Identity politics may win votes but it is hurting black children

David Blaska:

Catch Ali Muldrow at 1:22:06 remaining in the video (it only records time remaining, at bottom right). Blaska responds at 1:18:45 remaining. The transcription:

Ali Muldrow:

“My opponent would like to do all kinds of things to black students: punish them, humiliate them, hurt them, silence them, suspend them, expel them— pretty much anything but teach them. That is theme in Madison: how we blame black children, how we hurt black children, how we get rid of black children, how we do not listen to black children. A lot of people are afraid to have a real conversations about race. We are a society that has always thought black children are unfit for education.”

Blaska responds:

“Ali, I’m sure you can spell, here’s a word for you: ‘hyperbole.’

“This idea that I want black children to fail? How does that help David Blaska? How does that help anyone? I want everyone in town to have a good job, a nice green lawn, kids they can be proud of — healthy, high achievers in sports and academics, that contribute to the community, kids that I would be proud to know. Why would I want anyone to fail? That is such an irresponsible charge.

“What Ali and Ananda are saying is so destructive, so bad because it is why we have a racial achievement gap in the first place. Because your overwhelming message is: ‘son, daughter, you are a victim — a victim and you can’t succeed in this system until we reform it somehow and in some way by electing Ali Muldrow.’

“That kid is going to fail because a victim has no control, no agency, they can’t say ‘we build, we create our own future.’ You’re in middle school — 11, 12, 13 years old. You got your whole life ahead of you. You got something called education and that is the greatest tool of all.

“And yes, if you need a little help, if you got to work a little harder, we will help you. Listen to your teacher, quit making excuses, quit screwing up because no positive behavior coach in the world is going to help you because they have already been thrown under the bus by this school district, by this school board because [of the philosophy] ‘you are a victim and you’re never going to succeed.’

I’m tired of it.”

Much more on the 2019 Madison School Board election, here.

Madison students prep for Youth Climate Strike on Friday

Negassi Tesfamichael:

The group of students is also calling to bring the Green New Deal, a signature piece of legislation proposed nationally by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to Madison. They plan to introduce a resolution to Madison’s Common Council on March 19.

Though the group sees some new hope with the election of Evers, members realize there’s still an uphill battle and work beyond a strike will need to happen before more concrete steps are taken by legislators and the community.

“Young people have made our choice clear,” said Max Prestigiacomo, a senior at Middleton High School who has helped to organize the strike. “Protect our future and listen to the scientists.”

Stephanie Salgado, a junior at Madison Memorial High School, said the strike hopes to highlight that climate change is intersectionally related to other issues such as racial justice and economic inequality.

“Poor communities are being antagonized for trying to speak up … we need to include marginalized groups in the conversation,” Salgado said.

“This is not a one-time thing,” Isabella Spitznagle, a junior at Madison West High School, said. “Climate change will not be fixed after just one strike. This climate strike is to empower youth to tell them to scream from the mountaintops. If we want change, we have to start now.”

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

How “movement capture” shaped the fight for civil rights

Kelsey Piper:

Social movements usually start out on the fringe, without a lot of resources, credibility, or public support. When they get more of any of those, that’s a good thing … right?

Well, yes … and no. When a movement grows in funding and mainstream appeal, it has the chance to achieve more of its goals — but often, the goals themselves are changed by the influx of new people and the preferences of new funders.

Is that part of the natural progress of a social movement from unheeded outsiders to part of a coalition big enough to win important victories? Or is it a tragic loss, where the most important goals get tossed aside in favor of ones more palatable to a mass audience? Are organizations building a coalition — which necessarily entails some compromise — or are they getting steered off course?

A new paper by Megan Ming Francis at the University of Washington explores the power that wealthy funders have to change the direction and the priorities of the organizations they fund. She calls this “movement capture” — the phenomenon where activist groups end up pressured by well-intentioned funders into a change in course.

Judge approves anti-male bias lawsuit against University of Colorado

Ethan Berman:

The University of Colorado-Boulder’s use of “trauma-informed” practices in sexual misconduct investigations are “plausible” evidence of bias against males, a federal court ruled last week.

It denied the taxpayer-funded university’s motion to dismiss Title IX and due process claims by William Norris, who was suspended and banned from campus after two disputed encounters with “Jane Doe” over a lengthy relationship.

Norris claimed the university made numerous procedural errors during its 2016 investigation of Doe’s claims from 2014 and 2015. He also faulted the Title IX officials’ backgrounds in women’s studies and public support of women’s advocacy groups, calling those a “conflict of interest” that prejudiced his investigation.

The officials’ backgrounds do not make them inherently biased, U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock said, but he found other reasons to question the fairness and impartiality of the proceeding against Norris.

The student has provided “at least some relevant information” to demonstrate that his gender-bias claims are plausible, the required standard in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Babcock said. The judge also frowned upon “the timing of the notice” of investigation given to Norris and restrictions on his ability to review the investigation file.

Poverty-stricken Chinese student’s 17-hour study schedule goes viral

Alice Yan:

A 17-year-old student’s gruelling holiday study schedule has won admiration after his teacher shared his timetable on WeChat, China’s popular social media app.
Zhu Zheng, a grade two student from Wuhan No. 11 Middle School in central China, spent almost every waking moment of his 17-hour days studying during the winter holiday.

Zhu won top prize in a national maths competition in September and was put forward by two of his teachers at the end of last year to attend an intensive maths training camp at Beijing’s Tshinghua University.

Commentary on Wisconsin Department of Instruction Superintendent Stanford Taylor

Logan Wroge:

Stanford Taylor said the two-year education spending package is an “equity budget” meant to target Wisconsin’s achievement gaps between races, children with or without disabilities, low-income students and limited-English learners.

“We have to be very intentional about how we’re going to go about making sure that we’re lifting all of those students up, so that there’s a playing field they can compete on,” she said.

Evers is seeking a $606 million boost for special education, $64 million more for mental health programs and $16 million for a new “Urban Excellence Initiative” targeting Wisconsin’s five largest school district, along with changes to the school funding formula that would account for poverty.

Art Rainwater, a former Madison School District superintendent and current UW-Madison professor of educational leadership and policy analysis, said the biggest challenge for a state superintendent, regardless of who is in the position, is financing education, coupled with a large increase in the proportion of low-income students since the start of the millennium. In 2001, 21 percent of Wisconsin school children lived in poverty, according to the Department of Public Instruction. That figure now stands at 41 percent after peaking at 43 percent in 2012.

“Those are the biggest challenges,” Rainwater said. “How do you deal with a changing population, how do you deal with the issues of rural schools and urban schools, and trying to do what’s best for the children.”

Related 2005:

On November 7, Superintendent Art Rainwater made his annual report to the Board of Education on progress toward meeting the district’s student achievement goal in reading. As he did last fall, the superintendent made some interesting claims about the district’s success in closing the academic achievement gap “based on race”.

According to Mr. Rainwater, the place to look for evidence of a closing achievement gap is the comparison of the percentage of African American third graders who score at the lowest level of performance on statewide tests and the percentage of other racial groups scoring at that level. He says that, after accounting for income differences, there is no gap associated with race at the lowest level of achievement in reading. He made the same claim last year, telling the Wisconsin State Journal on September 24, 2004, “for those kids for whom an ability to read would prevent them from being successful, we’ve reduced that percentage very substantially, and basically, for all practical purposes, closed the gap”. Last Monday, he stated that the gap between percentages scoring at the lowest level “is the original gap” that the board set out to close.

Unfortunately, that is not the achievement gap that the board aimed to close.

Tufts expelled a student for grade hacking. She claims innocence

Zack Whittaker:

As she sat in the airport with a one-way ticket in her hand, Tiffany Filler wondered how she would pick up the pieces of her life, with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt and nothing to show for it.

A day earlier, she was expelled from Tufts University veterinary school. As a Canadian, her visa was no longer valid and she was told by the school to leave the U.S. “as soon as possible.” That night, her plane departed the U.S. for her native Toronto, leaving any prospect of her becoming a veterinarian behind.

Filler, 24, was accused of an elaborate months-long scheme involving stealing and using university logins to break into the student records system, view answers, and alter her own and other students’ grades.

The case Tufts presented seems compelling, if not entirely believable.

Economic Security as National Security

CSIS:

What I’d love to do for you today is talk about the manufacturing and defense industrial base, and this historic effort that’s gone under the Department of Defense and President Trump. And what I want to do in order to come to that topic is I want to start at the 30,000-foot level and try to offer some perspective on how this particular effort fits into the broader grand strategy of the Trump administration in terms of dealing with both economic and defense issues. So let me start by observing that some of our greatest presidents are best remembered for short, but profound, maxims that both guided their policies and led to some of their greatest successes. If you think about William McKinley, one of President Trump’s favorite presidents, in the 1896 campaign his campaign slogan was: patriotism, protection, and prosperity.

And it was that slogan that led to strong tariffs and sound money policy, and to a profound realignment of the Republican Party under McKinley, as well as what was the catalyst for very strong economic growth. And if that sounds a little bit familiar, you may have been paying attention to what’s been going on the last couple years. And you have of course Teddy Roosevelt, walk softly carry a big stick. We moved in his administration from what was essentially a coast guard into a global naval power. Of course, the gold standard of maxims would be Ronald Reagan, peace through strength. Out of that, came a reversal of the decline in the defense budget, the Star Wars initiative, and basically the demise of the Soviet Union.

And so – and so we come to this great president, Donald J. Trump. In December of 2017, as part of the National Security Strategy, President Trump introduced the maxim that economic security is national security. Economic security is national security. And if you think about everything the Trump administration has been doing in terms of economic and defense policy, you understand that this maxim really is the guiding principle. If you think about, for example, tax cuts – corporate tax cuts, which essentially spur investment and therefore lead to greater innovation, that helps both our economy and our national security. If you think about deregulation under one fine, fine OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, he’s been leading a tremendous effort to reduce the regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration.

It’s Big News That the Schools Development Authority Is at “The Precipice of Disembowelment.” When Will State Leaders Pay Attention to The DOE?

Laura Waters:

Everyone’s talking about the exodus of experienced and qualified staff members at the Schools Development Authority, a product of nepotism directed by Murphy appointee Lizette Delgado-Polanco, who yesterday was accused of making “false statements” about her “restructuring” of the SDA, which oversees facilities renovation and construction in Abbott districts. USAToday reports that, following outrage from legislators, Murphy has “ordered roughly 50 independent authorities to turn over names and payroll information of employees in an effort to root out patronage in state government.” A former SDA staffer said that Delgado-Polanco’s “virtually nonexistent” managerial skills and “utter lack of personal integrity is propelling the SDA toward the precipice of bureaucratic disembowelment.”

The same evisceration of competency is happening right now at New Jersey’s Department of Education and no one says a word.

(Except me. What’s up with that?)

Maybe everyone in the DOE is afraid to speak up. Maybe their CWA union representatives (for staff members who haven’t been replaced with non-union staff) have been too busy negotiating the just-settled contract to take the multiple grievances seriously. Maybe NJEA leaders, who applaud the lowering of standards through the elimination of meaningful assessments for students and teachers and dictate Gov. Murphy and DOE Commissioner Repollet’s education agenda, are untouchable. Or maybe the full impact of the DOE’s dissolution — cancelling of mandated oversight, misallocations of federal funds, racism, privileging of loyalty over competence, mass firings, hiring of unqualified people, like this person who referred to students with disabilities as “morons” — won’t get attention until we start seeing the impact on the state’s 1.3 million students.

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

Young People Left Behind in China’s Snowbound Rust Belt

Ronghui Chen:

As a sub-zero blizzard raged outside, Ronghui Chen pushed open a glass window to let in a gust of cold air.

He was in Yichun, a faded boomtown in northeastern China, where in December, 2016 he began photographing young people whose isolation he recognized in his own life. “This kind of heating puts people into the most lethargic state, depriving them of the ability to reflect,” he later said in a phone interview. At the same time, he also finds it frightening to become emotionally hardened like ice underfoot in the northeastern regions that made up China’s Rust Belt. “I feel that many people, like the land itself, are making themselves freeze.”

Over three successive winters, he worked on “Freezing Lands,” a collection of large-format photographs that explores contrasts. The cold conveyed the desolation of towns and cities whose populations are shrinking as people leave the region for education and work in bustling cities, just as Mr. Chen had done himself. The young residents spent their winters in warm and brightly painted interiors, uncertain about the future.

“Dysrationalia” Among University Students: The Role of Cognitive Abilities, Different Aspects of Rational Thought and Self-Control in Explaining Epistemically Suspect Beliefs

Nikola Erceg, Zvonimir Galić, Andreja Bubić:

The aim of the study was to investigate the role that cognitive abilities, rational thinking abilities, cognitive styles and self-control play in explaining the endorsement of epistemically suspect beliefs among university students. A total of 159 students participated in the study. We found that different aspects of rational thought (i.e. rational thinking abilities and cognitive styles) and self-control, but not intelligence, significantly predicted the endorsement of epistemically suspect beliefs. Based on these findings, it may be suggested that intelligence and rational thinking, although related, represent two fundamentally different constructs. Thus, deviations from rational thinking could be well described by the term “dysrationalia”, meaning the inability to think rationally despite having adequate intelligence. We discuss the implications of the results, as well as some drawbacks of the study.

When academic self-regard becomes an intellectual style

Sam Fallon:

The response from medievalists was swift and withering — not just for the president, but also for his opponents. Calling the wall “medieval” was misleading, wrote Matthew Gabriele, of Virginia Tech, in The Washington Post, “because walls in the actual European Middle Ages simply did not work the way Trump apparently thinks they did.” On CNN.com, David M. Perry, of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, insisted that “walls are not medieval.” And in Vox, Eric Weiskott, of Boston College, urged readers to “take it from a professor of medieval literature: calling things you don’t like ‘medieval’ is inaccurate and unhelpful.”

Readers who doubted that the moment demanded a defense of the Middle Ages could be forgiven. In a political battle of such high human stakes, the question of whether calling Trump’s proposal “medieval” constituted “an insult to the Middle Ages” (as the Vox headline put it) might seem worryingly beside the point. But the wave of furious responses was entirely predictable. In their parochial, self-serious literalism, they exemplify a style that increasingly pervades public writing by humanities scholars — a style that takes expertise to be authoritative and wields historical facts, however trivial or debatable, as dispositive answers to political questions. Such literalism is bad rhetoric, a way of dissolving argument into trivia. It’s also bad history: At root, it betrays the humanities’ own hard-won explanations of how we have come to know the past.

Civics and “Draining the Administrative State”

Michael Anton:

Marini didn’t coin the term “administrative state”; that was political scientist Dwight Waldo in his 1948 book of the same name. But there can be little doubt that the phrase wouldn’t have escaped Bannon’s lips if not for Marini. No one—certainly not Waldo—has done more to explain what the administrative state is, how it works, and how it came to be. And not just in the historical sense, though Marini does show how the apparatus was built, by whom, and for what purpose. But his far greater contribution is to lay bare its theoretical roots. Plumbing those depths requires both a first-class education as well as practical experience in the swamp, both of which Marini has. In the 1980s, he served as a special assistant to then-Chairman Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before returning to academia and writing and editing essential books on the federal budget process and the separation of powers from his perch at the University of Nevada, Reno.

And now, finally, one on the animating interest of his entire career. Unmasking the Administrative State—ably edited and introduced by Ken Masugi, Marini’s friend, fellow student, and former co-worker at the EEOC—is actually a collection of Marini’s writings over 40 years, but its themes, messages and lessons are remarkably consistent. And, to some of us, familiar.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, I had already been reading (and listening to) Marini for more than 20 years. His analysis of the insidious ways the administrative state undermines democratic politics prepared me to begin to understand the populist revolt against bipartisan orthodoxy.

* * *

Our opinion-making class, by contrast, thrashed about for explanations. How can this man say these things? Why are so many people listening? What’s the common thread, if any? The term one saw bandied about was “source code,” as in, “We must find the source code of Trumpism.” While most elites insisted that Trump was simply winging it, making things up as he went along, a few intuited that there might be—out there somewhere—a body of ideas (though they were quick to add: not any with which Trump himself was personally familiar!) that could explain the appeal of his candidacy. They were right, but they did not know where to look.

“The second lesson I learnt from the financial crisis, and the years since, is that ignorance of financial affairs is widespread – and dangerous”

Sarah Gordon:

If you took out a mortgage on a house with practically no equity, you took a risk. If you borrowed several times your monthly income on credit cards, you took a risk. If you deposited your savings with a little-known Icelandic bank offering incredible rates, you took a risk.

Such decisions also played a role in the financial crisis. And they were also irresponsible. But in part they were driven by most people’s lack of understanding of financial realities and basic economics. Such ignorance — in modern societies — is inexcusable.

Business journalists such as myself are not exempt. I remember sitting in a very grand boardroom on the top floor of Lehman’s very grand building in Canary Wharf in 2005, with my colleague Gillian Tett, who was handing over to me on Lex before becoming markets editor. Unlike Gillian, I allowed a slew of new vocabulary — slicing and dicing loans, mezzanine financing, subordinated debt, collateralised debt obligations — to wash over me. The increasing complexity and specialisation of the language used to describe financial instruments was one reason most of the press failed to spot the crisis around the corner. But it is not an excuse.

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

Beware the rural outrage cycle (Not just rural)

Holly Spangler:

Some years ago, our community went through a contentious consolidation vote (that’s redundant, I know). I was talking one day with a man whose kids were in high school, who was a vocal opponent of the consolidation. Mine were still young so I asked him about the top math and science courses offered at the high school. He had no idea. Still, opposed.

That conversation stuck with me. When we can’t gather basic facts of a situation, or when we can’t consider all the facts of the situation, we can’t make an informed decision. We can’t have an intelligent conversation with our elected officials — say, a school board member — when we don’t take time to understand school policy. Sometimes, that policy dictates that a board cannot talk about a particular issue beyond the administration, such as faculty, for example. But too many people sit in a school board meeting and assume if it’s not said to them, it’s not said at all.

Or people don’t understand how it all works. Like when someone decides not to participate in the floral hall because the fair board sold the building. Hint: Your boycott doesn’t affect ownership. It just kills the fair.

Securing Free Speech on Campus, Part II

Keith Whittington:

Yesterday, I suggested that universities have a free speech problem, even if they do not necessarily face a free speech crisis. If the problem is not addressed by universities themselves, then it will be addressed by outside actors who, even if they act with good intentions, may not act in ways that are very helpful.

If universities want to fend off outside intervention and, more importantly, be true to their own mission, they need to be proactive in nurturing a better free speech culture on their own campuses. The task begins with getting clear about the right principles in the first place. University leaders should be capable of articulating and defending the idea that the point of a university is to be a site of sharp-edged disagreements, free inquiry, and unorthodox thinking. If they want to resist the impression that elite universities have become “hedge funds with universities attached,” then they need to be willing to celebrate and defend universities as places where ideas are taken seriously and freely discussed and debated. One attraction of the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression is that it offers a pithy articulation of these core commitments. I helped lead the effort to have the faculty at Princeton University adopt that statement in order to show solidarity for what should be a core commitment of university faculty across the country. Adopting such a clear statement of principle reaffirms and clarifies the values of a scholarly community and sends a message to both students and administrators as to what the expectations and priorities of the faculty are. If the faculty of a university cannot manage to agree on such basic principles of intellectual freedom, then that makes a statement of its own and prospective students, faculty, and donors should take notice.

Open the books

Open The Books:

At OpenTheBooks.com, we work hard to capture and post all disclosed spending at every level of government – federal, state, and local. We’ve successfully captured nearly 4 billion public expenditures, and we are rapidly growing our data in all 50 states down to the municipal level. We won’t stop until we capture every dime taxed and spent by our government.

As a government watchdog organization, we accept no government funding.

OpenTheBooks.com is a project of American Transparency – a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible for federal or state income tax purposes to the fullest extent of the law.

A Psychologist Explains How to Beat Social Anxiety

Angela Chen:

It is rarely helpful to tell a shy person to “just be yourself!” Riffing on that frustrating exchange, clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen has written a book that she hopes will answer the question the anxious person usually asks in return: How?

Hendriksen received her doctorate from UCLA and today works at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. She is the author of How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, out last week from St. Martin’s Press, which she describes as “a book I wish I had when I was 20.”

Why do poor school kids have to clean up rich commuter’s pollution?

Joe Cortright:

Item: In the past two years, Portland Public Schools has spent nearly $12.5 million of its scarce funds to clean up the air at Harriet Tubman Middle School. This money will buy an expensive state-of-the-art air filtration system that will make the air inside the school safe for students to breathe. Scientists from Portland State University, who conducted an air quality assessment of the site–at a cost of an additional half million dollars–have warned the students against exercising outside because of poor air quality.

And make no mistake, pollution from cars is a threat not just to the health of students, but to their ability to learn as well. A recent study shows that pollution from cars and trucks lowers student performance in schools near highways. Students attending schools located near and downwind from busy highways had lower rates of academic performance, higher absenteeism and higher rates of disciplinary problems than those attending less polluted schools. The more traffic on nearby roads, the larger the decline in scores on state standardized tests.

Tubman School faces a further increase in air pollution from the proposal of the Oregon Department of Transportation to spend a half billion dollars to widen the portion of Interstate 5 that runs right by the school. The freeway-widening project will cut away a portion of the hillside that now separates the freeway from the school, moving the cars and trucks still closer to the building, and also increasing their volume–and the volume of pollution they emit.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $870 Billion

Alexandre Tanzi:

U.S. credit card debt hit $870 billion — the largest amount ever — as of December 2018, according to the data from the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances rose by $26 billion from the prior quarter. “The increase in credit card balances is consistent with seasonal patterns but marks the first time credit card balances re-touched the 2008 nominal peak,” according to the report.

Related: Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district tax and spending history (currently we spend about $20k/student).

Civics & Privacy: Los Angeles is fighting for e-scooter data

Christine Fisher:

At the moment, it looks like a stalemate. LA city officials claim the data would provide insight into scooters as a growing means of transit, let the city see if scooters end up in the LA River and help ensure scooters are available to lower-income residents. Reportedly, the data would not be shared with police without a warrant, would not contain personal identifiers and would not subject to public records requests.

But privacy experts warn that scooter location data could be enough to reveal a person’s movements and private transactions, especially because scooters don’t stop at docking stations. Instead, they take passengers right up to their homes or businesses.

Perhaps the biggest issue here is what this foreshadows. As scooter ridership grows across the country and electric vehicles generate massive amounts of data, it will be interesting to see if that intel remains in the hands of private companies or if they’ll be required to share it. Of course, this is not the first time California and Uber have gone head-to-head or that scooters have been the center of controversy.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Why politicians will talk about anything but our ballooning national debt

Jon Gabriel:

Politicians in Washington always have some drama to distract them.

Over the past week, Michael Cohen called the president a “conman,” and Trump called him a “rat.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez insisted the world would end in a dozen years unless we pass her Green New Deal, while Democrats murmured about Biden and Beto possibly joining the White House race.

While the Beltway class hyperventilates about the buzz du jour, there’s one subject all of them studiously avoid: our $22.1 trillion in debt.

Our debt grows by about $2 billion a day
The U.S. has maintained a federal debt since Herbert Hoover was in office, and it keeps growing. Today, the debt jumps by another million dollars every 41 seconds, or about $2 billion a day. Since it’s an awkward topic, politicians focus on anything else, usually involving more spending. While lawmakers debate free college, free health care and a big, beautiful wall, the debt clock keeps on spinning.

According to the most recent figures, our debt is 4 percent higher than our gross domestic product. Yet if you mention this to most Americans, they’re either confused or indifferent.

Kids with Dyslexia Struggle as Wisconsin Considers First Dyslexia Legislation

Mackenzie Martin:

For literate adults, it might be hard to remember what the process of learning to read felt like. For kids with dyslexia in Wisconsin though, learning how to read can be maddening. Help might be on the way though as two dyslexia bills circulate in Madison.

As part of our We Live Up Here series, Mackenzie Martin talks to a local reading specialist and a Rhinelander High School student with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. Kids that have it have a hard time understanding the way that sounds and letters correspond, which makes reading and spelling difficult. It can be really hard getting help, too, because a lot of schools won’t test for dyslexia or even acknowledge it’s a problem, in part because of how expensive it is to treat it.

In February, the Joint Legislative Council in Madison voted to introduce a bill that would employ a dyslexia specialist at the Department of Public Instruction. The vote on whether to introduce a related bill on developing a dyslexia guidebook was deferred until Wednesday, March 6th.

The process is in the preliminary stages right now, but a lot of people are hoping these bills become laws. People like Donna Hejtmanek in Harshaw. In addition to serving on the Dyslexia Study Committee that the bills were drafted for, she’s also a retired reading specialist and special educator of 41 years.

She says the issue is that kids with dyslexia aren’t taught how to read the right way.

The Welfare Debate the U.S. Should Be Having

Michael Strain:

Implicit in the argument that people who are unwilling to work have forfeited their claim to economic security is that work is available. But jobs may not always be available, both for people who are willing to work and those who aren’t, particularly during economic downturns. During the Great Recession, there were over six unemployed workers for every job opening.

Another major challenge in weighing the balance between responsibility and economic security is what to do about the hard cases. How should policy handle the situation where a person is truly unwilling to work? Or a person who loses his job and won’t realistically be successfully retrained, but who is a decade away from retirement?

Democrats Have Taken Over Education Reform

Jay Greene and Frederick Hess:

We tracked staff contributions to political campaigns in a sample of 73 education-reform organizations funded by the Gates Foundation, including Achieve, Teach For America, the New Schools Venture Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, Jobs for the Future, Turnaround for Children, and Bellwether Education Partners. In total, we found 2,625 political campaign contributions from the staff of Gates grantees. Of those contributions, more than 99% supported Democratic candidates or the Democratic Party. Only eight (that’s eight, not 8%) of the 2,625 campaign contributions went to Republicans.

The political imbalance among Walton grantees was somewhat less pronounced. Our sample of 194 organizations receiving support from the Walton Foundation included Teach For America, KIPP, Education Reform Now, 50CAN, the 74 Media, Chalkbeat, and the Education Trust. In total, we found 3,887 political campaign contributions from employees of these organizations, of which 3,377, or 87%, went to Democrats.

The deep-blue hue of education reformers rivals that of famously Democratic precincts like Hollywood and public-employee unions. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that 78% of campaign dollars from the “TV, movies, and music industry” have gone to Democrats since 2000. Even the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher union, gives a larger slice of its campaign money to Republicans (7%) than do the employees of Gates education grantees (less than 1%).

Does the education-reform sector lean so far left simply because everyone in education is progressive? No. An Education Week poll shows that 41% of educators identify as Democrats while 27% identify as Republicans and 30% as independents.

The virtual nonrepresentation of conservatives has made school reformers more open about their political convictions, even on unrelated issues. Many school-reform groups, including KIPP, Teach for America and Education Trust, have energetically embraced the anti-Trump “resistance,” adopting outspoken progressive stances on hot-button issues like immigration, tax policy and gun control. The education-reform sector risks appearing as one more progressive lobby. This appearance undermines its authority when it pushes for crucial changes like school choice, transparency and experimental new learning methods.

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

Yet, Madison spends far more than most, now around $20,000 per student.

Newton the Alchemist: Science, Enigma, and the Quest for Nature’s ‘Secret Fire’

William R Newman:

‘Historians of alchemy’, wrote Herbert Butterfield in 1949, ‘seem to become tinctured with the kind of lunacy they set out to describe.’ Seventy years on, readers may believe that this gloriously rude assessment needs no updating. But what, then, are we to make of the fact that the greatest scientific hero of them all, that model of geometric rationality, Isaac Newton, devoted a great proportion of his life to the pursuit of transmutation? This was the problem that faced another titan of his discipline, the economist John Maynard Keynes, when in 1936 he acquired at auction a large number of Newton’s papers dealing with alchemy. Newton, Keynes was forced to declare, ‘was not the first of the age of reason’ but rather ‘the last of the magicians’.

The Harvard MBA Is Bad for You

John Warner:

We need to abolish the Harvard M.B.A degree for the good of the people who pursue that path, as well as the world at large.

I’m saying this based on my reading of Charles Duhigg’s recounting of the 15-year reunion of his Harvard Business School graduating class, published in the New York Times.

What he found was a group of people who are “miserable.”

“I heard about one fellow alum who had run a large hedge fund until being sued by investors (who also happened to be the fund manager’s relatives). Another person had risen to a senior role inside one of the nation’s most prestigious companies before being savagely pushed out by corporate politics. Another had learned in the maternity ward that her firm was being stolen by a conniving partner.”
Duhigg admits that these are extreme examples, but even so, the prevailing sense was one of “professional disappointment,” of lives “unfulfilling, tedious, or just plain bad.” Divorce, disconnections from their children, a sense that no matter how much they made it wasn’t enough, the despair was pervasive.

Duhigg believes the main problem is that these people simply believe their work doesn’t matter. In his book, “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory,” David Graeber shares a survey in which 37% of working adults in Great Britain said their job makes no meaningful contribution to the world.

What Great Listeners Actually Do

Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman:

In fact, much management advice on listening suggests doing these very things – encouraging listeners to remain quiet, nod and “mm-hmm” encouragingly, and then repeat back to the talker something like, “So, let me make sure I understand. What you’re saying is…” However, recent research that we conducted suggests that these behaviors fall far short of describing good listening skills.

We analyzed data describing the behavior of 3,492 participants in a development program designed to help managers become better coaches. As part of this program, their coaching skills were assessed by others in 360-degree assessments. We identified those who were perceived as being the most effective listeners (the top 5%). We then compared the best listeners to the average of all other people in the data set and identified the 20 items showing the largest significant difference. With those results in hand we identified the differences between great and average listeners and analyzed the data to determine what characteristics their colleagues identified as the behaviors that made them outstanding listeners.

Apple CEO Tim Cook explains why you don’t need a college degree to be successful

Lisa Eadicicco:

“And so to that end, as we’ve looked at the — sort of, the mismatch between the skills that are coming out of colleges and what the skills are that we believe we need in the future, and many other businesses do, we’ve identified coding as a very key one,” Cook said during the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, during which President Trump met with the board’s members, including Cook.

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

Securing Free Speech on Campus, Part I

Keith Whittington:

If universities do not take steps to address their campus free speech problems, politicians will do it for them

President Donald Trump’s proposed executive order on free speech in universities has once again turned a spotlight on the worries over campus free speech in the United States. There is substantial debate over just how extensive of a free speech problem college campuses actually have. Individual incidents of bad behavior on campus get extraordinary attention in the current political and media environment. There is little question that incidents such as the one Trump highlighted – a conservative activist getting punched in the face on the University of California at Berkeley campus – or myriad others – such as Charles Murray getting shouted down at Middlebury College or Heather MacDonald having her audience blocked from attending her speech at Claremont McKenna College – should be deeply disturbing and should be understood to be contrary to the values and mission of an American university. Unfortunately, there are students, faculty and administrators at many colleges who would fully endorse just such disruptive behavior.

What is much less clear is how widespread such incidents really are and whether they are becoming more common. In the age of social media and pocket cameras, nearly every incident has the potential to be recorded for posterity and broadcast far and wide, but even a decade ago such incidents could more easily fly under the radar. At the same time, the many more occasions on which Charles Murray and Heather MacDonald speak to a college audience without incident are easily overlooked. There is even some reason to hope that the campus speech situation is in fact improving compared to a couple of years ago, in part due to the work of organizations like FIRE and in part because the recent high-profile incidents were something of a wake-up call to many campus leaders who did not want their institution to become the next Middlebury or Evergreen State.

America seems to be in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. Is there anything we can do about it?

Talia Lavin:

When I came back from Russia to my family’s home in New Jersey, I was a small being hobbled by fear. In the ensuing years I have experienced these moments of pure compression—the universe eaten alive by dread, consisting only of me and my own death—with some frequency. Other passengers on the subway are reduced to shadows, the rattle of the train a faint echo of my own deafening heartbeat, and the glass-haze of terror blots out light.

Explaining a panic attack is a little like explaining an explosion: You can talk about adrenaline, as you can talk about a flurry of reactive particles clashing until they burn. You can talk about the fight-or-flight reaction and the symptoms—sweating, rapid heartbeat, trembling, the overwhelming urge to escape. But you cannot truly convey a swelling balloon of heat, a concussion in the air, the lancing pain of shrapnel, in words. You cannot convey the pure concussive terror of a panic attack in words either, the sense that all your bones are thrumming a bad, insistent chord. I have tried to explain why I must leave the restaurant, why I must have an aisle seat at the show, why sometimes my throat seizes so powerfully I can’t even drink water. Some friends and family members understand; others don’t; and I hide my phobias when I can. The rest of the time, I live within the ringing glass walls of my own panic.

Questions Surround Who Approved ‘White Privilege’ Training for Williamson County Teachers

Chris Butler:

Williamson County officials had the ultimate power to approve an In-service “white privilege” training curriculum for their teachers last month, said a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education Wednesday.

But that’s inconsistent with the TDOE’s standards and practices on In-service teacher training, as specified on that department’s website.

Tennessee’s education commissioner, according to the rules, has the final say approving any In-service training plans. Local school system officials submit those plans to the education commissioner months before the start of the new school year.

“In-service days shall be used according to a plan recommended by the local superintendent of schools in accordance with the provisions of this section and other applicable statutes, and adopted by the local board of education,” the TDOE website said.

“A copy of this plan shall be filed with the State Commissioner of Education on or before June 1 the preceding school year and approved by him.”

The Tennessee Star asked TDOE officials Tuesday and Wednesday whether officials from that department had approved Williamson’s “white privilege” In-service training curriculum?

The girl who was never meant to survive

Georgina Pearce:

Haven Shepherd kneels on the school diving board, takes a deep breath and launches herself into the pool.

“When I’m in the water I feel completely free, I get to feel completely myself.”

The pool gives Haven respite from her prosthetic legs. Wearing them all day can be “exhausting”, the 15-year-old says.

It’s a long way from her training pool in Carthage, Missouri, to the hut in rural Vietnam where her father tried to end her life.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: The United City-States of America, Mapped

Nolan Gray:

From ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy to the Four Asian Tigers, city-states have always punched above their weight. They’ve driven culture forward, facilitated global commerce, and charged ahead of their nation-bound peers.

Indeed, cities — and the metropolitan regions that orbit around them — make sense as a political and economic unit. The key services we depend on government to do, from building infrastructure to ensuring public safety, are mostly handled by cities. And contrary to earlier predictions, the forces of globalization and the rise of the information economy have only made cities more important as economic engines and innovation hubs. It’s no surprise, then, that cities — and their mayors — are increasingly finding their voices in a world previously dominated by nations and international entities.

Unfortunately, the way the United States is structured today undermines this trend by privileging states as the key political entity. State boundaries in these modern times are typically arbitrary and often no longer reflect any meaningful political, cultural, or economic reality. Some U.S. cities, both big and small, manage to straddle state borders (think Texarkana or Bristol) while others run right up to the state edge but sharply hug the border (think Cincinnati or St. Louis). And a number of states are inexplicably fragmented because their seat of government is very different from their most populous town (think New York City/Albany and Chicago/Springfield). This often results in excessive fragmentation, unproductive competition, and a near total lack of regional land-use and transportation planning. We all suffer as a result.

UMass plans national online college aimed at adult learners

Deirdre Fernandes:

Faced with a narrowing pipeline of potential in-state students and limited state resources, the University of Massachusetts plans to launch a national online college, the system’s president, Martin T. Meehan, said on Monday.

Suggesting that it may be the UMass system’s best hope of long-term financial stability, Meehan outlined an ambitious plan to build an online college focused on adults from across the country. This would be a new venture, separate from the online courses already offered at the various campuses.

Advertisement

The UMass online college would compete with long-established national players such as Arizona State University, Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue Global, and Penn State World Campus, Meehan said.

“The time for us to act is now,” he said during his annual report on the state of the five-campus university system at the UMass Club in Boston. “It’s predicted that over the next several years four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them.”

Yet it remained unclear how much such an enterprise would cost, what types of classes UMass would offer, and who would teach them. Meehan suggested that the system would likely have to borrow millions of dollars to launch this college, with the expectation of a return over the long term.

What Happens When Failure is the End Point?

Ryan Lackey:

Near the beginning of each term, I tell my writing students that they’re all going to fail. It’s a rhetorically charged claim; a few students giggle or snicker, clearly uncomfortable, and then everyone grows pretty silent. And then I tell them that I don’t really mean fail in the traditional, F-on-the-transcript-and-uncomfortable-calls-home sense (sometimes there’s more uneasy laughter here); I mean that writing is always the practice of failure. Most things that are valuable, worthwhile, or offer anything like real meaning are developed through long patterns of failure. I construct an x-and-y coordinate plane on the whiteboard and draw in a sweeping exponential curve that levels out right at the horizontal axis: the limit at Y = 0. And I say, look: this line will get closer and closer and closer to the axis over time, but it’s never going to get there. That, I claim, is what it’s like to learn to write.

My students who decide to stick around academia in some capacity post-graduation eventually realize, as I am, that living and working and studying in the academy is also a practice of failure. Rejection can be as frightening for a Ph.D applicant or article-writing professor as for a lovestruck student. It’s the middle of December as I write—application season, the season of submission. Hopeful undergrads- and grads-to-be are filling online forms’ blank fields, pressing SUBMIT, and bedding down into anxious hibernation for a few months.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: U.S. personal income falls; spending weakest since 2009

Lucia Mutikani:

The report from the Commerce Department on Friday also showed inflation pressures remaining tame, which together with slowing domestic and global economic growth gave more credence to the Federal Reserve’s “patient” stance towards raising interest rates further this year.

Personal income slipped 0.1 percent in January, the first decline since November 2015, after jumping 1.0 percent in December. Income was weighed down by decreases in dividend, farm proprietors’ and interest income. Wages increased by a moderate 0.3 percent in January after rising 0.5 percent in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast incomes rising 0.3 percent in January.

The Commerce Department did not publish the January consumer spending portion of the report as the collection and processing of retail sales data was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the government that ended on Jan. 25.

It reported that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, dropped 0.5 percent in December. That was the biggest decline since September 2009 and followed a 0.6 percent increase in November.

Guess what? Facebook still tracks you on Android apps (even if you don’t have a Facebook account)

Privacy International:

https://support.privacyinternational.orgIn December 2018, we revealed how some of the most widely used apps in the Google Play Store automatically send personal data to Facebook the moment they are launched. That happens even if you don’t have a Facebook account or are logged out of the Facebook platform (watch our talk at the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) in Leipzig or read our full legal analysis here).

Today, we have some good news for you: we retested all the apps from our report and it seems as if we have made some impact. Two thirds of all apps we retested, including Spotify, Skyscanner and KAYAK, have updated their apps so that they no longer contact Facebook when you open the app.

Here’s the bad news: seven apps, including Yelp, the language-learning app Duolingo and the job search app Indeed, as well as the King James Bible app and two Muslim prayer apps, Qibla Connect and Muslim Pro, still send your personal data to Facebook before you can decide whether you want to consent or not. Keep in mind: these are apps with millions of installs.

Discrimination in the Age of Algorithms

Jon Kleinberg, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan, Cass R. Sunstein:

The law forbids discrimination. But the ambiguity of human decision-making often makes it extraordinarily hard for the legal system to know whether anyone has actually discriminated. To understand how algorithms affect discrimination, we must therefore also understand how they affect the problem of detecting discrimination. By one measure, algorithms are fundamentally opaque, not just cognitively but even mathematically. Yet for the task of proving discrimination, processes involving algorithms can provide crucial forms of transparency that are otherwise unavailable. These benefits do not happen automatically. But with appropriate requirements in place, the use of algorithms will make it possible to more easily examine and interrogate the entire decision process, thereby making it far easier to know whether discrimination has occurred. By forcing a new level of specificity, the use of algorithms also highlights, and makes transparent, central tradeoffs among competing values. Algorithms are not only a threat to be regulated; with the right safeguards in place, they have the potential to be a positive force for equity.

UW System salaries: Paul Chryst, Greg Gard make the most; some professors out-earn chancellors

Eric Litke:

A tradesman earned $100,000 in overtime last year. Some professors made more than chancellors. And millionaire coaches made more than everyone.

Those are among the eye-catching entries in the latest University of Wisconsin System salary data, which USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin obtained and converted into an online database readers can search and sort by pay, campus and employee name.

The recently released 2017-2018 compensation gives Wisconsin taxpayers a look behind the scenes at who makes what, and it provides context for the UW System Board of Regents’ recent request for a 6 percent pay raise across the board over the next two years.

Pay increases averaged less than 1 percent in total across the UW System from 2011 to 2019 amid tightening budgets, dropping the state’s public universities even further behind comparable universities around the country, officials said. The state Legislature must still approve the regents’ request, which seeks state money to cover the increases.

Meanwhile, salary data for more than 35,000 employees across the state lays out the impact of some of the budgetary crunches facing the UW System.

Wisconsin Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Report: Accountability under the “Every Student Succeeds Act”

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:

The Every Student Succeeds Act – a major federal education law – requires DPI to identify the lowest performing public schools and schools with low performing student groups in each state. Each state outlined their plans for this new federal accountability system, in which the state detailed their accountability indicators, and methodologies for scoring and reporting performance on the indicators, in plans submitted to the US Department of Education.

Wisconsin’s plan was approved by the US Department of Education in January 2018. The 2017-18 school year is the first year of ESSA Accountability Reports.

While the federal accountability system is intended to identify the schools most in need of support and improvement, DPI reports results for all public schools in the state (including those with no identifications) because providing data to educators working to close Wisconsin’s achievement gaps is critically important.

Unlike the state accountability system, ESSA only applies to public schools; it does not apply to private schools participating in the Parental Choice Programs. To compare the state and federal accountability systems, please refer to the Accountability Crosswalk.

2017-2018 data (excel).

Notes, via Chan Stroman:

“ESSA requires that report cards be concise, understandable and accessible to the public.”

On The Madison School District:

MMSD’s IDEA determination: “Needs assistance.” Disproportionality determination not available yet. MMSD’s ESSA determinations (52 schools): 16 schools ID’d for Targeted Support; 2 schools for Additional Targeted Support; 7 schools for Targeted and Additional Targeted Support.

Michigan’s annual education reports.

Iowa School Performance Reports.

Illinois’ Report Cards.

Minnesota Report Card.

Parents can’t use data/reports if they don’t know where to find them.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), lead for years by our current Governor, recently provided thousands of elementary teacher content knowledge requirement waivers (Foundations of Reading).

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. This, despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts; currently about $20,000 per student.

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

Commentary on a recent Madison Whitehorse Middle School Incident

Chris Rickert:

According to the reports:

Teacher Barbara Pietz said the girl earlier that day had stuck her hand in her classroom and sprayed Febreze air freshener. Pietz, who told police she has a fragrance sensitivity, said she closed the door to keep the odor out, but the girl came by and sprayed the room again.

In the next period, the girl arrived late for her class and refused instructions to go to her seat, instead sitting with friends, listening to music and disrupting the class.

The teacher called special education assistant Tammy Gue to the classroom for help. Gue, in turn, called in Mueller-Owens, who tried to guide the girl out into the hallway.

She eventually agreed to leave and told police that Mueller-Owens pushed her out the door of the classroom and started punching her. Mueller-Owens told police that as she was leaving the room, she tried to slam the door but he stopped it with his foot, and when he followed her out of the classroom, she started punching him.

A police officer who first reviewed video from a camera stationed in the classroom hallway said it was difficult to see what happened from the camera’s angle, but that it didn’t appear either the girl or Mueller-Owens started punching the other.

Police Report

How Political Science Became Irrelevant

Michael Desch:

In a 2008 speech to the Association of American Universities, the former Texas A&M University president and then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates declared that “we must again embrace eggheads and ideas.” He went on to recall the role of universities as “vital centers of new research” during the Cold War. The late Thomas Schelling would have agreed. The Harvard economist and Nobel laureate once described “a wholly unprecedented ‘demand’ for the results of theoretical work. … Unlike any other country … the United States had a government permeable not only by academic ideas but by academic people.”

Gates’s efforts to bridge the gap between Beltway and ivory tower came at a time when it was growing wider, and indeed, that gap has continued to grow in the years since. According to a Teaching, Research & International Policy Project survey, a regular poll of international-­relations scholars, very few believe they should not contribute to policy making in some way. Yet a majority also recognize that the state-of-the-art approaches of academic social science are precisely those approaches that policy makers find least helpful. A related poll of senior national-security decision-makers confirmed that, for the most part, academic social science is not giving them what they want.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that scholars increasingly privilege rigor over relevance. That has become strikingly apparent in the subfield of international security (the part of political science that once most successfully balanced those tensions), and has now fully permeated political science as a whole. This skewed set of intellectual priorities — and the field’s transition into a cult of the irrelevant — is the unintended result of disciplinary professionalization.

Google employees aren’t convinced that Dragonfly is dead

Shannon Liao:

Some Google employees believe they found evidence that Google’s plans to launch a censored search engine — codenamed “Dragonfly” — in China are still ongoing, according to a new report from The Intercept. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai told US regulators last year that Google had “no plans” to launch the censored search engine “right now.” But some Google employees, unsatisfied and suspicious, have found internal evidence that suggests development has continued.

Employees spotted around 500 changes to Dragonfly-related code in December. Another 400 changes were made to the code in January, indicating to the employees that the project was still ongoing. They also investigated the company budgeting plans and saw that about 100 workers were still grouped under the budget associated with Project Dragonfly.

Reached for comment, Google denied that work had continued on Dragonfly. “This speculation is wholly inaccurate. Quite simply: there’s no work happening on Dragonfly,” a Google representative told The Verge. “As we’ve said for many months, we have no plans to launch Search in China and there is no work being undertaken on such a project. Team members have moved to new projects.”

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

Cal State remedial education reforms help thousands more students pass college-level math classes

Teresa Watanabe:

The first results are in for the Cal State system’s controversial move last year to eliminate non-credit remedial classes and replace them with regular courses, buttressed with extra support, that count toward an undergraduate degree. Last fall, nearly 7,800 students like Perez were able to pass those higher-level math classes, according to CSU data released Monday.

In both 2017 and 2018, about the same number of first-year students — 17,400 — were unprepared for college-level math courses. About two-thirds of those who enrolled in one anyway succeeded under both the old and new systems. But the number of students who did so under the new reforms increased dramatically — 7,787 students last fall, compared to just 950 the previous year.

“What’s exciting to me about this data is that it refutes a theory that … all of these students who are unprepared for college math [will] fail,” said James T. Minor, a CSU assistant vice chancellor. “The data simply do not support that. Disproportionately, low-income, black and brown students are now earning college credit.”

21% of University of Wisconsin System Freshman Require Remedial Math.

More, here.

How Political Science Became Irrelevant

Michael Desch:

In a 2008 speech to the Association of American Universities, the former Texas A&M University president and then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates declared that “we must again embrace eggheads and ideas.” He went on to recall the role of universities as “vital centers of new research” during the Cold War. The late Thomas Schelling would have agreed. The Harvard economist and Nobel laureate once described “a wholly unprecedented ‘demand’ for the results of theoretical work. … Unlike any other country … the United States had a government permeable not only by academic ideas but by academic people.”

Gates’s efforts to bridge the gap between Beltway and ivory tower came at a time when it was growing wider, and indeed, that gap has continued to grow in the years since. According to a Teaching, Research & International Policy Project survey, a regular poll of international-­relations scholars, very few believe they should not contribute to policy making in some way. Yet a majority also recognize that the state-of-the-art approaches of academic social science are precisely those approaches that policy makers find least helpful. A related poll of senior national-security decision-makers confirmed that, for the most part, academic social science is not giving them what they want.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that scholars increasingly privilege rigor over relevance. That has become strikingly apparent in the subfield of international security (the part of political science that once most successfully balanced those tensions), and has now fully permeated political science as a whole. This skewed set of intellectual priorities — and the field’s transition into a cult of the irrelevant — is the unintended result of disciplinary professionalization.

Learning Chess at Forty

Tom Vanderbilt:

My 4-year-old daughter and I were deep into a game of checkers one day about three years ago when her eye drifted to a nearby table. There, a black and white board bristled with far more interesting figures, like horses and castles. “What’s that?” she asked. “Chess,” I replied. “Can we play?” I nodded absently.


There was just one problem: I didn’t know how. I dimly remembered having learned the basic moves in elementary school, but it never stuck. This fact vaguely haunted me through my life; idle chessboards in hotel lobbies or puzzles in weekend newspaper supplements teased me like reproachful riddles.

And so I decided I would learn, if only so I could teach my daughter. The basic moves were easy enough to pick up—a few hours hunched over my smartphone at kids’ birthday parties or waiting in line at the grocery store. It soon became apparent, however, that I had no concept of the larger strategy. The chess literature was dauntingly huge, and achingly specific, with several-hundred-page tomes devoted to unpacking single openings. The endgame literature alone could drown a person.

Workism Is Making Americans Miserable

Derek Thompson:

The decline of traditional faith in America has coincided with an explosion of new atheisms. Some people worship beauty, some worship political identities, and others worship their children. But everybody worships something. And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants.

What is workism? It is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.

Homo industrious is not new to the American landscape. The American dream—that hoary mythology that hard work always guarantees upward mobility—has for more than a century made the U.S. obsessed with material success and the exhaustive striving required to earn it.

No large country in the world as productive as the United States averages more hours of work a year. And the gap between the U.S. and other countries is growing. Between 1950 and 2012, annual hours worked per employee fell by about 40 percent in Germany and the Netherlands—but by only 10 percent in the United States. Americans “work longer hours, have shorter vacations, get less in unemployment, disability, and retirement benefits, and retire later, than people in comparably rich societies,” wrote Samuel P. Huntington in his 2005 book Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity.

How the medium shapes the message: Printing and the rise of the arts and sciences

C. Jara-Figueroa, Amy Z. Yu, César A. Hidalgo:

Communication technologies, from printing to social media, affect our historical records by changing the way ideas are spread and recorded. Yet, finding statistical evidence of this fact has been challenging. Here we combine a common causal inference technique (instrumental variable estimation) with a dataset on nearly forty thousand biographies from Wikipedia (Pantheon 2.0), to study the effect of the introduction of printing in European cities on Wikipedia’s digital biographical records. By using a city’s distance to Mainz as an instrument for the adoption of the movable type press, we show that European cities that adopted printing earlier were more likely to become the birthplace of a famous scientist or artist during the years following the invention of printing. We bring these findings to recent communication technologies by showing that the number of radios and televisions in a country correlates with the number of globally famous performing artists and sports players born in that country, even after controlling for GDP, population, and including country and year fixed effects. These findings support the hypothesis that the introduction of communication technologies can bias historical records in the direction of the content that is best suited for each technology.

“For all the worries about middle-aged men, it is actually men at the younger end of the prime-age years who have seen the sharpest drop in employment rates:”

Anne Holmquist:

As the chart below shows, these young men are not the type who have chosen to bypass college, either. Rather, it is the young men who have put a number of years toward higher education that are suffering. Reeves and Krause explain:

“The negative impact of low levels of education on work rates is significant – and essentially the same for men and women. The employment rate among young adult women with just a high school diploma has dropped by 8.9 percentage points. For men of the same age group, the fall is 9.6 percentage points. Since there are more men with less education, this explains some of the gender difference in employment rate changes.

But it is actually among the better educated that the gender gap emerges. Among those aged 25-34 with a college degree, the male employment rate has dropped twice that of women:”

Farm Aid for the Big House

Jack Norton and Jacob Kang-Brown:

RRural communities are in the midst of a quiet jail boom, financed in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over the last two decades, the USDA has been funding jail construction through a program designed to finance infrastructure like emergency services, hospitals, fire stations, and community centers in agricultural areas. But these funds are now increasingly being directed to helping some rural counties build new, expanded jails, and helping others stay in the business of immigrant detention.

This past summer, the Trump administration announced that the USDA would give farmers up to $12 billion around harvest time to insulate them from the effects of the administration’s trade wars. At the same time, according to public records, the Trump administration also increased USDA investment in jail construction. Over the past four decades, and in the context of increasing inequality and economic decline in rural areas, the construction and expansion of the infrastructure of incarceration has been justified in terms of rural development. That the USDA is funding jails shows just how insidious this idea has become in terms of federal policy.

In upstate New York, Greene County is going forward with a $39 million low-interest loan application to the USDA to build a massive new jail that many in the community simply do not want. And, in Baker County, Florida, a USDA refinancing loan is essentially bailing out investors in a large, county-run jail and immigrant detention center.

Will Gene Editing Increase Inequality?

FT Rethink:

A Chinese scientist claims to have created the world’s first genome-edited babies, but won’t this cause more inequality in society? Until now trials in gene editing have targeted genetic disorders, but science commentator Anjana Ahuja believes the emphasis will now move to genetic enhancement. She says the rich will benefit most and we’ve barely begun to consider the consequences.

BOY WITH AUTISM THE YOUNGEST TO ATTEND OXFORD UNIVERSITY AT AGE 6

Fino:

At the age of three, Beckford could read fluently using phonics. He learned to speak Japanese and even taught himself to touch-type on a computer before he could learn to write.

“Since the age of four, I was on my dad’s laptop and it had a body simulator where I would pull out organs,” said Beckford.

In 2011, his father became aware of a programme at Oxford University that was specific aimed at children between the age of eight and thirteen.

To challenge his son, Knox Daniel wrote to Oxford with the hopes of getting admission for his child even though he was younger than the age prescribed for the programme.

The Coarsening Of America

Bob Lefsetz:

But today’s parents just want their kids to get a gig. That’s the job of college, but it shouldn’t be. Didn’t Steve Jobs testify as to the power of the liberal arts? He learned calligraphy at Reed, even if he did drop out, supposedly because he didn’t want to spend his parents’ money. But now the price of higher education has outstripped inflation and you can’t get a job at all without a degree and parents want value for their dollars and is that what education should be all about?

No.

Somewhere along the line, the country took a wrong turn. I can say when, but half the country will flip out. That’s right, Ronald Reagan legitimized greed and sowed the seeds of income inequality. That’s what the pursuit of “freedom” will get you. Then again, it’s hard to learn the truth when states rewrite history. America is no longer in pursuit of the truth, but bias. Everybody’s working the refs, everybody’s got an agenda, and the end result is few know what is going on, including the media. The media is a business oftentimes run by those holier-than-thou. Let me get this straight, AOC got elected and then suddenly the whole country, or at least the Democratic Party, skewed left? As for the right, they don’t realize we already live under socialism. Now this same media is saying the country is moving to the center and if you listen you know…they’ve got no contact with the people making the decisions. I know, because my inbox is gonna explode as a result of this paragraph, unless you’re on the front lines you’re clueless, but no one wants to reside there, because the blowback is horrifying. Used to be you were rich and famous and insulated, but that no longer applies, especially in the land of entertainment, the haven of nincompoops, especially in music, because…

Everybody with a brain is out.

Now I’ll admit, when I went to school parents wanted their kids to be doctors and lawyers. But those professions pay a pittance compared to the banks and tech, and the truth is boomer doctors are giving up practice and I know more non-practicing attorneys than those writing contracts and going to court. You see these people woke up, just like the scions of today’s parents will…is this what I really want to do, do I want to waste my life in pursuit of cash?

K-12 Governance Diversity: Madison Commentary

Negassi Tesfamichael:

In the Seat 4 race, candidate David Blaska has said there should be a drive-through window at the Doyle Administration Building to approve more charter schools. His opponent, Ali Muldrow — who was endorsed by the influential Madison Teachers Inc. before the Feb. 19 primary — has two children who attend Isthmus Montessori Academy.

Muldrow has said she does not support school vouchers or any form of privatizing public education, while noting that some public charter schools are helpful such as Nuestro Mundo.

Though unsuccessful in his bid to make it through the Seat 5 primary earlier this month, then-Seat 5 candidate Amos Roe built a campaign almost exclusively on promoting voucher schools and charter schools.

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

Yet, Madison spends far more than most taxpayer funded K-12 schools, now atriums $20,000 per student.

A majority of the Madison school board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school.

Chicago Special Ed Parents Say Students Still Being Denied Services

Sarah Karp:

Advocates and parents in Chicago say students with disabilities are still being denied needed services, even though a state monitor is now overseeing the public school system’s special education program.

They submitted a letter Tuesday to newly appointed Illinois State Board of Education members calling out the state monitor for not doing more to force improvement. Among other things, they say the state monitor has not offered enough trainings for teachers and parents and is not collecting the information needed to devise an improvement plan.

The advocates say they are especially disappointed that more has not been done to repair damage to students who were denied services. A state investigation found that a Chicago Public Schools overhaul of special education resulted in illegal denials of services to students.

Advocates say that in order to accomplish all that needs to be done, the state monitor needs to hire additional staff.

Gym Class Is So Bad, Kids Are Skipping School to Avoid It

Alia Wong:

It’s almost too easy to satirize physical education, better known by its eye-roll-inducing abbreviation P.E. From Clueless to Superbad to Spiderman: Homecoming, parodies of gym class are a pop-culture darling. Perhaps that’s because they speak to one of America’s fundamental truths: For many kids, P.E. is terrible.

A recent working paper focused on a massive P.E. initiative in Texas captures this reality. Analyzing data out of the state’s Texas Fitness Now program—a $37 million endeavor to improve middle schoolers’ fitness, academic achievement, and behavior by requiring them to participate in P.E. every day—the researchers concluded that the daily mandate didn’t have any positive impact on kids’ health or educational outcome. On the contrary: They found that the program, which ran from 2007 to 2011, actually had detrimental effects, correlating with an uptick in discipline and absence rates.

Does social status still matter when you reach a certain age?

Lucy Kellaway:

Jonathan Shaw, a former marketing executive, says the reason is all about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — at the top of which sits some sort of self-actualisation.

“I think lots of us as we get older start to question whether our lives have been well spent,” he says. “Teaching brings a different status and one that’s more relevant to a 50-year-old me than a 25-year-old me.”

Lara Agnew, a former documentary maker who now teaches English, thinks age had changed her idea of what status means.

“I think when we are young we imagine status comes from the outside. The approval, the promotion, the competition — all account for a ‘rise’, as it were, as viewed from the outside.

“Now I am ancient, I realise that my ideas about status come much more from the inside. My own ideas about my contribution, my worth, are what count as status.”

Why Are So Few Male Students Studying Abroad?

Jeffrey Selinger:

Even as new enrollments of international students at colleges in the United States have declined over the past two years, the number of American students studying abroad continues to grow. Some 332,700 students studied overseas in the 2016–17 academic year, up 17 percent from five years ago and 27 percent from a decade ago.

But one group of students is underrepresented in the surge of undergraduates going overseas: men. In 2016–17, women accounted for more than two-thirds of American students studying abroad, a proportion that has remained constant for more than a decade.

Colleges have long blamed the gender disparity on the simple fact that women outnumber men on campuses and tend to major in disciplines that historically have accounted for a large share of overseas programs, such as the humanities, the social sciences, and foreign languages. Meanwhile, fields dominated by men, mostly STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines, have a reputation for being less hospitable to overseas study because of demanding degree requirements.

But STEM majors now represent the largest group of students abroad, making up a quarter of all undergrads overseas. Business, another major popular with men, comes in a close second, at 21 percent. Both academic fields have surpassed the social sciences, which led the pack until 2012.

Facebook won’t let you opt-out of its phone number ‘look up’ setting

Zack Whittaker:

Users are complaining that the phone number Facebook hassled them to use to secure their account with two-factor authentication has also been associated with their user profile — which anyone can use to “look up” their profile.

Worse, Facebook doesn’t give you an option to opt-out.

Last year, Facebook was forced to admit that after months of pestering its users to switch on two-factor by signing up their phone number, it was also using those phone numbers to target users with ads. But some users are finding out just now that Facebook’s default setting allows everyone — with or without an account — to look up a user profile based off the same phone number previously added to their account.

The recent hubbub began today after a tweet by Jeremy Burge blew up, criticizing Facebook’s collection and use of phone numbers, which he likened to “a unique ID that is used to link your identity across every platform on the internet.”

Historical Illiteracy Exhibit [large number]

TXRed:

So, a group of eager anti-slavery activists attacked yet another Confederate statue, trying to melt it or (it was made of stone) heat and then crack it, bringing down another hated symbol of oppression and racism…

Pro-tip for protestors: Not everyone named Lee was related to Robert E.

Someone with more gall than sense tried to destroy the statue of Gen. William C. Lee, a WWII paratrooper. You know, the guys who jumped from airplanes to fight the original NAZIs and real Fascists? Yeaaaahhhhh.

I Was 35 When I Discovered I’m on the Autism Spectrum

Zack Smith:

“Do you hate crowds, especially at supermarkets and restaurants?”

I avoided eye contact, which I knew I wasn’t supposed to do. “Yes.”

If Dr. P. noticed, she was too busy looking at the questionnaire to let on. “Do you tend to repeat heard words, parts of words, or TV commercials?”

I immediately flashed back to middle school, randomly repeating such phrases from TV as, “I don’t think so, Tim,” from Home Improvement. I was tempted to respond that way this time. Instead, I just replied with another, “Yes.”

“Do you have trouble sustaining conversations?”

“Yes.”

“Is your voice often louder than the situation requires?”

Denver Public Schools begins cutting 150 central office positions to pay for teacher raises

Erica Metzger:

Denver Public Schools began the process this week of cutting more than 150 administrative positions from its central office, which will free up $17 million for raises for teachers and other district employees, as well as additional money for special education services.

The Denver district has far more administrators than others in Colorado, and Superintendent Susana Cordova has said repeatedly that the district needs to have fewer initiatives and focus on doing a smaller number of things well.

“We have too many priorities, too many people working on those priorities, and not enough impact coming out of that,” Cordova told union negotiators at a bargaining session before the teachers strike. “I am 100 percent committed to right-sizing what the central office looks like.”

Over the course of negotiations before and during the strike, Cordova committed to even larger cuts than she originally laid out in order to put more money into teacher compensation. She also eliminated bonuses for many administrators.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Politics, Deficits and Money Printing

Larry Summers:

There is widespread frustration with the performance of the economy. Traditional policy approaches are not delivering hoped-for results. A relatively unpopular president is loathed to an unusual extent by a frustrated opposition party that lost the previous presidential election while running a pillar of its establishment. And altered economic conditions have led to the development of new economic ideas that reflect a significant break with previous orthodoxy.

And now, these new ideas are being oversimplified and exaggerated by fringe economists who hold them out as offering the proverbial free lunch: the ability of the government to spend more without imposing any burden on anyone.

During the late 1970s, this was the story of supply-side, Laffer-curve economics. It began with the valid idea that taxes had important incentive effects and that, in conceivable circumstances, tax cuts could raise revenue. It grew into the ludicrous idea that tax cuts would always pay for themselves, and this view was then adopted by a frustrated extreme wing of a major political party.

Madison’s K-12 spending notes, links, history and charts.

Civics: The First Amendment and Yale Law School

Aaron Haviland:

NALSA (Native American Law Students Association) said ADF employees were not welcome on their “ancestral lands.” The Yale Law Women, Yale Law Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, and the Women of Color Collective joined, as did the American Constitution Society, the Yale Law Democrats, and the First Generation Professionals.

In addition to the boycott, some students said people who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. One student emailed a list of the Federalist Society board members (publicly available information) so students would know whom to “thank” for this event.

The event took place two days later. Around 30 people attended. The boycotters decorated the front door with rainbow posters, but mostly stuck to protests and support groups in other rooms. The one disruption occurred near the end of the event, when three students walked in, rifled through empty pizza boxes, and left with a couple leftovers. On their way out, one of the protestors blew us a kiss and gave us the middle finger.

The Plot Against Low-Income Students

Wall Street Journal:

Robert Shireman was exiled from the Obama Administration after getting caught playing footsie with a short-seller betting against for-profit colleges. We lost track of him, but he was recently spotted in Albany canoodling with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to kill for-profit colleges in the state.

Readers may recall that Mr. Shireman executed the government takeover and expansion of student loans in the early Obama years. He then inspired the 2011 Obama gainful-employment rule that was tossed by federal courts. He left the Education Department after news reports chronicled how he had conferred with outside groups and short-seller Steven Eisman. He has continued to drive his ideological war on for-profits from the liberal Century Foundation.

The periodic table is 150 years old this week

The Economist:

“LA république n’a pas besoin de savants ni de chimistes.” With that curt dismissal a court in revolutionary France cut short the life of Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, argued by some to be the greatest chemist of all. Lavoisier’s sin was tax farming. He had been a member of the firm that collected the monarchy’s various imposts and then, having taken its cut, passed what remained on to the royal treasury. That he and many of his fellow farmers met their ends beneath a guillotine’s blade is no surprise. What had distinguished Lavoisier from his fellows, though, was what he chose to spend his income on. For much of it went to create the best-equipped chemistry laboratory in Europe.

Nothing comes of nothing. Where the story of the periodic table of the elements really starts is debatable. But Lavoisier’s laboratory is as good a place as any to begin, for it was Lavoisier who published the first putatively comprehensive list of chemical elements—substances incapable of being broken down by chemical reactions into other substances—and it was Lavoisier and his wife Marie-Anne who pioneered the technique of measuring quantitatively what went into and came out of a chemical reaction, as a way of getting to the heart of what such a reaction really is.

The Trump Administration’s Bold New School-Choice Plan

John Schilling:

While most of the K–12 educational-funding and -policy decisions are appropriately housed in the states, an innovative new policy idea would allow the federal government to play a constructive role in expanding educational opportunity in America. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has unveiled a proposal for Education Freedom Scholarships, with corresponding legislation introduced by Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Bradley Byrne. The plan would invest $5 billion annually in America’s students by allowing individuals and businesses to make contributions to in-state, non-profit Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that provide scholarships to students. Contributors would receive a non‐refundable, dollar‐for‐dollar federal tax credit in return for their donations. No contributor would be allowed a total tax benefit greater than the amount of their contribution, and not a single dollar would be taken away from public schools and the students who attend them.

The plan mandates that scholarships must be used for an individual student’s elementary or secondary education, or for their career and technical education. Importantly, the plan’s implementation — including governance of SGOs, education providers, and education expenses as well as student-eligibility decisions — would be left to each state that chooses to participate. The plan would require states to distribute at least 90 percent of the funds as scholarships. Other than that, everything else about the program would be left up to each state.

To be clear, this legislation would not create a new federal program. No state or SGO would be forced to participate, and no family would be forced to accept a scholarship. The legislation respects federalism, the autonomy of parents and education providers, and the appropriate role of the states in K–12 education. It leverages the tax code in an innovative way to facilitate greater educational opportunity, and ultimately greater economic benefit for millions of students.

Why is this legislation needed? Our nation’s K–12 system is denying too many children access to a high-quality education; access to such an education is a moral and economic imperative; and school choice is overwhelmingly supported by voters and it works.

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

Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher’s Take

Benjamin Conlon:

Let’s imagine a seventh grader. He’s a quiet kid, polite, with a few friends. Just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill twelve-year-old. We’ll call him Brian. Brian’s halfway through seventh grade and for the first time, he’s starting to wonder where he falls in the social hierarchy at school. He’s thinking about his clothes a little bit, his shoes too. He’s conscious of how others perceive him, but he’s not that conscious of it.

He goes home each day and from the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 a.m., he has a break from the social pressures of middle school. Most evenings, he doesn’t have a care in the world. The year is 2008.

Brian has a cell phone, but it’s off most of the time. After all, it doesn’t do much. If friends want to get in touch, they call the house. The only time large groups of seventh graders come together is at school dances. If Brian feels uncomfortable with that, he can skip the dance. He can talk to teachers about day-to-day problems. Teachers have pretty good control over what happens at school.

Oakland teacher union preparing for ‘indefinite strike’

David DeBolt:

Three days before a scheduled strike, the president of the Oakland Unified teacher union gave no indication educators and the district were any closer to a deal that would avoid picket lines at schools.

Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, on Monday said the union representing 3,000 members is prepared for an “indefinite strike” beginning Thursday. The union called for a strike on Saturday, after two years of failed negotiations.

“We hope this is a short strike and that the district listens to the community, to teachers and students,” Brown said before a meeting with district teachers at a West Oakland church.

Oakland Unified spokesman John Sasaki did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, a federal holiday in which schools and the district office were closed. Sasaki earlier said the union has not responded to the district’s request to resume negotiations. In response, Brown said the union has negotiated since 2017 and is waiting for the district to send a suitable proposal to avoid a strike.

Oakland Unified officials are working to staff classrooms with “emergency temporary teachers” and considering consolidating classes, changing school schedules and bringing administrators into classrooms to teach.

What does Google know about me?

Gabriel Weinberg:

Did you know that unlike searching on DuckDuckGo, when you search on Google, they keep your search history forever? That means they know every search you’ve ever done on Google. That alone is pretty scary, but it’s just the shallow end of the very deep pool of data that they try to collect on people.

What most people don’t realize is that even if you don’t use any Google products directly, they’re still trying to track as much as they can about you. Google trackers have been found on 75% of the top million websites. This means they’re also trying to track most everywhere you go on the internet, trying to slurp up your browsing history!

Most people also don’t know that Google runs most of the ads you see across the internet and in apps – you know those ones that follow you around everywhere? Yup, that’s Google, too. They aren’t really a search company anymore – they’re a tracking company. They are tracking as much as they can for these annoying and intrusive ads, including recording every time you see them, where you saw them, if you clicked on them, etc.

But even that’s not all…

Revealed: Facebook’s global lobbying against data privacy laws

Carole Cadwalladr and Duncan Campbell:

The Davos meetings are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Facebook’s global efforts to win influence. The documents reveals how in Canada and Malaysia it used the promise of siting a new data centre with the prospect of job creation to win legislative guarantees. When the Canadians hesitated over granting the concession Facebook wanted, the memo notes: “Sheryl took a firm approach and outlined that a decision on the data center was imminent. She emphasized that if we could not get comfort from the Canadian government on the jurisdiction issue, we had other options.” The minister supplied the agreement Facebook required by the end of the day, it notes.

Naming Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 schools

Karen Rivedal:

OK, so some of these were easy. Who is John F. Kennedy Elementary School named for? Why is it called West High? Which watery vista does Lake View Elementary, located maybe a mile off Lake Mendota, refer to?

Trick question. Could be Lake Mendota, or the lake or lagoon in Warner Park.

And it gets trickier than that. Wright Middle School, for example, is not named for the Wright family you might first think of, and for those not dual-language immersed, what does “nuestro mundo” mean? Plus, who in the world was Increase Allen Lapham, anyway?

Scroll on for answers to those questions and many more regarding the origin of the names for each of the 32 elementary schools, 12 middle schools and 4 main high schools in the Madison School District.

Can Chapel Hill Take a Joke With a Point?

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf:

A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alleges that the institution took down her parody website that lampooned officials’ handling of race relations and only restored it after a lawyer and civil rights group intervened.

The website, called UNC Anti-Racist Jeopardy, modeled off the game show, asked questions about the university’s history and ties to racism and police and administrators’ interactions with activists. For instance, in the category “violence against students,” the game asks what was deployed against students at a dance party in August. Answer: pepper spray.

The accusations of censorship come at a particularly strained time for the University of North Carolina System’s flagship. UNC has been embroiled in a debate on the Silent Sam Confederate monument. And the website — which officials considered “personal work” and not appropriate for the university’s service — was shut down despite many other instances where students’ blogs were allowed to remain up. The student, Annie Simpson, said administrators likely flagged her creation because of her campus activism, partially around the Silent Sam statue.

What to do about the monument, which protesters tore down in August, seemingly spurred the exit of Carol L. Folt, former UNC chancellor. Folt announced her resignation simultaneously with the decision to remove the remnants of Silent Sam from the center of campus, a controversial move that many students celebrated but that did not erase the lingering tensions between them and politicians who liked the idea of a Confederate statue on campus.

Joanne Peters Denny, UNC spokeswoman, declined to provide additional comment.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: The Middle Class Is Shrinking Everywhere — In Chicago It’s Almost Gone

Linda Lutton:

Chicago’s middle class, once the backbone of the city, is declining so swiftly that it’s almost gone, and a set of maps from a local university lays that reality bare.

The dynamic stands to affect nearly everything about Chicago going forward, from politics to schools to who will live here.

“It raises a lot of questions as to what kind of city it will be,” said Janet Smith, co-director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which compiled the maps that document Chicago’s shrinking middle class — and an increasingly polarized city — over the past five decades.

Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.

UIC’s maps show that fully half of the city was middle income in 1970, including large swaths on every side of town. Today, just 16 percent of the city’s 797 census tracts are considered middle income. Those middle income areas are confined mostly to the corners of the city, and to thin strips between areas of wealth and poverty.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, stories and insider events.

“We have two cities,” said Smith, who notes other cities are headed in a similar direction. “We have the rich and we have the poor.”

Why Connecticut parents are challenging racial quotas in our kids’ schools

Gwen Samuel:

It’s been 65 years since the Supreme Court ruled in the historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. That landmark ruling, the outcome of 13 courageous black parents’ challenge to an unjust public education system, was a milestone in the civil rights struggle.

But if you thought the battle to end discrimination against black and Hispanic kids in public schools was won, guess again: Communities are still being fractured by race in Connecticut, where children are routinely denied educational opportunities based on their skin color.

The irony is that this time the discrimination is not the result of blatant racism. The law intended to correct education injustice against marginalized kids is actually blocking their access to safe quality schools and educational opportunities by implementing a rigid quota system that actually perpetuates discrimination.

The painful reality is Connecticut’s education system is failing black and Hispanic children who need access to quality opportunities. It’s a classic case of unintended consequences.

Boyce Buchanon:

A UC Berkeley student is taking legal action against the UC Board of Regents in order to reverse a “groundless” suspension she received from the campus after she was found more likely than not to have violated Title IX policy.

On Feb. 27, a case was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda against the UC regents by a student facing two years of suspension, along with other sanctions, effective until May 2020.

The investigation into the plaintiff began after a former partner of the student filed a complaint against her. A second partner was interviewed, and after his testimony, the university opened another investigation of the petitioner.

According to the lawsuit, Ben Fils, a case manager and conduct coordinator with the Center for Student Conduct, determined that in both cases, there was a “preponderance of evidence” that the petitioner had violated the university’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, or SVSH, Policy against stalking and sexual harassment, along with some provisions in the UC Code of Conduct related to harassment.

Fils also determined that in the original complainant’s case, the petitioner was found more likely than not to have violated a no-contact directive, although the lawsuit argues that the accused did not know of the directive at the time of the violation. At that time, Fils imposed sanctions against the petitioner.

Civics: China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit’ system

Lily Kuo:

China blocked 23 million “discredited” travellers from buying plane or train tickets last year as part of the country’s controversial “social credit” system aimed at improving the behaviour of citizens.

According to the National Public Credit Information Centre’s 2018 report, 17.5 million people were banned from buying flights and 5.5 million barred from purchasing high-speed train tickets because of social credit offences. The report released last week said: “Once discredited, limited everywhere”.

The social credit system aims to incentivise “trustworthy” behaviour through penalties as well as rewards. According to a government document about the system dating from 2014, the aim is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

Social credit offences range from not paying individual taxes or fines to spreading false information and taking drugs. More minor violations include using expired tickets, smoking on a train or not walking a dog on a leash.

Local governments and agencies have been piloting aspects of the system, which will eventually give every Chinese citizen a personalised score. Critics saidauthorities in China were using technology and big data to create an Orwellian state of mass surveillance and control.

2004-2019 Wisconsin K-12 Spending: Property Tax & Redistributed Taxpayer funds

Tap for a larger version.

Raw data [Excel Numbers] via Sara Hynek.

Note that taxpayer supported K-12 school districts receive funds from a variety of sources, including federal taxpayer funds along with local fees.

Madison plans to spend $518,955,288 during the 2018-2019 school year. That’s about $20,000 per student (26,917, which includes 4k), which is far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 schools, nearly 3X voucher organizations, for example. Much more on spending comparisons, here.

An “emphasis on adult employment“.

“The most politically intolerant people seem to be white, urban, highly educated, older and highly partisan themselves, according to the @PredictWise model”

Amanda Ripley Rekha Tenjarla Angela Y. He:

In general, the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves. This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity. They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents. (In fact, people who went to graduate school have the least amount of political disagreement in their lives, as Mutz describes in her book Hearing the Other Side.) By contrast, many nonwhite Americans routinely encounter political disagreement. They have more diverse social networks, politically speaking, and therefore tend to have more complicated views of the other side, whatever side that may be.

We see this dynamic in the heat map. In some parts of the country, including swaths of North Carolina and upstate New York, people still seem to give their fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt, even when they disagree. In other places, including much of Massachusetts and Florida, people appear to have far less tolerance for political difference. They may be quicker to assume the worst about their political counterparts, on average. (For an in-depth portrait of one of the more politically tolerant counties in America, see our accompanying story on Watertown, New York.)

To do this assessment, PredictWise first partnered with Pollfish to run a nationwide poll of 2,000 adults to capture people’s feelings about the other party. The survey asked how people would feel if a close family member married a Republican or a Democrat; how well they think the terms selfish, compassionate, or patriotic describe Democrats versus Republicans; and other questions designed to capture sentiments about political differences.

Based on the survey results, Tobias Konitzer, the co-founder of PredictWise, investigated which demographic characteristics seemed to correlate with partisan prejudice. He found, for example, that age, race, urbanicity, partisan loyalty, and education did coincide with more prejudice (but gender did not). In this way, he created a kind of profile of contemporary partisan prejudice.

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

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: State and Local tax practices

Ben Steverman:

By setting a $10,000 cap on how much Americans can deduct in state and local taxes, or SALT for short, Washington created a pricey problem for the privileged in some parts of the country. Now that the first tax season under the overhaul is here, that reality is hitting home—and the thought of moving to a low-tax state may suddenly look more attractive.

But even before the law, there were rich people in blue states trying this strategy. Some actually moved, while some just pretended to—and that’s where state tax auditors come in. Officials in places such as California and New York don’t make it easy for the rich to say goodbye, with investigators who dig deep, forcing residents to prove they really have cut ties in favor of cheaper pastures.

“You have to abandon the old and establish the new,” said Karen Tenenbaum, a New York lawyer who specializes in residency disputes. “The more ties you cut, the better—auditors like to see a moving van and an itemized list of what was moved.”

James Gazzale, a spokesman for New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance, echoed her sentiment, albeit more formally. “Ensuring taxpayers pay their fair share is a top priority; therefore, our nonresident audit program continues to be very active,” he said.

Here are a few of the more colorful examples of litigation between wealthy residents who claimed to have moved and jilted states that didn’t quite believe them.

Why Are Students Ditching the History Major?

Emma Pettit:

If the decline of the humanities already keeps you up at night, a new article, published by the American Historical Association, won’t help much.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, writes Benjamin M. Schmidt in Perspectives on History, undergraduate majors have been shifting away from the humanities. And of all the disciplines, history has fared the worst, even as college and university enrollments have grown.

China Infiltrating U.S. Education System in Propaganda Coup

Adam Kredo:

The Chinese government has infiltrated nearly every sector of the U.S. education system via a package of programs and monetary schemes that seek to indoctrinate American children and bring the Communist government’s propaganda into the classroom, according to a new report by a Senate investigatory body.

The wide-ranging report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has found that China has spent nearly $200 million on educational entities known as Confucius Institutes. These programs have been instated in U.S. schools across the country with the mission of indoctrinating students and painting a sympathetic portrait of the Chinese Communist government, according to the report.

The institutes are shrouded in mystery and have been the cause of much consternation on Capitol Hill and elsewhere as information about their reach and power in the United States becomes clearer.

While the programs appear on their surface to be mundane—mainly focusing on language and cultural issues—the Senate committee found that these institutes constitute a threat to the United States. The Chinese government, the committee found, “is attempting to change the impression in the United States and around the world that China is an economic and security threat.”

Civics: “I do have a very serious problem as a lawyer with the wholesale charging of people without an investigation”

Brian Doherty:

From the start, lawyers and others pointed out that it was very unlikely indeed that all the arrested had committed any crimes at all, and that the initial $1 million bond for all of them charged with a blanket crime of “engaging in organized criminal activity” seemed unreasonably punitive. The police strove in the aftermath to keep a detailed account of what actually happened from reaching the public eye, or that of defense attorneys.

As the years under which those people had criminal charges hanging over their heads went by—with all the problems that come with that on top of the missed work and rent and family responsibilities that bedeviled them from their initial time in custody under that absurd bond—dozens of the arrested went unindicted as grand juries expired, and last year charges began to be dropped against many of the defendants, with not a single successful prosecution having happened yet nearly four years after the mass arrests.

Many of the bikers who had charges eventually dropped have filed civil rights suits against local police and district attorneys over the absurd arrests and incredibly long times to get any of them to trial.

This week the whole case continued its painfully slow unraveling, as three more bikers, the last still facing that first set of indictments, saw their cases dismissed. A team of special prosecutors eventually assigned to the case declared that the initial mass arrests seemed, in the words of one of them, Brian Roberts, “simply a shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality….I can’t imagine what (former McLennan County DA) Abel Reyna was thinking other than this was a big case and it was somehow going to be beneficial for him or his office,” the Waco Tribune reports.

Civics: Algorithmic Justice Could Clear 250,000 Convictions in California

Artificial Lawyer:

The partnership between Government lawyers and techies started back in May 2018 and initially has been focused on clearing marijuana convictions under the local Proposition 64 initiative.

So far they have reviewed 43 years of eligible convictions, proactively dismissing and sealing 3,038 marijuana misdemeanours and reviewing, and recalling and re-sentencing up to 4,940 other felony marijuana convictions which were sentenced prior to Proposition 64’s passage in November 2016.

How it works:

The system determines eligibility for record clearance under state law, automatically fills out the required forms and generates a completed motion in PDF format. SFDA will then proceeds to file the completed motion with the court.

The pilot ‘seamlessly’ clears criminal records under Prop. 64 for all individuals, with no action required on the part of the individual and with minimal staff time and resources from the SFDA’s office.

The Failure of the French Elite

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry:

One of Emmanuel Macron’s most endearing qualities is his unshakable faith in his own power to convince anyone of the truth of his beliefs. Last November, the youngest-ever president of France tried to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice by touring small French towns situated on the former front line to talk about world peace. It did not go well. The ordinary citizens he encountered were less interested in the history of the Great War than in voicing their anger at his economic policies—especially a recently announced increase in gas taxes—and seemed only to get angrier the more he assured them that things would improve. A week later, some 300,000 people, mobilized over the internet, donned yellow safety vests and began to set up barricades on thoroughfares across France. It was the first step in what has turned out to be a roiling, monthslong political crisis.

Mr. Macron’s rise has been astonishing. Unknown to the general public until 2014 and never before elected to political office, he smashed his rivals to win the presidency in May 2017. His party, founded just a year earlier, swept the June 2017 legislative elections, granting him a solid majority and wrecking the center-left Socialists and center-right Republicans (the country’s two traditional governing parties).

Mr. Macron seemed to represent—to coin a phrase—hope and change: change from the generally mediocre political class that has governed France for 30 years, hope that France might embrace market-based reform and provide a model for combating the populist wave sweeping the West.

Today, the hope is on life support, and the change has yet to be seen. France’s economy seems as stubbornly stuck in neutral as ever, with unemployment around 9% (and youth unemployment at 21%), government spending at 56% of GDP and debt rising. Mr. Macron has had the second-fastest drop in popularity of any French President.

What happened?

More than 7m Americans are behind on their car loans

Joe Rennison:

The number of borrowers in the US who are seriously behind on their car loans rose to the highest level on record in 2018, raising concern about the deterioration of consumer credit despite strength in the broader economy.

More than 7m Americans are now 90 days behind and considered “seriously delinquent” on car loan payments, over 1m higher than the previous peak in 2010, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The rising number of borrowers falling behind on loan payments has been driven by those with the lowest credit scores. Close to 8.2 per cent of so-called subprime borrowers — those with credit scores below 620 — became seriously delinquent last year, the highest level since 2010.

Hard work and discipline help girls outperform boys in class, but that advantage disappears in the work force. Is school the problem?

Lisa Damour:

From elementary school through college, girls are more disciplined about their schoolwork than boys; they study harder and get better grades. Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies.

What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork — also hold them back in the work force?

When investigating what deters professional advancement for women, the journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman found that a shortage of competence is less likely to be an obstacle than a shortage of confidence. When it comes to work-related confidence, they found men are far ahead. “Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in,” they wrote. “Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect.”

As a psychologist who works with teenagers, I hear this concern often from the parents of many of my patients. They routinely remark that their sons do just enough to keep the adults off their backs, while their daughters relentlessly grind, determined to leave no room for error. The girls don’t stop until they’ve polished each assignment to a high shine and rewritten their notes with color-coded precision.

Most Americans Reject Race-based College Admissions

Minding the Campus:

A large majority of Americans—73 percent—say that neither race nor ethnicity should be factors in deciding which students are granted admission to colleges and universities. Only 7 percent think race and ethnicity should be major factors, and 19 percent favor allowing them to be light factors. The survey was conducted by Pew Research Center in January and February of this year.

Every major racial or ethnic grouping rejects admission by race or ethnicity, but the largest such rejection come from white Americans—78 percent, compared with 65 percent Hispanics, 62 percent blacks, and 59 percent Asians, surveying only Asians who speak English.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Link between health spending and life expectancy: US is an outlier

Max Roser:

The graph below shows the relationship between what a country spends on health per person and life expectancy in that country between 1970 and 2015 for a number of rich countries.

The US stands out as an outlier: it spends far more on health than any other country, yet the life expectancy of the American population is not longer, but actually shorter than in other countries that spend far less.

If we look at the time trend for each country, we first notice that all countries have followed an upward trajectory—the population lives increasingly long lives as health expenditure increases. But again, the US stands out by following a much flatter trajectory: gains in life expectancy from additional health spending in the U.S. are much smaller than in the other high-income countries, particularly since the mid-1980s.

Madison spent 25% of it’s 2014-2015 budget on benefits…

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Redistributed Texas School Funds

Houston Chronicle:

Texas public schools struggle to keep up with rapid enrollment growth. Local taxpayers have seen their bills climb. The Texas Permanent School Fund, created 165 years ago to help in just this kind of crisis, stands today at $44 billion. But when the numbers are adjusted for inflation, it is sending less money to schools than it did decades ago. The Houston Chronicle spent a year investigating how this happened.

Politics aside, finding (and keeping) good teachers is at the heart of what schools need

Alan Borsuk:

There are other items in Evers’ proposal that certainly appeal to teachers. Here’s one that has gotten little attention: “The Governor recommends requiring that teachers are provided the greater of 45 minutes or a single class period for preparation time each day.”

Where did that come from? It was an idea pushed by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state teachers union. Is it a bad idea? Many teachers complain that they don’t have enough time to prepare and collaborate. Experts on the practices in some of the nations around the world getting the best education results (Finland, Singapore and so on) say that giving teachers time to prepare pays off in big ways.

Does more teacher prep time belong in the state budget? That’s debatable, and the future of the idea when it hits reality in the Legislature seems doubtful. But it’s there. Maybe a lot more money for local schools would lead some districts to implement it locally — who knows?

Or how about more spending on low-income students? It is much-too-vividly clear that succeeding with low-income kids takes more than with kids from higher-income homes. Evers’ proposal is to create a “poverty factor” in which low-income children would be counted for 20% more than other children when it came to calculating aid.

This could bring districts such as Milwaukee a lot of money. Might that help teachers succeed in situations where few kids now reach proficiency? But the idea seems almost certain to be a tough sell in the Legislature.

Or providing more money for 4-year-old kindergarten? There are elected officials in both parties in Madison who say money spent on early education is money well spent.

Currently, basic public support for full-day 4-year-old kindergarten is 0.5 or 0.6 of what is paid for kids in any other grade. Evers would raise that to the same as any other grade, starting in the 2020-’21 school year. Would additional money mean teachers could have more resources or staff to help get better results with young kids?

Civics: Everyone Who’s Never Read A History Book Shocked As Socialist Turns Into Authoritarian At First Whiff Of Power

Babylon bee:

“Wow, a socialist who was elected on her promises to work ‘for the people’ is suddenly telling everyone she’s in charge and they have to listen to her? That’s really weird,” said one man in Portland who dropped his world history class in high school. “I would have thought socialists never suddenly transform into power-hungry maniacs as soon as they get their first high from telling people what to do.”

“It’s just, I’ve never heard of that happening in the past, say, 100 years or so,” he added before he had to return to his Starbucks shift, wrapping his work apron around his hammer and sickle T-shirt.

Another thing shared in common by those who were surprised by this development is never having read Animal Farm by George Orwell, sources confirmed at publishing time.

More, here.

Homeless shelter in school a costly failure so far ($700/person per night)

Jill Tucker and Trisha Thadani:

Instead, only five families have used the facility at 23rd and Valencia streets in the Mission, with an average occupancy of less than two people per night, said Jeff Kositsky, director of the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

The facility is completely empty several nights each month, Kositsky said, although shelter workers are on-site seven nights a week and through holidays, whether anyone shows up or not. City officials and school leaders have proposed increasing the usage by allowing families from other schools to use the shelter.

On a cold, rainy evening earlier this week, a family of five showed up at the shelter just after 7 p.m. and got settled near the cots set up under the basketball hoops. The gym was warm and smelled of the ribs, salad and potatoes being served for dinner. A shower area was available in the back.

The three young children scampered into an adjacent classroom, where each grabbed a thick foam pad that they dragged onto the cots before hopping on their makeshift beds.

Staff at the shelter said they were expecting two more families that evening — the shelter is available from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. — but there was no sign of them by 7:30 p.m.

Teachers are striking over pay as pensions and health-care costs are eating up budgets

The Economist:

“I LIKE CATS, unicorns and peace, but I love my teacher!” declares one sign, with two rainbows, held by a young pupil at Crocker Highlands Elementary School in Oakland on a weekday morning. She should have been at school, but instead she joined her mother and thousands of Oakland’s teachers outside City Hall. Oakland’s teachers are asking for higher salaries, support staff and more. Teachers in nearby Sacramento may be next to put down chalk and pick up placards.

Such strikes have become a national phenomenon. Teachers in Los Angeles, Denver and West Virginia have gone on strike this year, after action in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oklahoma in 2018. Last year around 375,000 teachers and staff went on strike. They accounted for about three-quarters of the total number of American workers who downed tools. As a result, 2018 saw the highest number of workers involved in strikes since 1986.

The complaints differ by school district, but one common refrain on picket lines is that teachers are not paid enough for their hard work. The wage gap between teachers and similarly educated workers has certainly widened since the mid-1990s. In many states teachers are paid less than other public-sector employees, such as prison guards and police officers.

Madison spent 25% of it’s budget on benefits in 2014

When she attends an elite private college on scholarship, Alison Stine discovers that education isn’t quite the equalizer she expected it to be.

Alison Stine:

I had never seen so many tennis courts in my life. I had never heard of rugby or lacrosse. I mispronounced genre in class because I had only ever read the word. I didn’t know girls my age owned pearls. I felt equally stunned by black dresses and those pearls at the dining hall on display Sunday nights, something many in sororities wore. I didn’t own pearls, or a nice black dress. I was born in Indiana, where our neighbors grew popcorn. I was raised in rural Ohio. My public high school was small, flanked by fields. The last day of senior year, a student drove up in his family’s tractor. It had taken him hours to get there, puttering along back roads. I was the first person in my family to attend an elite private college, partially on multiple scholarships, and partially, I think, on my parents’ sheer will to get me out.

I wasn’t the first person in my family to go to college — I was the second generation, after my parents — and on teachers’ and guidance counselors’ advice, I had applied to several schools, including state universities. But the private colleges were the ones that seemed to really want someone like me. They courted me. They offered me money, and I couldn’t say no to that. I couldn’t afford to.

I would soon learn that private colleges in this country have a social class problem. Each year, as spring break approaches, I think back on my time in school with particular sharpness, remembering other students going to warm islands or ski resorts. Unlike me, my classmates definitely knew how to ski. They parked their Land Rovers and BMWs on campus, and they landed coveted unpaid internships in the summer — something only rich kids can afford to do.

All of these trappings of wealth were new to me in 1996. But it appeared I was going to get an education in class privilege as well as liberal arts.

Red culture’ lessons launched in Jiangxi schools, kindergartens included

Ji Yuqiao:

Schools in East China’s Jiangxi Province, from kindergartens to universities, launched lessons about red culture this past semester, to spread revolutionary culture and socialist core values to students. The red culture lesson contains a six-series textbook aimed at students in kindergarten, primary school, junior and senior high school as well as university, which is the first systematic relevant textbook in China to promote red culture, Jiangxi Daily reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the textbook was written by the National Center for Education Development Research administrated by the Ministry of Education and the education departments of Jiangxi Province.

Questioning the substance of “We know Best” and credentialism

Dan Rasmussen & Haonan Li:

An elite pedigree — the type of pedigree favored by headhunters and corporate boards — is not predictive of superior management. One of the central rationales for Jensen’s campaign (increasing CEO pay by tying it to share price performance) appears, in retrospect, to have little empirical support. These credentials, however, are significantly overrepresented in the CEO biography database. The elite credentials thus benefit the individual, but there is little evidence that these credentials benefit shareholders.

It’s unclear precisely why the evidence suggests that highly credentialed CEOs from our most elite MBA programs and their funnel careers, like banking and consulting, appear to add no measurable value to shareholders. However, we found wisdom in a saying of the oldest living CEO, a 100-year-old billionaire from Singapore who still goes to work every day to mentor his son in leading the firm. His son, Teo Siong Seng, said, “My father taught me one thing: In Chinese, it’s ‘yi de fu ren’ — that means you want people to obey you not because of your authority, not because of your power, or because you are fierce, but more because of your integrity, your quality, that people actually respect you and listen to you.”

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

Curated Education Information