Why Online Education Works

Alex Tabarrok:

Oxford University was founded in 1096, Cambridge in 1209. Harvard, a relative newcomer, was founded in 1636. Other than religions, few institutions appear to have maintained their existence or their relative status for as long as major universities. And few institutions, notably again other than religions, have seen so little change. Oxford in 2012 teaches students in ways remarkably similar to Oxford in 1096, seated students listening to professors in a classroom.

I suspect that these two facts are related; stasis in methods has led to stasis in status. And I suspect that both of these facts are about to change. Online education will change how universities teach; as a result, online education will change which universities teach.

Advantages of Online Education

I see three principle advantages to online education, 1) leverage, especially of the best teachers; 2) time savings; 3) individualized teaching and new technologies.

Madison School District “needs Assistance” for the Second Year

“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”.

Every Student Succeeds Act Reports [Wisconsin] are now “disembargoed”. 1.9MB PDF.

The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday

Scott Girard:

Those with questions about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Behavior Education Plan have a chance to get them answered Tuesday.

District staff will hold a session from 6-7:30 p.m. to discuss, “What is the BEP? How does it work? What should I know?” at the Goodman South Public Library, 2222 S. Park St.

Speakers at the event are MMSD coordinator of progressive discipline Bryn Martyna and parent and Padres e Hijos en Acción director Hector Portillo.

The BEP has been controversial in recent years, with an updated version in 2019 after being initially approved in 2014 under then-superintendent Jennifer Cheatham. The plan replaced the student code of conduct with a goal to cut the number of suspensions and reduce the disparities in suspensions by race.

The plan focuses on restorative practices and teaching good behaviors rather than punishing bad ones. It also outlines penalties for specific behaviors and has a version for each of the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Notes and links on Madison’s Behavior Education Plan.

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

Much more on the planned 2020 tax and spending increase Madison referendum.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2.

Watch the event, here.

Madison School Board leans toward deductibles instead of switching health insurers

Logan Wroge:

Increasing the amount staff pay for premiums would see teachers paying 6% of a HMO family plan — up from 3% — to about $44 more a month. Certain hourly employees, such as special education assistants, would pay 2.5% of an HMO family plan instead of 1.25%, or $8.53 more per month.

Scott Girard:

“It was only two years ago, 2017-18, when the District went from three health plans to two, discontinuing Quartz (then Unity) and moving all Unity-covered employees to GHC or Dean plans,” the memo states. “Forcing employees to switch again only three years later is too disruptive.”

Board member Cris Carusi said it seemed “easiest” to “listen to the union,” and board member Kate Toews expressed a similar sentiment in supporting “Option 1,” which adds $100 single and $200 family deductibles.

“Option 1 limits disruption and that is incredibly valuable for both families and teachers as well as for staff and administration,” Toews said.

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

Health insurance costs have long been an issue in the Madison School District.

Administrators warned that benefits were unsustainable in 2014.

Much more on the planned 2020 tax and spending increase Madison referendum.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2.

Madison School Board eyes $317M facilities referendum, $33M operating referendum

Logan Wroge:

The Madison School Board signaled support Monday for a $317 million facilities referendum and a $33 million operating referendum, setting up the board to finalize the ballot questions later this month for the November election.

With several options on the table, board members expressed broad support for a slightly larger facilities referendum that would include more money for projects focused on sustainability and energy efficiency. Additionally, the board gravitated toward a smaller operating referendum than had been proposed.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” board member Kate Toews said during an Operations Work Group meeting. “Investing in kids is the future; investing in the climate is the future.”

Scott Girard:

Board members also indicated support for a slight increase in the capital referendum Monday, from the $315 million that has been discussed in the past up to $317 million. The additional $2 million would go toward sustainability projects not in the initial amount, which includes funding for renovations to the four comprehensive high schools, a new south-side elementary school and moving Capital High School into a single location in the Hoyt school building.

MMSD chief financial officer Kelly Ruppel said it made sense financially given the payoff of sustainability projects within 12 to 13 years.

“(An additional $2 million) literally does not change our estimated mill rate impact for the average homeowner a penny,” Ruppel said. “It barely changes, in pennies, the (total yearly) impact on the average homeowner.”

Notes, links and some data on Madison’s planned 2020 referendum.

“Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a recent 2020 referendum presentation.

Projected enrollment drop means staffing cuts coming in Madison School District

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

How woke illiberalism is killing the academy

Benjamin Schwarz:

From its founding in 1890, the University of Chicago has occupied a singular place among American universities. Lacking the ancient lineages and social cachet of the Ivy League schools (Chicago welcomed women and Jews at a time when Harvard, et al, excluded the former and imposed strict quotas on the latter), Chicago, which is consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 universities, has always been known for its fierce intellectualism. ‘I think the one place where I have been that is most like ancient Athens’, the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once declared, ‘is the University of Chicago’. Indeed, whereas the Ivy League universities, Stanford and their ilk, admitted – and continue to admit – their undergraduates based on such qualities as athletic ability, family connections, and that vague attribute known as ‘leadership’, students came to Chicago because they prized what it still venerates as ‘the life of the mind’. (Chicago’s students score on average higher on the SAT – a national standardised test that assesses academic aptitude – than do those at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford).

Madison School Officials Consider Controversial Student Newspaper Policies

Leila Fletcher, Kadjata Bah, and Leilani McNeal:

Madison school officials will consider hiring an Ohio-based company known for policies that some say hinder the free speech rights of student journalists.

Two school board members and Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore met last month with representatives of Ohio-based NEOLA. NEOLA is a policy-writing firm often hired by school districts to write and implement policies for local boards and local administrators. 

NEOLA policies were scrutinized recently in Wisconsin during a controversial case in Oshkosh. In that case a student reporter was prevented from publishing a story about abrupt staff changes at Oshkosh North High School.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Brock Doemel, a senior at Oshkosh North, eventually filed open records requests to learn more about an absent school staff member and to learn more about why the student-written story was removed from the school’s newspaper.

But policies written by NEOLA refer to student newspapers as “nonpublic forums” and therefore controlled by school district administrators. In the Oshkosh case, policies written by NEOLA were cited as reasons for denying open records requests, requiring student journalists to pay for public records, and asking student journalists to share their reporter’s notes, according the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

“The rule is that in what should be an open forum, the students have the right to publish unfettered and then they deal with the backlash that comes or the kudos that come,” said Vince Filak, a journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh who criticized NEOLA media policies.

Oshkosh students contacted the Student Press Law Center seeking advice in the case. Mike Hiestand, senior legal counsel at the center, called NEOLA a “policy mill.” He said NEOLA’s “student media policies, in particular, has been something we’ve been battling here at the Student Press Law Center for 15-20 years.”

MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds spoke to The Capital Times and confirmed the district is “strongly considering” a partnership with NEOLA. The company’s website shows NEOLA offers services on bylaws and policies, administrative guidelines and procedures, and a district policy website.

Parental Education Mitigates the Rising Transmission of Income between Generations

Marie Connolly, Catherine Haeck, and Jean-William P. Lalibert:

This article provides evidence on the causal relationship between maternal education and the intergenerational transmission of income. Using a novel linkage between intergenerational income tax data and Census data for individuals born between 1963 and 1985 and their par- ents, we show that rank mobility has decreased over time, and that this decline was sharpest for children of mothers without a high school diploma. Using variation in compulsory school- ing laws, we show that rank mobility increases as the percentage of mothers with a high school diploma increases. We find weaker evidence that mobility increases with the percentage of mothers with a university degree.

Naps don’t work for everyone. Genetic differences are why.

Allison Hirschlag:

Everyone likes a good nap now and then, right? Whether you nod off during a boring movie, or rest your head on your desk at work for 20 minutes or so to fight the afternoon slump, naps can revitalize you in a major way.

One study even showed they can boost performance and memory regulation better than caffeine. This all sounds great in theory, but many people — myself included — find naps do the opposite.

I wake up from naps feeling like I’m in the throes of a New Year’s Day-strength hangover. It takes me at least 20 minutes to recover from them, and I never end up seeing any of the benefits. Even when I timed my nap to be no more than 30 minutes — the nap length sleep experts claim is the most beneficial — I came out of it certain I was experiencing the early stages of the flu (I wasn’t).

Oakland school board votes $18.8 million in cuts, up to 100 layoffs

Theresa Harrington:

The Oakland School District is prepared to cut its workforce by up to 100 workers starting July 1 and may consider eliminating its police force in the future.

Both issues came before the school board on Wednesday night, ensuring that the district is likely to face months of turmoil as it cuts $18.8 million to balance its budget for the 2020-21 school year. At the same time, state and county officials have notified the district that its deficits could be higher than originally anticipated in December — $25 million this year and $33.5 million next year. The board expects to review updated budget projections in March.

The board cut fewer jobs than originally recommended by Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell and her staff, who recommended $20.2 million in cuts including about 76 central office administrators or other workers who support school services. Other cuts in school-based jobs are also expected, but which positions will be affected is unclear.

Oakland plans to spend $568,197,617 during the 2019-2020 school year for 50,202 students.

Madison spends just under $500m for about 27,000 students.

Despite concerted effort, Wisconsin’s obesity rate continues to rise

David Wahlberg:

A $10 million, five-year effort at UW-Madison to curb obesity in Wisconsin, which ended in December, met a stark reality: The state’s obesity rate, which is slightly higher than the national average, continued to go up.

Leaders of the Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Initiative, funded by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Wisconsin Partnership Program, said they focused on creating systemic changes — such as encouraging bike paths and healthier snacks for kids — that could slow or reverse the uptick in coming years.

The national obesity rate has been climbing for decades, underscoring the pervasiveness of contributing factors such as unhealthy foods often being cheaper than healthy foods, increasing screen time among children and adults, and a lack of safe spaces to walk or exercise in many neighborhoods, health officials say.

“We need to fix the built environment and make our communities healthier for everyone,” said Dr. Vincent Cryns, a UW Health endocrinologist who led the obesity prevention initiative. Through the initiative, in Wisconsin, “we provided the infrastructure” to make such changes, he said.

Sara Lindberg, a UW-Madison researcher, works on the Wisconsin Health Atlas, a part of the initiative that continues to compile maps and track policies about obesity, neighborhood walkability, school wellness and other measures.

Civics: Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect.

Jon Schuppe:

In the notice from Google was a case number. McCoy searched for it on the Gainesville Police Department’s website, and found a one-page investigation report on the burglary of an elderly woman’s home 10 months earlier. The crime had occurred less than a mile from the home that McCoy, who had recently earned an associate degree in computer programming, shared with two others.

Now McCoy was even more panicked and confused. He knew he had nothing to do with the break-in ─ he’d never even been to the victim’s house ─ and didn’t know anyone who might have. And he didn’t have much time to prove it.

McCoy worried that going straight to police would lead to his arrest. So he went to his parents’ home in St. Augustine, where, over dinner, he told them what was happening. They agreed to dip into their savings to pay for a lawyer.

The lawyer, Caleb Kenyon, dug around and learned that the notice had been prompted by a “geofence warrant,” a police surveillance tool that casts a virtual dragnet over crime scenes, sweeping up Google location data — drawn from users’ GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular connections — from everyone nearby.

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

Employee health insurance, referenda discussions on Madison School Board agenda Monday

Scott Girard:

The Madison School Board will discuss the potential November referenda and proposed employee health insurance changes Monday.

The Operations Work Group meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St., is likely the last opportunity for board members to ask for broad changes ahead of anticipated votes at the March 23 meeting.

Presentations planned for the board Monday show similar referenda plans as have been discussed for months, though staff have offered up three options for the operating referendum ask in addition to the $36 million one that has been previously discussed. The additional options would all lower the amount, reducing the tax burden but also forcing tighter budgets.

The health insurance changes, first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal last week, would require employees to contribute more to their premiums and could have the district change one of its providers.

According to Monday’s meeting materials, there is a $4.6 million increase in premiums the providers will charge the district, which had budgeted $0 for an increase in funding employee benefits whether an operating referendum passes or fails. That means the gap needs to be filled in other ways.

Changes to providers and potentially changing the plans retirees use would save an estimated $3.8 million, while doubling the premium contributions for most staff would save $1.8 million, according to the presentation planned Monday. The premium contribution for teachers on the HMO plan, for example, would go from 3% to 6%, costing an extra $44.48 per month.

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

Health insurance costs have long been an issue in the Madison School District.

Administrators warned that benefits were unsustainable in 2014.

Much more on the planned 2020 tax and spending increase Madison referendum.

A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while Milwaukee is about $2.

Civics: I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me

Leslie Harris:

On August 19 of last year I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for the New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against with her fact-checker: that the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America.

Hannah-Jones and I were on Georgia Public Radio to discuss the path-breaking New York Times 1619 Project, a major feature about the impact of slavery on American history, which she had spearheaded. The Times had just published the special 1619 edition of its magazine, which took its name from the year 20 Africans arrived in the colony of Virginia—a group believed to be the first enslaved Africans to arrive in British North America.

Weeks before, I had received an email from a New York Times research editor. Because I’m an historian of African American life and slavery, in New York, specifically, and the pre-Civil War era more generally, she wanted me to verify some statements for the project. At one point, she sent me this assertion: “One critical reason that the colonists declared their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery in the colonies, which had produced tremendous wealth. At the time there were growing calls to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire, which would have badly damaged the economies of colonies in both North and South.”

I vigorously disputed the claim. Although slavery was certainly an issue in the American Revolution, the protection of slavery was not one of the main reasons the 13 Colonies went to war.

The College President Who Simply Won’t Raise Tuition

Andrew Ferguson

’ll tell you a funny story,” said Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University. It was the day before the first home football game of the season and he was sitting in his corner office, overlooking the postcard-perfect quad.

“So the cost of a year of undergraduate college at Purdue University, tuition and fees, is $9,992. I’m proud of that number.

“One day I’m looking at one of those college guides, and it said, ‘Tuition and fees: $10,002.’ I called up our people and said, ‘Lookit here, there’s a mistake. You got the wrong number.’ They said, ‘That’s not a mistake.’ I said, ‘Yes, it is. Believe me. I know.’ They went back and checked and they said, ‘No, that’s the right figure.’

“It just bugged me to death. Does Walmart have a special and price it at $10.02? I found out what happened. There’s a second installment on a preexisting gym fee that got tacked on. Ten dollars plus $9,992 equals $10,002.

“Next time I’m at the gym, I ask the guy who runs it, ‘How’s it going here?’ He said, ‘Membership’s up; we’re doing well, making a little profit.’ I thought, Okay, that’s all I needed to know. And the next meeting of the board of trustees, they repealed that fee.

“So now we’re back to $9,992,” he said. There was both self-deprecation and a note of triumph in his chuckle. “I don’t know why it bugged me so much, but it did.”

The Misguided Progressive Attack on Charters

Conor Williams:

Charter schools used to be a bipartisan education reform, but Democrats have turned against it of late. Many of their complaints are bad-faith projections—criticism for problems that aren’t unique to charters but endemic throughout the public education system.

Take the objection that charters are an insufficiently transparent use of public dollars. In rolling out his education policy last May, Bernie Sanders charged that “charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies.” His campaign website promises he’ll make charters “comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools” and impose a moratorium on public funding for expanding charters. In an August interview with Education Week, Pete Buttigieg said “we want to see considerably more oversight” of charter schools.

Charters are governed differently from traditional district schools—usually, but not always, they sit outside of school-district control. Though for-profit charter schools exist in some states, the overwhelming majority are run by nonprofit organizations overseen by boards of directors, operating under contracts granted by a local or state authority.

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers. 

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

The Excellent or the Good?

Nathaniel Peters:

Kronman applies this vision of excellence to the controversies roiling American universities today: campus speech, diversity, and how we remember the past. He contrasts the university with an urban speakers’ corner. Debaters in a speakers’ corner and the public walking by compete as buyers and sellers in a marketplace of ideas. There is no obligation to offer sustained argument or to listen to the speaker. But the university is a community dedicated to the pursuit of truth and structured around the conversational idea. Their members must make and respond to arguments on the common ground of reason and shared premises. When students and professors assert their feelings or social location in place of rational argument, they shut down conversation without furthering it, thwarting the university’s core purpose.

Kronman’s final chapter examines the controversy over Yale’s decision to rename Calhoun College. The chapter has too much inside baseball for readers who didn’t choose Yale, but it helps show where the book’s overall argument breaks down. Kronman’s defense of keeping Calhoun’s name on the college rests on the university’s responsibility “to cultivate the capacity for enduring the moral ambiguities of life.” If we come to recognize that John Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson held odious views, he thinks, we should see the institutions that bear their names as monuments to the contradiction of good and evil in all human beings and the moral complexities that become clear only in hindsight. Colleges should help students learn to live with these ambiguities, not deny their existence.

This is true, up to a point. But it overlooks the primary purpose for which we erect memorials: honoring greatness and sacrifice, and mourning loss. Yes, we recognize that the great were not perfect. But we build statues of them and name buildings in their honor because they have been excellent. We may acknowledge ambiguity, but we don’t erect buildings for it. If our condemnation of Calhoun’s views about race and slavery now outweigh our appreciation of his political importance, it makes sense to reconsider the honors we have bestowed on him. If not, our memorials to Calhoun remain a testament to his excellence despite his vices, not to the moral ambiguity of his life overall.

Civics: Through apps, not warrants, ‘Locate X’ allows federal law enforcement to track phones

Charles Levinson:

Federal agencies have big contracts with Virginia-based Babel Street. Depending on where you’ve traveled, your movements may be in the company’s data.

U.S. law enforcement agencies signed millions of dollars worth of contracts with a Virginia company after it rolled out a powerful tool that uses data from popular mobile apps to track the movement of people’s cell phones, according to federal contracting records and six people familiar with the software.

The product, called Locate X and sold by Babel Street, allows investigators to draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled, going back months, the sources told Protocol.

They said the tool tracks the location of devices anonymously, using data that popular cell phone apps collect to enable features like mapping or targeted ads, or simply to sell it on to data brokers.

Prep for Prep and the Fault Lines in New York’s Schools

Vinson Cunningham:

A little more than half a century ago, New York City attempted an experiment in a handful of its public schools. In the thirteen years since Brown v. Board of Education, the city’s public schools had become more segregated. Many black parents decided that hope for their children rested in self-determination rather than in waiting for integration. Under pressure from grassroots groups, Mayor John Lindsay, a liberal Republican, approved a plan to create three locally governed school districts, in which community-elected boards would assume a degree of control over personnel and curriculum.

One of the school districts was in Brownsville, a Brooklyn neighborhood that had once been Jewish and middle class but was, by the late sixties, mainly black and poor. Starting in the fall of 1967, the new Ocean Hill-Brownsville district deëmphasized traditional grading, added curricular units on black identity and culture, and, in predominantly Puerto Rican schools, adopted bilingual teaching. The new arrangement was popular with parents, and was supported by a surprisingly heterogeneous coalition that included Black Power separatists and the liberal Ford Foundation. It was opposed by the United Federation of Teachers, which was largely white and Jewish; the union’s leader, Albert Shanker, considered the community-control effort to be a veiled attempt at union-busting. Near the end of the school year, the district’s governing board dismissed thirteen teachers and six administrators—nearly all of whom were white, and critical of the new arrangement. Rhody McCoy, the district’s administrator, said that “the community lost confidence in them.” The union insisted that the dismissals were illegal. Local teachers went on strike. In September, 1968, the strike went citywide.

Gary Simons, the son of a housepainter and a homemaker, had just been hired as a teacher at P.S. 140, an elementary school in the Bronx, his home borough. When the strike reached the Bronx, he was living with a roommate about a half hour north of the school, in the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Riverdale. As the days passed, he noticed that teachers in Riverdale and other rich areas were convening in synagogues, churches, and community centers, continuing to educate their students, albeit unofficially. In the South Bronx, the schools were simply closed.

UW-Madison students, professor oppose Regents’ free speech policy amendments

Yvonne Kim:

Five University of Wisconsin-Madison students and one faculty member spoke in opposition to proposed amendments to a UW Board of Regents policy that would require disciplinary sanctions for students who disrupt other people’s free speech.

In October, the Regents voted in favor of amendments to Chapter UWS 17 that require a student found to have “materially and substantially disrupted the free expression of others” to be suspended after two violations and expelled after three. Since then, state lawmakers also passed a highly partisan, nearly identical Assembly Bill criticized by Democrats as vague and a threat to free speech.

Milwaukee Public Schools May Be ‘Losing The Best And Brightest’ Due To HR Problems; Superintendent Pledges Change

Emily Files:

When Andrew Martin was hired to work in MPS in 2012, he showed up to his assigned high school and was greeted with confusion. “The principal said, ‘Oh I didn’t know we were getting somebody. What position are you here for?’ And I said ‘Well, I was hired as a social studies teacher,’” he remembers. 

The mix-up was sorted out, and Martin stayed with MPS for eight years. But along the way, he kept hearing other stories about human resources mishaps and delays that frustrate even teachers who really want to work for MPS.  

“I can’t imagine how many teachers … we’ve lost because they weren’t able to get questions answered,” Martin says. “Or if you get hired at a job and you do a background check and drug test, that takes a matter of days; whereas here, it takes weeks upon weeks to fill those positions.”

A campus sexual assault survey

John Murawski:

College officials are trumpeting their new core mission of protecting female students from male student sexual aggressors. But academe is strangely silent in the face of professors or administrators themselves allegedly crossing the line by leering, making lewd comments, groping students or worse.

Buried within an influential campus sexual assault survey last year by the Association of American Universities is evidence of hundreds of incidents of inappropriate and potentially criminal behavior by faculty and staff against female students.

“The information buried in the report raises more questions than it answers and requires further investigation and explanation,” said Subodh Chandra, a Cleveland, Ohio, attorney who represents college plaintiffs in sexual misconduct lawsuits.

The anonymously conducted survey at 33 elite schools, ranging from Harvard to Ohio State, generated widespread news coverage by reaffirming a controversial statistic — that one in four college women will be assaulted or raped before they graduate.

The survey’s results concerning a more obvious power mismatch — faculty and staff sexual misbehavior toward female students — were not highlighted. Instead, the information was presented in tables, in a form difficult to decipher by students, parents and others. For example, the survey does not list the number of incidents, but provides the data as percentages – such as 0.3% or 0.5% – weighted for methodological reasons.

Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

Scott Girard:

Voters will have several opportunities this month to hear from candidates for Madison School Board beginning this weekend.

The East Side Progressives will hold a forum Sunday, March 8, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive. It’s the first of four forums currently planned for the month before the Tuesday, April 7, election.

In the two contested races, Wayne Strong is challenging incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen for Seat 6 and newcomers Chris Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson are facing off to take over Seat 7 from Kate Toews, who is not running for re-election. Savion Castro is running unopposed for a one-year term in Seat 2, to which he was appointed last summer after Mary Burke resigned from the board.

[Pearson, Gomez Schmidt advance to general election for Madison School Board Seat 6]

Each of the elections is at large, so any eligible voter can vote for all of the seats on the ballot.

The March 8 forum, which begins at 3 p.m., will feature candidates talking about their vision for meeting the district’s challenges followed by a “speed dating” format offering the chance to meet each candidate in a small-group setting, according to the Facebook event. All five candidates plan to attend.

March 17, the Cap Times will host a forum with questions asked of the five candidates by education reporter Scott Girard and Simpson Street Free Press managing editor Taylor Kilgore. That forum will begin at 7 p.m. in the East High School auditorium, 2222 E. Washington Ave.

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before:

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. 

2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!”

2009: An emphasis on adult employment.

2013: What will be different, this time?

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, 2015:

Shortly after the office was proposed, Cheatham said non-district-authorized charter schools have “no consistent record of improving education for children, but they do drain resources from public schools, without any control in our local community or school board.”

Rather than invest in what we know works in education, this proposal puts resources in strategies with mixed results at the expense of our public school students,” she said in May 2015

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers. 

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….

NBC 15:

Under a new pilot program the lowest grade students could get on assignments is 40 or 50 percent, not a zero.

Studies show freshman year is the most important year in high school and Geoffrey D. Borman, UW-Madison Education Policy Professor, said it can make or break you.

The modern A-F grading system has been around since the 1900’s.

It’s an evaluation performance of students that MMSD officials said is outdated.

MMSD is currently using the 0 to 100 percentage grading system, but high school teachers are trying out a new grade scale making forty or fifty percent– the new zero. In other words, a student could simply not turn in their assignment and still get credit.

“The grade scale itself is something I think not all students are accustomed to,” Geoffrey D. Borman, UW-Madison Education Policy Professor said.

Borman said one of the fears students face their freshman year is letter grades and failing early can have severe consequences.

…….

“Rather than coddling them we’re giving a little bit of a boost to them to support them and allow them to make a more successful transition,” he said. 

NBC15 spoke to parents who did not want to go on camera, but said they feel this grade scale is “dumbing it down” and only encourages students to be lazy in school.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Civics: Censored Contagion How Information on the Coronavirus is Managed on Chinese Social Media

Lotus Ruan, Jeffrey Knockel, and Masashi Crete-Nishihata:

YY, a live-streaming platform in China, began to censor keywords related to the coronavirus outbreak on December 31, 2019, a day after doctors (including the late Dr. Li Wenliang) tried to warn the public about the then unknown virus.

WeChat broadly censored coronavirus-related content (including critical and neutral information) and expanded the scope of censorship in February 2020. Censored content included criticism of government, rumours and speculative information on the epidemic, references to Dr. Li Wenliang, and neutral references to Chinese government efforts on handling the outbreak that had been reported on state media.

Many of the censorship rules are broad and effectively block messages that include names for the virus or sources for information about it. Such rules may restrict vital communication related to disease information and prevention.

Kindergarten Redshirting: The Complicated World of Holding Preschoolers Back

Lizzy Francis:

Jess’s decision to “redshirt” her youngest children — let them stay in preschool for another year and delay their entry into kindergarten — did not come easily. She had all four of her children (eight, seven, and twin four-year-olds) in the span of three-and-a-half years, and wanted to keep her twins just two years behind her second oldest child. She liked the idea of keeping them together as a crew of some kind, protecting each other and sticking together. “From the beginning, I didn’t want to hold them back,” she says.

Jess’s stance changed when she went to a first grade parent-teacher conference for her 7-year-old. “Because he’s a year behind my first, he was doing everything my first would do. He was reading when he started kindergarten. He could color in the lines when he was three. Then, the teacher told me he was average. I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? The child can read! He’s average!?’”

A Conversation About the Science of Reading and Early Reading Instruction with Dr. Louisa Moats

Kelly Stuart & Gina Fugnitto:

Dr. Louisa Moats: The body of work referred to as the “science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the best for the most students.

Collaborative Classroom: What is your perspective on the current national discussion about the science of reading? For example, Emily Hanford of American Public Media has done significant reporting that has really elevated the conversation.

Dr. Louisa Moats: These days I have moments when I feel more optimistic. Emily Hanford’s reports have been the catalyst sparking our current national discussion.1 A growing number of states are confronting what is wrong with the way many children are being taught to read. I’m inspired by the dialogue and courage of the people who know enough about the science of reading to offer a vigorous critique of those practices, programs, and approaches that just don’t work for most children. I am also optimistic about the recent report out from the National Council on Teacher Quality. There’s an increasing trend of new teachers being trained in the components of reading, and I think that many veteran educators are open to deepening their learning.

However, there’s still a long way to go. In general our teaching practice lags far behind what the research tells us. We consolidated the research on what it takes to teach children to read way back in the early 1990s, and yet today a majority of teachers still haven’t been given the knowledge or instruction to effectively teach children to read.

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before:

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. 

2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!”

2009: An emphasis on adult employment.

2013: What will be different, this time?

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, 2015:

Shortly after the office was proposed, Cheatham said non-district-authorized charter schools have “no consistent record of improving education for children, but they do drain resources from public schools, without any control in our local community or school board.”

Rather than invest in what we know works in education, this proposal puts resources in strategies with mixed results at the expense of our public school students,” she said in May 2015

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers. 

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Emory Free Speech Policy Editorial

The Emory Wheel:

Syracuse University’s (N.Y.) suspension of 30 students who organized a sit-in earlier this week to protest campus bigotry blatantly obstructed students’ right to free expression. This injustice raises significant questions surrounding the implementation of Emory’s own free speech-related policies. While Syracuse’s administration has since lifted those suspensions, that such harsh punishments were levied in the first place should serve as a wake-up call for all institutions of higher education. 

Syracuse had an equal obligation to protect both students’ right to free expression and their safety. No college should abet the trauma of violent demonstration, as occurred during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia or the 2017 riot at at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Given that, only threats of immediate bodily harm should permit universities to assert their authority over protesters. Since the Syracuse sit-in was entirely peaceful, the university’s administration had no grounds on which to interfere.

In punishing the protesters while failing to adequately investigate the incidences of racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia which sparked their demonstration, the university acted unevenly and with considerable bias. Unless the university can prevent further incidents of bigotry, such events will continue. Furthermore, penalizing a peaceful demonstration both constrains political activity and impairs the university’s ability to respond to genuinely violent demonstrations. 

“The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

Steven Elbow:

The problem, some say, is that disparities impact a population that has little political or economic clout. And white people, who control the levers of commerce and government, address only pieces of an interconnected web of issues that include child development, education, economics and criminal justice.

Brandi Grayson co-founded Young, Gifted and Black and now runs Urban Triage, an organization that provides educational support, teaches parenting skills and promotes wellness to help black families become self-sufficient.

She said elimination of racial disparities would require a seismic shift in attitude throughout society, which would take years, maybe generations. In the meantime, she said, government has to enact policies that enforce equitable treatment of people in housing, health care, education, employment and criminal justice.

“In Dane County there have been no policy changes,” she said. “Just a lot of talk, a lot of meetings, a lot of conversation and a lot of money given to organizations that do community engagement or collect data. What’s the point of that investment if we already know what it is?”

She said initiatives consistently fail because society at large hasn’t called out the root cause of the disparities: racism.

If white people felt that the problem was worth solving, she said, they’d do something about it. For example, blacks are way more likely to experience infant mortality, low birth weight, early death, hypertension and a raft of other health conditions, much of that due to lack of access to health care.

David Blaska:

What’s Madison’s answer?

Teaching responsibility instead of victimhood? Demanding performance, not excuses? 

ARE YOU KIDDING? !!! This is Madison, where the answers are: More money, more baffling programs, more guilt, rinse and repeat. The Capital Times reports:

County officials and local nonprofits are hoping to reverse the trend with a new program that provides intensive mentoring for youthful offenders, which showed promise during a pilot program last year.

At $250,000 from the United Way and $100,000 from the county, the program would serve up to 49 kids — that’s $7,000 a kid for those who didn’t take math. As for the Policy Werkes, we’re siding with a neighbor who ventured, on social media:

If it isn’t stray bullets it is out-of-control 4,000-pound missiles. Next time you vote, consider how many chances a particular judge tends to give juveniles before applying the maximum extent of the law or creatively applies a deterrent.

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before:

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. 

2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!”

2009: An emphasis on adult employment.

2013: What will be different, this time?

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, 2015:

Shortly after the office was proposed, Cheatham said non-district-authorized charter schools have “no consistent record of improving education for children, but they do drain resources from public schools, without any control in our local community or school board.”

Rather than invest in what we know works in education, this proposal puts resources in strategies with mixed results at the expense of our public school students,” she said in May 2015

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers. 

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Madison West High’s microschool shows attendance, credit improvements for students

Scott Girard:

A Madison Metropolitan School District microschool for West High School students at risk of not graduating has shown improved attendance and credit achievement for its participants, according to a presentation to the School Board Monday.

The microschool opened in November at the Taft Street Boys and Girls Club of Dane County location with 22 girls in grades 10 and 11 in attendance. It was modeled on a similar school created in spring 2018 for 13 La Follette High School boys, who attended a school at the Life Center on Madison’s southeast side.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

The Cost-effectiveness of Public and Private Schools of Choice in Wisconsin

Corey DeAngelis:

The United States invests over $660 billion for K-12 education, or over $13,000 per student, each year, on average.1 Real education expenditures in the U.S. have nearly quadrupled in the past half century without consistent improvements in student outcomes (Hanushek, 1997, 2015a, 2015b; Hanushek & Lindseth, 2009, 2010). Because education dollars are scarce resources, and because students’ academic success is important for society, it’s vital to examine which education sector delivers the most “bang for the buck.”

In theory, private schools and public charter schools might be more cost-effective than traditional public schools because of competitive pressures (Friedman,

Theoretically, it is possible that private schools and public charter schools have stronger financial incentives to spend scarce education dollars efficiently than traditional public schools because schools of choice must attract their customers (Friedman,

Voucher

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

How the English Language Is Taking Over the Planet

Jacob Mikanowski:

As it turned out, Roosevelt had things almost perfectly backwards. A century of immigration has done little to dislodge the status of English in North America. If anything, its position is stronger than it was a hundred years ago. Yet from a global perspective, it is not America that is threatened by foreign languages. It is the world that is threatened by English.

Behemoth, bully, loudmouth, thief: English is everywhere, and everywhere, English dominates. From inauspicious beginnings on the edge of a minor European archipelago, it has grown to vast size and astonishing influence. Almost 400m people speak it as their first language; a billion more know it as a secondary tongue. It is an official language in at least 59 countries, the unofficial lingua franca of dozens more. No language in history has been used by so many people or spanned a greater portion of the globe. It is aspirational: the golden ticket to the worlds of education and international commerce, a parent’s dream and a student’s misery, winnower of the haves from the have-nots. It is inescapable: the language of global business, the internet, science, diplomacy, stellar navigation, avian pathology. And everywhere it goes, it leaves behind a trail of dead: dialects crushed, languages forgotten, literatures mangled.

‘Risky’ Playgrounds Are Making a Comeback

Tanvi Misra:

The information age has ushered in an era of fear about children’s well-being, shifting norms heavily towards constant oversight and nearly impossible standards of safety. One casualty of that trend has been the playground, which has become mind-numbingly standard-issue—with the same type of plastic swing sets and slides—designed to minimize harm, rather than maximize enjoyment.

Over the last few years, however, pushback against the overly sanitized playground has grown considerably, with new research supporting the importance of play—especially unstructured play—for early childhood development. Critics also argue that concerns about actual harm are overstated. These findings have raised questions about playground design. Is the current playground model fostering creativity, independence, and problem-solving? What does risk really mean—and when is it OK? What can alternatives to current play spaces look like? And how can their benefits extend to all children in a city? Architects, researchers, childhood development specialists, and parents are weighing in on these questions around the world, and outlining a new vision for the future of play.

The Mental Process of Learning Is More Complex Than We Thought

SUM:

Sometimes two abilities that appear very similar are controlled by two different parts of our brains.

In a new study, scientists found that two mental processes related to physical action take place in separate sections of the dorsal striatum, a part of the brain that’s important for movement. The results could lead to new insights about compulsive habits, authors say, as well as models of learning.

Eric Garr, who graduated with a Ph.D. in psychology and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, was an author on the paper, published in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Professor Andrew Delamater (Brooklyn College, The Graduate Center), Garr’s Ph.D. adviser, is also an author.

By studying rodents, Garr and Delamater found that the process of learning how to do a series of actions by trial and error is regulated by the lateral part of the dorsal striatum, or DLS. However, the ability to actually do those actions when motivated by the anticipation of a reward is slightly separated—this is located in the medial part of the dorsal striatum, or DMS.

Instead of rote learning useless facts, children should be taught wellbeing

Alice O’Keefe:

In his treatise on the future of humanity, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the philosopher-historian Yuval Noah Harari offers the young people of today some advice. In order to survive and thrive in adulthood, they should not rely on traditional academic skills such as solving equations or learning computer code. These will soon become obsolete in a world in which computers can perform such techniques more quickly and accurately than humans. All information-based jobs, in fields as diverse as journalism and medicine, will be under threat by 2050.

Instead, Harari predicts that the key skills they need to survive and thrive in the 21st century will be emotional intelligence (it is still difficult to imagine a computer caring for a sick person or a child), and the ability to deal with change. If we can predict nothing else about the future, we know that it is going to involve a rapidly accelerating pace of change, from the growth of AI to a warming climate. Coping with this level of uncertainty will require adaptability and psychological resilience. These are best fostered by an education system that prioritises not traditional academic learning but rather “the four Cs”: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

None of this will come as news to the parents of today, who instinctively prioritise the emotional and physical health of their children over academic results. A survey released earlier last week by the Youth Sport Trust charity showed that 62% of parents with children aged 18 or under feel that the wellbeing of school pupils is more important than academic attainment. Another recent study by the ethnographers Bad Babysitter into the childcare sector in the US identified a similar cultural shift, away from parents aspiring to “the reassured child”, who is rewarded with prizes and certificates, towards “the resilient child”. “Being adaptive,” remarked the researchers, “is a 21st-century skill.” Young people themselves are, of course, also questioning the value of an education system with priorities that seem out of whack with the world around them. As one motto from the school climate strike had it, “No school on a dead planet”.

K-12 Governance, Spending and Student Learning: As audit looms, Boston schools brace for more bad news

James Vaznis:

By many measures, the Boston schools are in crisis. Graduation rates dropped last year, while the gap between Black and white students earning diplomas more than doubled. The state last fall ordered the school district to ramp up improvement efforts at nearly three dozen low-performing schools. A Globe review revealed that fewer than one in four graduates at several Boston high schools earned college degrees. The school system’s buildings are deteriorating, and school officials can’t even keep bathrooms stocked with soap and toilet paper.

As the state wraps up its first comprehensive review of the Boston system in a decade, local officials are bracing themselves — and the public — for more bad news. Mayor Martin J. Walsh, whose administration has examined a draft of the findings, warned on public radio last week that the final version is “not going to be a real pretty report.”

The low performance of the Boston school system is propelling a growing number of state officials and other advocates to call on Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley to take decisive action, even a state takeover of the entire system. Just last week, a statewide advocacy organization representing Black and Latino families pleaded with Riley and the state education board to act swiftly and aggressively.

“Mayor Walsh and Superintendent [Brenda] Cassellius do not deserve more trust or more time,” Keri Rodrigues, founding president of Massachusetts Parents United, told the state education board members. “How much longer is the state going to accept Boston’s excuses for its inability to fix its schools? How many more children do we have to lose before you take this seriously?”

Many in Boston, though, believe state receivership would be a mistake.

“I don’t even want to say the word ‘receivership’ — that would be the worse thing that could happen,” said Ruby Reyes, director of the Boston Education Justice Alliance, a coalition of Boston students, parents, and educators, characterizing the state’s record on receivership as poor. “State oversight hasn’t been helpful. I think state assistance should be resources.”

Meanwhile: Outsourcing Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District Governance (while spending more, for less).

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

‘No school is perfect’: Student suing Baraboo district reflects on her ‘safer’ Madison school

Kelly Meyerhofer:

Baraboo School District officials said in court filings that police were contacted about the locker room note and that the district conducted a “thorough” investigation. They said students wearing inappropriate clothing are required to remove the items once staff is made aware. The district also said it now contracts with a company to screen music played at school events.

Bullying, assault

Banks’ mother became a district employee during her daughter’s eighth-grade year. She hoped her presence would change the dynamic but said she was stymied by administrators’ resistance. When she complained about behavior targeted specifically toward her daughter, administrators accused Banks of being a bully, the suit alleges.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

US students lag other countries in math. The reason probably lies in how schools teach it

Erin Richards:

American students struggle in math. 

The latest results of an international exam given to teenagers ranked the USA ninth in reading and 31st in math literacy out of 79 countries and economies. America has a smaller-than-average share of top-performing math students, and scores have essentially been flat for two decades.

One likely reason: U.S. high schools teach math differently than other countries. 

Classes here often focus on formulas and procedures rather than teaching students to think creatively about solving complex problems involving all sorts of mathematics, experts said. That makes it harder for students to compete globally, be it on an international exam or in colleges and careers that value sophisticated thinking and data science. 

Related: Math Task Force.

Hidden Segregation Within Schools Is Tracked in New Study

Sarah Sparks:

Eliminating racial segregation can be a little like playing whack-a-mole: Instead of going away, too often it just finds a new outlet.

A massive new study of North Carolina classrooms over nearly 20 years finds that as racial segregation between schools went down, the racial isolation within the classrooms inside those schools went up. This class-level isolation can limit black and Hispanic students’ access to challenging courses and hamstring district efforts to encourage the broader social and academic benefits of diversity.

In a working paper released earlier this month, Duke University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill researchers looked at data on the number of white, black, and Hispanic students in every class in the Tarheel State’s K-12 traditional and charter public schools. The researchers focused on English and math classes in grades 4, 7, and 10 during the 1997-98, 2005-06, and 2012-13 school years, a time when the state’s Hispanic student population grew from 3 percent of all students to 14 percent. They defined segregation as the degree to which the racial makeup of classrooms departed from the racial composition of all public school students in the county.

Segregation within schools accounted for up to 40 percent of all racial segregation in North Carolina, which has been a bellwether for national efforts to integrate schools. The study’s findings suggest this “hidden segregation” can become a problem for the very districts focused on making their overall schools more diverse.

“Within-school segregation is significant. Ignore this at your peril,” said Charles Clotfelter, who co-authored the study with Duke colleagues Helen Ladd and Mavzuna Turaeva, and Steven Hemelt of UNC-Chapel Hill, at a summit here by the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, part of the American Institutes of Research.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

An interview with Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes

Henry Sanders:

This week, Henry welcomes Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes to talk about growing up on the North Side, hiring a new superintendent, the changing role of police in schools and more.

Meanwhile: Outsourcing Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District Governance (while spending more, for less).

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

UC Santa Cruz Grad Student Strike

UC Santa Cruz:

As you are likely aware, in an effort to better support our Ph.D. and MFA students and help address the very legitimate financial concerns they have raised, we announced and implemented a number of new campus programs to help alleviate their financial burdens – and we are working together to provide greater levels of support. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to find an amenable resolution, 54 teaching assistants have continued to withhold fall grade information. As a result, we have been left with no choice but to take an action that we had truly and deeply hoped to avoid. As I previously shared, students who fail to meet their contractual obligations by withholding fall grade information will not receive spring quarter appointments, or if they have received them they will be dismissed from their spring quarter appointments.

School policy forbids kids from saying ‘no’ when asked to dance

Rachel Paula Abrahamson:

Alicia Hobson’s 11-year-old daughter, Azlyn, was counting down the days until the Valentine’s Day dance at her Utah middle school.

“She was so excited she could barely sleep,” Hobson told TODAY Parents, noting that the sixth grader picked out her outfit a week ahead of time.

“It was supposed to be the best day ever,” Hobson, 37, said.

But it wasn’t.

That afternoon, when Azlyn got home, she had an “emotional explosion” in the kitchen, while recounting how a boy who makes her uncomfortable had asked her to dance.

“She politely said, ‘No thank you,’” Hobson revealed. The problem? At Rich Middle School in Laketown, Utah, it’s against the rules to say “no,” and principal Kip Motta allegedly intervened when he heard Azlyn decline the invitation at the dance.

“He said something like, ‘No, no. You kids go out and dance,’” Hobson revealed. “He basically shooed Azlyn and the boy off onto the dance floor.”

The Value of Study Abroad Experience in the Labor Market: Findings from a Resume Audit Experiment

Albert Cheng & Laura Florick:

Conventional wisdom and some empirical research suggests that study abroad programs enhance skills and personal growth in ways that translate into success in the labor market. However, this research is limited by its inability to address sources of selection bias that may confound the positive relationship between study abroad experience and labor-market success. We conduct a field experiment to overcome these limitations. Using a resume audit, we estimate the causal relationship between participation in study abroad experience and the likelihood of receiving a callback from a potential employer. We also tested for potential heterogeneities by the location (i.e., Asia versus Europe) and length (i.e., two weeks versus one year) of the study abroad experience. Compared to resumes that list no study abroad experience, resumes that list study abroad experience in Asia regardless of length are about 20 percent more likely to receive a callback for an interview if the resume studied. The differences in rates increases to 25 percent when comparing resumes without study abroad experience to those that list two-week programs in Asia. Resumes that list study abroad experience in Europe for one year are 20 percent less likely to receive any callback and 35 percent less likely to receiving a call back for an interview, relative to resumes that do not list study abroad experience. Implications about the value of study abroad are discussed.

Best Books on the Folly of Socialism

Independent Institute:

Professor Heilbroner’s pronouncement of socialism’s death is greatly exaggerated. Socialism has risen from its own ashes perhaps more often than has any other political ideology on earth. Now, more than 30 years after Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev implemented reforms that helped burn the ideal of a planned economy to the ground, socialist doctrines are once again gaining in popularity, especially among young people.

Much has been written about socialism, yet too little has been read (too little serious writing, that is). This annotated list of recommended reading, compiled by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Williamson M. Evers, tries to remedy this deficiency by highlighting some of the most insightful critiques of socialism ever written. It’s not an exaggeration to say that anyone who carefully studies even a handful of these books will gain a stronger understanding of socialism than is possessed by the vast majority of socialists.

“This is the best list of what to read about socialism that’s out there,” says Dr. Evers.

How the humanities became the new enemy within

William Davies:

The 20th century witnessed a distinctive model of interlocking political, educational and artistic institutions, with the humanities at their core. Public bodies such as the British Academy and the BBC set the template for the optimistic, post-1945 era of public investment in the arts and humanities. The state actively supported their expansion after the war via such icons of mass cultural modernity as the Arts Council, BBC2, the Open University and the new redbrick universities. By the 1980s, this project had borne such fruits as the South Bank Show, the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies and Channel 4. Threaded through all of this was the principle that there was a public interest in understanding ideas, artefacts and events.

Outsourcing Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District Governance (while spending more, for less)

Scott Girard:

An outside agency could soon be reviewing and updating the Madison Metropolitan School District’s policies.

Neola, based in Ohio with consultants based in Wisconsin, has more than 1,000 client districts around the country, including 269 in Wisconsin, where it has worked since 1989. In Dane County, those districts include DeForest, Stoughton, McFarland and Monona Grove.

MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds said the district’s legal services department needs the help, and confirmed it’s a partnership the district is “strongly considering.”

The department has four staff members, according to the district’s website: a secretary, Title IX investigator/Affirmative Action officer, general legal counsel and associate general legal counsel.

“We have such a small legal counsel that we need support on the policy piece,” LeMonds said. “Primarily the service that they’ll be providing is not writing the policy but working with us to update policy. There’s a lot of them, some are several years old and just need to be updated.”

But School Board member Nicki Vander Meulen, who is one of two board members on the board’s policy work team, is concerned that working with Neola will leave the district with boilerplate policies that aren’t applicable to local concerns.

“This is one of the most important things the board does,” Vander Meulen said.

Neola has more than 400 policy templates that “cover the vast array of issues facing K-12 school districts,” according to its website, though it “does not recommend the use or incorporation of district-specific materials.” While the company will provide legal assistance for claims that the policies do not “accurately reflect what is required by state and federal law,” the district is liable for risks related to included district-specific materials.

Vander Meulen is also concerned about the timing of the discussions, given new superintendent Matthew Gutierrez starts on June 1. She said any negotiations now make it seem like the administration “wants to limit his power.”

“Do we want him to be able to effect change in the district or do we want to force policy on him?” she said.

No matter the cost, Vander Meulen said it would be “incredibly problematic” to give up policy writing duties, one of the board’s “core functions.”

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts.

The ‘sextortion’ Scams: The Numbers Show That What We Have Is A Failure Of Education

Peter Hansteen:

The important point is that you are or were about to be the victim of what I consider a very obvious scam, and for no good or even nearly valid reason. You should not need to become the next victim.

And this, dear policy makers and tech heads in general is our problem: A large subset of the general public simply do not know their way around the digital world we created for them to live in. We need to do better.

In that context I find it quite disturbing that people who should know better, such as the Norwegian Center for Information Security, in a recently issued report (also see Digi.no’s article (both in Norwegian only, sorry)) predict that the sextortion attacks will become “more sophisticated and credible”. Then again at some level they may technically be right, since this kind of activity starts out with a net negative credibility score.

Mission vs organization: Student enrollment vs tax receipts

Marielle Argueza:

It’s census season, meaning there’s a lot of attention on how many people live where right now, but population numbers and projections are always changing, even between census years. In 2018, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments forecast a slowdown in population growth in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. And that trend is beginning to appear, including in public school classrooms.

Salinas Union High School District and one of its largest feeder districts, Alisal Union, are showing signs of an enrollment decline. Both districts generate revenue from a funding formula including state funds. Those funds are dependent on average daily attendance. That means one student is the equivalent of a certain amount of state funding for a school, with the amount varying per fiscal year, based on the state’s budget.

It started slowly. Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years, Alisal Union School District lost 31 students. But then from 2017-18 to 2018-19, the district lost 327 students.

An “emphasis on adult employment“.

Black Student Unions expanding to more Madison middle schools

Scott Girard:

More black students in Madison middle schools will soon have the opportunity to be part of a group with their peers.

Black Student Unions are already present at each of the four comprehensive high schools and some middle schools. The School Board approved a $45,665 contract Monday with Brandi Grayson’s Urban Triage organization to add two more to that list.

Grayson began leading a BSU at Sherman Middle School this year, and will hire facilitators to lead similar groups at Whitehorse and O’Keeffe middle schools.

Are Elite Universities Getting Too Chummy With China and Russia?

Minding the Campus:

Two American elite universities, Yale and Harvard, are now in the crosshairs of the Education Department. Why? They accepted money from foreign countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran and not reporting the gifts or contracts, which federal investigators estimate to be at least $6.5 billion.

The story, which appears in The Wall Street Journal, explains that “universities are required to disclose to the education department all contracts and gifts from a foreign source that alone or combined are worth $250,000 or more in a calendar year.” The Journal does not explain what, if anything, the money was intended for. What we do know is that it has not been used to lower tuition costs for students.

Last month, Charles Lieber, chairman of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, was arrested and criminally charged with making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the U.S. Defense Department about his ties to a Chinese government program to recruit foreign scientists and researchers.

China wasn’t the only country of concern. The investigation, which began in 2019, showed one university had a relationship with Kaspersky Lab, a Russia-based cybersecurity company whose products the Trump administration has banned government agencies from using amid concerns it worked with Russian intelligence.

Commentary on the Madison School District’s healthcare costs

Logan Wroge:

According to MTI’s memo, health insurance changes under consideration include:

  • Moving future retirees from health insurance plans offered through the district to the state Department of Employee Trust Funds’ Local Annuitant Health Program, a relatively new program for retired public employees.

  • Increasing employee premium contributions for teachers and other employees from 3% to 6% and for certain hourly workers, such as security assistants, from 1.25% to 2.5%.

  • Adding a $100 deductible for individual plans and $200 for family plans.

  • Dropping GHC and replacing it with a plan through Quartz.

  • Increasing employee premium contributions to 10% or 12%.

Keillor said a major increase in employee premium contributions is a “nonstarter.”

“We have not gotten any kind of sense over one that’s more preferred,” he said of the options under consideration. “Right now, I’d say none of these are preferable options to folks.”

But Keillor acknowledged the union doesn’t have a say in the decision other than amplifying the voices of employees because Act 10 — the 2011 law that severely limited the power of most public-sector unions — restricts unions to only negotiating on base wages.

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

Health insurance costs have long been an issue in the Madison School District.

Administrators warned that benefits were unsustainable in 2014.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: What the Green New Deal Could Cost a Typical Household

Kent Lassman, Daniel Turner:

Regardless of the GND architects’ intentions, this paper examines the some of the major tradeoffs associated with taking significant portions of the GND seriously. What would it mean to actually implement significant portions of the proposal? Can we understand the effects at a household level in different regions of the country?

To that end, the following analysis examines the transformation of electricity production, transportation, elements of shipping, and construction in 11 representative states that implementation of the GND would necessitate. It requires a considerable number of assumptions that we share in order to allow readers to come to their own conclusions about the merits of the GND compared to alternative uses of scarce societal resources.

The sum of our analysis is not favorable for the GND’s advocates—or for the typical household budget. At best, it can be described as an overwhelmingly expensive proposal reliant on technologies that have not yet been invented. More likely, the GND would drive the American economy into a steep economic depression, while putting off-limits affordable energy necessary for basic social institutions like hospitals, schools, clean water and sanitation, cargo shipments, and the production and transport of the majority of America’s food supply.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Why Do College Textbooks Cost so Much? 7 Questions Answered

Amie Freeman:

7. What can students do to cut costs?

If a student’s assigned materials aren’t automatically charged to his or her tuition, the student could shop around both online and in-store to find the best rate. Some students search one of the many cost comparison sites, such as TextSurf, available online. A student might also consider a digital or physical rental if the student doesn’t plan to use the material after the course ends. If the college or university offers access to textbooks through the library, that’s a great place to save money. Most students who skip purchasing their course materials fear their grade will be negatively affected, so it’s essential that these cost-saving opportunities, alongside the option of open textbooks, are available to students.

Commentary on the growth of redistributed Wisconsin K-12 tax & spending

David Blaska:

Governor Evers vetoed another middle class tax cut this week. The bill that passed with bipartisan support in the Assembly last week would have:

• Reduced nearly $250 million in income taxes for middle and lower income levels by increasing the sliding scale standard deduction by 13.2% for each filer. This would have resulted in an average savings of $106 per filer.

• Reduced personal property taxes for manufacturers.

• Paid off $100 million in general obligation debt.

• Add to the “rainy day” fund bringing the total to nearly $1 billion.

Governor Evers should have signed the bill that returns surplus dollars back to the taxpayers and pays down debt. Thanks to good budgeting and a growing economy, we have grown a sizable surplus and Wisconsin’s families should reap in our economic windfall. But for the second time this session, the governor is refusing to help middle and lower income taxpayers in Wisconsin and is intent on increasing government spending. …

The conservative budget that Governor Evers signed into law last year made the largest investment in K-12 schools in actual dollars and doubled the current funding for student mental health programs. Not one legislative Democrat voted for the budget that increased support for our schools.

The regular session of the state Assembly has concluded. We will likely return in May to attempt to override gubernatorial vetoes.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

On Private Schools and Discrimination: Response to Hechinger Report Editorial Note

Original Op Ed

Preston C. Green III

I am writing this post to alert my fellow professors about a situation I recently encountered after publishing a piece with the Hechinger Institute. This organization approached Bruce Baker and me to write an op-ed explaining the possible consequences of the Espinoza v. Montana State Department of Revenue case. In this case, the Supreme Court is considering whether states can prohibit parochial schools from participating in a tax-credit scholarship program. It is generally expected that the Court will hold that states cannot act in this manner.

In this op-ed, we explained that states might respond to this potential decision by placing curricular restrictions on participating schools or even refusing to fund private education altogether. We even posited that states might respond to the Court’s expected decision by dramatically reducing their investment in charter schools.

We did not get much pushback for these points in the op-ed. However, Corey DeAngelis, adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and the Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation, claimed on Twitter that we were wrong to suggest that parochial school participants in school voucher programs might even consider discrimination on the basis of race. He supported this assertion by citing a Supreme Court case, Runyon v. McCrary. DeAngelis posted a screenshot of the purported holding, which he got from Wikipedia. According to this summation, Runyon held that “[f]ederal law prohibits private schools from discriminating on the basis of race.” On the basis of this “evidence,” DeAngelis demanded that Hechinger correct this alleged error.

I responded on Twitter by posting a screenshot of the pertinent part of the actual case, which included the following statement (italics added):

Additional commentary.

Public libraries in the digital age are more relevant than ever

Judith Davidoff:

On Valentine’s Day, Oregon village president Jeanne Carpenter merged her worlds, pledging to donate half of the day’s sales from her coffee shop to advance one of her civic passions: the building of a new library for Oregon.

“When I ran for president I had three things I really wanted to accomplish. And one of them was building a new library,” says Carpenter, who owns Firefly Coffeehouse & Artisan Cheese, located on Oregon’s main drag.

“We are such a growing community and people who are moving here for our good schools, our good food scene, are now demanding better resources,” adds Carpenter, who served seven years on the village board and is now in her first term as village president.

Carpenter says budget restraints meant the current library, which is outdated and cramped, never fully met the needs of the village, even in its early years. This time around, the community is putting its money where its mouth is. The village of 10,000 has earmarked $6 million for the new facility and large donors have pledged $1 million in private funds; the capital campaign launched Feb. 14 is aiming to bring in another $4 million in smaller donations.

“The modern library is going to be absolutely key to building the community and maintaining a strong democracy,” says Carpenter. “It’s what we see as a gathering place for thoughtful discussion. A place for people no matter their status, their wealth, their income. Where you can go to learn, to participate, to research. You can become part of something that is bigger than yourself.”

Japan to close schools nationwide to control spread of virus

Mari Yamguchi:

The decision comes amid growing concern about the rise in the number of untraceable cases of the virus in northern Japan and elsewhere. Japan now has more than 910 cases, including 705 from a quarantined cruise ship. An eighth death from the virus was confirmed Thursday on the northern island of Hokkaido. 

Abe’s announcement came hours after several local governments had announced their own decisions to suspend classes for shorter periods. 

Officials in Hokkaido said they were closing all 1,600 elementary and middle schools. Hokkaido now has 54 confirmed cases, the largest in in the country outside the cruise ship.

Some local governments quickly said they will abide by the request, but others criticized the short notice and said it would affect working parents who need to find sitters for young school children. 

“Society will fall apart because of the measures,” said Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai, adding that he will come up with measures to support working parents during the school suspension.

Civics: N.S.A. Phone Program Cost $100 Million, but Produced Only Two Unique Leads

Charlie Savage:

A National Security Agency system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls and text messages cost $100 million from 2015 to 2019, but yielded only a single significant investigation, according to a newly declassified study.

Moreover, only twice during that four-year period did the program generate unique information that the F.B.I. did not already possess, said the study, which was produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and briefed to Congress on Tuesday.

“Based on one report, F.B.I. vetted an individual, but, after vetting, determined that no further action was warranted,” the report said. “The second report provided unique information about a telephone number, previously known to U.S. authorities, which led to the opening of a foreign intelligence investigation.”

The report did not reveal the subject matter of the one significant F.B.I. investigation that was spurred by the Freedom Act program, and it did not divulge its outcome.

But the high expense and low utility of the call records collected sheds new light on the National Security Agency’s decision in 2019 to shutter the program amid recurring technical headaches, halting a counterterrorism effort that has touched off disputes about privacy and the rule of law since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The information surfaced as Congress was weighing whether to allow the law that authorizes the agency to operate the system — the USA Freedom Act of 2015 — to expire on March 15, or whether to accede to the Trump administration’s request that lawmakers extend the statute, so the agency could choose to turn the system back on in the future.

Math is your insurance policy

Bartosz Milewski:

We live in interesting times. For instance, we are witnessing several extinction events all at once. One of them is the massive extinction of species. The other is the extinction of jobs. Both are caused by advances in technology. As programmers, we might consider ourselves immune to the latter–after all, somebody will have to program these self-driving trucks that eliminate the need for drivers, or the diagnostic tools that eliminate the need for doctors. Eventually, though, even programming jobs will be automated. I can imagine the last programmer putting finishing touches on the program that will make his or her job redundant. 

But before we get there, let’s consider which programming tasks are the first to go, and which have the biggest chance to persist for the longest time. Experience tells us that it’s the boring menial jobs that get automated first. So any time you get bored with your work, take note: you are probably doing something that a computer could do better. 

One such task is the implementation of user interfaces. All this code that’s behind various buttons, input fields, sliders, etc., is pretty much standard. Granted, you have to put a lot of effort to make the code portable to a myriad of platforms: various desktops, web browsers, phones, watches, fridges, etc. But that’s exactly the kind of expertise that is easily codified. If you find yourself doing copy and paste programming, watch out: your buddy computer can do it too. The work on generating UI has already started, see for instance, pix2code.

Those Nasty LAUSD School Board Campaign Ads: What’s Fact? What’s Opinion?

Kyle Stokes:

Independent expenditure groups are spending at record-setting levels on next month’s Los Angeles Unified School Board primary — which you could’ve probably guessed from all the ads filling your mailboxes.

And an unusual number of those mailers ask LAUSD voters to vote against a candidate, rather than for one.

So far this year, charter school proponents have spent more than $2 million on negative ads. For an LAUSD race, that number is insane. That’s more negative advertising than was purchased in the last three election cycles featuring these same LAUSD board seats ($1.7 million) — and we’re not even past the 2020 primary.

Most of that spending has been concentrated in LAUSD Board Districts 3 and 5, where charter advocates are trying to unseat incumbents backed by United Teachers Los Angeles. The teachers union hasn’t bought any negative advertising thus far, and generally hasn’t kept pace with charter proponents’ spending.

The simple maths error that can lead to bankruptcy

David Robson:

Fifteen years ago, the people of Italy experienced a strange kind of mass hysteria known as “53 fever”.

The madness centred on the country’s lottery. Players can choose between 11 different wheels, based in cities such as Bari, Naples or Venice. Once you have picked which wheels to play, you can then bet on a selection of numbers between 1 and 90. Your winnings depend on how much you initially bet, how many numbers you picked and how many you got right.

Sometime in 2003, however, the number 53 simply stopped coming up on the Venice wheel – leading punters to place increasingly big bets on the number in the certainty that it must soon make a reappearance.

By early 2005, 53 fever had apparently led thousands to their financial ruin, the pain of which resulted in a spate of suicides. The hysteria only died away when it finally came up in the 9 February draw, after 182 no-shows and four billion euros worth of bets.

While it may have appeared like a kind of madness, the victims had been led astray by a reasoning flaw called the “gambler’s fallacy” – a worryingly common error that can derail many of our professional decisions, from a goalkeeper’s responses to penalty shootouts in football to stock market investments and even judicial rulings on new asylum cases.

Why Teenagers Reject Parents’ Solutions to Their Problems

Lisa Damour:

Parents of adolescents are often confronted by a puzzling sequence of events. First, teenagers bring us their problems; second, we earnestly offer suggestions and solutions; and third, teenagers dismiss our ideas as irritating, irrelevant or both.

These moments feel ripe for connection. Why do they so often turn sour? Almost always, it’s because we’re not giving teenagers what they’re really looking for. Consciously or not, here’s what they most likely want.

They Need a Sounding Board

Adolescents, just like adults, may find the best relief from simply articulating their worries and concerns. Indeed, it’s an aphorism among psychologists that most problems feel better when they’re on the outside rather than on the inside, and this holds true whether the difficulties are big or small.

When teenagers bring problems our way, it’s best to start by assuming that they aren’t inviting suggestions, or at least are not inviting them yet. So let them vent.

“I’ll talk to my parents as a sounding board,” says 18-year-old Kathleen Deedy of Mission Hills, Kan., “especially if it’s not enough of an issue for me to want to do something about it. I just want to get it off my chest.”

Civics & Google: How We Examined Gmail’s Treatment of Political Emails

By Leon Yin, Adrianne Jeffries, and Surya Mattu:

In early 2018, several advocacy groups noticed a drop in open rates for subscribers with Gmail domains. They said this had a negative impact on calls to action and donations. 

Using data sent to us by three of these advocacy groups as well as Change.org, a for-profit company that hosts petitions for political causes, we confirmed there was a lasting decrease in open rates unique to subscribers using Gmail. 

Madison school board members object to East High principal hire

Dylan Brogan:

After learning from Madison school board president Gloria Reyes that district officials had decided to make Brendan Kearney the permanent principal of East High, school board member Ananda Mirilli quickly sent an email asking district administrators to hold off on the hire.

The email, obtained by Isthmus, was sent with support from board members Ali Muldrow and Nicki Vander Muelen. Mirilli lists board colleagues Savion Castro and Cris Carusi as sharing her concerns. But Castro tells Isthmus the email was sent without his consent. Carusi, in a statement sent by Tim LeMonds, the district’s public information officer, says that she also did not give permission to include her name on the email. 

“I believe these families, the East community and the entire MMSD community deserve to know what happened, who was all involved, what really happened with communication to the families and law enforcement and clarity on our crisis response,” wrote Mirilli at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 20. “Our community deserves to know what we have done to support our families immediately after the first call was made by the students and subsequent events thereafter.”

About an hour later, interim Superintendent Jane Belmore informed parents via email that Kearney would be the new principal at East High, effective immediately. Two sources confirm to Isthmus that Belmore knew board members had previously raised concerns about moving forward with the hire.

David Kruchten, a business teacher at East and the advisor for the DECA club, was one of two chaperones on the school trip to Minneapolis where hidden cameras were found in the rooms of students. On Jan. 30 he was arrested on seven federal charges of “attempting to produce child pornography” for two separate incidents in 2019. On Feb. 6, he was also indicted on three counts of “interfer[ing] with privacy against a minor” in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The criminal complaint alleges Kruchten placed hidden cameras in three rooms “that were positioned in bathrooms in places where the likely intent was to capture sexual imagery.”

The cameras were concealed in a smoke detector and in two air fresheners.

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”

Civics & K-12 Opportunity: AOC Admits She Got Her Goddaughter Into a Bronx Charter School

Billy Binion:

This isn’t the first time that AOC has inadvertently made the case for school choice. At an October rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), she shared that her family left the Bronx for a house in Westchester county, so that she could attend a higher-quality school. “My family made a really hard decision,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “That’s when I got my first taste of a country who allows their kids’ destiny to be determined by the zip code they are born in.” 

The congresswoman has correctly diagnosed the problem. Whether or not a student is able to attend a decent public school too often turns on the neighborhood he or she happens to grow up in. It’s a reality that briefly dominated the national conversation during the recent college admissions scandal, which saw wealthy celebrities paying to have their children receive rigged acceptances to elite universities. Comparisons were immediately drawn to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, who received a five-year prison sentence for using her father’s address to ensure that her children could attend the superior elementary and middle schools nearby.

As AOC recognized in her speech at the Sanders rally, such a dilemma is only possible when the system hinges on a zip code. But isn’t that a problem that school choice can help fix?

If her experience is any guide, the congresswoman should say yes. But school choice has become strangely polarizing in recent years, as many Democratic leaders forcefully repudiate charters.

A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school (2011).

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Civics: Journalism Schools, relevance vs. cost

Frederic Filloux:

Should students pay $30,000 or even up to $100,000 to attend a journalism school in the United States? Is it realistic considering the starting salaries in the profession? Is teaching journalism schools actually needed?

An interesting discussion was prompted last week by Rafat Ali, about the cost of tuition in journalism schools in the United States. Rafat is a creator of Skift and a pioneer in digital journalism and media entrepreneurship. On February 21, he tweeted the following:

On average, a student will pay $57,000 per year to attend one of these J-schools (living expenses not included). Compared to that, at $16,500 per year, the SciencesPo Journalism school where I teach in Paris looks like a bargain (students actually get generous aid: only 2% pay the full rate and 35% of the SciencesPo J-School pay zero tuition). For that price, you get the best journalism school in France, with some of the classes taught in English, and the curriculum also offers a dual degree with the Paris School of International Affairs — end of our commercial break.

‘Unlearning whiteness’ in the Madison schools

David Blaska:

The school lesson plan is chaos

“[We] talk about race as if it was every race but whiteness. How can we support you, elevate your work around actually talking about white culture in our schools and how teachers can start doing this work of, like, unlearning whiteness.” 

  — Madison school board member Ananda Mirilli on the district’s Black Excellence Coalition, Madison Board of Education 1:58:52 into the meeting.

Once again, the Madison school board proved Monday (02-24-2020) that it cannot keep order at its own meetings. No wonder there is chaos in the classroom.

School board members had to huddle around president Gloria Reyes to be heard as the usual suspects stormed the stage of the Doyle administration building and chanted their slogans. “Don’t arrest us; arrest the police.” This being Madison’s public schools, the disrupters were not arrested. As for the police, it was a close vote.

At issue was a $35,000 appropriation to continue policing special events such as athletic contests and dances. It barely passed, 4 to 3 (Ali Muldrow, Ananda Mirilli, and Nicki Vander Meulen voting no). Roll the tape, Lester:

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

2013 – 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience.

The Department of Justice has filed a brief in a federal lawsuit filed by Students For Fair Admissions

Justice.gov:

Harvard College receives millions of dollars in federal taxpayer-financed assistance every year. By accepting federal funding, Harvard subjected itself to Title VI’s stringent restrictions on the use of race. As Harvard undisputedly considers applicants’ race when selecting its incoming freshman class, it bore the burden at trial of proving that its consideration of race in the admissions process is narrowly tailored to a cognizable compelling interest. Yet the unvarnished record shows that Harvard’s use of race is hardly tailored at all.

The trial record established that Harvard actively engages in racial balancing that Supreme Court precedent flatly forbids. Indeed, the racial composition of Harvard’s admitted class is strikingly stable from year to year. That result is no accident. The school considers applicants’ race at virtually every step, from rating applicants to winnowing the field of applicants when attempting to avoid an over- subscribed class. And its inclusion of race in the analysis frequently makes a dispositive difference. The district court found that Harvard’s use of race was “determinative” for “approximately 45% of all admitted African American and Hispanic applicants.” ADD84. Moreover, Harvard meticulously tracks and shapes the racial makeup of its emerging incoming class throughout the process, continuously comparing the new class’s racial composition with that of the previous year. This overt engineering of racial stasis bears no resemblance to the flexible, nonmechanical “plus” factor that the Supreme Court’s cases to date have permitted.

I Took ‘Adulting Classes’ for Millennials

Andrew Zaleski:

On the eve of my wife’s 30th birthday—a milestone I, too, will soon hit—she posed a troubling question: Are we adults yet?

We certainly feel that way: We hold our own jobs, pay our own rent, cover our own bills, drive our own cars. Our credit is in order. But we don’t yet own a house and have no children—two markers commonly associated with fully-fledged adulthood (and two markers that both our sets of parents had reached well before they turned 30). And there are other gaps in our maturity: I don’t buy napkins or know how to golf; up until last year, I didn’t know how to change the oil in my car’s engine. Thankfully, last year we managed to throw a dinner party, our first, without burning the pork roast.

A vague anxiety over these known-unknowns is something of a generational hallmark. A Monday-morning scroll through the social media feed of the average 20-something might turn up a handful of friends sharing memes of dogs—looking bewildered, exasperated, or both—unironically captioned with something like: “Don’t make me adult today.”

Is this the best Madison’s (taxpayer supported) public schools can do?

David Blaska:

Today’s blog excerpts Kaleem Caire’s social media thread in the wake of his letter, co-signed by other local black leaders, expressing disappointment that Matthew Gutierrez of Texas was chosen as new superintendent of Madison WI schools over their preferred candidate, Taylor Eric Thomas of Georgia. Caire expresses frustration over the virulent Progressive Dane/Madison Teachers Inc. faction of Madison progressivism that defeated him for school board last year.

Other signatories were Pastor Marcus Allen, Ray Allen, Ruben Anthony, Pastor Joseph Baring,  Carola Gaines, Pastor Alex Gee, Greg Jones, Kirbie Mack, Vanessa McDowell, John Odom, Teresa Sanders and Yolanda Shelton Morris.

Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick is the very woke, Derail the Jail enemy of police in schools, ally of Ali Muldrow, Brandi Grayson, Freedom Inc., et cetera.

Yet another example of how identity politics is roiling education here in Madison and nationwide. 

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

2013 – 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience.

Getting educated on China K-12 tutoring edtech

Pandaily:

Episode 61 of Tech Buzz China is on K-12 edtech entrepreneurs, who are seeing their businesses grow instead of shrink in the wake of the coronavirus. Co-hosts Rui Ma and Ying-Ying Lu discuss top trends and the key players before the virus hit, and how they are responding now.

In 2018, the raging headline was that half of the venture capital deployed in edtech that year went to Chinese companies. In the past three years alone, 25 Chinese education companies have gone public. It’s a massive market, but what are the common misconceptions held by Western investors? Listen to hear context on China’s education system and the resulting influence on edtech business models, as well as the stories behind selected companies GSX and Yuanfudao.

The New “Causal” Research on School Spending is Not Causal

Jay Greene:

Some researchers and journalists have become very excited about a new set of studies that claim to find a causal relationship between increasing school spending and improving student outcomes.  These folks acknowledge that the vast majority of earlier research found no relationship between additional resources and stronger results, but that research was purely observational.  Perhaps school systems with weaker outcomes tend to get a larger share of increased spending, creating the false impression that more money doesn’t help.  That is, perhaps bad outcomes often cause more money, not the other way around.

There is a new wave of research that claims to find the causal relationship between school spending and student outcomes and those new results are much more positive.  The problem is that the new research pretty clearly falls short of having strong causal research designs.  Instead, the new research just seems to be substituting different non-causal methods with a different potential direction of bias for the old ones.

The new “causal” studies generally come in two types — regression discontinuity (RD) studies of bond referenda and instrumental variable (IV) analyses of court-ordered spending increases.  While RD and IV designs can produce results that approximate a randomized experiment and can be thought of as causal, the RD and IV studies in this new literature generally fail to meet the requirements for those designs to effectively approximate randomized experiments.  That is, the new “causal” research on school spending is not really causal.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Digital magic, or the dark arts of the 21st century—how can journals and peer reviewers detect manuscripts and publications from paper mills?

Jennifer Byrne and Jana Christopher:

In recent years, it has been proposed that unrealistic requirements for academics and medical doctors to publish in scientific journals, combined with monetary publication rewards, have led to forms of contract cheating offered by organizations known as paper mills. Paper mills are alleged to offer products ranging from research data through to ghostwritten fraudulent or fabricated manuscripts and submission services. While paper mill operations remain poorly understood, it seems likely that paper mills need to balance product quantity and quality, such that they produce or contribute to large numbers of manuscripts that will be accepted for publication. Producing manuscripts at scale may be facilitated by the use of manuscript templates, which could give rise to shared features such as textual and organizational similarities, the description of highly generic study hypotheses and experimental approaches, digital images that show evidence of manipulation and/or reuse, and/or errors affecting verifiable experimental reagents. Based on these features, we propose practical steps that editors, journal staff, and peer reviewers can take to recognize and respond to research manuscripts and publications that may have been produced with undeclared assistance from paper mills.

Fail productively… how to turn yourself into a super-learner

David Robson:

If your aim for 2020 was to learn a new skill, you may be at the point of giving up. Whether you are mastering a new language or a musical instrument, or taking a career-changing course, initial enthusiasm can only take you so far, and any further progress can be disappointingly slow.

From these struggles, you might assume that you simply lack a natural gift – compared to those lucky people who can learn any new skill with apparent ease.

However, it needn’t be this way. Many polymaths – including Charles Darwin and the Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman – claimed not to have exceptional natural intelligence. Most of us have more than enough brainpower to master a new discipline, if we apply it correctly – and the latest neuroscience offers many strategies to do just that.

Much research in the field hinges on the idea of “desirable difficulties”, pioneered by Profs Robert and Elizabeth Bjork at the University of California, Los Angeles. The aim is to deliberately create a slight feeling of frustration as you learn, which leads the brain to process the material more deeply, creating longer-lasting memories. It’s like physical exercise: you need to feel a bit of resistance to make significant long-term gains.

$35K contract for police at school events turns into heated debate, protests Monday

Scott Girard:

A $35,000 contract not initially up for discussion at the Madison School Board meeting Monday night ended up the most hotly debated topic among board members.

The contract with the city of Madison provides for up to $35,000 paid to the Madison Police Department in 2020 for officers to provide security, safety and crowd control services at extracurricular events like well-attended sporting events and graduation.

The contract passed on a 4 to 3 vote over shouts from Freedom Inc. activists and after an amendment to redirect the funding to community organizations was offered and later removed without a vote. Board members Savion Castro, Cris Carusi, Gloria Reyes and Kate Toews voted in favor; Ananda Mirilli, Ali Muldrow and Nicki Vander Meulen voted against.

Logan Wroge:

Following the vote, about a dozen opponents of the contract chanted over board members as they discussed other items on the agenda, saying the decision to continue staffing special events, such as sporting events and graduate ceremonies, with police officers could disproportionately affect minority students.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

“We know best”: Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw

Zeynep Tufekci:

Authoritarian blindness is a perennial problem, especially in large countries like China with centralized, top-down administration. Indeed, Xi would not even be the first Chinese ruler to fall victim to the totality of his own power. On August 4, 1958, buoyed by reports pouring in from around the country of record grain, rice, and peanut production, an exuberant Chairman Mao Zedong wondered how to get rid of the excess, and advised people to eat “five meals a day.” Many did, gorging themselves in the new regime canteens and even dumping massive amounts of “leftovers” down gutters and toilets. Export agreements were made to send tons of food abroad in return for machinery or currency. Just months later, perhaps the greatest famine in recorded history began, in which tens of millions would die because, in fact, there was no such surplus. Quite the opposite: The misguided agricultural policies of the Great Leap Forward had caused a collapse in food production. Yet instead of reporting the massive failures, the apparatchiks in various provinces had engaged in competitive exaggeration, reporting ever-increasing surpluses both because they were afraid of reporting bad news and because they wanted to please their superiors.

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”

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Where is the fashionable mathematics?

Xena Project:

My last post was, amongst other things, a challenge for the community behind every modern computer proof verification system to start formalising “proper mathematics”. This term has some problems, so how about the equally vague but perhaps less offensive “fashionable mathematics”. What mathematics is fashionable? Just take a look at the work of the recent Fields Medallists. That’s a pretty good way of telling.

But fortunately, unlike many other fashions, “fashionable mathematics” is not controlled by the whim of big companies or some cabal. Fashionable mathematics is mathematics which justifies itself by its ability to answer questions which have been previously deemed interesting or important. Peter Scholze’s definition of a perfectoid space opened a door. In the last ten years, perfectoid spaces have been used to prove new cases of the monodromy-weight conjecture, to prove the direct summand conjecture, to give a new proof of purity for flat cohomology, a strengthened version of the almost purity theorem and so on (and I didn’t even mention applications to the Langlands philosophy). These are results whose statements do not mention perfectoid spaces, and some have been open for decades. This is what makes this kind of mathematics fashionable — it is giving my community new insights.

Each formal proof verification system (Lean, Coq, Isabelle/HOL, UniMath, all of the others) has its own community, and it is surely in the interests of their members to see their communities grow. These systems are all claiming to do mathematics, as well as other things too (program verification, research into higher topos theory and higher type theory etc). But two things have become clear to me over the last two years or so:

Black community leaders share concerns about Madison School District’s superintendent hire, call process ‘flawed, incomplete’

Scott Girard:

A letter signed by 13 black community leaders in Madison expresses concerns about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s hiring of Matthew Gutiérrez to be its next superintendent.

The concerns include how much larger and more diverse MMSD is than Gutiérrez’s current Seguin Independent School District in Texas, student performance scores in Seguin and a “flawed, incomplete” process that “lacked substantive input from the Black Community.”

“We are dissatisfied with the process and how the input of the Black Community was minimized, if considered at all,” the letter reads. “Given the differences between Madison and Seguin, we expected a greater and broader background of experience, skills and abilities that would move the Madison District further in cultural competency, social justice, and academic outcomes for black students.

“Dr. Gutiérrez is woefully lacking in all of these categories.”

The signers are Pastors Alex Gee, Marcus Allen and Joseph Baring; Kaleem Caire, Ruben Anthony, Teresa Sanders, Vanessa McDowell, Carola Gaines, Yolanda Shelton Morris, John Odom, Kirbie Mack, Greg Jones and Ray Allen.

The letter was emailed to the School Board Thursday.

MMSD announced Gutiérrez as its hire Jan. 24. He was one of three finalists who visited the district last month to meet with community leaders and hold a public forum. The interviews included closed sessions with the School Board and with some minority community leaders.

During the press conference announcing his hire, School Board president Gloria Reyes said it was a “unanimous decision” of the board to hire Gutiérrez during a Jan. 17 closed session meeting pending contract negotiations.

“Whoever the choice, there will be those who with good intention say our selection wasn’t their first choice,” Reyes said at the press conference. “This is the kind of passion toward education that makes our community strong and we are thankful for that.”

Logan Wroge:

In her letter, Reyes said Gutierrez was selected as a result of “the most transparent and community-involved hiring process” ever undertaken by the district. As elected officials, it is the board’s responsibility to make the final decision, she said.

The black community leaders were critical of how the Seguin district scored on a Texas school performance report in 2018, with a higher proportion of Seguin schools rated below average compared with Texas schools at large.

Gutierrez became superintendent in Seguin, which is in the San Antonio metro area, in August 2017. It was his first job as a permanent superintendent in an 18-year educational career, all of which has been spent in Texas.

Moving forward, Reyes called for a unified approach of “keeping students at the center of everything we do.”

“As is with most larger districts, we are replete with distancing mechanisms and labels that serve to divide us,” Reyes said in her letter. “This is not a time of division, particularity when considering that (the school district) is making history in hiring the first superintendent of color as its leader.”

Kaleem Caire:

Just because we disagree with the Board of Education’s choice for Superintendent doesn’t mean we are being divisive. If the reference here is referring to perceived division along racial lines because Mr. Guettierez is Latino and we are Black, well, several Latino leaders who were a part of the same community interview that Madison’s African American Pastors arranged (and that I was present for as well) also felt that Dr. Guettierez was not the most qualified finalist candidate for the position. We also felt that the finalist candidate pool did not yield the caliber of candidate that our school district needs overall. Many of us felt Dr. Thomas was the most qualified candidate; however, some of us preferred that the Board of Education reopen the search process and try again. Furthermore, the only time many of us were involved in the hiring process was when local Black Ministers requested that we have the opportunity to meet the finalist candidates. This Board did not come to us. Given our collective experience and background in education in Madison (and some of us nationally), you would think the MMSD Board of Education would have thought to include us in this unprecedented community involved process. If you wonder why we are concerned, read the piece I wrote in last month’s Madison365: https://madison365.com/why-black-people-in-madison-are-impatientand-should-be/. This isn’t about Mr. Guettierez race. Instead, it is about our concern for the present and future of our children – and yours.

Onward.

“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”

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

2013 – 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience.

Ohio graduates won’t have to be “proficient” in math or English, under state superintendent’s plan

Patrick O’Donnell:

High school students won’t have to be “proficient” in either math or English to graduate, under minimum required test scores proposed by State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria.

They will just need to know enough to do the most basic of jobs.

New high school graduation requirements passed this summer require most students to show “competency” in math and English through scores on Ohio’s Algebra I and English II tests to qualify for a diploma. The new requirements start with the class 2023, this year’s high school freshmen.

“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”

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Academic Treason

Kirsten Hacker:

International collaboration has become a contentious issue in the world of academia. From a recent Bloomberg article by Tyler Cowen, I learned that ivy league universities have been accepting huge sums of money from countries like Iran, China and others. The chair of the Harvard chemistry department accepted 50,000 dollars per year and as much as 150,000 dollars in perks from Chinese collaborators and a hundred researchers at Texas A&M, many of whom worked in areas relevant to national defense, had gotten money from China and only five of them disclosed this.

I know people who work for a German lab and they are encouraged to collaborate with Chinese institutes, but I’ve heard that this sort of collaboration is sometimes controversial from the US standpoint, especially when the German lab also collaborates with US institutes. What these people do is all in compliance with the law, unlike US companies that set up work arounds to sell their products by going through intermediaries that are not on US soil, but for people in Germany and South Korea, countries that have always been stuck between two sides of a cold war, trying to remain friends with both sides has become increasingly challenging. They are both well aware that their security is dependent on support from the US, but as technocrats and mafia-sorts do battle, keeping clean shoes is challenging.

By some measures, academia has always operated as an entity that has no respect for international boundaries and this was its strength, but in times of war, knowledge becomes weaponized. Even though conflicts today seem to fly under the radar, this doesn’t mean that there are no casualties. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that people who are involved in the transfer of sensitive technology are simply eliminated in discrete ways.

This leads me to wonder about the extent to which international collaboration in fundamental physics is restricted. There was a conference last year in Hamburg during which dual use (military/civilian) applications of free electron laser technologies was discussed and from what I gathered, the conclusion was that military uses of the technology have been tried out and ruled out. This left the doors of international collaboration open within that sphere, but what happens if a nuclear physicist goes abroad to spread knowledge to populations that are not typically invited to conferences? (I honestly don’t know since I didn’t study nuclear physics.)

The AOC Tapes: Rep says she got goddaughter into Bronx charter school

Jon Levine:

Good for me, but not for thee.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to get her goddaughter into a Bronx charter school, according to a Facebook Live video she recorded in 2017 — before she was a public figure.

“This area’s like a lot of where my family is from,” AOC says as she strolls along Hunts Point Avenue in the Bronx. “My goddaughter, I got her into a charter school like maybe a block or two down.”

It’s unclear exactly how Ocasio-Cortez managed to finagle the favor for her goddaughter, or which school she attended. There are at least five — including South Bronx Classical Charter School I and Bronx Charter School for the Arts — within walking distance of the Hunts Point subway station where the video cuts out.

Reps for AOC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Embracing charters would be a big no-no for Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic socialist base, which calls for the total abolition of charters, arguing that their existence hurts traditional public schools.

“Charter schools act as tools for privatizing education and weakening the power of unionized teachers,” the party says in its New York City platform, which called for ending “the creation of new charter schools, [banning] the expansion of existing charter schools, and transform[ing] existing charter schools into public schools.”

Though Ocasio-Cortez has frequently talked about how her own family fled the Bronx to avoid the borough’s failing public schools, she has also publicly stood in total lockstep with anti-charter advocates.

2011: A majority of the Madison school board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter School.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Small UW campuses provide access to education. What would happen if they disappeared?

Kelly Meyerhofer:

Yet many of the branch campuses have fewer students enrolled than at any point during the past 45 years. What effect would closing one or more of them have on access to higher education?

The Wisconsin State Journal turned to UW-Madison higher education professor Nicholas Hillman, who leads the university’s Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) lab and has studied so-called “education deserts,” places that lack easy access to higher education.

Wisconsin birth and abortion data [politics].

Wisconsin high school student counts.

Civics: How governments are using charges of cybercrime to silence journalists

Sophie Fogin:

Governments are cracking down on journalists worldwide, charging them with so-called cybercrimes, but evidence suggests that the cybercrime charges are only a means to silence real journalism.

When acquitted of the cybercrime charges against him earlier this month, Brazil-based, US journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted that the news was good, but “not good enough” for his team at the investigative news outlet The Intercept, which he founded in 2014.

Commentary on Open Enrollment, the rule of law and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard:

The Madison Metropolitan and Monona Grove school districts are applying for a waiver from the state to continue an agreement that allows up to five MGSD students to attend Nuestro Mundo Charter School beginning with each kindergarten class.

The state Department of Public Instruction informed the districts in December 2019 that the agreement, which has allowed the MGSD students to bypass the open enrollment and MMSD lottery processes since the school moved to Monona in 2012, does not comply with statutes. 

“A preference cannot be given to a set number of Monona Grove School District (MGSD) resident students based on their residency,” the Dec. 18, 2019, letter from DPI school administration consultant Cassi Benedict states. “MGSD students are subject to the same admission requirements and random selection process of all students interested in attending Nuestro Mundo Charter School.”

Notes and links on open enrollment.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Groundbreaking Settlement in California Literacy Lawsuit to Provide Immediate Relief to 75 Low-Performing Schools, Advances Holistic Approach to Learning in Schools

Morrison Foerster:

Superior court Judge Rupert Byrdsong today received notice of a wide-ranging settlement in a major education lawsuit brought by students, parents and advocacy groups against the State of California. The lawsuit was the first civil rights action brought under any state constitution to protect students’ right to access to literacy. The ability to read is a foundation for education, which is a right secured by the state constitution. According to a 2012 report prepared by experts engaged by the state, there is an urgent need to address the literacy crisis in California schools, which primarily affects California’s low-income students of color. Under the settlement reached in Ella T. v. State of California, the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond have agreed to provide resources to improve literacy outcomes for the state’s lowest performing schools, adopt a holistic approach to literacy, and provide extra support to the Stockton Unified School District.

“The longest yet most urgent struggle for social justice in America has been for access to literacy,” said Mark Rosenbaum, Directing Attorney at Public Counsel. “The right to read is not just the cornerstone of education, it is the cornerstone of our democracy. Without it, we continue to build a future on the illusion that the haves compete on the same terms with the have nots. This revolutionary settlement, coming nearly 70 long years after Brown v. Board, does not end that struggle, but it invigorates it with the power of children and their communities who insist on the equal opportunity to tell their stories and remake California in the images of all.”

“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”

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Sleepmore in Seattle: Later school start times are associated with more sleep and better performance in high school students

Gideon P. Dunster1, Luciano de la Iglesia1, Miriam Ben-Hamo1, Claire Nave1, Jason G. Fleischer2, Satchidananda Panda2 and Horacio O. de la Iglesia1,3:

Most teenagers are chronically sleep deprived. One strategy proposed to lengthen adolescent sleep is to delay secondary school start times. This would allow students to wake up later without shifting their bedtime, which is biologically determined by the circadian clock, resulting in a net increase in sleep. So far, there is no objective quantitative data showing that a single intervention such as delaying the school start time significantly increases daily sleep. The Seattle School District delayed the secondary school start time by nearly an hour. We carried out a pre-/post-research study and show that there was an increase in the daily median sleep duration of 34 min, associated with a 4.5% increase in the median grades of the students and an improvement in attendance.

The Mathematical Nomad, Paul Erdős

Jorgen Veisdal:

This is how American mathematician Joel Spencer remembers the now legendary late Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős (1913–1996). Throughout his life, the nomadic Erdős was known for many things, not least of all his personal eccentricities, unimaginable cognitive abilities and purity of mission.

Born in Austria-Hungary two years before the breakout of World War I, he thought himself mathematics from books and could multiply three-digit numbers in his head before the age of four. Living out of a suitcase traveling from university to university, throughout his life he survived off speaking fees and modest endowments from various universities. As a teenager, he reproved Chebyshev’s theorem before the age of 20. He was awarded a doctorate in mathematics in addition to his undergraduate degree at age 21. In his 83 years of life, he published over 1500 academic papers with more than 500 collaborators, making him the most prolific mathematician in history, comparable only with Leonard Euler.

Here’s to Paul Erdős, who dedicated his life solely to mathematics — and his friends.

Should Facebook, Google be liable for user posts? asks U.S. Attorney General Barr

Nandita Bose, Raphael Satter:

“No longer are tech companies the underdog upstarts. They have become titans,” Barr said at a public meeting held by the Justice Department to examine the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Given this changing technological landscape, valid questions have been raised about whether Section 230’s broad immunity is necessary at least in its current form,” he said.

Section 230 says online companies such as Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter Inc cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker of information they provide. This largely exempts them from liability involving content posted by users, although they can be held liable for content that violates criminal or intellectual property law.

Barr’s comments offered insight into how regulators in Washington are reconsidering the need for incentives that once helped online companies grow but are increasingly viewed as impediments to curbing online crime, hate speech and extremism.

Many taxpayer supported school districts, including Madison, use Google and Facebook services.

How to Collaborate with People You Don’t Like

Mark Nevins:

As Kacie and I explored the situation, she told me that Marta was seen as a highly talented, accomplished, and well-liked executive — she wasn’t toxic or difficult. But Kacie admitted that she didn’t really like Marta. They had different styles, and Marta rubbed her the wrong way.

Over a series of conversations, Kacie and I worked through the situation. She revisited the stakeholder map she had created in her first few weeks in the role, which clearly showed that Marta’s collaboration and partnership were essential for getting the business results Kacie wanted. In assessing the relationship more honestly, Kacie came to realize that she had been failing to reach out to Marta. She had not made her new colleague feel like her input and perspectives were valuable, had been leaving her and her team off communications, and had more or less been trying to avoid her.

Kacie developed a handful of useful strategies for working better with Marta. While none were particularly easy or comfortable, these are ideas and insights that almost anyone can use when they have to work with someone they just don’t like.

The art of powerful questions

Eric Vogt, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first- 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

—ALBERT EINSTEIN

When was the last time you sat through a meeting and said to yourself, “This is a complete waste of time!”? Was it yesterday, or even just a few hours ago? Why did that gathering feel so tedious? Perhaps it’s because the leaders posed the wrong questions at the start of the session. Or, worse yet, maybe they didn’t ask any engaging questions, and as a result, the meeting consisted of boring reports-outs or other forms of oneway communication that failed to engage people’s interest or curiosity. ^

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Taxpayer Income, purchasing power and 2020 Madison Referendum climate

Oren Cass:

2/ Punchline: Popular perception is correct. In 1985, the typical male worker could cover a family of four’s major expenditures (housing, health care, transportation, education) on 30 weeks of salary. By 2018 it took 53 weeks. Which is a problem, there being 52 weeks in a year.

Notes, links and some data on Madison’s planned 2020 referendum.

“Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a recent 2020 referendum presentation.

Projected enrollment drop means staffing cuts coming in Madison School District

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

The Case Against Italicizing “Foreign” Words

Catapult:

When Emily Dickinson implored us to “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant,” she wasn’t referring to an injunction to italicize words that people outside hegemonic cultures use on a regular basis, yet are deemed “other.” She was, we assume, referring to telling the truth in an uncommon way, encouraging us to create newness with language—and this newness, this uncommonness, is what is often implied with slanting words: italics.

In the past several years, working alongside fellow writers and translators who strive to operate with feminist, decolonial aesthetics (including my cohort of contributors to Sophie Collins’s edited volume Currently and Emotion: Translations, as well as Tilted Axis Press), I’ve become invested in the active ethos of not italicizing supposedly “foreign” words—words that supposedly aren’t used in the dominant culture. I’ve come to understand the practice of italicizing such words as a form of linguistic gatekeeping; a demarcation between which words are “exotic” or “not found in the English language,” and those that have a rightful place in the text: the non-italicized.

This magazine does not italicize non-English words for that reason, a policy I wish other English-language publications would emulate. So normalized is it to italicize the dominated “othered” that it takes people, myself included, many years if not decades to unlearn this trick.

Let’s use the example of food, a topic I’m always eager to discuss as a woman who is often hungry. At what point does a food word become worthy of inclusion in the English language, and according to whom? Who are the editors of which dictionaries? Which populations do they look at for usage frequency, considering more and more of the world (worryingly, for the state of linguistic diversity and cultural preservation in many regions) uses English regularly?

The New Haven Teachers Union Is Redoing Its Election. The Reason Involves Gift Cards, Personal Loans & Accusations of Extortion

Mike Antonucci:

The union was praised by then-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Its president, David Cicarella, was honored by the Obama White House in 2012 as a “School Turnaround Champion of Change.”

“New Haven is a gold standard in terms of how you do things right,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

But in 2019, the union made headlines for a different reason.

Cicarella was challenged for the presidency by his vice president and longtime friend Tom Burns. After the votes were counted and certified, Cicarella had won his fifth term by 20 votes.

Burns challenged the election on a number of grounds, most having to do with Cicarella allegedly using his powers of incumbency to gain an unfair advantage during the campaign. The challenge was dismissed by the union’s board, so Burns went up the chain — to AFT Connecticut, AFT national and the U.S. Department of Labor’s union oversight office.

During subsequent investigations, Burns withdrew some charges, and the rest were found to be without merit. However, AFT did determine that 27 members who worked as nurses in the private sector had not been allowed to vote. The national union ordered a rerun of the election.

UCLA drops controversial face recognition plan

Jefferson Graham:

The idea was to have the University of California Los Angeles use facial recognition as a way to gain access to buildings, to prove authenticity and to deny entry to people with restricted access to the campus, matching their faces against a database. Advocacy group Fight for the Future says UCLA was the first major university exploring using facial recognition to monitor students. 

The group had tested facial recognition software and found that “dozens” of student-athletes and professors were incorrectly matched with photos from a mug shot database, “and the overwhelming majority of those misidentified were people of color.”

A Future with No Future: Depression, the Left, and the Politics of Mental Health

Mikkel Krause Frantzen:

HOW DO YOU throw a brick through the window of a bank if you can’t get out of bed?” This question, formulated by Johanna Hedva in “Sick Woman Theory,” has been with me for quite some time now. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Why? Because it points to a situation familiar to too many of us (but who is that “us”?): a situation characterized by despair and depression. A situation in which you really can’t get out of bed. This situation is also, in most cases, saturated by politics and by the economy. Contrary to mainstream psychological and psychiatric discourse the reason why you can’t get out of bed is not because you have a bad attitude, a negative mindset, or because you have somehow chosen your own unhappiness. Nor is it merely a matter of chemistry and biology, an imbalance in the brain, an unlucky genetic disposition, or low levels of serotonin. More often than not it is a matter of the world you live in, the work that you hate, or the job that you just lost, the debt that haunts your present from the future, or the fact that the planet’s future is going still faster and further down the drain.

The World’s Most Efficient Languages

John McWhorter:

Just as fish presumably don’t know they’re wet, many English speakers don’t know that the way their language works is just one of endless ways it could have come out. It’s easy to think that what one’s native language puts words to, and how, reflects the fundamentals of reality.

But languages are strikingly different in the level of detail they require a speaker to provide in order to put a sentence together. In English, for example, here’s a simple sentence that comes to my mind for rather specific reasons related to having small children: “The father said ‘Come here!’” This statement specifies that there is a father, that he conducted the action of speaking in the past, and that he indicated the child should approach him at the location “here.” What else would a language need to do?

Effects of Scaling Up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart, Krzysztof Karbownik:

Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and a student fixed effect design, we explore how the massive scale-up of a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes. Expansion of the program produced modestly larger benefits for students attending public schools that had a larger initial degree of private school options, measured prior to the introduction of the voucher program. These benefits include higher standardized test scores and lower absenteeism and suspension rates. Effects are particularly pronounced for lower-income students, but results are positive for more affluent students as well.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Classics Faculty Proposes Removal Of Homer And Virgil From Mods Syllabus

Yaamir Badhe

The Oxford Student has been notified about a proposal by the Classics faculty to remove the study of Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid from the Mods syllabus, a decision which has surprised many across the faculty.

This proposal forms part of a series of reforms aimed to modernise the first stage of the Classics degree, known as Moderations (Mods), which take place during Hilary term of second year for all students taking Classics courses across the university.

The Mods course, which is assessed by a set of ten exams at the end of Hilary, has been increasingly criticised in recent years, due to the attainment gaps found between male and female candidates, as well as between candidates who have studied Latin and/or Greek to A-Level (Course I) and those who have not (Course II). 

The removal of Virgil and Homer papers, which take up two out of the ten Mods papers, have been marketed as a move that will reduce the attainment gaps and thus improve access to the subject. However many have questioned why the solution to this problem involves the removal of Homer and Virgil.

The 1619 Project perpetuates the soft bigotry of low expectations

Ian Rowe:

On March 18, 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama began an oration that Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic called a “searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech” and “the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime.”

“‘We the people, in order to form a more perfect union,’” Obama began, quoting the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. “Two hundred twenty-one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy.”

Standing in the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Obama argued that, despite America’s original sin, the abomination of slavery, he was optimistic that future generations would continue to make progress toward “a more perfect union,” precisely because our nation was founded on the principles enacted in the Constitution in 1789.

Obama’s speech is relevant amid today’s fierce debate as to what to teach young Americans about the nation’s origin story and true birthdate. Like Obama, some posit that it is 1789, the year the Constitution went into effect, establishing the American form of government. Most Americans believe it was 1776, upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the enumeration of the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

How I Learned French in 12 Months

Runwes.com

A bit over a year ago, I was a completely monolingual English speaker with zero experience with the French language. Twelve months later, I very comfortably passed the internationally recognized DELF B2 exam. If you don’t know what “B2” means, check out the CEFR scale.

Furthermore, all of my progress was the result of study and practice at home. My learning was entirely self-directed, without any formal programs or immersion. This was only possible through the many amazing resources available online, many of which are free. Furthermore, I succeeded in part because I prioritized receiving quality input and producing output, particularly by spending lots of time talking with fluent French speakers.

I will say my learning pace was somewhat aggressive, in that I devoted a lot of time towards learning French over the past year, but it was nowhere near full-time study.

I wouldn’t call myself completely “fluent”, but to give you an idea of my level, here are some things I can do without much trouble:

Curated Education Information