Category Archives: Uncategorized

Civics: The Post-Objectivity Era

Matt Taibbi:

We live in a time of incredible political division. Many of us have had the experience of talking to someone whose idea of reality seems to be completely different from our own. It’s become difficult to have an argument in the traditional sense. People with differing opinions are often no longer even working from the same commonly-accepted set of facts. It’s a problem that has a lot to do with changes in how we receive and digest information, especially through the news media.

I’ve worked in the press for thirty years. In my lifetime the core commercial strategy of the news business has changed radically. At the national level, companies have moved from trying to attract one big audience to trying to capture and retain multiple small audiences.

Fundamentally, this means the press has gone from selling a vision of reality they perceive to be acceptable to a broad mean, to selling division. For technological, commercial, and political reasons this instinct has become more exaggerated with time, snowballing toward the dysfunctional state we’re in today.

A story that illustrates how the old system worked involves the first major national news broadcast, the CBS radio program anchored by the legendary Lowell Thomas.

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay:

Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that certain people shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society? In this probing and intrepid volume, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma that informs these ideas, from its coarse origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today this dogma is recognizable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media dogpiles, as by its tenets, which are all too often embraced as axiomatic in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play;

Judge finds Wisconsin DPI improperly released test scores to media

Todd Richmond:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students’ standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

The scores showed only 39% of all students were proficient or advanced in English and that 40% were proficient or advanced in math. Only 20.7% of voucher students were proficient or advanced in English and just 17.8% were proficient or advanced in math.

Students in voucher programs can use state dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools. Republicans have touted the programs as an alternative for students stuck in failing public schools. Democrats argue the programs are a drain on state revenues that could go to help public schools.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Dutch Education Minister Wants Academics to Have Weekends

David Matthews:

Ingrid van Engelshoven wants to reduce stress and time pressure in academe by tipping the balance away from competitive grants and toward more stable support for universities, reversing a long-term research funding trend in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Speaking to Times Higher Education in the Hague, she hoped that reforms to Dutch academe would mean that in five to 10 years, academics would be able to do their research “within normal working hours.”

“So you don’t have to skip your vacation, skip your weekend, because you’re busy all week with teaching your students, designing your online courses [or] … drafting your applications for grants,” she said.

Dutch academe has witnessed a rising tide of dissatisfaction over what some academics see as intolerable stress. Earlier this year, universities were reported to the country’s employment regulator over hundreds of complaints about “structural overtime,” leading to family problems and burnout.

How algorithms discern our mood from what we write online

Dana Mackenzie:

In addition to taking Twitter user’s emotional temperature, researchers are employing sentiment analysis to gauge people’s perceptions of climate change and to test conventional wisdom such as, in music, whether a minor chord is sadder than a major chord (and by how much). Businesses who covet information about customers’ feelings are harnessing sentiment analysis to assess reviews on platforms like Yelp. Some are using it to measure employees’ moods on the internal social networks at work. The technique might also have medical applications, such as identifying depressed people in need of help.

Sentiment analysis is allowing researchers to examine a deluge of data that was previously time-consuming and difficult to collect, let alone study, says Danforth. “In social science we tend to measure things that are easy, like gross domestic product. Happiness is an important thing that is hard to measure.”

Deconstructing the ‘word stew’

You might think the first step in sentiment analysis would be teaching the computer to understand what humans are saying. But that’s one thing that computer scientists cannot do; understanding language is one of the most notoriously difficult problems in artificial intelligence. Yet there are abundant clues to the emotions behind a written text, which computers can recognize even without understanding the meaning of the words.

Civics: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting To Worship Indoors

HillFaith:

California authorities are clearly determined to make an example of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church (GCC) in Los Angeles County in retaliation for defying the state’s ban on indoor worship meetings.

The ban has been challenged by other California congregations, but MacArthur is an internationally known evangelical pastor, book author and opinion molder. He and GCC are represented in court by Jenna Ellis and the Thomas More Society. Go here, here and here for previous HillFaith posts on GCC.

Yesterday, Sunday, September 13, MacArthur and GBC defied a court order specifically banning the congregation from meeting indoors. During the service, MacArthur described the specific demands California seeks to impose on all churches in the state.

As MacArthur goes through these demands, it should be obvious to all reasonable persons that California officials are attempting bureaucratic strangulation by regulation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and assembly.

Judge Rules Wisconsin DPI Violated State Law in Release of 2019 School Choice Data

Wisconsin institute for law and liberty:

The News: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier issued a summary judgement ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated state law when the state agency released partial data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs to a select media list ahead of a September 2019 public release. The Court’s decision includes a permanent injunction to prevent DPI from violating state law that says data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs must be released “all at the same time, uniformly, and completely.”

WILL sued DPI in Jefferson County in November 2019 on behalf of School Choice Wisconsin (SCW), Empower Wisconsin journalist Matt Kittle, and WILL Research Director Will Flanders.

The Court’s Decision: Judge Brantmeier ruled that DPI’s actions violated state law by providing press with early access and by releasing incomplete data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs. Judge Brantmeier declined to restrict the state Superintendent’s ability to comment on the data it releases but emphasized that DPI remains bound to release full data sets on equal terms to all Wisconsinites.

Why It Matters: Wisconsin’s state agencies must understand that following state law is not optional. This is another victory for a more accountable state government.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Analyzing ‘the homework gap’ among high school students

Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero:

Researchers have struggled for decades to identify a causal, or even correlational, relationship between time spent in school and improved learning outcomes for students. Some studies have focused on the length of a school year while others have focused on hours in a day and others on hours in the week.

In this blog post, we will look at time spent outside of school–specifically time spent doing homework–among different racial and socio-economic groups. We will use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to shed light on those differences and then attempt to explain those gaps, using ATUS data and other evidence.

Diversity-Related Training: What Is It Good For?

Musa al-Gharbi:

In wake of George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, many colleges and universities have been rolling out new training requirements – often oriented towards reducing biases and encouraging people from high-status groups to ‘check their privilege.’

The explicit goal of these training programs is generally to help create a more positive and welcoming institutional environment for people from historically marginalized and underrepresented groups. However, many of these approaches were implemented by corporations, non-profits and universities before their effectiveness had been tested rigorously (if at all).

Harvard and Yale Face Broad Attack on Race-Conscious Admissions

Patricia Hurtado:

The court ruled more than four decades ago in its Bakke decision that race can be considered as one factor among many in creating a diverse class — which it has deemed an educational benefit for the whole student body — and has reaffirmed that stance over the years. Now, with Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, alongside their conservative brethren, some see a chance to take down what they argue is bias masquerading as equity.

“Sandra Day O’Connor basically opined that we could have another 20 years or 25 years of affirmative action programs, but that they would not go on forever,” said Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative group that focuses on race and ethnicity. O’Connor speculated on such a time frame in 2003 when she wrote the high court’s majority opinion upholding the use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan.

“And yet we do see them going on forever,” Chavez said. “We’re now talking about kids who are getting into college on the basis of some racial or ethnic preference who are the grandchildren of people who first got those preferences.”

CIVICS: “IN RECENT YEARS, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS SOMETIMES ACTED MORE LIKE A TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR FEDERAL PROSECUTORS THAN THE ADMINISTRATOR OF A FAIR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE BASED ON CLEAR AND SENSIBLE LEGAL RULES.”

Ann Althouse:

“In case after case, we have advanced and defended hyper-aggressive extensions of the criminal law. This is wrong and we must stop doing it…. We should want a fair system with clear rules that the people can understand. It does not serve the ends of justice to advocate for fuzzy and manipulable criminal prohibitions that maximize our options as prosecutors…. Advocating for clear and defined prohibitions will sometimes mean we cannot bring charges against someone whom we believe engaged in questionable conduct. But that is what it means to have a government of laws and not of men…. If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, then everything becomes a potential crime. Rather than watch policy experts debate the merits or demerits of a particular policy choice, we are nowadays treated to ad na[u]seum speculation by legal pundits — often former prosecutors themselves — that some action by the President, a senior official, or a member of congress constitutes a federal felony under this or that vague federal criminal statute. This criminalization of politics is not healthy.

Going to elite Indian colleges improves earnings, but not test scores

The Economist:

GRADUATES FROM higher-ranked universities tend to earn more money. That is well known. What is less understood is why. One theory is that these schools are better at imparting knowledge—employers might reasonably offer higher salaries to new hires they believe are better qualified. An alternative theory is that admission is a form of signalling. Prestigious colleges are selective. Their students may not learn anything particularly useful, but are paid more because simply getting accepted to a leading college gives employers the impression that they are talented.

A new paper by Sheetal Sekhri of the University of Virginia adds further evidence for the latter theory by looking at the wages of university graduates in India. There, pupils in their final year of secondary school sit a leaving exam known as the Senior Secondary School Examination. Those who score well enough are eligible for admission to India’s well-regarded public colleges; those who fall short enrol at less-prestigious private colleges. India is atypical in that its college students have to take standardised exit exams. These tests give researchers a good opportunity to see whether highly ranked universities do a better job of educating their students than average ones.

Parents Withdrawing Students From Texas Public Schools To Home-school Increases 400 Percent

Tristan Justice:

The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), which processes requests for families pulling their children out of public schools, reported a 400 percent increase in withdrawals for August leading into the 2020-2021 school year, compared to August of 2019.

The August numbers follow a record-setting month in July where their online process saw a 1,500 percent jump from July last year.

The spike, the group reported, stems directly from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) pandemic schooling guidelines sparking a mass exodus from the public school system as parents opt to teach their children at home over enrolling them in a digitized, remote state-run classroom.

In August 2019, THSC processed 1,044 family withdrawals, a fraction of the 4,055 processed this year. The group added that even these numbers are likely underreported, as THSC is not immediately notified of every withdrawal in the state.

Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack

Timothy Rybeck:

Three infamous conflagrations illuminate the pages of Richard Ovenden’s fascinating new history, Burning the Books. The first is the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, which, according to Ovenden, did not go up in a single blaze but was gradually destroyed by repeated acts of arson and plunder, until there was nothing left but a metaphor. The second is the burning of the US Library of Congress by the British in 1814, when soldiers’ faces were ‘illumined’ by the flames. ‘I do not recollect to have witnessed, at any period in my life,’ a British soldier said, ‘a scene more striking or sublime.’ The third burning is certainly the best known: the Nazi Bücherverbrennungen that followed Hitler’s rise to power. ‘The 10 May 1933 book-burning was merely the forerunner of arguably the most concerted and well-resourced eradication of books in history,’ Ovenden writes.

Khan Academy’s Sal Khan shares advice for online learning: Do less, and turn off the camera

Heather Kelly:

For the past 12 years, Salman Khan has been touting online learning as the future of education. But even he didn’t imagine us crashing into that future so suddenly and with little time to prepare.

Now millions of schools are starting the fall semester with distance learning over laptops and tablets to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus, while many others have started with a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Teachers, parents and kids are figuring out what works or doesn’t, fumbling and adjusting along the way. Khan hopes to help guide them.

Khan is the founder of the nonprofit Khan Academy, a collection of online learning tools and video classes for kids that he started in 2008 after successfully tutoring his own cousins over video. In 2014, he started an in-person school in Silicon Valley called the Khan Labs School, which has also had to make the switch to online classes this month.

Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

Will Flanders:

This year, no Forward Exam was administered to Wisconsin students due to the coronavirus and school shutdowns. For policymakers, this presents a challenge as it makes it more difficult to understand where problems lie, and where the focus should be for improvement. However, this also presents an opportunity to make modifications to some of the deficient components of the report card that can mislead parents and policymakers on school quality.

This first section of this policy brief is designed to explain how the current report card works. The second section builds on this knowledge to highlight issues with the current report card, and suggest ways to improve it. The key takeaways of this brief include:

Report Card Scores are Based on Several Components of Student Performance. Forward Exam scores, growth, and gap closure all play important roles.

The Composition of the Report Card Score Varies Based on Student Demographics. In schools with fewer low-income students, overall performance is given more weight. In schools with more low-income students, growth is given more weight.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison School Board President seeks Police Chief Job

David Blaska:

Reyes was one of 40 applicants. The deadline was today. She is a former police officer and, under past mayor Paul Soglin, was deputy mayor for law enforcement. Once an advocate for police in the city’s four troubled high schools, Reyes caved after BLM invaded her residential street this summer and voted to expel police. (Related here.)

Notes and links on Gloria Reyes.

Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Scott Girard:

Ruppell estimated Monday that the district would see a 400-student drop in enrollment this school year, though that won’t be finalized until the state certifies enrollment numbers in early October. That’s up nearly 350 students from the estimated drop of 51 pre-COVID, which is why the district implemented a hiring freeze over the summer, Ruppell said.

“We have a game plan in place regarding this,” Ruppell said. “These numbers can get much better by the time we hit Friday.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison School District to hold Facebook Live sessions on 2020 tax & spending increase referendum beginning this week

Scott Girard:

The $317 million ask is among the largest in the history of the state, according to state Department of Public Instruction data. It is surpassed only by Racine’s barely approved $1 billion question in April, which won by five votes, and Milwaukee’s $366 million 1993 question that failed.

[New Madison elementary school would go on Badger Rock site if referendum approved]

Each of the comprehensive high schools would receive about $70 million for renovations under the plan, while the other funds would go toward the Capital High move, elementary school construction and $2 million earmarked for sustainability projects.

The second question on the ballot would provide MMSD with additional revenue authority above the state-imposed limit, phased in over four years. It would provide an additional $6 million in year one, an additional $8 million in year two, another $9 million in year three and $10 million more in year four. The district would then be able to surpass the revenue limit by $33 million in perpetuity thereafter.

The facilities referendum would add an average of $50 per $100,000 of property value each year in taxes for homeowners over its 22-year payoff period, according to the district. The operating referendum would add about $103 per $100,000 of property value in property taxes by the time it reaches year four, rising incrementally each year.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

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

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

What I found out when I blocked apps from tracking my iPhone for one week

Rob Sturgeon.

When Apple made an appearance at the CES tech conference in Las Vegas in 2019, they also put up a sign. It wasn’t a billboard, as many news outlets claimed, but a 13-story Apple ad plastered onto the side of a hotel. It had one message: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”.

To anyone who knows the first thing about what makes smartphones smart, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. In order to browse any website or use most apps, you need to be connected to the internet.

Requests need to leave your phone, travel to a server, and a response needs to return with the information you want. But those requests aren’t always for data the user has requested. In fact, in many cases, those requests aren’t initiated by the user at all.

And so I tried a little experiment: blocked apps from tracking my iPhone for just one week

And during that time I was tracked 4,341 times by 33 tracking platforms.

Some highlights:

• Google tracked me nearly twice as much as all others combined

• Facebook and Amazon tracked me more than any other company (except Google)

• The rest of the data goes to 29 companies, most of which I’ve never heard of

Let’s remember this was just one week. If we assume the rate of tracking has always been somewhat similar, we can extrapolate from there. If all 52 weeks in a year are the same, I’m being tracked 225,732 times a year. And I’ve been using iPhones exclusively for 10 years, which means…

Half of All False Convictions in the U.S. Involved Police or Prosecutor Misconduct, Finds New Report

Scott Shackford:

When innocent people are falsely convicted of crimes and later freed, in more than half of the cases, misconduct by police and prosecutors played a contributing role.

That’s the primary theme of a new report, “Government Misconduct and Convicting the Innocent,” released today by the National Registry of Exonerations, which has been tracking all known exonerations in the United States for the past 30 years. Every year they release a report documenting trends in exonerations, how often DNA evidence plays a role in determining an innocent person is behind bars, problems with eyewitness testimony, and of course, misconduct by officials.

This new report drills into all of the exonerations they’ve archived up until February 2019. That’s 2,400 cases. These are people who have been convicted of crimes, sentenced, then later cleared based on new evidence showing their innocence.

In 54 percent of these cases, misconduct by officials contributed to a false conviction. The more severe the crime, the more likely misconduct played a role when an innocent person was convicted.

Police and prosecutors, in general, engaged in misconduct at about equal rates, 35 percent for cops, 30 percent for prosecutors at the state level. In drug cases, though, cops were four times more likely to have engaged in misconduct than prosecutors. When it came to federal cases, prosecutors engaged in misconduct at rates more than twice as often as police. In white-collar cases, federal prosecutors engaged in misconduct seven times as much as police.

Chinese firm harvests social media posts, data of prominent Americans and military

Gerry Shih:

Biographies and service records of aircraft carrier captains and up-and-coming officers in the U.S. Navy. Real-time tweets originating from overseas U.S. military installations. Profiles and family maps of foreign leaders, including their relatives and children. Records of social media chatter among China watchers in Washington.

Those digital crumbs, along with millions of other scraps of social media and online data, have been systematically collected since 2017 by a small Chinese company called Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Technology for the stated purpose of providing intelligence to Chinese military, government and commercial clients, according to a copy of the database that was left unsecured on the Internet and retrieved by an Australian cybersecurity consultancy.

The cache, called the Overseas Key Information Database, or OKIDB, purports to offer insights into foreign political, military and business figures, details about countries’ infrastructure and military deployments, and public opinion analysis. The database contains information on more than 2 million people, including at least 50,000 Americans and tens of thousands of people who hold prominent public positions, according to Zhenhua’s marketing documents and a review of a portion of the database.

Although there is no evidence showing that the OKIDB software is currently being used by the Chinese government, Zhenhua’s marketing and recruiting documents characterize the company as a patriotic firm, with the military as its primary target customer.

Why Schools Should Exclusively Use Free Software

Richard Stallman:

Free software can save schools money, but this is a secondary benefit. Savings are possible because free software gives schools, like other users, the freedom to copy and redistribute the software; the school system can give a copy to every school, and each school can install the program in all its computers, with no obligation to pay for doing so.

This benefit is useful, but we firmly refuse to give it first place, because it is shallow compared to the important ethical issues at stake. Moving schools to free software is more than a way to make education a little “better”: it is a matter of doing good education instead of bad education. So let’s consider the deeper issues.

Schools have a social mission: to teach students to be citizens of a strong, capable, independent, cooperating and free society. They should promote the use of free software just as they promote conservation and voting. By teaching students free software, they can graduate citizens ready to live in a free digital society. This will help society as a whole escape from being dominated by megacorporations.

Madison Edgewood savors fall football opportunity

Jon Masson:

Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and county health guidelines varying across counties led area schools to make different decisions about academic models and athletics this school year — including for football, which is considered a “higher-risk” sport.

Edgewood is the lone Madison school and one of 13 area schools playing football this fall. The other area schools plan to play during the WIAA’s alternative spring season.

“I honestly didn’t expect that we were going to be able to play this fall, so it was definitely good news to hear those words,” said Edgewood senior Charlie Clark, a 6-foot-7, 302-pound offensive and defensive lineman. “It was a really big surprise, really nice to hear, especially because we will be able to show how we’ve improved over the summer.”

Q&A: Percy Brown Jr. jumps into Middleton’s first day of school focused on equity, access

Yvonne Kim:

As students across Dane County return to classes for the fall, education leaders are focused on keeping them as safe and engaged as possible. To do so, Percy Brown, Jr., director of equity and student achievement at the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, is working to provide physical and informational resources to students and families who need them most.

Brown is also the CEO of Critical Consciousness, an education consulting firm, and works part-time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Education Research as a workshop facilitator. With his family and personal background as a civil rights activist, Brown sees issues of accessibility and resources as fundamentally tied to social and criminal justice. Brown hopes the recent increase in anti-racist conversations across American school districts will continue in Middleton, where he says leadership has “come together” more than he has ever seen during his over two decades in education.

The Race to the Pole Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott – 1911-1912

Cool Antarctica:

The attainment of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen ahead of Robert Scott has frequently described Amundsen as the winner in a race.  Over a hundred years later there is still debate about the events, how well the two men were prepared, how they conducted themselves, what role luck had to play and not least of their legacies. They both led five man teams to the pole, though while Amundsen’s team returned alive and well, Scott’s party all died on the return journey.

Civics: UW-Madison student newspaper rejects op-ed opposing defunding police

Kara Zupkus:

The Badger-Herald, an independent student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, rejected a conservative columnist’s op-ed arguing against defunding the police, claiming “it is too much of a hot take right now” and that it “would cause a lot of backlash.”

Editors at the Badger-Herald denied Tripp Grebe’s op-ed on the basis of its content, noting that the Editorial Board recently had recently published a piece endorsing BLM and endorsing candidates who want to defund the police.

“While your article was well-written, it is too much of a hot take right now and upper management is worried about alienating incoming freshman students from the Herald,” Opinions Editor Samiha Bhushan said in an email. “Additionally, we just published an editorial board supporting BLM and another article publicly endorsing two candidates who want to defund the police. As a result, your article would cause a lot of backlash that we cannot afford right now.”

Civics: Americans’ main sources for political news vary by party and age

Elizabeth Greico:

MSNBC’s core audience is more Democratic than Fox’s is Republican (it’s close, but MSNBC is the single most partisan outlet in this poll: pure choir preaching).

More importantly, those who cite NYT as their main news source are almost entirely Democrats. – Glenn Greenwald.

The number that stands out here is the New York Times being as nearly perfect a partisan product as MSNBC – I imagine the numbers would have been at least somewhat different ten years ago. – Matt Taibbi.

Four of the eight sources named by at least 2% of U.S. adults are much more likely to be named by Democrats and independents who lean Democratic than by Republicans and GOP leaners: MSNBC, The New York Times, NPR and CNN. Fox News is the one outlet among these eight that is far more likely to be named by Republicans than by Democrats.

Those who name Fox News and MSNBC display roughly the same high levels of partisanship. About nine-in-ten of those whose main source is Fox News (93%) identify as Republican, very close to the 95% of those who name MSNBC and identify as Democrats. Similarly, about nine-in-ten of those who name The New York Times (91%) and NPR (87%) as their main political news source identify as Democrats, with CNN at about eight-in-ten (79%).

The three major broadcast news networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – have more of a mix of Democrats and Republicans among those who name these outlets as their main sources for political news. For example, the makeup of those who name NBC News as their main source is 57% Democratic versus 38% Republican.

(Taxpayer supported) Wisconsin Public Radio Source Demographic Survey Shows Need For Improvement

Hannah Haynes and Jennifer Dargan:

Wisconsin Public Radio works daily to bring news content that accurately reflects the diversity of the state. But results of a year-long internal review confirmed what many at WPR had suspected — sources on air are overwhelmingly white. 

New data collected over the last year shows that of the people who appeared on air on WPR’s two radio networks nearly nine out of 10 were white. There was an even split between males and females.

The data also showed geographical distribution, with a significant number of the state’s 772 zip codes represented. This is an important metric for a statewide network such as WPR. 

So how can WPR as an organization best represent the people who live in Wisconsin? WPR has plans to improve representation going forward. Those plans are outlined below. WPR will continue to collect this crucial demographic data to find out how the organization is doing and make that data public. 

Understanding The Project

A year ago, WPR began a project to survey sources who appeared on The Ideas Network and the NPR News & Music Network to better understand who reporters and producers at WPR were featuring on talk shows and in their reporting. 

When developing this project, it was important to the organization to survey people and learn their race and/or ethnicity and gender from them rather than having a reporter or producer make an educated guess, which different teams at WPR had been doing prior to this project. 

On-line education in Oklahoma, from my email box

Tyler Cowen:

“…this is seemingly starting to be a big deal in OK, but flying under the radar.

Background:

• 10-15 years ago Oklahoma passed a law allowing online-only charter schools with a separate regulatory structure from physical charter schools.

• Critically, the unions did not think to push for an enrollment cap.

• There are 5-10 schools, all quite small, except for one named EPIC.

About EPIC:

• Has enrollment (~38,000) that is larger than any district in the state. This enrollment is currently surging faster than its usual high growth because of COVID-19 and could reach 46,000 by the Oct 1 “Money Head Count” deadline.

• From Oct 1, 2018 to Oct 1, 2019, EPIC’s enrollment grew more than the enrollment growth for the entire state of OK.

• Like all public charters in OK, the school is free to attend. Parents get paid $1000 per student per year for school supplies and activities.

• They have 100% online and blended learning options. Teachers in the online-only are paid by how many students they take on and can earn over $100,000. The state average pay for teachers is just over $50,000/yr.

• They are a non-profit but they are run by a closely related for-profit management company that is paid 10% of gross revenue. (Incentives!)

• Everyone in OK education that isn’t EPIC, hates EPIC. The state has multiple lawsuits and audits alleging that they have been committing fraud. These go back as far as 2012 but none have yet been resolved, even with open investigations by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The alleged amounts are less than 1% of cumulative revenue.

Comparison to Regular Schools:

Schools in China are trying to make pupils’ lives easier

The Economist:

THE LARGEST museum commemorating the gruelling examination system China used in imperial days to select civil servants opened in 2017 in Nanjing. It would not seem an obvious destination for a fun family outing in the eastern city. As visitors walk into it down a grey ramp—130 metres long to symbolise the test’s 1,300-year history—a sign tells them they will “experience the hardships of the journey to success” for those who sat the keju before its abolition in 1905. Bamboo slips affixed to towering walls represent the “myriad” books that candidates had to read.

Yet on a recent weekday afternoon, there were as many youngsters filling the museum’s cavernous halls as there were attentive adults. A mother from the city of Xi’an, hundreds of kilometres inland, had brought her four-year-old son in order to inspire him. “He likes the dioramas,” she said brightly, “even though he doesn’t know what an exam is yet.” A coalmine engineer from Ordos, a city in distant Inner Mongolia, was there with his nine-year-old son whose “fate” he hoped to alter through their visit. “Xiangshi, huishi, dianshi,” his son piped up, naming three levels of the ancient test that inspired the creation of civil-service exams in the West.

In terms of the awe it inspires, the keju has a modern rival: the gaokao, a punishingly hard university-entrance exam which is taken by over 10m students every year. For those from poor families, a good score is often their only chance to escape a life toiling on farms or in factories. As a result, Chinese education has long involved little more than rote learning, aimed purely at the gaokao. Pupils attend late-night cram sessions and shoulder twice as much homework as the global average.

A history of punctuation

Florence Hazrat:

unctuation is dead – or is it? If you’ve ever texted ‘im here’ or ‘its in the car’, you’re in good company. Most of us have, at some point since the dawn of texting, transgressed the boundaries of good grammar, and swallowed one apostrophe or another in the name of speed or convenience. Studies have shown that such textisms as deliberate spelling mistakes, abbreviations and omission of apostrophes don’t deteriorate language skills, but boost them – provided such texting goes hand in hand with ‘proper’ grammar education.

Suppressing the little typographical hook that is the apostrophe might, however, pose graver issues when it occurs in public, such as in ads or pub signs, or even street names. Is it different if the state flouts language rules? Enter the international Apostrophe Protection Society, with its attempts to call out misuse and spread good practice. But November 2019 saw the announcement of the society’s demise, and owing not only to the highly respectable age of its founder John Richards (96): it would close, the society said, because of the ‘ignorance and laziness present in modern times’. The announcement made global news, sky-rocketing the traffic on the charmingly old-school website some 600 times, which led to its temporary disappearance from the web, and an outcry against the society’s closure. Punctuation habits might be changing, but we still care.

Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Logan Wroge:

With the bulk of schools back in session now, a majority of Wisconsin school districts representing about half of the state’s public school students report plans to open up school buildings for some form of in-person instruction during the ongoing pandemic.

A Wisconsin State Journal review found in rural parts of the state the decision was driven in part by a lack of reliable broadband internet access for students and teachers; districts representing about a third of students, including most large urban districts, started entirely online; and some schools’ plans have already been set back by positive cases of COVID-19.

The state Department of Public Instruction sent a survey to school districts on Aug. 3 asking for descriptions of reopening plans. As of Friday, about 310 of the state’s 421 school districts responded to the voluntary survey.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice

Michael Sandel:

Joe Biden has a secret weapon in his bid for the presidency: He is the first Democratic nominee in 36 years without a degree from an Ivy League university.

This is a potential strength. One of the sources of Donald Trump’s political appeal has been his ability to tap into resentment against meritocratic elites. By the time of Mr. Trump’s election, the Democratic Party had become a party of technocratic liberalism more congenial to the professional classes than to the blue-collar and middle-class voters who once constituted its base. In 2016, two-thirds of whites without a college degree voted for Mr. Trump, while Hillary Clinton won more than 70 percent of voters with advanced degrees.

Being untainted by the Ivy League credentials of his predecessors may enable Mr. Biden to connect more readily with the blue-collar workers the Democratic Party has struggled to attract in recent years. More important, this aspect of his candidacy should prompt us to reconsider the meritocratic political project that has come to define contemporary liberalism.

At the heart of this project are two ideas: First, in a global, technological age, higher education is the key to upward mobility, material success and social esteem. Second, if everyone has an equal chance to rise, those who land on top deserve the rewards their talents bring.

This way of thinking is so familiar that it seems to define the American dream. But it has come to dominate our politics only in recent decades. And despite its inspiring promise of success based on merit, it has a dark side.

Now is the time — despite the pandemic — to address the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s racial disparities

Amber Walker and Negassi Tesfamichael:

“We were glad to see you attempt to rebuild trust with parents on your very first day on the job. MMSD cannot afford to lose any more trust from its parents, students or teachers.”

For the past decade, Wisconsin schools have consistently placed first or second in the nation for the broadest achievement gaps between Black and white students. MMSD’s Black students perform below the state average. For years, both state and national standardized test scores indicate that, despite sitting in the same classrooms, Black students do not perform as well as their white peers in reading and math, across grade levels.

Black students persistently face higher suspension and expulsion rates. Some Black students and parents have expressed frustration over the years that there seem to be different standards for them versus their white peers.

The more time students spend out of school, the more likely they are to fall even further behind, increasing their likelihood of court involvement and falling victim to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Virtual learning during COVID-19 further complicates your charge to tackle all of these issues. Know that you have allies during this stressful time. Organizations like Simpson Street Free Press have managed to successfully transition to an engaging online learning model.

For over 20 years, SSFP has worked with Madison students in some of the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods who attend schools in vulnerable feeder patterns. Despite the odds, according to SSFP’s most recent annual report, over 80% of students increased reading comprehension based on MAP test results. Over 90% improved their overall GPA after two semesters in the program.

Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Pamela Cotant:

The early childhood center on Madison’s West Side, which previously served children from ages 17 months to about 5, has added kindergarten through second grade this fall as it pivots to address the new realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new arrangement helps the preschool families who were juggling jobs and assisting their elementary-age children with online learning at home.

“Our families that had kids here previously or still had little ones here were a little panicked,” said Preschool of the Arts executive director Penny Robbins.

In addition, organizations caring for children have been hit hard by the pandemic, said Robbins, whose own facility was closed from March 13 to June 1. When it reopened it had only about half the normal enrollment, which also meant fewer staff members.

Robbins, who started in her position Jan. 6, was about two months into her new job when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the preschool world. As the Preschool of the Arts looked for ways to continue to support its teachers and the school, opening up to older grades made sense, Robbins said. The school runs a summer program for kindergarten through second-grade students.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Parents ask why public schools are closed for class but open to private child care providers

Maddie Hanna:

Some area students are going back to school buildings this fall — not for class, but for child care.

In a number of school districts, child care providers are operating out of district buildings, offering full-day programs for a limited number of children. School leaders say they provide an option for parents who may be working or not able to care for children while they log on to virtual school at home.

But some families are questioning the logic of opening schools for child care that families must pay for, in buildings officials have opted not to reopen for instruction.

“It’s absurd,” said Daniel Finnegan, a father of a third and first grader in the Springfield Township School District in Montgomery County, where a provider renting space from the district is offering full-day child care. “They’re taking in private money to administer much worse education to 10% of the school district,” while telling “the other 90%, ‘It’s going to be tough.’ ”

Civics: Why online voting is harder than online banking

Timothy Lee:

For a feature last week, I talked to a number of election experts and computer security researchers who argued that secure Internet voting isn’t feasible today and probably won’t be for many years to come. A common response to this argument—one that came up in comments to last week’s article—is to compare voting to banking. After all, we regularly use the Internet to move money around the world. Why can’t we use the same techniques to secure online votes?

But voting has some unique requirements that make secure online voting a particularly challenging problem.

Votes are anonymous, banking isn’t

Every electronic transaction in the conventional banking system is tied to a specific sender and recipient who can confirm that a transaction is valid or raise the alarm if it isn’t. Banks count on customers to periodically review their transactions—either online or in paper statements—and notify the bank if fraudulent transactions occur.

EduTech Spyware is Still Spyware: Proctorio Edition

Soatok:

Spyware written for educational institutions to flex their muscles of control over students and their families when learning from their home computer is still, categorically, spyware.

Depending on your persuasion, the previous sentence sounds like either needless pedantry, or it reads like tautology. But we need to be clear on our terms.

  1. Educational spyware is still spyware.

  2. Spyware is categorized as a subset of malware.

When vulnerabilities are discovered in malware, the normal rules of coordinated disclosure are out of scope. Are we clear?

Black boys need believers access

Joanne Jacobs:

A new documentary called Black Boys tries to humanize children who often are seen as dangerous, writes teacher Kelisa Wing on Education Post. “This film shows the many facets of our Black men and boys as fathers, sons, cousins, friends, dreamers, lovers, poets, deep thinkers, prolific, gifted, beautiful.”

Her nephew “went to college on a full academic scholarship, but one wrong move, a simple misjudgment to post himself on social media with a firearm, landed him in jail at 19,” Wing writes.

This one mistake led to the loss of his scholarship, loss of college education, and a loss of societal acceptance. . . . Like my nephew, there are so many Black boys out there who do not get to make a mistake, who do not get to have society’s benefit of the doubt — especially when they encounter law enforcement.

Black boys don’t need white saviors, writes Jay Wamstead, who teaches math to black and brown high school students in Atlanta. They need “believers.”

Wamstead, who’s white, fears the film will inspire whites to “performative allyship” on social media rather than a commitment to finding out more about complex problems. “Don’t watch Black Boys and be inspired to go fix this or that community in your city,” he tells white readers.

Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Jeremy Olson:

Criticism grew after Harvard’s Dr. Michael Mina told the New York Times last month about his concerns over test results with cycle levels of 30 or more. He argued for lower cycle thresholds but increased and more rapid testing, including of asymptomatic people who can spread the virus without knowing it.

A Canadian study this spring underscored his concerns, because researchers for the most part could not grow viral cultures from samples in COVID-19 patients whose positive PCR tests required more than 25 cycles or whose symptoms had occurred more than seven days prior to testing.

The takeaway shouldn’t be to reduce PCR testing or cycle thresholds, though, because all positive cases inform health officials as they conduct contact tracing and try to contain an outbreak, said Dr. Jared Bullard, a lead author and assistant medical director of the Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg that conducts COVID-19 testing.

Cycle thresholds vary and are set by manufacturers based on the validated limits by which their tests are accurate.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

This is why millennials adore socialism

PJ O’Rourke:

For them. The greedy little bastards. Kids were thinking these exact same sweet-young-thing thoughts back in the 1960s, during my salad days (tossed green sensimilla buds). Young people probably have been thinking these same thoughts since the concept of being a “young person” was invented.

That would have been in the 19th century — during America’s first “Progressive Era” — when mechanization liberated kids from onerous farm chores and child labor laws let them escape from child labor.

This gave young people the leisure to sit around noticing that the world isn’t nice and daydreaming about how it could be made nicer with the time, effort and money of grown-ups.

I’m all for sending them back to the factories or, at least, the barn. If I hear any socialist noise from my kids I’m going to make them get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. And this will be an extra-onerous farm chore because we don’t have any cows, and they’ll have to search for miles all over the countryside to find some.

They’ve got it coming. Young people are not only penniless and powerless, they’re also ignorant as hell. They think of wealth as something that’s limited, like the number of Hostess Ding Dongs on the 7-Eleven shelf. They think rich people got to the 7-Eleven first and gobbled all the Ding Dongs, leaving poor people to lick the plastic wrappers.

Young people don’t know that more Ding Dongs can be produced. They don’t know how or why more Ding Dong production is possible. And they certainly don’t know how to get the cream filling inside.

“We know best” California edition

Mackenzie Mays:

Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to say Friday whether he will send his children back to class after several Sacramento County private elementary schools received waivers this week to resume in-person instruction, including one that sources say his own children attend.

“I’ll let you know after I process that with my wife,” Newsom laughed when asked during a visit to a fire-damaged area near Oroville. “I know better than to answer that question without caucusing with the leadership in the house.”

Katy Grimes:

If that is not enough, Central Coast Congressional Candidate Andy Caldwell reported to the Globe that the Santa Barbara Unified School District allowed the children of teachers and district employees to return to in-class learning, in a secret carve-out exemption at Franklin, McKinley, and other elementary schools in the district.

No one wants to be condescended to and lectured by foolish politicians who aren’t adhering to the rules and restrictions they put in place.

Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities

Gail Heriot:

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connection to School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. This Statement is part of that report.

In the report, the Commission finds “Students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their white peers ….” That would be a good thing if it were true, but there is no evidence to support it and abundant evidence to the contrary. “This Statement discusses that evidence. Denying facts is not helpful to students, no matter what their race or ethnicity.”

The report also asserts that students with disabilities are disciplined more often than students without disabilities. But it leaves the impression that this means students with physical disabilities are being disproportionately disciplined. That isn’t true. It is students with behavioral disorder who misbehave more often (and hence are disciplined more often). But behavioral disorders are defined by a pattern of misbehavior. All the Commission has found is that student who misbehave a lot get disciplined more often than students who don’t. No surprise there.

For one Olympia family going back to school means rolling up the garage door

Austin Jenkins:

It was common through the 1800s for American school children to attend a one-room schoolhouse. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Swanson family in rural north Olympia will attend a one-garage schoolhouse.

On a recent morning, Molly Swanson rolled up her garage door and welcomed a visitor into the classroom she and her husband created this summer as a place to educate four of their six children, plus two foster children.

“I call ourselves the Swallowtail Academy of Brilliant Boys,” Swanson said.

Yes, they’re all boys in grades ranging from first to eighth.

Swanson also has a preschooler and a 16-year-old who’s doing the Running Start program this fall through the local community college.

Not so long ago, Swanson’s garage looked like many garages.

“It was just a hot mess of junk,” she said.

Civics: Contradictions in Roman law left incurable headaches for its judges.

Emma Southon:

In 176 BC a strange but revealing murder case came before the Roman praetor, M. Popillius Laenas. A woman, unnamed in the sources, was brought before the court on the charge of murdering her mother by bludgeoning her with a club. The woman happily confessed to the monstrous act of matricide. Her fate, then, seemed sealed when she entered Laenas’ court; but she introduced a defence that was as irrefutable as the wickedness of the killing of a parent. She claimed that the deed had been a crime of grief-fuelled vengeance resulting from the deaths of her own children. They, she said, had been deliberately poisoned by her mother simply to spite her and her own actions were therefore justified. 

This defence caused the entire system to grind to a halt. The situation was an appalling paradox. In Roman culture, parricide was a crime that provoked a unique horror; there was nothing worse than murdering a parent. The typical punishment was a bizarre form of the death penalty, which involved the perpetrator being sewn into a sack with a monkey, a snake, a dog and a chicken and then thrown into the Tiber to drown. The purpose of the animals is unclear; the purpose of the sack was to deprive the murderer of the air and water, and prevent their bones from touching and defiling the earth. It was impossible to imagine a confessed parricide being left unpunished. Rome, however, had a predominantly self-help justice system, where private families and individuals investigated and punished slights against themselves. It was not the role of the state, particularly during the time of the Republic (510-27 BC), to interfere with such private matters as a vengeance killing within the family. The right independently to enact justice, especially when avenging the death of your own children, was central to the Roman conception of a just world. It was, therefore, equally impossible to imagine such a killing being punished. 

Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Nick Viviani:

ane County officials are hunkering down for a fight over its health department’s order barring in-person instructions in local schools, including religious and private ones, for most students.

“The order for schools is lawful and we will defend it vigorously, because the reason Public Health put it in place is worth fighting for—the health of our kids and community,” Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi stated.

Parisi and Public Health Madison & Dane Co. drew their line in the sand Wednesday after a second lawsuit was filed in as many days challenging the order. Parisi noted that COVID-19 cases among children in the U.S. has nearly doubled and doctors still aren’t sure what the lifelong ramifications are for children if they contract the virus.

This latest case, which was taken straight to the state Supreme Court, was filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) on behalf of eight families, five schools, and two other organizations.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Adding a building amidst flat to declining enrollment

Scott Girard;

“After reviewing any and all options that appeared feasible in the Rimrock Road area for an elementary size suitable to hold at least 400 elementary students, parking and playground space suitable for a neighborhood school, it became apparent that our first and best option was to work with the school district’s current partner, Rooted, to purchase their land and building located at 501 East Badger Road,” staff wrote in a memo to the board.

Voters will have two MMSD referendums on their Nov. 3 ballots. One, which includes the money for the elementary school, is a $317 million question that would also fund renovations to the four comprehensive high schools and consolidate Capital High School into a single location.

2020 Referendum: Commentary on adding another physical Madison School amidst flat/declining enrollment..

2020 tax and spending increase referendum notes and links.

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

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results.

As family and community life erode, mistrust and nihilism are potent among young men—the most likely participants in violent upheavals.

Robert Henderson:

Observing how young males act in social groups, the cultural anthropologists Ruth Borker and Daniel Maltz have written: “Nondominant boys are rarely excluded from play but are made to feel the inferiority of their status positions in no uncertain terms. And since hierarchies fluctuate, every boy gets his chance to be victimized and must learn to take it.” For us, it sure worked that way.

As psychologist Joyce F. Benenson observes, boys, especially neglected boys, often band together to cause trouble. “Male groups are formed initially because male peers are so drawn to one another, and away from everyone else,” she writes. “They may fight, they usually compete . . . . Even boys with behavioral problems, who cannot follow any adult authority’s directions, group together, through graffiti writing, skateboarding, or gang fights.”

The language algorithm GPT-3 continues our descent into a post-truth world.

Raphael Milliere:

In May this year the company OpenAI, co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015, introduced a new language model called GPT-3 (for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3”). It took the tech world by storm. On the surface, GPT-3 is like a supercharged version of the autocomplete feature on your smartphone; it can generate coherent text based on an initial input. But GPT-3’s text-generating abilities go far beyond anything your phone is capable of. It can disambiguate pronouns, translate, infer, analogize, and even perform some forms of common-sense reasoning and arithmetic. It can generate fake news articles that humans can barely detect above chance. Given a definition, it can use a made-up word in a sentence. It can rewrite a paragraph in the style of a famous author. Yes, it can write creative fiction. Or generate code for a program based on a description of its function. It can even answer queries about general knowledge. The list goes on.

Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment

Richard Milne:

So he looks at schools not just as a place where the virus might spread but also the most important part of health for a young person. “If you succeed there, your life will be good. If you fail, your life is going to be much worse. You’re going to live shorter. You’re going to be poorer. That, of course, is in the back of your head when you start talking about closing schools,” he adds.

In June, Tegnell described the rush to lock down in the rest of Europe and the US as “it was as if the world had gone mad”. He appears more emollient today, but he still displays signs of disbelief at the approaches of others. Adopting face masks is “more of a statement than actually a measure”. He adds: “Face masks are an easy solution, and I’m deeply distrustful of easy solutions to complex problems.” I ask him about another previous comment: hadn’t he said that Sweden, in the local vernacular, had “ice in its stomach” whereas other nations had acted emotionally?

Diners in Stockholm in April. Although they have been hit by tight restrictions, Tegnell says ‘you probably can’t open and close restaurants . . . too many times’ in response to other countries’ varying public policies © Andres Kudacki

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Scott Girard:

The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to apply for a series of waivers from state requirements later this month for the 2020-21 school year.

On the same day as students began the school year virtually, administrators told the School Board about three waivers they plan to request — as long as the board approves them later this month. That vote is expected at the Sept. 21 board meeting.

The waivers would allow exemptions from state requirements on attendance, instructional minutes and the Civics Exam. Assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Lisa Kvistad told the board the waivers would allow flexibility for whatever learning model is in place as the year goes on.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

2020’s Best States for Racial Equality in Education

Adam McCann:

It’s been decades since the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, though it took years for schools to actually adopt that ruling. Now, no one can be denied enrollment in a school due to the color of their skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that educational conditions are equal for all students. A recent study found that school districts that have a high concentration of white students receive $23 billion more per year in funding than those that have a high concentration of non-white students. Lower funding can lead to lower quality education, which can affect not only a person’s income trajectory but also their career trajectory for the rest of their life.

In order to determine which states have the most racial equality in education at a time when protests against racism and inequality are happening all across the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states across six key metrics. Our data compares the difference between white and black Americans in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates. Read on for the results and a full description of our methodology.

Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Annysa Johnson:

Catherine Winkel was prepared for the usual back-to-school expenses. The notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, new clothes, new shoes.

There was one expense she hadn’t expected: thousands of dollars in tuition to send her 7-year-old to private school where she could attend classes in person.

But after the Mequon-Thiensville School District announced it would be starting the school year remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Winkel enrolled her first grader at Christ Alone, a small, neighborhood Lutheran school.

The district has since reversed itself, offering in-person instruction for families that want that option. Winkel’s older child, who is a freshman this year, will stay in the district. But she’s keeping her youngest at her new school.

“We had to take a big dent in the savings account,” said Winkel. “We were saving for other essentials, not at the last minute to pay for private tuition for an elementary school student.”

Winkel is among a number of Milwaukee-area parents who have decided to transfer their children to other schools — public and private — to avoid having them spend their school days online.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

Scott Girard:

Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12.

The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined three cases brought against Emergency Order No. 9 since its Aug. 21 announcement, just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The court will consider the arguments against the case on its merits in the months to come, but the order is on hold in the meantime. Thursday’s opinion, which lawyers believe is the first time the court has weighed in on a local COVID-19 order since the pandemic began, indicates those seeking to overturn the order will have a good chance to win.

“First, based upon the briefing submitted at this stage, Petitioners are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim,” the opinion states, adding that “local health officers do not appear to have statutory authority to do what the Order commands.”

Parents, private and parochial schools and membership associations brought the lawsuits challenging Public Health Madison & Dane County director Janel Heinrich’s authority to close schools. They maintain that schools planning to open took precautions over the summer to follow guidance issued by PHMDC to make in-person learning safe.

In its announcement of the Aug. 21 order, PHMDC outlined positive case averages that would be required to allow in-person school for grades 3-5 and 6-12. With the recent uptick in positive cases, mostly among UW-Madison students returning to campus, Dane County was unlikely to reach those numbers anytime soon.

Logan Wroge:

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Problem in Reading

Chris Stewart interviews Emily Hanford (video).

audio mp3

transcript

Emily Hanford notes and links.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

‘It’s probably too late.’ Head of UW-Whitewater gives prognosis for fall term amid virus

Jonah Beleckis:

UW-Whitewater’s interim chancellor said the university was “not far behind” UW-Madison, which on Wednesday night announced it would move all classes online for two weeks because of rising coronavirus cases.

Less than a week into his current role, Interim Chancellor Greg Cook spoke during a Whitewater City Council meeting Wednesday. Elected officials were considering a proposed ordinance that would have maxed out indoor gatherings at 10 people and outdoor gatherings at 25 (with several exemptions).

The proposal was rejected.

Article with images UW-Whitewater chancellor on paid leave for investigation into complaint

University officials, including Cook and student government leaders, spoke during the meeting and asked for the ordinance to pass because it would give UW-W “teeth” to take action against students who hosted large parties off-campus without proper safety precautions, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.

Additional comments.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Charter School Advantage A new study shows African-Americans and children from poorer backgrounds outpace their peers in traditional district schools.

Paul E. Peterson and M. Danish Shakeel:

Public charter schools were once viewed as a nonpartisan compromise between vouchers for private schools and no choice at all. Not now. In its 2020 national platform, the Democratic Party calls for “stringent guardrails to ensure charter schools are good stewards” and says federal funding for charters must be conditioned on “whether the charter will systematically underserve the neediest students.” Charter schools are indeed acting as good stewards by outpacing district schools on achievement growth—especially for the most at-risk students.

In a new study we compare the progress made by cohorts of charter and district school students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress from 2005-17—a sample of more than four million test performances. Overall, students at charters are advancing at a faster pace than those at district schools. The strides made by African-American charter students have been particularly impressive. We also see larger gains at charters, relative to district schools, by students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Civics: Facebook’s Political Ad Ban Also Threatens Ability to Spread Accurate Information on How to Vote

Jeremy Merrill:

Facebook this week said it would bar political ads in the seven days before the presidential election. That could prevent dirty tricks or an “October surprise” and give watchdogs time to fact-check statements. But rather than responding with glee, election officials say the move leaves them worried.

Included in the ban are ads purchased by election officials — secretaries of state and boards of elections — who use Facebook to inform voters about how voting will work. The move effectively removes a key communication channel just as millions of Americans will begin to navigate a voting process different from any they’ve experienced before.

“Every state’s elections office has a very small communications office that is doing everything that they can to get the word out about the election,” said Gabe Rosenberg, the communications director for Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill (who is not related to this reporter). “This just makes it a little bit harder, for, as far as I can see, no real gain.”

The rule change was announced Thursday in a Facebook post by the site’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Previously, Facebook’s rules for fact-checking certain campaign ads but not others have come under fire. Taken together, they demonstrate how Facebook has become an integral piece of the American democratic process — but one that is controlled by the decisions of a private corporation, which can set rules in its own interest.

For elections administrators, the last few days before an election can be the most stressful and when communication is needed most. They remind voters to mail back their absentee ballots and when Election Day voting begins and ends. Many of these ads can still be run under Facebook’s new rules, as long as they’re set up more than a week before the election.

Many taxpayer supported School Districts use Facebook services, including Madison.

Civics: 1,000 people double-voted in Georgia primary, says Secretary of State

Mark Niesse:

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Tuesday that 1,000 Georgians voted twice in the state’s June 9 primary, a felony that he said will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

These voters returned absentee ballots and then also showed up to vote on election day June 9, Raffensperger said. County election officials are able to stop double-voting most of the time, but they weren’t able to catch everyone.

“A double voter knows exactly what they’re doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said during a press conference at the state Capitol. “Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it.”

In all, about 150,000 people who requested absentee ballots showed up at polling places on election day, often because they never received their absentee ballots in the mail or decided to instead vote in person.

Of those, 1,000 voters had returned their absentee ballots to county election offices, and poll workers also allowed them to vote in-person.

Double-voting didn’t change the outcome of any races in the primary, Raffensperger said.

Civics: Journalists Aren’t the Enemy of the People. But We’re Not Your Friends.

Ben Smith:

The worst thing about being a reporter in the age of Donald Trump is, of course, the president’s concerted attacks on the free press. The second-worst thing is well-meaning readers who say things like, “Thank you for what you do.”

I mean, I appreciate it. Last week, on assignment in Cape Cod — hardship travel, I know — I thanked myself for what I do with a dip in the Atlantic and a buttery lobster roll. Some of my more frontline colleagues, from Elmhurst, Queens, to Wuhan, China, take physical and psychological risks to deliver information that deserve true gratitude.

But when some of you who are alarmed by the rise of Mr. Trump thank a political journalist or a television pundit, you’re feeding our worst instincts — toward self-importance, toward making ourselves the story and toward telling you exactly what you want to hear. And you’re leading us into a dangerous temptation at a time of maximum pressure on the free press.

“The many mainstream journalists who have been charting Trump’s ceaseless outrages for four long years, myself included, inevitably risk becoming performance artists for appreciative readers who already agree with us,” said Frank Rich, the executive producer of the HBO shows “Veep” and “Succession” and a former New York Times columnist. “You have to wonder if any of it has swayed a single Trump voter.”

It’s Time to Start a New University

Jacob Howland:

Two viruses—one biological, the other ideological—have delivered a mortal blow to American higher education.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of colleges and universities will soon be wiped out by an unprecedented combination of financial exigency and revolutionary ideology. Professors at collapsing institutions are desperate to leave, and slews of senior faculty, including some very distinguished ones, have taken early retirement.

Empty campuses will flood the market, amid extreme softening in the commercial real estate sector more generally. Eager buyers might consider the leafy 60-acre campus of MacMurray College, an Illinois liberal arts school that closed its doors in May after 174 years in business. The campuses of Oregon’s Concordia University-Portland and Ohio’s Urbana University also became available this spring.  

Shrewd investors buy when there’s blood in the streets. For academia, that time is now.

Many Americans cherish liberal education because it has immeasurably enriched their lives, and because it disposes citizens against every sort of tyranny. Some of these people have the means to help found a new university—one dedicated to free and open inquiry into all areas of human experience, in whole and part, and to sheltering the guttering flames of memory, tradition, and language from the blustering winds of justice, equality, and job training.

But would such an endeavor be financially viable? Could any school of liberal learning that does not already have strong roots hope to survive in the wasteland of higher education? Could it hope to seed new growths that might help to reclaim liberal education for future generations of Americans?

I believe the answer to all these questions is yes, and I’m not alone in this view. In his book The University We Need: Reforming American Higher Education, the distinguished historian Warren Treadgold presents a practical plan for how to get a new institution up and running. A thought experiment may help to make the case.

Is School Racial/Ethnic Composition Associated With Content Coverage in Algebra?

Karisma Morton, Catherine Riegle-Crumb:

This brief utilizes data from the U.S. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study of 2011 (TIMSS) to investigate the extent to which teacher reports of content coverage in eighth grade algebra classes vary according to school racial/ethnic composition. The analytic sample is comprised of eighth grade algebra classrooms in 111 schools across the country, with 9 schools that are predominantly Black, 20 schools that are predominantly Latinx, and 82 schools that are not predominantly minority. Results of regression analyses reveal that, net of school, teacher, and student characteristics, the time that teachers report spending on algebra and more advanced content in eighth grade algebra classes is significantly lower in schools that are predominantly Black compared to those that are not predominantly minority. Implications for future research are discussed.

Taking Stock of 2020 with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Madison School Board Member Ali Muldrow (WORT-FM):

Today, Wednesday host Ali Muldrow spends the hour with Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to take stock and openly discuss issues facing the city, with the input of listener callers.

It’s a wide-ranging conversation that covers topics like racial injustice in Wisconsin, the mayor’s opinion of the Madison Police Department and their handling of the summer protests, investing in education, affordable housing and combating displacement on the isthmus, and leading Madison through the twin crises of the pandemic and the fight for Black lives.

Satya Rhodes-Conway is the 58th mayor of Madison. She was elected in 2019 after serving three terms on the Madison Common Council.

Transcript [Machine Generated]

Notes and links: Ali Muldrow and Satya Rhodes-Conway.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Dane County Executive Writes to Close University of Wisconsin On Campus Classes

Letter: page 1 and page 2

Kelly Meyerhofer: UW-Madison moves to all-online classes

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Majority Disaffection

Allie Grasgreen:

Most people who are not straight white men would probably smirk at the idea that straight white men feel alienated in the higher education workplace.

Those who smirk, Sandra Miles said here at the annual conference of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, are hindering meaningful discussion about race.

Miles, whose dissertation on the professional experiences of black women in her field produced an unexpected sub-study about the alienation of straight white men, made this argument to a couple hundred people who turned up to hear more about her research. The ensuing debate was, unsurprisingly, somewhat contentious.

A comment by one white graduate student toward the end of the session summed it up well. He described a recent discussion about privilege in a higher education class, when he was shot down after offering his own thoughts.

“I couldn’t even begin to have that conversation because it was automatically assumed I didn’t understand,” he said. “To go through that experience in a higher education class – which is supposed to be the safest place to talk about that – was just terrifying.”

The preconceived notions and biases apparent in the reactions of that student’s peers spoke to the overall takeaway of Miles, who is university ombudsman at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

“We’re all unhappy – apparently that’s what equality looks like,” she said. “Every other group feels discriminated against as well, and when having these conversations with people who are members of these other groups, it’s important that you understand that.”

Education at a Glance: 2020

OECD:

Education at a Glance is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the structure, finances and performance of education systems across OECD countries and a number of partner economies. More than 100 charts and tables in this publication – as well as links to much more available on the educational database – provide key information on the output of educational institutions; the impact of learning across countries; access, participation and progression in education; the financial resources invested in education; and teachers, the learning environment and the organisation of schools. The 2020 edition includes a focus on vocational education and training, investigating participation in vocational education and training at various levels of education, the labour market and social outcomes of vocational graduates as well as the human and financial resources invested in vocational institutions. Two new indicators on how vocational education and training systems differ around the world and on upper secondary completion rate complement this topic. A specific chapter is dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and investigates the quality and participation in secondary education.

Civics: Journalists perceive stories published in local news outlets to be less newsworthy

Mark Coddington & Seth Lewis

Hassell found that journalists saw a story published by a national newspaper as being no more newsworthy than the same story having gone unpublished, or published by a mid-sized paper. This held true whether journalists were asked about newsworthiness in the eyes of their audiences or their editors — the latter intended as a measurement of competitively motivated perception.

But while national publication didn’t give stories a newsworthiness boost, local newspapers fared even worse. A story published by a local newspaper was seen as less newsworthy than one that hadn’t been published at all. Not surprisingly, this effect was stronger among journalists who didn’t work for small, local papers.

The study’s findings suggest that journalists’ follow-the-leader approach to national news may not be driven by the fact that it was covered by national news organizations as a sort of newsworthiness “stamp of approval.” Instead, Hassell posits that mimicry of national news may simply be because national news organizations have more resources to lead the way on stories that journalists broadly consider newsworthy, or because those organizations operate under a broader sense of newsworthiness that will resonate with a greater share of journalists.

The scope of newsworthiness may also help explain journalists’ apparently low view of newsworthiness of local newspapers’ stories. Since those newspapers’ sense of newsworthiness tends to be more narrowly defined by geography, journalists may be conditioned to view local newspapers’ stories as irrelevant to their own organizations’ goals. This would especially be the case as national politics increases its dominance over local politics in the American imagination.

Unlimited Information Is Transforming Society

Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway:

It is a truism among scientists that our enterprise benefits humanity because of the technological breakthroughs that follow in discovery’s wake. And it is a truism among historians that the relation between science and technology is far more complex and much less linear than people often assume. Before the 19th century, invention and innovation emerged primarily from craft traditions among people who were not scientists and who were typically unaware of pertinent scientific developments. The magnetic compass, gunpowder, the printing press, the chronometer, the cotton gin, the steam engine and the water wheel are among the many examples. In the late 1800s matters changed: craft traditions were reconstructed as “technology” that bore an important relation to science, and scientists began to take a deeper interest in applying theories to practical problems. A good example of the latter is the steam boiler explosion commission, appointed by Congress to investigate such accidents and discussed in Scientific American’s issue of March 23, 1878.

Still, technologists frequently worked more in parallel with contemporary science than in sequence. Technologists—soon to be known as engineers—were a different community of people with different goals, values, expectations and methodologies. Their accomplishments could not be understood simply as applied science. Even in the early 20th century the often loose link between scientific knowledge and technological advance was surprising; for example, aviation took off before scientists had a working theory of lift. Scientists said that flight by machines “heavier than air” was impossible, but nonetheless airplanes flew.

When we look back on the past 175 years, the manipulation of matter and energy stands out as a central domain of both scientific and technical advances. Techno-scientific innovations have sometimes delivered on their promises and sometimes not. Of the biggest advances, three really did change our lives—probably for the better—whereas two were far less consequential than people thought they would be. And one of the overarching impacts we now recognize in hindsight was only weakly anticipated: that by moving matter and energy, we would end up moving information and ideas.

Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Jillian Ludwig:

The implications of this grading floor are even more important considering that MMSD is known to have a significant racial achievement gap. There is a stark difference between a grade of 0% and 50%, and it has value. By getting rid of this important distinction, the district risks letting students fall further through the cracks by simply passing them even if they demonstrate no knowledge of a subject. Instead of simply adjusting the scale, MMSD should work to address the cause of these low grades. Without intervention on the front end, artificially enhancing failing grades does nothing to help disadvantaged students in the long run.  

Further, the lack of clear grading this past spring will play a major role in what occurs when students return to school, regardless of that return being virtual or in person. There is a well-documented phenomenon of learning loss during out-of-school time, be it summer vacation or weather-related closure, and coronavirus closures are no different. Studies have predicted that students will start the school year with just 70% of their learning gains in reading from last year and only 50% of math gains.  

The reality is that students will be playing a massive game of catch-up this fall. Grading acts as an indicator for where a student is in the learning process, and this fall, more than ever before, schools will need to have clear indicators of what portion of knowledge students have imparted in the classroom or online, even if that is below 50%. This fall, students need their schools and their teachers to champion them and push them to regain the time in the classroom lost during the lockdown. MMSD’s new policy seems to be doing just the opposite, giving way to what has been called the bigotry of low expectations.  

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko and Sheila Riazi:

Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity (adjusted rate ratio [RR]=1.06; 95%CI: 1.01–1.11), median population age (RR=1.10; 95%CI: 1.05–1.15) and longer time to border closures from the first reported case (RR=1.04; 95%CI: 1.01–1.08). Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence (RR=1.12; 95%CI: 1.06–1.19) and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) (RR=1.03; 95%CI: 1.00–1.06). Reduced income dispersion reduced mortality (RR=0.88; 95%CI: 0.83–0.93) and the number of critical cases (RR=0.92; 95% CI: 0.87–0.97). Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people. However, full lockdowns (RR=2.47: 95%CI: 1.08–5.64) and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats (i.e. high scores on the global health security scale for risk environment) (RR=1.55; 95%CI: 1.13–2.12) were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates.

Interpretation

In this exploratory analysis, low levels of national preparedness, scale of testing and population characteristics were associated with increased national case load and overall mortality.

We have embraced outdoor classrooms in the past.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Look it up: Building knowledge or just finding answers?

Jeff Murray, via a kind reader:

Arnold Glass and Mengxue Kang, psychology researchers at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences, are conducting an ongoing study using technology to monitor college students’ academic performance and to assess the effects of new instructional technologies on that performance. Noticing a problematic trend in the data—students’ homework grades far outpacing their exam grades—they have dug into a subset of their findings to try and determine what may be driving that change. The results raise questions about teaching and learning in a time when remote education opportunities are expanding.

The data come from Professor Glass’s own courses: two sections of a lecture course on human learning and memory taught between 2008 and 2011, and two sections of a lecture course on human cognition taught between 2012 and 2018. Glass and Kang analyzed student homework and exam performance (232 total question sets) for 2,433 students who took the classes over the entire period. Fity-nine percent of students were female, and 41 percent were male. The vast majority were between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four.

Homework consisted of online quizzes of four to eight questions posted after each lecture that were to be completed outside of the classroom prior to the next lecture. The students’ answers, the correct answer, and some detail on why the answer was correct were available after the quiz window closed and throughout the semester and were to be used as study guides for the exams. There were three in-class exams given each semester. In the final two years of the study, the researchers also asked students about their process for completing the online quizzes: whether they typically answered from memory (these students were dubbed Homework Generators), or whether they looked up their answers before submitting (dubbed Homework Copiers).

The initial data sorted students into two groups: those whose exam grades were higher than their homework grades and vice versa. The researchers considered the former to be the preferred outcome, since the lectures and online quizzes were intended to build upon one another over the course of the semester and “produce learning” that would ultimately increase the probability that students answered exam questions correctly. This was the predominant pattern shown by the data beginning in 2008. However, the percent of students who exhibited the opposite pattern—scoring better on the online homework than the in-person exams—increased from 14 percent in 2008 to a whopping 55 percent in 2017.

USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health

Brittany Bernstein:

The University of Southern California has placed a communications professor on leave after a group of black MBA candidates threatened to drop his class rather than “endure the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities” following the instructor’s use, while teaching, of a Chinese word that sounds like a racial slur.

Greg Patton, a professor at the university’s Marshall School of Business, was giving a lecture about the use of “filler words” in speech during a recent online class when he used the word in question, saying, “If you have a lot of ‘ums and errs,’ this is culturally specific, so based on your native language. Like in China, the common word is ‘that, that, that.’ So in China it might be ‘nèi ge, nèi ge, nèi ge.’”

In an August 21 email to university administration obtained by National Review, students accused the professor of pronouncing the word like the N-word “approximately five times” during the lesson in each of his three communication classes and said he “offended all of the Black members of our Class.”

The students, who identified themselves as “Black MBA Candidates c/o 2022” wrote that they had reached out to Chinese classmates as they were “appalled” by what they had heard. 

Teachers’ Use and Beliefs About Praise: A Mixed-Methods Study

Elisa S. Shernoff, Adam L. Lekwa, Linda A. Reddy and William Davis:

Using a convergent parallel mixed methods design, we examined changes in teachers’ use of praise during instruction (verbal or nonverbal statements or gestures to provide feedback for appropriate behavior) and explored teachers’ perceptions regarding barriers and facilitators to using praise during coaching. Forty-eight teachers who identified praise as a professional development goal participated in the quantitative strand and 11 of the 48 teachers participated in the qualitative strand. Mixed effects zero-inflated negative binomial models revealed that teachers used 4.03 praise statements per 30-min observation at baseline, which increased by a factor of 1.05 between coaching sessions. Praise discrepancy scores at baseline were estimated at 7.48 with an average decrease (reflecting reduced need for change) of −0.25 over time. Thematic analyses of coaching sessions highlighted facilitators (e.g., feedback without having to criticize) and barriers (e.g., interferes with instruction) to using praise, although the integration of quantitative and qualitative findings did not yield consistent patterns between the number of facilitators or barriers coded and specific teacher outcomes. Implications for the practice of school psychologists in their work with teachers along with future directions for research are discussed.

‘You’re Not Allowed To Film’: The Fight To Control Who Reports From Portland

Nancy Rommelmann:

I wondered, the first time I attended the protests at the federal building back in July, who all these young people with PRESS emblazoned on their jackets or helmets were. I asked one such guy who he worked for.

“Independent Press Corps,” he told me. As it turned out, dozens of other young PRESS people happened to work for the same outfit, which I at first assumed was a fancy way of saying “I want to report stuff and stream it on my Instagram.”

This turned out to be naive. The IPC is an organized group in league with the activists, and it is usually their footage you see streamed online and recycled on the news: mostly innocent protestors being harassed and beaten by police.

The police indeed have tear-gassed and beaten people; there has been brutality. It is equally true, but featured less prominently in the news coverage, that activists spend hours every night menacing and setting fires to police stations and other institutions: City Hall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, and last week Mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment building (until he agreed to move out). With the PRESS crew recording part of the story and the “YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO FILM!” crew harassing other journalists, the result can be a misleading view of the protests. It’s a revolution via the cellphone video they allow you to see.

The IPC and other documentarians who are deemed sympathetic to the activists’ cause agree on certain principles. You do not show activists’ faces. You only show activists in a defensive position: responding to, rather than inciting, violence. You enhance what can appear to be police brutality, e.g., activists defending themselves with homemade shields, often bearing the anarchist circle-A, against police. The shields are largely ineffective for personal defense, but extremely effective for optics, and that’s precisely the point. If a member of the IPC is arrested, he or she will be protected.

“The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge” Story Gets Even Stranger

Eugene Volokh:

The legally strange dimension: A claim that the magazine article author sexually harassed the subject of her article, apparently by “seek[ing] inappropriate personal and romantic intimacy with Plaintiff.”

See Hay v. New York Media LLC, a breach of contract, libel, and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Bruce Hay (representing himself) against New York Media LLC, author Kera Bolonik, and New York Media’s lawyer David Korzenik. Here is an excerpt from the Complaint (you can read the underlying stories starting at p. 52):

[4.] Plaintiff Bruce Hay is a professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches Civil Procedure and related subjects. In 2018, he found himself in an escalating legal conflict with two women he had loved — Maria-Pia Shuman, a cisgender white woman, and Mischa Shuman, a transgender woman of color …, who are married to each other. Plaintiff had been very close to the Shumans until 2017, when a painful rupture — facilitated by individuals who had an interest in driving them apart and stoking conflict between them — made them bitter adverSaries in court and in Title IX proceedings at Harvard.

[5.] In July 2018, Plaintiff agreed to work with New York’s editor, and with

Defendant Kera Bolonik on an article for the magazine about his dispute with the Shumans. The agreement was that the article, to be reported by Bolonik, would meet the high standards of professional investigative journalism long associated with the magazine….

[7.] Defendants did not produce the responsible piece of investigative journalism they promised, and made no real attempt to do so. Instead, they seized the opportunity to produce a sensational “True Crime” story, replete with vicious transphobic and misogynistic stereotypes, portraying the Shumans as scheming, deviant femmes fatales preying on a series of men, and Plaintiff as their credulous, hapless victim….

Presume resilience

Joanne Jacobs:

Alex Small, a physics and astronomy professor at Cal State Poly, Pomona, explains why he didn’t put a trigger warning on an Applied Optics assignment involving technologies for coronavirus testing.

A colleague warned students might be distressed by thinking about coronavirus. His students were fine with it.

Increasingly, professors are told their students are fragile, writes Small.

Both in my department and beyond, a certain segment of the professoriate seems to have begun microscopically examining nearly every aspect of daily academic life in hopes of rooting out assignments, events, or announcements that might cause unwitting harm, and scolding the rest of us about the allegedly substantial burden of trauma carried by the typical student.

Small sees his students as resilient. When he teaches biomedicine, students “thank me for teaching topics relevant to their relatives’ diseases. They find it empowering to learn applied science rather than face disease passively.”

That tracks with his understanding of expert opinion on trauma: Most “trauma survivors do not experience long-term symptoms such as triggers, and those who do need therapy, not avoidance and warnings.”

Disrupted schooling will deepen inequality for American students

The Economist:

THE FIRST meeting between teachers in Montpelier, Vermont, before the start of the autumn term is usually festive—hugging over breakfast and coffee. This year they had to make do with an online videoconference. After a scramble in the spring (to set up online learning, pack lunches for poor pupils who relied on them and ship computers to those without them), the district plans to let younger pupils return for in-person learning on September 8th. High school will remain partly online because the building is too small to allow social distancing. The young pupils who can return will need to wear masks, keep their distance and have temperature checks before entering school buses or buildings.

Setting up these protocols took many 60-hour weeks over the summer holidays, says Libby Bonesteel, the superintendent. Her husband, a microbrewer, recently dedicated a new beer, “Our Impossible Ask”, to teachers. “Pairs well with late staff meetings, upended expertise, existential crisis and seemingly unending complications,” suggest the tasting notes.

Of the 50 largest school districts in America, 35 plan to start the coming term entirely remotely. The opportunity to squelch the virus over the summer has been lost, upending plans for “hybrid” education (part-time in-person instruction). This means more than just child-care headaches for parents. The continued disruption to schooling will probably spell permanent learning loss, disproportionately hurting poorer pupils.

Prep sports: Area programs’ plans for the fall (or alternative spring) seasons

Art Kabelowsky:

A list of decisions made by schools in the Wisconsin State Journal core coverage area on whether to play fall or alternative spring seasons in various high school sports.
Prep football 2020: Who’s playing in the fall, and who’s waiting for spring

A list of football programs in area and region conferences, and their decisions on whether to play in the traditional fall or alternative fall season next spring:

We have embraced outdoor classrooms in the past.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Private schools, parents ask Supreme Court to block Dane County health order that limits in-person classes

Bruce Vielmetti:

It notes that schools spent months developing detailed plans, per earlier county orders, to safely reopen. Tseytlin also argues that the statute defining local health officials’ duties says they can inspect schools, but reserves the right to close them to the head of the state Department of Health Services.

In a response to the St. Ambrose petition, Bitar wrote Heinrich’s was a proper exercise of her statutory power to “do what is reasonable and necessary for the prevention and suppression of disease.”

“It is not a complete shutdown of the school system; learning is still happening under this Order virtually and in other ways. Religious studies are not prohibited; to the contrary, religious teachings, instructions and missions are all allowed and can be accomplished virtually and in other ways.” 

In the St. Ambrose petition, Tseytlin argues the parents are currently suffering irreparable harm, while an injunction against the order would not harm the county.

We have embraced outdoor classrooms in the past.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

UArizona: COVID-19 rerun tests reveal some student-athletes, others had false positive results

Maria Arey:

The University of Arizona says COVID-19 retesting on some student-athletes and other individuals showed false positives last week.

On Thursday, after Arizona Athletics reported a single-day of high positive COVID-19 test results, and conducting contact-tracing, the medical director requested rerun test samples, stating that the contact tracing history did not uphold the positive results, according to UArizona.

The retest displayed that false positive results were previously reported due to inconsistent information, which urged the additional testing Arizona Athletics Director of Medical Services Dr. Stephen Paul said.

On Sep. 3, the athletics department reported 13 positive test results for athletes, after a rerun of those tests, two came back positive. According to the university, in addition, there were 12 positive tests of non-athletes collected at Campus Health, after rerun of those, eight came back positive.

The lab attributes the incorrect results to an instrumentation error and will perform a full audit of testing processes.

‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning

Scott Girard:

While schedules vary from school to school, some are publicly available online and show a more traditional school day — in front of a screen instead of in a classroom.

At Elvehjem Elementary School, for example, second graders will have a morning meeting from 8:30-9 a.m., a “foundational skills” lesson from 9-9:30 a.m. and fill out their morning with 45-minute sessions on literacy and math, a 30-minute lesson in science, social studies or social-emotional learning and two 15-minute breaks.

An hour for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. is followed by “number corner” for 30 minutes, “specials” time for art, recess, choice time or physical education from 1:30-2:30 p.m., 30 minutes on the learning platform Seesaw and a “closing circle” from 3-3:30 p.m.

21% of University of Wisconsin System Freshman Require Remedial Math

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Getting Better at Understanding Academic Papers: a Brief Guide for Beginners (Part 1)

ITMO University

The easiest way to save time and effort when reading academic content is to be more selective. Is the paper you picked even worth reading? How high is the probability that it contains the information you seek? What kind of papers should you be looking for in the first place?

Academic sources fall into one of the two categories — primary and secondary.

Primary sources contain information about original research projects. In the world of STEM, this category typically includes reports and case studies, as well as some, but not all editorials and conference papers.

If you already know a fair deal about the subject you’re trying to research, and are looking to expand this knowledge, or find an answer to a very specific question, it’s a good idea to look for a primary source. Case studies come in handy when trying to confirm your hypothesis.

Only one in ten medical treatments are backed by high-quality evidence

Jeremy Howick:

When you visit your doctor, you might assume that the treatment they prescribe has solid evidence to back it up. But you’d be wrong. Only one in ten medical treatments are supported by high-quality evidence, our latest research shows.

The analysis, which is published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, included 154 Cochrane systematic reviews published between 2015 and 2019. Only 15 (9.9%) had high-quality evidence according to the gold-standard method for determining whether they provide high or low-quality evidence, called GRADE (grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluation). Among these, only two had statistically significant results – meaning that the results were unlikely to have arisen due to random error – and were believed by the review authors to be useful in clinical practice. Using the same system, 37% had moderate, 31% had low, and 22% had very low-quality evidence.

The GRADE system looks at things like risk of bias. For example, studies that are “blinded” – in which patients don’t know whether they are getting the actual treatment or a placebo – offer higher-quality evidence than “unblinded” studies. Blinding is important because people who know what treatment they are getting can experience greater placebo effects than those who do not know what treatment they are getting.