studies that fail to replicate, and no problem at all, as long as you don’t pull any reallyridiculousstunts.

94% of elevators on campus have expired permits

Andrew Zeng

According to Pane, the Blackwelder elevator’s permit was expired at the time. Though it has since been inspected, its permit expired once again on Aug. 12, 2023 — making it just one of the 260 elevators on campus, 94% of a total of 274, with expired permits, according to documents obtained by The Daily through a public records request. On average, each expired elevator is over 160 days overdue.

‘Very few have balls’ – Tina Brown- How American news lost its nerve

Max Tani:

There’s too much to read and watch, too many places to read and watch it. It’s enough to distract you from the biggest news in journalism right now: In 2024, it’s harder than ever to get a tough story out in the United States of America.

A landscape of gleefully revelatory magazine exposés, aggressive newspaper investigations, feral online confrontations, and painstaking television investigations has been eroded by a confluence of factors — from rising risks of litigation and costs of insurance, which strapped media companies can hardly afford, to social media, which has given public figures growing leverage over the journalists who now increasingly carry their water.

The result is a thousand stories you’ll never read, and a shrinking number of publications with the resources and guts to confront power.

One recent example illustrates the difficulty of getting even a modestly negative revelation about a popular public figure into print. Last year, freelance reporter John McDermott discovered that Jay Shetty, a massively popular lifestyle podcaster who recently interviewed President Joe Biden, had fudged biographical details about his life. But months after he began his reporting for Esquire, he wondered: Would any outlet publish it?

Esquire lost interest as the piece took on a critical tone. He then approached The Hollywood Reporter — as did Shetty’s publicists, who delivered a litany of complaints about the journalist, arguing that he had a conflict of interest. More than a year after its conception, McDermott’s story was eventually published by The Guardian, prompting British education officials to demand Shetty remove false references to them from his website.

“Very few owners have balls any more,” the former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown told Semafor, “a very sorry fact for journalism.”

There are at least five major factors putting journalists on their heels.

Libraries and ebooks

Susan Haigh:

Publishers, however, argue the arrangement is fair considering e-book licenses for libraries allow numerous patrons to “borrow” them and the per-reader cost is much less expensive than the per-reader rate. 

Librarians in several states have been pushing for legislation to rein in the costs and restrictions on electronic material, which has been growing in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. Patrons are stuck on long waiting lists for audio and e-books, and digital offerings are limited. 

This year, lawmakers in states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Hawaii and New Hampshire have proposed bills aimed at closing the affordability gap. A bill was introduced in Virginia but was tabled in February.

Notes on education commentary

Karen Vaites:

Recently, EdReports, the widely-used curriculum review site, has been under fire over inconsistencies in its reviews.

This has spawned a great deal of discussion – almost none of it defending EdReports. In particular, we have seen a dearth of EdReports defenders with regard to its reviews of basal programs and Bookworms. Educators aren’t chiming in to say, “Basal reading programs are actually high-quality.” In fact, the opposite.

Turns out even EdReports acknowledges the critiques. 

In a recent column, Eric Hirsch of EdReports announced plans to shift its review strategy, saying, “We’ll be evaluating how to make our reports more responsive to the rapidly evolving curriculum space and considering stakeholder feedback on topics including usability and volume of content.” Critiques about “volume of content” are at the heart of critiques of basal programs.

memo to its reviewers is more pointed: “We’re most vulnerable to criticism around our reviews of basals / big box programs. We need to be particularly intentional in this area.”

At this point, it’s a consensus position: EdReports got its reviews of basals wrong. 

Literacy experts think EdReports got Bookworms wrong, as well. And close watchers should note that Fishtank ELA earns a recommendation from the Knowledge Matters Campaign, but failed to earn all-green from EdReports. It’s hard to miss the daylight between experts and EdReports. 

“fill the gap of things the government couldn’t do” legally

Matt Taibbi:

Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, Lee Fang, and other Twitter Files reporters discovered the key elements of the Twitter Files reports, from the “industry calls” held between the FBI and Internet platforms like Twitter, to the role of Stanford’s Election Integrity Partnership, to the role of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center in sponsoring “anti-disinformation” work, in the first two weeks of research. Our central thesis about state-sponsored censorship was online months before we met Benz. By mid-December 2022, I knew we were looking at a sweeping federal content-control program, and repeated the idea many times. As I wrote on Christmas Eve, 2022:

The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government —from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA… The operation is far bigger than the reported 80 members of the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)… Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track.

Nonetheless, the gist of today’s Times piece is that Shellenberger and I got this thesis from Benz. They literally wrote it that way, that when I testified to Congress, I was presenting his thesis.

Related: David Rennie:

First time I’ve seen this: Chinese state TV pushing out an AI-generated animation showing workers across America striking and rioting as a result of income inequality and democratic crisis.

And. Plus.

Law Dork:

LAW DORK: The worse the government’s behavior was, the more likely it is that the platform is now liable.

ABDO: That’s right. It’s strange. The theory under Blum, basically, is the government has a gun to your head, and you’re doing the government’s bidding, and now potentially, you could be subject to damages liability for responding in the way that anyone would respond if you’re actually being coerced to that extent. But the other complication is that whatever remedy the plaintiff gets in that kind of the case might interfere with the First Amendment rights of the platforms and their users. You can imagine in the Murthy case, if the plaintiffs met the higher state action test, they might be entitled to an injunction directing, say Facebook or Twitter, to reinstate their accounts, or reinstate their posts, or even change their content moderation policies. And that has implications for the First Amendment.


This censorship regime has successfully suppressed perspectives contradicting government-approved views on hotly disputed topics such as whether natural immunity to Covid-19 exists, the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, the virus’s origins, and mask mandate efficacy. The vast, coordinated silencing of First Amendment-protected speech has targeted influential, highly qualified voices including doctors and scientists like Drs. Bhattacharya, Kheriaty, and Kulldorff, as well as those like Ms. Hines who have tried to raise awareness of issues.

NCLA has emphasized throughout this case that the First Amendment’s text forbids “abridging” (diminishing) the freedom of speech, meaning the government’s scheme violates the Constitution even when it encourages social media platforms to suppress legal speech without coercing them. Though the Fifth Circuit’s injunction only forbids coercing or significantly encouraging the suppression of legal speech, the Supreme Court could and should expand it to bar the government from getting the social media platforms to abridge speech to any degree whatsoever.

“$pending to counter elitist perception”

Andrew Bahl:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison plans to launch a statewide marketing campaign to change public attitudes that the school is too “elitist” and “leftist” in hopes for more state funding, documents show.

In documents seeking applications from private vendors to produce the initiative, UW-Madison said it wanted a campaign that would combat “misperceptions among state residents about the university and higher education in general.”

The chief goal, however, would be a favorable outcome next year, when the Legislature’s budget writers and Gov. Tony Evers will negotiate a new budget to cover Wisconsin’s state government until 2027.

“Primary mark of success will be a positive state budget for UW-Madison in the next budget biennium,” a university document answering questions about the project said.

The UW said it is looking to double its media spending as part of the campaign, with the total cost of producing and airing the ads expected to be around $1 million. UW-Madison spokesperson Kelly Tyrrell said the campaign will be privately funded.

“The practices outlined in the proposal are consistent with our peer institutions and are also consistent with marketing and outreach efforts UW-Madison has engaged in for many years,” Tyrrell said in an email.

“if certain conditions related to free inquiry, free expression and intellectual diversity are not met.”

David Gay:

This bill, initially brought forward by the Indiana Senate, impacts the status of tenure at public higher education institutions in the state of Indiana. The bill limits and restricts the ability of the public institutions to grant tenure and promotions “if certain conditions related to free inquiry, free expression and intellectual diversity are not met.”

Senate Bill 202 was authored by Indiana Senators Spencer Deery (R-District 23), Tyler Johnson (R-District 14) and Jeff Raatz (R-District 27). During the 2024 legislative session, the votes surrounding the bill mostly went along party lines

The bill also establishes a review of faculty tenure status every five years, making sure the faculty member abided by certain measures, including:

Civics: An executive from a company associated with Metric Media was hired to teach journalism, but the story doesn’t end there

Steven Monacelli:

The largest newspaper chain in the United States has an ongoing business relationship with a company linked to a sprawling network of over a thousand “pink slime” publications — sites that profess to be local but have no local staff and do not disclose funding they’ve received from political sources.

A Gannett spokesperson confirmed the company has a contract to produce “advertorial content” sourced from Advantage Informatics, a blandly named company founded by Brian Timpone, a conservative businessman and former TV reporter based out of Chicago. (Timpone’s name may be familiar to readers who remember the Journatic scandal of 2012, or to those who have followed the Tow Center for Digital Journalism’s extensive research on “pink slime” sites.)

The ongoing relationship between Gannett and the Metric Media network came to light due to a controversy over the hiring of an Advantage Informatics executive, Kyle Barnett, at Tennessee Tech University, a public research university that enrolls around 10,000 students a year. Barnett’s hiring at the university was first reported on December 14, 2023, by the progressive website Raw Story.

In a follow-up story, Raw Story published Barnett’s TN Tech application and offer letter, which it obtained via public records request. The documents show Barnett was offered the position of non-tenure-track journalism lecturer at a 9-month salary of $50,250.


Somewhat related: the funding of Wisconsin Watch.

Notes on Universal Basic Income

Karl Widerquist:

The modern definition of UBI stipulates the grant must be in cash, and because small-scale hunter-gatherer or agrarian communities do not have cash economies, they do not have UBIs. But these practices show how the values that motivate much of the modern UBI movement are not new to politics but have been recognized and practiced for a very long time.

Some writers trace the beginning of UBI history to ancient Athens, which used revenue from a city-owned mine to support a small cash income for Athenian citizens. This institution sounds like a UBI, except that the meaning of citizen was very different in ancient Athens. Citizens were a small, elite portion of the population. Noncitizens, such as slaves, women, and free noncitizen males, were the bulk of the population and virtually all of its labor force. A UBI for the elite is no UBI at all.

Proposals that begin to fit the modern definition of UBI begin in the 1790s with two writers, Thomas Paine and Thomas Spence. Paine’s famous pamphlet “Agrarian Justice” argued that because private ownership of the land had deprived people of the right to hunt, gather, fish, or farm on their own accord, they were owed compensation out of taxes on land rents. He suggested this compensation should be paid in the form of a large cash grant at maturity plus a regular cash pension at retirement age. That amounts to a stakeholder grant plus a citizens pension: nearly, but not quite, a UBI.

From a similar starting point, Spence carried the argument through to a full UBI, calling for higher taxes on land and a regular, unconditional cash income for everyone. If anyone can be said to be the “inventor” of UBI, it is Thomas Spence, but his proposal remained obscure, and the idea had to be reinvented many times before it became widely known.

On Homework

Alfie Kohn:

After spending all day in school, our children are forced to begin a second shift, with more academic assignments to be completed at home. This arrangement is rather odd when you stop to think about it, as is the fact that few of us ever do stop to think about it.

Instead of assuming that homework should be a given, or that it allegedly benefits children, I’ve spent the last few years reviewing the available researchand talking to parents, teachers and students. My findings can be summarized in seven words: Homework is all pain and no gain.

The pain is obvious to kids but isn’t always taken seriously by adults. Backpacks stuffed with assignments leave students exhausted, frustrated, less interested in intellectual pursuits and lacking time to do things they enjoy. “Most of what homework is doing,” says literacy expert Harvey Daniels, “is driving kids away from learning.”

We parents, meanwhile, turn into nags. After being away from our children all day, the first words out of our mouths, sadly, may be: “So, did you finish your homework?” One mother told me it permanently damaged her relationship with her son because it forced her to be an enforcer rather than a mom.

The surprising news, though, is that there are virtually no pros to balance the cons. Even if you regard grades or test scores as good measures of learning, which I do not, doing homework has no statistical relationship to achievement in elementary school. In high school, some studies do find a correlation between homework and test scores, but it’s usually fairly small. In any case, it’s far from clear that the former causes the latter. And if you’re wondering, not a single study has ever supported the folk wisdom that homework teaches good work habits or develops positive character traits such as self-discipline, responsibility or independence.