Some D.C. elementary school students will be allowed to return to classrooms in November

Perry Stein:

The District plans to allow about 7,000 preschool and elementary school students who are homeless, learning English as a second language, or have special education needs to return to physical classrooms starting Nov. 9, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee announced Monday.

Other students in these grade levels who want to return to school will be able to continue virtual learning in classrooms under the supervision of nonteaching staff. The chancellor referred to these as CARE classrooms.

In all, the city says it will be able to accommodate 21,000 preschool and elementary school students — 75 percent of all students in these grade levels — though the majority of these students will be taught remotely while in school classrooms and will not receive in-person instruction

When ‘Me’ Trumps ‘We’: Narcissistic Leaders and the Cultures They Create

Charles A O’Reilly, Jennifer A Chatman and Bernadette Doerr:

Research has shown that a leader’s personality can affect organizational culture. We focus on leader narcissism and examine how it affects two specific organizational culture dimensions – collaboration and integrity. In two field studies and three laboratory studies, our results reveal that people who are more narcissistic are less likely to demonstrate collaboration and integrity in their behavior, and when we examine leaders specifically, we find that those higher in narcissism prefer and lead organizational cultures that are less collaborative and place less emphasis on integrity. In our laboratory studies, we show that narcissists endorse policies and procedures that are associated with cultures with less collaboration and integrity, and that employees follow the culture in determining their own level of collaboration and integrity, suggesting that narcissistic leaders’ behavior is amplified through culture. We discuss the potentially enduring impact that narcissistic leaders have in engendering cultures lower in collaboration and integrity to enable future theory-building connecting leader personality to organizational culture.

Questionable Curriculum: Black Lives Matters in Milwaukee Classrooms

Maciver Institute:

When there’s trouble in Milwaukee, there’s usually a small army of young people leading the charge. It’s no coincidence. Milwaukee Public Schools spends considerable time and effort developing its students to become young revolutionaries.

The district was one of many across Wisconsin (and the country) that spent the entire first week of February on “Black Lives Matter Week of Action” curriculum. At some of those schools, only a handful of students are proficient in English or math. Apparently, though, at these schools it’s more important to teach students what to think instead of how to think. MNS’ Bill Osmulski has more in this video report.

Interview: Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi: ‘We have taken the baton’

Patti Waldmeir:

Tometi grew up in the tight-knit Nigerian-American community of suburban Phoenix, where she attended nearly all-white schools and was often the only black child in class. In first grade, a classmate flung the N-word at her: she did not know what it meant.

Today I’m hardly giving her a moment to chew as I press her on how we can create a world in which parents no longer teach racial slurs to six-year-olds. Will hers be the slogan that finally motivates people around the world to eradicate systemic racism, once and for all? Or will Black Lives Matter fizzle out, like the US civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which can claim great achievements in terms of desegregation and equal rights but left far too many African-Americans mired in poverty and exposed to racial violence.

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Unlike some young anti-racism activists who deny that this previous generation of civil rights leaders achieved anything at all, Tometi places herself firmly in the tradition. “Ours is part of a longstanding quest for justice . . . there’s not some great new master plan. But we know that the justice that we’ve been calling for, for generations, has yet to be achieved. We have taken the baton, and are using the tools of our age,” she says.

“I’m sure at some point we are going to have a Black Lives Matter Plaza in every major city,” she adds: already those three words can be seen from outer space, painted on a street outside the White House. “But that’s not what we’re talking about . . . We need real investment in our communities, in our safety and our ability to access jobs and our ability to access good quality education and housing and not to be discriminated against in every aspect of society”. 

One thing that has changed since the 1960s is the share of elected officials who are African-American, I reply; many big US cities have had black mayors for decades. Why hasn’t black representation translated into a decline in racial inequalities? Black families living in poverty in the US fell from about a third in the 1960s to 21 per cent in 2018 but that is still more than twice the number of non-Hispanic white families, at 8 per cent.

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Before I’ve finished my question, she plonks down her cutlery. “I love having this more complicated conversation because” — and she pauses for dramatic effect — “we have to remember that Black Lives Matter started under a black president.

It may feel polarising but what’s beneath all of this is an invitation to examine, what does safety look like?

“So that tells us that it’s not enough just to have black representation or black people in seats of power; that does not equate to justice . . . I think we now have more black elected officials than we have had at any time in history . . . it’s important for us to remember that you might have representation on face value, but if we don’t change the actual systems . . . ”.

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An opinion poll at the height of the protests from the Pew Research Center found that just 25 per cent of Americans support reducing spending on their local police, and only 12 per cent said there should be big cuts. Twice as many African-Americans support defunding than whites, the poll found, but fewer than half of black adults (42 per cent) support cutting spending on police. 

Where does she stand on some other activist positions that are red flags to Trump and his supporters, such as boycotting the Fourth of July? Tometi says she doesn’t celebrate the public holiday in the same way as some (white) Americans do. “But I don’t mind a day off,” she adds with a disarming guffaw. 

During the pandemic, plenty of Americans had time off work to do things like protest. Now that many are back at work, does she worry that the protests will fizzle out? “I do have my concerns about longevity,” she admits. “But I’m trying to encourage people to get plugged in in a deeper way so that we don’t allow . . . apathy to creep back in.”

Remote Learning Is a Catastrophe. Teachers Unions Share the Blame.

Jonathan Chait:

Years from now, when we look back at the coronavirus pandemic, it is very possible that the most damaging element we will identify is its catastrophic effect upon public education. The devastation will be social and economic, permanently degrading the skill base of the workforce and robbing a generation of children, especially low-income students, of any chance to enter the middle class. And the question we will have to ask is whether the tragedy was truly necessary.

Begin with the effect on the workforce brought about by eliminating the largest source of free childcare. With millions of children now required to learn remotely, their parents now have to stay home all day. A million married women left the workforce over the last month. Indeed, even as jobs have slowly recovered from the depths of spring, single people have accounted for more than 100 percent of all job gains. Joblessness and poverty leave trails of physical and emotional hardship for decades; the current recession is to a significant degree a crisis of unschooling.

The damage to the future workforce will be far worse. Students denied in-person education will suffer permanent learning loss that will degrade their skills for decades to come. One estimate by the OECD roughly pegs the long-term cost in foregone productivity to the United States at around $15 trillion. That number is obviously speculative, but it provides some sense of the economic scale of the calamity.

“An emphasis on adult employment“

Civics: Judge & Jury: Stifling Dissent on Youtube (Google), etc.

Olina Banerji:

The Byju’s-WhiteHat Jr duo have weaponised opaque yet stringent copyright infringement rules on social media to their own benefit

One of Pradeep Poonia’s YouTube videos criticising WhiteHat Jr was taken down; Aniruddha Malpani was booted out of LinkedIn

Poonia, Malpani claim Byju’s is targeting their critical posts through third-party anti-piracy firms, taking down posts they deem unviable

Platform rules have made entities judge and jury, despite claims of neutrality; legal complaints, a shift to other channels seem to be only recourse

Two individuals from two different walks of life have challenged the prowess of edtech giants Byju’s and WhiteHat Jr. But a system of strategic social media takedowns—of posts and people—threatens their right to dissent and criticise

Additional commentary.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts use Google Services, including Madison.

The New York Times should explain its stealth edits to the 1619 Project

Jonah Goldberg:

More disturbing is the fact that the Times, with no explanation or clarification, has retroactively edited its own Pulitzer-winning work. The “true founding” language is now gone.

In journalism, going back and substantially “fixing” your copy without alerting readers to what you’ve changed and why is a huge no-no.

But this is much, much worse.

The primary reason the 1619 Project sparked so much controversy was this central thesis—that America “began” with slavery (as the Times put it in splashy TV ads). Sure, there were other reasons to debate the project. It got major historical facts and interpretations grossly wrong, as many progressive historians noted. The Revolutionary War wasn’t fought to defend slavery, 1619 wasn’t the first year African slaves came to the U.S., and 1619 wasn’t particularly significant beyond being a tidy 400 years prior to the publication date. Cotton farming wasn’t nearly as central to American industrialization as Marxists and other historians (including Marx himself) have long tried to argue in the so-called “King Cotton” thesis.

But it was the assertion that America was so defined by slavery that 1619 eclipsed 1776 that grabbed everyone’s attention. After all, if the thesis was that slavery was not only really bad, it was more significant than some claim, who would argue with that? Indeed, that’s been the conventional take for decades now. 

The really controversial take would be to argue that slavery, while evil and unjustifiable, doesn’t play the central role in American life or American history that some people claim. But the Times would never publish such a thing, and the Pulitzer Committee would never honor that. 

The Times owes the country a serious explanation for why it is bowdlerizing its own work. If it isn’t doing so out of a partisan desire to deny Donald Trump and his fans a talking point, it should make that clear. Because the silence doesn’t leave room for any other interpretation.

Civics: AMERICAN VOTER ROLLS FILLED WITH ERRORS, DEAD VOTERS, AND DUPLICATE REGISTRATIONS

Public Interest Legal Foundation:

When voters have confidence in the system, they are more likely to participate. Fixing errors, duplications and obsolete registrations will increase confidence in the voting system and we hope clear the last barrier to participation: doubt in the integrity of the process.

Finally, the Foundation is the first to undertake completion of this sort of groundbreaking study. Academics, law professors, and liberal think tanks could have

done this long ago to improve

the system. They did not. They have other priorities. Instead, they have created a cottage industry unfairly trying to discredit those seeking to improve the system. I would invite them to evolve from being part of the problem to part of the solution. It’s time to use your vast war chest to fix things rather than destroy state laws designed to bring integrity and order to

our elections. Instead of trying to impede improvements, urge states to fix the problems we find here.

When we discover that Rashawn Slade of Swissvale, Pennsylvania, has seven active registrations because a third-party voter

drive registered him seven times in the weeks before the 2016 Election (despite it being legal to be registered in duplicate) – do something about that. When we learn that some who died in the 1990s remain active on Detroit’s voter rolls – do something about that. Stop attacking citizens and organizations like the Foundation who find and report these failures. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I sincerely thank the supporters

of the Public Interest Legal Foundation for helping see this work done and you, the reader, for taking the time to better educate yourself on the strengths and weaknesses of our shared voter registration and election systems.

Boys lag behind: How teachers’ gender biases affect student achievement☆

Camille Terrier:

I use a combination of blind and non-blind test scores to show that middle school teachers favor girls in their evaluations. This favoritism, estimated as individual teacher effects, has long-term consequences: as measured by their national evaluations three years later, male students make less progress than their female counterparts. On the other hand, girls who benefit from gender bias in math are more likely to select a science track in high school. Without teachers’ bias in favor of girls, the gender gap in choosing a science track would be 12.5% larger in favor of boys.

U Colorado requires approval on statements addressing ‘sensitive’ topics, like First Amendment

Jessica Custodio:

The University of Colorado announced to its communications staff through a memo that, in order to prevent biased language, any speech surrounding what it deems as delicate language must be approved by the office of the president first.

Such topics include COVID-19, race, and the First Amendment.
“…clear effort to regulate speech on some of the most important issues we face today.”

The memo was reportedly sent to top administrators in communication positions throughout the University of Colorado system, according to The Denver Post. The office of President Mark Kenned would have the final say on all communications on “sensitive topics.”

“I do not have the inclination, ability or authority to influence dean or faculty communication. CU is a large, complex organization and does not have a single communication strategy or structure. I asked the communication vice-chancellors to share the desire for measured communication on sensitive topics with those on campus they engage with, but campus communication is their purview, not mine,” McConnellogue told the Denver Post.

Decentralize K–12 Education

Corey DeAngelis and Neal McCluskey:

State policymakers should

• enact universal education savings accounts;

• allow any students who so desire to enroll in virtual charter schools up to a school’s capacity to serve them, and allow their public education dollars to follow them to such schools; and

• let schools and districts determine whether students are receiving sufficient education rather than prescribing such measures as “seat time” for all schools.

• end state testing mandates.

As COVID-19 cases—and fears—spread in March 2020, schools across the country increasingly faced a problem: how, if at all, would they deliver education if children could not physically attend? They would have to get education at home. Thankfully, about 1.7 million American kids were already doing that. They were, of course, homeschoolers, and their existence after essentially being outlawed in every state as recently as the 1970s is both proof that children can learn at home and a ready source of advice and support for the more than 50 million American children who were enrolled in brick‐ and‐ mortar schools.

Homeschooling is the most visible sign of how educational decentralization can provide resilience in the face of a national emergency. But it’s not the only one: what the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear in education is that one size cannot fit all, and we must not try to force it.

Homeschooling

Homeschooling has had a huge moment with COVID-19, and the country is fortunate to have homeschoolers. Homeschooling families have provided invaluable guidance to parents suddenly faced with children learning at home. Homeschoolers told those parents not to fear—that learning at home is an adjustment and that parents are not failing if their children struggle to complete their work, intersperse fun activities, or even loaf a little between academic efforts. Homeschoolers let them know that children spending only a few hours on schoolwork, where previously they were in school from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., is not a sign that kids are not learning—education can proceed much more quickly when teachers do not have to take roll, hand back papers, stop for misbehaving or struggling classmates, line students up and march from the classroom to the gym, and more time‐ consuming activities.

Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on COVID-19 Spread

Jay Richards, William Briggs and Douglas Axe:

In 1932, Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories of democracy.” Different states can test out different policies, and they can learn from each other. That proved true in 2020. Governors in different states responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at different times and in different ways. Some states, such as California, ordered sweeping shutdowns. Others, such as Florida, took a more targeted approach. Still others, such as South Dakota, dispensed information but had no lockdowns at all.

As a result, we can now compare outcomes in different states, to test the question no one wants to ask: Did the lockdowns make a difference?

If lockdowns really altered the course of this pandemic, then coronavirus case counts should have clearly dropped whenever and wherever lockdowns took place. The effect should have been obvious, though with a time lag. It takes time for new coronavirus infections to be officially counted, so we would expect the numbers to plummet as soon as the waiting time was over.

How long? New infections should drop on day one and be noticed about ten or eleven days from the beginning of the lockdown. By day six, the number of people with first symptoms of infection should plummet (six days is the average time for symptoms to appear). By day nine or ten, far fewer people would be heading to doctors with worsening symptoms. If COVID-19 tests were performed right away, we would expect the positives to drop clearly on day ten or eleven (assuming quick turnarounds on tests).

To judge from the evidence, the answer is clear: Mandated lockdowns had little effect on the spread of the coronavirus. The charts below show the daily case curves for the United States as a whole and for thirteen U.S. states. As in almost every country, we consistently see a steep climb as the virus spreads, followed by a transition (marked by the gray circles) to a flatter curve. At some point, the curves always slope downward, though this wasn’t obvious for all states until the summer.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Good, the Bad, and the Bye Bye: Why I Left My Tenured Academic Job

Yanick Fratantonio:

The news is out: I left France, I’m no longer a professor at EURECOM, I joined the Malware Research Team at CISCO Talos, and I moved to beautiful Vienna. Big change 🙂

I have been a professor for a bit more than three years, but I have had contrasting feelings about the “prof job” for a long time (even before finishing my PhD), it took me a couple of years to realize that I would eventually have needed to move on, and it took even more (mental) effort to actually make the call and leave. Despite being veryexcited for what’s next, oh boy, this was tough 🙂 But independently of the concrete next step, it was time to move on. Even if Talos realizes the mistake and kicks me out next week, I’m still confident that moving on was the right call.

Especially when it comes to take big decisions, I tend to obsess about trying to stay rational, and I spent years collecting notes on the various pros/cons. Many of these thoughts often started surfacing as “feeling something is not right”, without consciously understanding what was going on. But by keep thinking and writing notes down, patterns of thoughts started to emerge and I was eventually able to pinpoint some more defined thoughts on what kept me on the current job and what pushed me to change. Once these reasons were clear, it was much easier to take the decision.

Charter school district sees rise in enrollment while a local public school district sees a drop

Stephanie Shields:

As the pandemic continues presenting changes and challenges for schools across the country, a charter school district in El Paso sees a jump in enrollment.

Dr. Joe E. Gonzales, the superintendent of the Burnham Wood Charter School District, said a large portion of new enrollment at his schools is driven by families looking for face-to-face instruction while some public schools remain fully online for at least a few more weeks.

“A lot has to do with face-to-face instruction, parents are in a hard situation, taking their kids to school and trying to keep a job, so I’m glad we can offer a safe place for their kids,” Gonzales said.

The rugrat race

The Economist:

Like many children around the age of two, Madison has decided not to do what her mother wants. She will not speak above a whisper. She does not want to read “Big Red Barn”. She will not identify her colours or her shapes, even though she knows them. So, for half an hour, her mother patiently cajoles, persuades, distracts and redirects. “You want me to read to you? What kind of sound does the cow make? Are you going to sing? What’s this?”

It would be a familiar scene in a pushy, upper-middle-class home. But this is a working-class black family in a poor district of Long Island, east of New York City. The careful cultivation of Madison reflects a change in her household. Her mother, Joy, says that she did little to prepare her two older children for school, assuming that they would be taught everything they needed to know. She is determined not to make the same mistake again.

Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier

JD Tuccille:

The U.S. economy may be slowly pulling itself out of the doldrums inflicted by social distancing and government lockdown orders promoted as efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, but many Americans continue to suffer.

Half of Americans who lost their job because of the pandemic are still out of work, and the resulting damage to finances falls hardest—as you might expect—on lower-income people who have little cushion against hard times. That’s something to keep in mind as politicians contemplate renewed restrictions, especially given the potential for economic pain to worsen already-simmering social tensions.

“Overall, 25 percent of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak, with 15 percent saying this happened to them personally,” Pew Research reported last week. “Of those who say they personally lost a job, half say they are still unemployed, a third have returned to their old job and 15 percent are in a different job than before.”

What makes the situation even worse is that the burden falls hardest on those who can least afford it. “Lower-income adults who were laid off due to the coronavirus are less likely to be working now than middle- and upper-income adults who lost their jobs (43 percent vs. 58 percent),” Pew adds.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Diversity Über Alles: Science Is Threatened by Identity Politics

John Station:

That passage is alarming for two reasons: Apparently, we “must acknowledge;” we must admit our collective sin. This is the language not of science, but of the Middle Ages. And just what is meant by “unwelcoming academic cultures?” Are science faculties mean to students of color? Not in my experience. Or are some subjects too difficult for unprepared students, many of whom are “of color?”

Apparently, able students are being excluded by “the misuse of standardized tests, like the GRE [which] exclude students who could otherwise have succeeded.”

The petition cites a Nature research paper that shows that African Americans tend (there is some overlap) to do worse on the GRE than Asians and whites, and men tend to do better than women. What the paper does not demonstrate is that low-scoring students can do as well as high scorers in tough STEM courses, merely mentioning “research by ETS” suggesting that tests only predict first-year performance.

Ed-Tech Mania Is Back Utopia-minded tech gurus promise they’ll solve all of academe’s problems. They won’t.

Justin Reich:

This spring, amid shuttering classrooms and a widening pandemic, Michael Moe, the CEO of Global Silicon Valley, hosted a series with Arizona State University called “The Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning.” “The genie is not going back in the bottle,” he wrote with his colleague Vignesh Rajendran in an accompanying blog post: “Essentially 100 percent of students are now taking their courses online. Our expectation is that this shift is here to stay.”

For educational-tech proponents like Moe, we are trapped in a perpetual dawn. For them “dawn” is not a metaphor for a watershed moment, carrying us from past to future, but a cyclical event: regular, brief, and most often slept through.

Those of us who labored through the MOOC imbroglio earlier this decade thought these old arguments were safely buried. Yet in the wake of Covid-19, they have torn through their caskets and begun stumbling around again.

Civics: High court strikes down Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers; gov vows to use other means

Beth LeBlanc, Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke:

In a landmark ruling with far-reaching implications, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Friday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue orders to combat COVID-19 without the approval of state lawmakers.

The state’s high court ruled 4-3 that a state law allowing the governor to declare emergencies and keep them in place without legislative input — the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act — is unconstitutional.

The court was unanimous in ruling that a separate law — the 1976 Emergency Management Act — did not give Whitmer the power, after April 30, to issue or renew any executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic after 28 days without Legislative approval.

The ruling, which was requested by a federal judge earlier this year, serves as advice to the federal court and indicates how the court would rule on a suit challenging Whitmer’s emergency powers.

K-12 Tax, referendum and spending climate: Garver risked thousands of dollars in fines if it continued large outdoor music gatherings

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Truth About Critical Race Theory

Christopher Rufo:

My reporting on critical race theory in the federal government was the impetus for the president’s executive order, so I can say with confidence that these training sessions had nothing to do with developing “racial sensitivity.” As I document in detailed reports for City Journal and the New York Post, critical race theory training sessions in public agencies have pushed a deeply ideological agenda that includes reducing people to a racial essence, segregating them, and judging them by their group identity rather than individual character, behavior and merit.

The examples are instructive. At a series of events at the Treasury Department and federal financial agencies, diversity trainer Howard Rosstaught employees that America was “built on the backs of people who were enslaved” and that all white Americans are complicit in a system of white supremacy “by automatic response to the ways we’re taught.”

In accompanying documents, Mr. Ross argues that whites share an inborn oppressive streak. “Whiteness,” employees are told, “includes white privilege and white supremacy.” Consequently, whites “struggle to own their racism.” He instructs managers to conduct “listening sessions” in which black employees can speak about their experience and be “seen in their pain,” while white employees are instructed to “sit in the discomfort” and not “fill the silence with your own thoughts and feelings.” Members of “the group you’re allying with,” Mr. Ross says, are not “obligated to like you, thank you, feel sorry for you, or forgive you.” For training like this, Mr. Ross and his firm have been paid $5 million over 15 years, according to federal disclosures.

At the Sandia National Laboratories, which develops technology for America’s nuclear arsenal, executives held a racially segregated training session for white male employees. The three-day event, which was led by a company called White Men as Full Diversity Partners, set the goal of examining “white male culture” and making the employees take responsibility for their “white privilege,” “male privilege” and “heterosexual privilege.” In one of the opening exercises, the instructors wrote on a whiteboard that “white male culture” can be associated with “white supremacists,” “KKK,” “Aryan Nation,” “MAGA hat” and “mass killings.” On the final day, the trainers asked employees to write letters to women and people of color. One participant apologized for his privilege and another pledged to “be a better ally.”

Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Scott Girard:

The budget vote this summer took place in a June 29 public meeting, and district spokesman Tim LeMonds pointed to a mention in the June 26 staff newsletter, which he called “the primary mechanism used for communicating to all staff.” In that newsletter, a “Budget Update” section on page two includes a mention of the pay freeze in its fourth paragraph among other details of the preliminary budget timeline.

“This effectively pauses our previously planned compensation increases and a few Strategic Equity Projects, not previously approved,” the newsletter states. “Although it is our hope that our budgetary landscape improves by late fall, we also need to be prepared for State budget reductions that may be coming in the upcoming months.”

Another teacher wrote in an email she did not know “anyone who was aware of the pay freeze until we got an email with a preview of our checks and we all realized our salaries were not updated.”

At the time of the preliminary budget approval, district chief financial officer Kelly Ruppel was projecting a loss of $7.6 million in state aid from what had been anticipated in earlier projections. Removing the salary increases saved $7.8 million.

Sadlowski wrote in an email the union is seeking “clarification on whose authority the unilateral change” was implemented. He added that they hope for “a swift resolution that adheres to the agreed upon terms” and that resolving it now would “help to avoid further acrimony than this adverse action has already created.”

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

One giant outdoor classroom: Montessori school offers ideal space during COVID-19

Pamela Cotant:

Blooming Grove Montessori’s 10-acre property is one giant outdoor classroom — an ideal space for learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the school, which reopened to in-person learning June 1 and has been free of COVID-19, has altered its approach.

Students can pick vegetables and fruits from the school’s gardens to eat individually, but are not taking part in shareable cooking projects. A huge watermelon that was hard to resist was offered to students recently, but elementary teacher April Netz wore a mask as she washed and cut it up.

“It is a sad way to prepare food,” Netz said. “Usually we will have kids help with every aspect of that.”

Blooming Grove Montessori was founded in 2015 in a former residential duplex that sat on just under five acres in the town of Blooming Grove. Then two years later, the school purchased an adjacent parcel measuring about five acres. Together the land gives the school a rural feel in a rather typical neighborhood.

On the destruction of America’s best high school

Scott Aaronson:

I’d like you to feel about the impending destruction of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the same way you might’ve felt when the Taliban threatened to blow up the Bamyan Buddhas, and then days later actually did blow them up. Or the way you felt when human negligence caused wildfires that incinerated half the koalas in Australia, or turned the San Francisco skyline into an orange hellscape. For that matter, the same way most of us felt the day Trump was elected. I’d like you to feel in the bottom of your stomach the avoidability, and yet the finality, of the loss.

For thousands of kids in the DC area, especially first- or second-generation immigrants, TJHS represented a lifeline. Score high enough on an entrance exam—something hard but totally within your control—and you could attend a school where, instead of the other kids either tormenting or ignoring you, they might teach you Lisp or the surreal number system. Where you could learn humility instead of humiliation.

When I visited TJHS back in 2012 to give a quantum computing talk, I toured the campus, chatted with students, fielded their questions, and thought: so this is the teenagerhood—the ironically normal teenagerhood—that I was denied by living someplace else. I found myself wishing that a hundred more TJHS’s, large and small, would sprout up across the country. I felt like if I could further that goal then, though the universe return to rubble, my life would’ve had a purpose.

Related: English 10.

Mathematics association declares math is racist

Barrett Wilson:

The Mathematical Association of America released a statement Friday claiming both that mathematicians should engage in “uncomfortable conversations” about race, and that policies of from the Trump administration, like the lack of a mask mandate in the United States, are somehow an affront to mathematics. The group concludes with a call for a “pursuit of justice” within math.

“Thanks to science and mathematics, we understand now that masks, social distancing, frequent, rapid, mass testing, and contact tracing are all fundamental to keep our communities safer during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the association wrote.

“Yet policies at the federal level have not consistently reflected these facts; for example, choosing not to incorporate a mask-mandate in the US has had serious consequences.”

The statement called out several specific recent actions taken by the federal government, including President Trump’s executive order banning government trainings on “critical race theory” and “white privilege.”

It also called out the fact that the Department of Education launched an investigation into Princeton University after the university publicly condemned itself of being rife with racism “embedded in structures” of the university. The group says this action “weaponized” the statement from Princeton administration.

Why Privacy Is the Most Important Concept of Our Time

Inre:

I have always believed in the importance of privacy, but I felt that common definitions (e.g., the right to be left alone) were lacking. In fact, I think that the whole conceptualization of privacy as simply a right of an individual as partial and limiting. It could be because privacy, as it is intended nowadays, originated from the Anglo-American world (that is what Wikipedia says).

You might say that then, maybe, I am not really thinking about privacy, but rather something else. That might be true, so let’s not talk about privacy, instead let’s talk about Ur-Privacy, the properties of any version of the concept of privacy you might have. Take this as the opinion of a random guy that cares about the issue.

Cheerleading, Monopolies and Sexual Predators

Matt Stoller:

To understand why this abuse connects to monopoly, it helps to know a little bit about how monopolistic industries like cheerleading work. The cheerleading business is a tiered structure, with Varsity, though it owns and operates a bunch of different brands, at the top as the producer of the cheerleading sport. The ultimate customers are the 3.7 million children and teenagers in the sport, whose parents both pay to enter Varsity’s contests and buy apparel and equipment from Varsity. In between Varsity and the end customers are gyms, the ostensibly independent businesses who actually train the cheerleaders. The kids actually have choices of which gyms to attend, and there is fierce competition among gyms to showcase themselves as getting your kid onto a team that can win contests and compete at a high level.

The sport’s rules and standards are organized by the major nonprofit governing bodies – the USASF and USA Cheer. These governing bodies structures the rules for contests, and for who gets to move on to championship competitions and even international cheer contests. They handle safety standards, including certifying tens of thousands of coaches on safety, doing background checks, and maintaining an “online reporting form for abuse allegations.”

Based on the rhetoric, you’d imagine that it’s a well-run sport with a lot of care for the athletes, who are of course young and vulnerable. Independent gyms compete in contests over delivering a better and more enriching experience for kids. There are governing bodies that ensure that everyone plays by fair rules, and these rules include strong safety standards.

10 facts about school reopenings in the Covid-19 pandemic

Anna North:

America’s largest school district, New York City, brought some 300,000 students back for in-person learning on Tuesday, even as Covid-19 rates in the city began to tick up. Meanwhile, schools in Miami announced a return to fully in-person learning this month, after a disastrous rollout of online education earlier in the fall. Then there are schools from Kentucky to New Jersey that have switched from in-person to remote learning in recent weeks due to Covid-19 cases.

Like everything about the response to the coronavirus in America, school reopenings have been a patchwork, with states and districts each following their own guidelines — some informed by public health guidance, some less so. As millions of Americans try to make decisions about their children’s education, or their own work as teachers or school staff, they face a terrifying lack of information: There’s no nationwide data on the number of Covid-19 cases in K-12 schools.

Still, we are starting to get a picture — or perhaps a rough sketch — of what education looks like in this time — helped along largely by data collection efforts by the New York Times and the Covid-19 School Response Dashboard.

We are beginning to have a sense of how common Covid-19 is in schools that have reopened, and what schools are doing to reduce the spread of the virus. We know that rates among staff are markedly higher than those among students — not a surprise given previous evidence that adults are more likely to contract the virus, but significant nonetheless. And we know that, at least for now, hybrid learning models employed in many districts to make schools safer have not completely eliminated the risk.

Schools reopen, no surge

Joanne Jacobs:

Florida reopened schools for in-person teaching in August. The feared coronavirus surge didn’t happen, reports a team of USA Today reporters. “The state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July.

More than half of Florida families returned their children to school in-person, while the rest chose remote learning. “As weeks ticked by and a surge of school-linked cases did not materialize, requests to return remote learners to the classroom have surged in some places,” the team reports.

Caitlynne Palmieri was among the Martin County parents wanting to return her child to the classroom. She initially enrolled her 9-year-old in the remote learning option because of high community infection rates. Her son, a fourth grader, had trouble focusing on schoolwork from home. When she saw how safety measures were  implemented and adhered to, Palmieri sent him back to the classroom.

“I knew it was right for us,” she said. “He wanted to be back, and I felt safe.”

Cases are up for young adults in some counties. But not schoolchildren.

In Belgium, Germany, Norway and Switzerland, coronavirus outbreaks in schools are rare, report Michael Birnbaum, Loveday Morris and Quentin Ariès in the Washington Post. “So despite rising coronavirus cases, and although universities have emerged as sites of concern, European countries remain wholeheartedly committed to in-person learning for primary and secondary schools.”

Belgian health officials think in-person classes might “be safer than virtual schooling, assuming students tend to be less rigorous about social distancing when they’re not being supervised in classrooms,” they write.

Many countries in Europe have dropped rules about wearing masks in schools, reasoning that it’s difficult for students to concentrate when they have them on all day. Public health authorities have spent more energy devising ways for children to study within relatively small cohorts, so that if quarantines are required, fewer people will be affected.

“The view in Norway is that children and youth should have high priority to have as normal a life as possible, because this disease is going to last,” said Margrethe Greve-Isdahl, a senior physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Run for office. Spring 2021 elections: Dane county executive.

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

We are throwing the working class under the bus – an interview with Professor Martin Kulldorff

Alastair Benn:

In this interview with Reaction’s Deputy Editor Alastair Benn, Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues for an age-targeted response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns result in too much collateral damage, he argues, and impose unreasonable costs on the working class and the young in particular. He also has some fascinating comments on the uses and misuses of “the science” in the debate over public health.

Alastair Benn: This week Boris Johnson urged the British public not to “throw in the sponge”, a boxing metaphor. How helpful is the language of conflict when we are trying to deal with a disease?

Martin Kulldorff: It is an enemy, in a sense, so we have to use the weaknesses of the virus against it. The key feature with Covid-19 is the huge difference in mortality between the old and the young. The older people among us have more than a thousand-fold risk of death compared to the youngest among us. We have to use that in order to deal with this virus. So that means we have to protect the elderly among us and other high-risk persons while we wait for herd immunity which will either come via a vaccine or natural infections or a combination of the two.

AB: The British government tends to stress that everybody is at a similar level of risk. So whenever there is a specific acknowledgement of the threat of Covid to the elderly, it is caveated with comments about how young people can get seriously ill too.

MK: This is very unhelpful. There is an enormous difference of risk. For older people this is much worse than the annual flu. For children the risks are much less than the annual flu. This is not a dangerous disease for children. We don’t close schools because of the annual flu. We don’t ban people from driving cars because there are people who die in car accidents. We let people live normal lives with standard precautions.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?

Statesman:

What Biden says about school choice

The Biden campaign said he’s firmly against using public money for private K-12 schools. Here’s the full statement we received:

“Joe Biden opposes the Trump/(Betsy) DeVos conception of ‘school choice,’ which is private school vouchers that would destroy our public schools. He’s also against for-profit and low-performing charter schools, and believes in holding all charter schools accountable. He does not oppose districts letting parents choose to send their children to public magnet schools, high-performing public charters or traditional public schools.”

As part of a broader education policy outlined on his website, Biden calls for nearly tripling the Title 1 funding for aid to schools serving lower income neighborhoods and raising teacher pay.

The Trump-Pence 2020 website claims that Biden said “that if he’s elected, charter schools are gone.” The campaign links to a comment Biden made at a December 2019 forum on public schools. Biden was attacking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policy on student sexual assault accusations. At the very end of condemning that policy on assaults, he said, “If I’m president, Betsy DeVos’ whole notion from charter schools to this are gone.”

Biden didn’t otherwise discuss charter schools or school choice broadly.

Assessing Biden on school choice

EdChoice, an advocacy group that aims “to advance educational freedom and choice,” lists a number of practices that fall under the school choice umbrella. In addition to vouchers, that list includes charter schools, specialized magnet schools (for example, for math and science or the arts) and allowing students to choose which public school they want to attend.

Biden’s platform includes all of those elements except vouchers.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Dane County school districts reevaluating role of police in schools

Chris Rickert:

Amid a national conversation on policing and race, Dane County school districts are taking a closer look at the work officers do in their schools but so far have not gone as far as the Madison School District and removed them entirely.

Of the 16 districts completely or predominantly within the county, 12 had school resource officers, or SROs, at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. As of last week, at least nine of them had either decided to continue their existing SRO programs or were in the process of working with their local police departments to make changes to their programs for when the coronavirus pandemic abates and students can return to in-person learning.

The Madison School Board on June 29 voted to end its contract with the city of Madison for SROs at each of the district’s four main high schools. The decision followed protests against police in Madison and across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, as well as years of pressure on the board from local activist group Freedom Inc., whose members regularly shouted down public board meetings and protested at the School Board president’s home.

Since Madison’s action, at least one other local government body in Dane County — the Middleton City Council — has voted against its local school district’s SRO program.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Facebook sues two Chrome extension makers for scraping user data

Catalin Cimpanu:

Facebook has filed a lawsuit today against two companies for creating and distributing malicious browser extensions that scraped user data without authorization from the Facebook and Instagram websites.

Named in the lawsuit are BrandTotal Ltd., an Israeli-based company with a Delaware subsidiary, and Unimania Inc., incorporated in Delaware.

The two companies are behind UpVoice and Ads Feed, two Chrome extensions available on the official Chrome Web Store since September and November 2019, where they racked up more than 5,000 and 10,000 installs, respectively.

“BrandTotal enticed users to install the UpVoice extension from the Google Chrome Store by offering payments in exchange for installs, in the form of online gift cards, and claiming that the users who installed the extension became ‘panelists . . . [who] impact the marketing decisions and brand strategies of multi-billion dollars (sic) corporations’,” Facebook said in court documents filed today.

Car Seats as Contraception

Jordan Nickerson and David H. Solomon:

Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back. Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points. Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied). We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000.

Minnesota school district rejects, and then reconsiders, state’s guidelines for reopening amid pandemic

Erin Golden:

The board of Sibley East Public Schools voted last month to shift from hybrid to in-person instruction for all students — rejecting the recommendations of the district’s superintendent, state education officials and the state’s virus-count metrics for reopening as the number of local cases rose. Board members said they were following the wishes of a majority of parents, who are struggling to balance work with their children’s complicated schedules, and trying to help students who can’t log on in areas with spotty broadband connections.

But the move was short lived. Under pressure from the state Department of Education and advice of the district’s attorney, who warned that defying the state could prompt a legal battle, lost funding and fines or jail time for school board members, the board held an emergency session and reversed its vote. Sibley East’s reopening lasted exactly one week.

Superintendent Jim Amsden said the saga — like everything about operating schools in the pandemic — has been “extraordinarily stressful” for everyone involved.

“Our families are under a great deal of strain, our school staffs are under a great deal of strain, and it’s really in every area,” he said. “Our board is under a great deal of strain, because they want to do right by the families and our students.”

Under orders from Gov. Tim Walz and guidelines from the state education and health departments, Minnesota schools are granted some flexibility in their reopening decisions. Decisions about fully reopening, distance learning or combining the two for hybrid instruction are based on a number of factors. Chief among them: the rate of local COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents over a two-week period.

Form Follows Function On Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats and the viral ideas of influential how-to books.

Eve Sneider:

Kindergarten Chats, Sullivan writes in the 1918 foreword, “is free of technicalities, is couched in easy dialogue form, and its doctrine should be intelligible to all.” The book takes the shape of an extended conversation between a recent graduate of architecture school and a more seasoned—and stubborn—master of the craft. The educator is no doubt modeled on Sullivan himself, a notoriously difficult person whose students included Frank Lloyd Wright, his most famous pupil. The guidance Sullivan wishes to impart is not at all technical—he is unconcerned with teaching his student about the finer points of drafting blueprints and constructing skyscrapers. He’s teaching a worldview instead. “Every building you see is the image of a man whom you do not see,” Sullivan tells his pupil. “The man is the reality, the building its offspring.” In short, you are what you make. If architects wish to build beautiful (and functional) buildings, they must first understand certain things about themselves.

Half of young women will leave their tech job by age 35, study finds

Erin Carson:

Half of young women who go into tech jobs leave by age 35, according to a report out Tuesday from IT consulting firm Accenture and tech education organization Girls Who Code. 

The primary reason? Noninclusive company culture. Thirty-seven percent of respondents who said they’d left the industry listed this as their reason for leaving. 

The study, called Resetting Tech Culture, gathered information from 1,990 tech workers and 500 senior human resources leaders in companies employing people in technology jobs. It also gathered info from 2,700 college students. 

This type of attrition, the report says, is a blow to an industry that’s already struggling with a lack of diversity, with the proportion of women actually declining in the last three decades.

“[Women] have actually fallen further behind at the very moment when tech roles are surging and vital to the U.S. economy and its continued leadership around the globe,” the report says. 

Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Dane County Executive

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person” –

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank.

This post begins a series on local offices that govern (and in theory work for us) Madison’s well funded K-12 taxpayer supported school system.

First up, Dane County Executive. The 140+ employee Dane County Madison public health department has issued a number of “orders” affecting many organizations, including schools. (recent data reporting questions).

My recent County Executive open records request:

All county executive communications that contain the words covid, or school, or university for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 July 2020.

Results: [77MB PDF]

This position will be on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

The Dane County budget has grown from $460,434,195 in 2010 to $593,707,780 (inflation adjusted from 2010: $547,905,370) in 2020. (28.9% increase). Tax base note.

Staffing, too has grown, from 2251 in 2010 to 2531 in 2020.(12.4% increase)

Dane county’s population was 488,075 in 2010 and was estimated to be be 546,695 in 2020 (12% increase)

Key Dates:

January 5, 2021:
Completion of Campaign Registration Statement – Form CF-1. The ETHC-1 is filed when candidacy is publicly announced and/or when receiving or expending funds for candidacy.

Completion of Declaration of Candidacy – Form EL-162

Completion of Nomination Papers – EL-169

Collect 500 (minimum) to 1000 (maximum) signatures from Dane County electors between December 1, 2020 and January 5, 2021.

Completion of Statement of Economic Interest – Must be filed within 2 weeks of filing deadline, or by January 19, 2021.

County Executive Campaign Finance Reports.

PRIMARY DATE (if needed): February 16, 2021

ELECTION DATE: April 6, 2021

** Note that just one of 7 local offices were competitive on my August, 2020 ballot. The District Attorney was unopposed (the linked article appeared after the election).

Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system

McKinsey:

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended school systems around the world. The pace has been frenetic as systems have had to stand up remote learning overnight, plan whether and how to reopen schools amid changing epidemiological circumstances, and support students academically and emotionally. The scope of the challenge has thus far left little time for deeper reflection. 

Yet crises often create an opportunity for broader change, and as education systems begin to make decisions about investments for the new school year, it’s important to step back and consider the longer-term imperative to create a better system for every child beyond the pandemic. 

The process starts with a key question: What are we trying to achieve, for whom, by when, and to what standards? Our research shows that top-performing school systems can vary significantly in curricula, assessments, teacher behaviors, and even desired outcomes. What unites them is a focus on excellence for every child, regardless of race, gender, income level, or location. That core value should inform the areas to keep in our current systems and where to innovate to create more effective and equitable education for all. 

While we mustn’t lose sight of what we have learned through decades of research and education reform, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving educators to accelerate new models of learning and innovate beyond the classroom. Lockdowns forced students around the world to learn from home, resulting in a dramatic increase in the use of online tools, such as videoconferencing, learning-management platforms, and assessment tools. In a month, Google Classroom doubled its number of users and Khan Academy saw a 20-fold increase in parent registrations. At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted and even exacerbated many of the inequities in the school system, from the learning environment at home to access to devices, internet, and high-quality education. There is now both the political will and a sense of urgency to take on the challenge of fixing long-broken delivery models. We applaud that instinct.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Activist Brandi Grayson says she’s an ‘agitator,’ fighter for Black lives

Emily Hamer:

Grayson also consistently fights for Madison’s Black community on smaller stages.

At a recent City Council meeting, Grayson urged council members to pass police oversight measures to hold the city’s law enforcement accountable, something protesters have pushed for. She said voting in support would be to “do what’s right in the lives of Black people as they’re alive.”

“You and many other people that sit on this council are disconnected from the reality of Black people in Madison, who have to exist inside systems (that) don’t see their humanity,” Grayson said. “And it’s hard to continue to engage with systems while begging them to see you. To see you as a person. To see you deserving of life. To see you deserving of justice.”

In her work at Urban Triage, Grayson said she often has to unpack trauma and help Black individuals realize they are deserving of a good life. She said some start to “attach with the idea of Black inferiority,” and she tries to reverse those mindsets with the training she leads.

Urban Triage supports Black families by providing services for professional development, parent leadership, trauma response and economic empowerment, among other support programs

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Inside a California Covid Revolt

Michael Lewis:

Pontes is now the county executive officer of Shasta County in Northern California and goes to work in thin socks, but another crisis has found him. “You cannot get closer to total disobedience of any kind of law,” he said, referring to the local response to Covid-19 strictures. “What’s happening up here is full-on anarchy.” Then he listed for me a few of the things that had happened recently: The county sheriff had announced that he wouldn’t enforce the state’s pandemic restrictions on social gatherings and businesses. People who had never before attended county board meetings were accusing local officials of treason. The county’s health officer, who had the unhappy job of imposing the state’s Covid rules on the citizens of Shasta County, was now receiving so many threats that Pontes had brought in a new threat-assessment team; he’d also ordered the bushes cut back away from her house, installed a security system and floodlights, and ordered police patrols of her neighborhood. “She still doesn’t feel safe out there,” he said. “At all.”

In just the past few months, a bunch of county health officers across California have been run from office. But what was happening in Shasta County felt to Pontes like a new stage of the crisis in governance. He thought it was “80-20” in favor that, at any moment, a citizen army would form, invade the public buildings, and perform citizens’ arrests of the five members of the county’s Board of Supervisors and any other government officials they could get their hands on. “Before Covid I felt I could talk my way out of just about anything,” he said. “But I had to ask the sheriff, ‘What are you going to do if they arrest us?’ He reassured me that he’s not going to take me anywhere.”

There was one other thing Pontes had noticed: The inconveniences caused by the state’s restrictions had attracted a new sort of person to the political process. Elissa McEuen was a case in point. She’d moved up to Shasta a few years ago from San Francisco, where she’d worked in private equity. She was a stay-at-home mom with little kids who, six months ago, couldn’t have told you where the Board of Supervisors met, much less what they did.

Now she showed up to every meeting, and spoke every time, with eloquence. Almost single-handedly she had organized a bunch of vaguely lunatic groups — the anti-vaxxers, the Second Amendment people, the chemtrail crowd — into a unified fighting force. “She’s taken it to another level,” Pontes said. “If you remove her, all of a sudden a lot of those people say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t believe what you believe.” 

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

College Approach to COVID Testing

Chris Quintana:

Colby poured $10 million into its coronavirus response plan, a significant sum for most institutions, but perhaps less so for the elite liberal arts college. Colby’s sticker price, including room and board, is roughly $77,000 a year, although its endowment of roughly $870 million means many students pay far less or even nothing.

The college also has required students to scale back their parties, submit to tracking via a cellphone app, spread out in dorms and bar essentially all visitors from campus. Such requirements during pre-pandemic times likely would have been met with resistance or indifference from students. Now, they’re welcomed. 

Just ask Manny Salas, a senior from Houston who risked a cross-country trip to return to the Maine campus. His family, he said, was more worried about his chances of infection if he stayed home. He knew packing into an airplane carried risks, but he was confident Colby’s testing program would protect him.

10 Common Tax Myths, Debunked

Tax Foundation:

What You’ll Learn

1 Identify some of the most common tax policy misconceptions and how to separate fact from fiction.

2 Discover why tax refunds shouldn’t be celebrated, why you should pay your income tax bill, and why certain deductions are wrongly labeled “loopholes,” among other useful facts.

3 Improve your ability to counter misleading arguments about the tax code.

Asian Americans need good schools too

Joanne Jacobs:

Asian Americans are the Schrodinger’s cat of racial/ethnic groups, writes Arun Ramanathan in Education Next. They’re “of color” and white, depending on what’s convenient to “diversity, equity and inclusion” bean counters. Usually, they’re invisible and inaudible.

It’s time for education reformers to ditch the stereotypes and pay attention to the rapidly growing Asian and Pacific Islander (API) population, which now numbers more than 20 million, he argues.

“APIs come in many colors,” writes Ramanathan. Some students from low-income or immigrant families more outperform advantaged white students. Others do poorly

Government is Losing the Trust of the People

Jim Desmond:

I’ve repeated this often over the last few months. We have lost sight of the goal. I think it’s reasonable for everyone to take a step back and ask “how did we end up here?”

How did we go from “we need to flatten the curve for the month of April” to “we are going to shut your business down in September and October if you decide to stay open?”

In California, the goalposts continue to move. At the beginning the goal was to make sure we had enough hospital beds, make sure we had enough PPE equipment, make sure we weren’t having to choose between who could live and who couldn’t. Thankfully because of the people of San Diego and the great work from our local public health officials, we never had any of those problems.

Now though, the goal has changed. In California, we have a flawed color-coded system and that doesn’t even have a green tier, with full openings. Businesses are going to limited capacity for an indefinite time.

We’ve been told that life won’t get back to normal until there’s a vaccine. So, if the goal truly is to keep everyone locked down until there is a vaccine, we have to start being honest. An Axios/Ipsos poll was done last week that said only 13 percent of Americans would be willing to try the vaccine when it comes out.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

We Learn Faster When We Aren’t Told What Choices to Make

Michele Solis:

In a perfect world, we would learn from success and failure alike. Both hold instructive lessons and provide needed reality checks that may safeguard our decisions from bad information or biased advice.

But, alas, our brain doesn’t work this way. Unlike an impartial outcome-weighing machine an engineer might design, it learns more from some experiences than others. A few of these biases may already sound familiar: A positivity bias causes us to weigh rewards more heavily than punishments. And a confirmation bias makes us take to heart outcomes that confirm what we thought was true to begin with but discount those that show we were wrong. A new study, however, peels away these biases to find a role for choice at their core.

A bias related to the choices we make explains all the others, says Stefano Palminteri of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), who conducted a study published in Nature Human Behaviour in August that examines this tendency. “In a sense we have been perfecting our understanding of this bias,” he says.

Meanwhile, from the “We know best” world:

“We cannot rely on individuals to make good decisions in a pandemic,”

Ontario police used COVID-19 database illegally, civil rights groups find

CBC:

Police forces across Ontario engaged in broad, illegal searches of a now-defunct COVID-19 database, two civil rights groups alleged Wednesday, claiming the use of the portal violated individual privacy rights for months.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) said in separate reports that many services used the database to look at COVID-19 test results for wide geographic areas and sometimes pulled up personal information unrelated to active calls.

“People weren’t told that when they went for COVID tests that this information was being shared with police and they certainly weren’t asked for their consent,” said Abby Deshman, the criminal justice program director for the CCLA. 

“That should be a decision every person makes about what they want to do with their own personal medical information.”

In early April, the Ontario government passed an emergency order that allowed police to obtain the names, addresses and dates of birth of Ontarians who had tested positive for COVID-19. The portal was aimed at helping to protect first responders.

Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

Kelly Meyerhofer:

Brenda Gonzalez, director of community relations at UW-Madison who spoke during the County Board meeting in opposition of the resolution, said testing and protocol put in place should keep the number of positive cases on campus low. She said Public Health Madison and Dane County is monitoring possible transmission of cases from campus to the surrounding community and hasn’t found evidence to support a large number of campus-to-community case transmissions.

“We do not believe that further limiting in-person instruction is prudent or necessary,” Gonzalez said.

Dane County Sup. Michele Ritt, a mother of a UW System student, voted against the resolution but questioned the effectiveness of policies meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

“Sending all students from residence halls home is unsafe and unrealistic,” she said. “If we close residence halls and move classes online, this will encourage students to engage in more reckless behaviors.”

In response to the vote, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank reiterated that many students will stay in Madisonregardless of whether classes are delivered entirely online because they are members of the community who live, work and vote in the city. Further, she said, no faculty or staff have become infected in classrooms or lab settings and the latest testing data on campus shows a lower infection rate than in Dane County.

“Given the low case numbers at UW, our extensive testing and messaging regime, and our students’ commitment to being part of the Madison community, we disagree with calls for the university to send student(s) home,” Blank said in a statement. “The university, the city and the county need to work together to make sure that all people — students and non-students alike – follow county health protocols and remain healthy

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce opposed the resolution, saying it strikes the wrong balance and would cause “unnecessary economic hardship” on businesses.

“Ending in-person classes and sending students ‘home’ is not a productive public health strategy and sends a terrible message to the students that are members of our community,” the Chamber said in a statement.

Dane County plans a 3.4% property tax increase….

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The Insufferable Hubris of the Well-Credentialed

Michael Sandel:

The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel’s 10th book, The Tyranny of Merit, out this month from FSG, covers a lot of ground for a short text — especially in its sweeping second chapter, “A Brief Moral History of Merit,” which, following Max Weber, describes the surprising emergence of the “fiercely meritocratic work ethic” out of the Protestant Reformation’s “war against merit.” From these origins, Sandel says, would eventually appear such diverse phenomena as mega-churches preaching the “prosperity gospel,” the weakening of the welfare state, and the increasing importance of the university system as a source of not just earning power but personal prestige. President Trump, for instance, likes to say that he went to Wharton, which he insists is “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world … super genius stuff.”

The Tyranny of Merit hopes to explain the cultural background behind this bit of Trumpian braggadocio, and more broadly to argue that a just political future must recognize that even a perfect meritocracy would be fundamentally unfair. I talked with Sandel about resentment and hubris, the trauma of the elite-university admissions process, the problem with economists, and pull-ups.

Critiques of meritocracy are on everyone’s lips right now. Why?

I think it’s partly due to the events of 2016. The populist backlash against elites was a big part of the vote in Britain for Brexit and the election of Trump in the U.S. That prompted a reflection on what it was about elites that many working people so resented.

Looking back at the last four decades, it’s clear that the divide between winners and losers has been deepened, poisoning our politics and driving us apart. This has partly to do with deepening inequality of income and wealth. But it’s about more than that. It has to do with the fact that those who landed on top came to believe that their success was their own doing, the measure of their merit — and by implication that those left behind had no one to blame but themselves. For people who didn’t flourish in the new economy, this attitude toward success made the inequality of the last four decades all the more galling.

COVID-19 emergency measures and the impending authoritarian pandemic

Stephen Thomson, Eric C Ip:

COVID-19 has brought the world grinding to a halt. As of early August 2020, the greatest public health emergency of the century thus far has registered almost 20 million infected people and claimed over 730,000 lives across all inhabited continents, bringing public health systems to their knees, and causing shutdowns of borders and lockdowns of cities, regions, and even nations unprecedented in the modern era. Yet, as this Article demonstrates—with diverse examples drawn from across the world—there are unmistakable regressions into authoritarianism in governmental efforts to contain the virus. Despite the unprecedented nature of this challenge, there is no sound justification for systemic erosion of rights-protective democratic ideals and institutions beyond that which is strictly demanded by the exigencies of the pandemic. A Wuhan-inspired all-or-nothing approach to viral containment sets a dangerous precedent for future pandemics and disasters, with the global copycat response indicating an impending ‘pandemic’ of a different sort, that of authoritarianization. With a gratuitous toll being inflicted on democracy, civil liberties, fundamental freedoms, healthcare ethics, and human dignity, this has the potential to unleash humanitarian crises no less devastating than COVID-19 in the long run.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Industrial literacy

Roots of Progress:

I’ve said before that understanding where our modern standard of living comes from, at a basic level, is a responsibility of every citizen in an industrial civilization. Let’s call it “industrial literacy.”

Industrial literacy is understanding…

• That the food you eat is grown using synthetic fertilizers, and that this is needed for agricultural productivity, because all soil loses its fertility naturally over time if it is not deliberately replenished. That before we had modern agriculture, more than half the workforce had to labor on farms, just to feed the other half. That if synthetic fertilizer was suddenly lost, a mass famine would ensue and billions would starve.

• That those same crops would not be able to feed us if they were not also protected from pests, who will ravage entire fields if given a chance. That whole regions used to see seasons where they would lose large swaths of their produce to swarms of insects, such as boll weevils attacking cotton plants in the American South, or the phylloxera devouring grapes in the vineyards of France. That before synthetic pesticides, farmers were forced to rely on much more toxic substances, such as compounds of arsenic.

• That before we had electricity and clean natural gas, people burned unrefined solid fuels in their homes—wood, coal, even dung (!)—to cook their food and to keep from freezing in winter. That these primitive fuels, dirty with contaminants, created toxic smoke: indoor air pollution. That indoor air pollution remains a problem today for 40% of the world population, who still rely on pre-industrial fuels.

Long Island Professor Reassigned After Allegedly Urging Students Against Voting For Trump

Sophia Hall:

A Long Island professor has been reassigned after she was caught on video allegedly urging students not to vote for President Donald Trump during a virtual lecture.

The 45-second video was posted Wednesday to Facebook, allegedly by the parent of a student at Suffolk County Community College.

“This is complete bull—- and not what we are paying to send our kids to school for,” the parent wrote, adding that the professor has “no business telling these kids who to vote for.”

In the clip, the adjunct assistant professor of humanities and women’s studies can be heard criticizing the president.

Podcast: How I Built This: Sal Khan

:

In 2009, Sal Khan walked away from a high-paying job to start a business that had no way of making money. His idea to launch a non-profit teaching platform was ignited five years earlier, when he was helping his young cousins do math homework over the computer. They loved his clear explanations and soon he was posting free tutorials on Youtube, where they started to attract the attention of thousands of users around the world. Sal realized he could help democratize learning by building a free platform to teach math, science, and the humanities. Today, Khan Academy offers hundreds of free recorded tutorials in dozens of languages. During the pandemic, its popularity has surged to 30 million users a month.

Khan Academy: Interview with Sal Khan

Guy Raz:

In 2009, Sal Khan walked away from a high-paying job to start a business that had no way of making money. His idea to launch a non-profit teaching platform was ignited five years earlier, when he was helping his young cousins do math homework over the computer. They loved his clear explanations and soon he was posting free tutorials on Youtube, where they started to attract the attention of thousands of users around the world. Sal realized he could help democratize learning by building a free platform to teach math, science, and the humanities. Today, Khan Academy offers hundreds of free recorded tutorials in dozens of languages. During the pandemic, its popularity has surged to 30 million users a month.

Dane County vs the University of Wisconsin

Becky Blank interview:

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Annysa Johnson:

The news conference, which also featured Madison Teachers Inc. President Andy Waity, was part of a national day of action by teachers unions across the country, calling for safe working conditions in schools during the pandemic.

The renewed push to bar in-person instruction comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked in the state and two weeks after a Green Bay-area school teacher died of the virus.

On Wednesday, DHS reported an additional 2,319 individuals tested positive, about 19.7% of those tested. It reported a record number of COVID-related deaths, at 27, and hospitalizations, at 91. 

Wisconsin has also been labeled a “red zone” by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has called for increasing social distancing here “to the maximal degree possible.”

Cases among school-age children have spiked dramatically since late August, according to new data released Wednesday by DHS. Numerous cases involving students and staff have been reported at schools across the state, according to DHS and a database created by the Journal Sentinel and USA Today Network-Wisconsin. 

Scott Girard: “we know best”, continued.

“We cannot rely on individuals to make good decisions in a pandemic,” Mizialko said, citing reports of parents knowingly sending symptomatic children to school. “It requires a systemic response. This is why we have government and it’s why we pay taxes and it’s why we have elections.”

Many private schools had planned to open for some in-person instruction the week after the Public Health Madison & Dane County order was issued after 5 p.m. on a Friday. PHMDC officials have encouraged schools to use the metrics they issued for reopening schools even if its order is not in effect.

In Dane County, public health officials in late August ordered all schools closed for grades 3-12, while allowing in-person instruction for grades K-2 with certain requirements in place. The state Supreme Court put that order on hold in response to a legal challenge from various private schools, parents and membership organizations, allowing schools to open.

“The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….” – former Madison School Board member Ed Hughes.

We Learn Faster When We Aren’t Told What Choices to Make

Ontario doctors sign letter to Premier advising against sweeping lockdowns

‘If you are under the age of 50 you have a 99.98% chance of surviving from COVID-19’

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Rallying to Protect Admissions Standards at America’s Best Public High School

Asra Q. Nomani and Glenn Miller:

This week, a group of about 200 students, parents, alumni, and concerned local residents flooded the sidewalk in front of America’s number-one-ranked public high school—Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. This was no back-to-school event. It was a rally to save the soul of the school itself.

The parents included Norma Muñoz, a Peruvian immigrant who told us she was there to “fight for TJ” (as the school is known locally). Other parents were from China, India, and South Korea. They stepped forward, one by one, to describe their families’ journeys—from marching in Tiananmen Square decades ago to arriving in the United States with only dollars in their pockets.

“I came here for freedom,” said Yuyan Zhou, a Chinese-American woman who’s spent eight years as a TJ parent. “Moral courage is the only solution for this madness. Stand up for your rights. Stand up for your values. Fight for the future of our students!”

And what is this “madness” Ms. Zhou describes? Since early June, a small but vocal group of TJ alumni have worked with activist school-board members, state education officials, politicians, and even TJ’s principal, to undermine the school’s selective admissions process. Their language consistently channels fashionable academic doctrines such as critical race theory (popularly known as CRT), which presuppose that all of society’s institutions are embedded with implicit forms of white supremacy.

The result is a proposal to replace the existing race-blind, merit-based TJ admissions system of standardized tests, grade rankings, essays, and teacher recommendations with a process based on random selection from among applicants who have a core class GPA of 3.5 or greater (and are currently enrolled in algebra). Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott Brabrand has branded this proposed new system a “merit lottery.”

College Common App Drops Question About Discipline, Citing Racial Disparities

Melissa Korn:

The Common Application is scrapping a question that asks applicants to reveal whether they have been subject to disciplinary action in high school, aiming to eliminate what it says could be an obstacle for Black students considering college.

For more than a decade, the application—submitted by more than 1 million students to more than 900 colleges and universities—requested that students disclose whether they’d been found responsible for a “disciplinary violation.” That could be academic or behavioral misconduct, and would have led to probation, suspension or expulsion.

After a deep dive into its own data earlier this year, funded by a Gates Foundation grant, the Common App found that Black applicants marked “yes” more than twice as often as white applicants. Black women were three times as likely as white women to say they’d been disciplined. And those who did give affirmative responses submitted applications at a lower rate.

Professor Recants Love Of College Football

Rod Dreher:

Early in the Live Not By Liesproject, I gathered information from Eastern bloc émigrés to the US, trying to see what they meant when they said that America today was starting to remind them of life under communism. One of the things I heard over and over from academics had to do with the compulsion to confess one’s supposed sins against woke ideology, and to abase oneself for having violated ideological purity. Czechs talked about the show trials of the early 1950s, in particular.

Today, Inside Higher Ed publishes a spectacular example of this in American academia. A sad and broken man named Matthew J. Mayhew, a professor at Ohio State, denounces himself for — well, read it for yourself. Excerpts:

I recently led a piece in Inside Higher Ed titled “Why America Needs College Football.” I am sorry for the hurt, sadness, frustration, fatigue, exhaustion and pain this article has caused anyone, but specifically Black students in the higher education community and beyond.

I am struggling to find the words to communicate the deep ache for the damage I have done. I don’t want to write anything that further deepens the pain experienced by my ignorance related to Black male athletes and the Black community at any time, but especially in light of the national racial unrest. I also don’t want to write anything that suggests that antiracist learning is quick or easy. This is the beginning of a very long process, one that started with learning about the empirical work related to Black college football athletes.

Rather than make excuses, I should talk about which facets of the article that I have recently learned are harmful — through my students, wider social media community and distinguished academics like Donna Ford, Joy Gaston Gayles and Gilman Whiting.

Why Mayor Elorza changed his tune on charter schools in Providence

Dan McGowan:

When Mayor Jorge Elorza raised concerns last year about a charter school organization’s expansion plan in Providence, he had a very practical reason. He was in charge of a school system with 24,000 students, and he feared that the district would not be able to absorb the financial hit if too many students left the traditional school system for public charter schools.

Now Elorza, a Democrat who is openly considering a run for governor in 2022, is publicly supporting an even larger expansion of the Achievement First Mayoral Academy, and he has also agreed to chair the board of directors for Excel Academy, the Massachusetts-based charter school organization that wants to open a school that would eventually serve nearly 2,200 students from Providence, North Providence, and Central Falls.

The mayor’s about-face in such a short period of time would ordinarily be viewed as a stunning policy shift, but he maintains that his evolution is also a practical one. In short, the state has taken over the Providence school system, so Elorza no longer has the same worries about the district’s finances that he had a year ago.

“Not having to take into account the finances and how we’re going to balance the budget, it’s a much a different consideration for me,” Elorza told the Globe on Monday. “Now it comes down to: Are they delivering for students? And the answer is unequivocally yes.”

The Rhode Island Department of Education took control of Providence schools on Nov. 1, 2019, several months after researchers from Johns Hopkins University released a scathing report that showed widespread dysfunction with nearly every facet of the district. Elorza publicly supported the takeover, although it has been less of a partnership between the city and state than he initially envisioned.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The visa woes that shattered scientists’ American dreams

Virginia Gewin:

A flurry of US visa restrictions, along with ongoing anti-immigrant sentiment in the nation, has affected a countless number of early-career international researchers.

In early July 2020, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced a controversial, widely criticized policy to revoke visas of international students attending universities at which coursework was entirely online.

The policy was rescinded eight days later — but not before causing widespread distress and confusion among international students, their colleagues and their institutions.

A month earlier, the administration had suspended the issuance of H-1B visas — which allow for temporary employment of specialized, skilled workers in industry or academia — until the end of 2020.

In January, the administration added Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania and Kyrgyzstan to the list of countries, currently totalling 13, that face the most-stringent travel restrictions.

The Invasion of the German Board Games

Jonathan Kay:

In a development that would have been hard to imagine a generation ago, when video games were poised to take over living rooms, board games are thriving. Data shows that U.S. sales grew by 28 percent between the spring of 2016 and the spring of 2017. Revenues are expected to rise at a similar rate into the early 2020s—largely, says one analyst, because the target audience “has changed from children to adults,” particularly younger ones.

Much of this success is traceable to the rise of games that, well, get those adults acting somewhat more like children. Clever, low-overhead card games such as Cards Against Humanity, Secret Hitler, and Exploding Kittens (“A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions”) have sold exceptionally well. Games like these have proliferated on Kickstarter, where anyone with a great idea and a contact at an industrial printing company can circumvent the usual toy-and-retail gatekeepers who green-light new concepts. (The largest project category on Kickstarter is “Games,” and board games make up about three-quarters of those projects.)

Colorado governor pleads with parents to sign their kids up for school as state faces enrollment declines

Jesse Paul and Erica Breunlin:

Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday pleaded with Colorado parents to enroll their children in school, saying that districts have seen declines in the number of kids signed up for classes during the coronavirus crisis, especially among younger grades.

“Your kid will return to school someday,” Polis said at a coronavirus briefing with reporters at the governor’s mansion in downtown Denver. “You don’t want them to be behind.”

Polis said the state doesn’t have specific data showing how large the declines are in enrollment. It’s anecdotal thus far, but widespread.

“There are certainly more than usual.” Polis said

Polis said he fears some Colorado parents are trying to home school their kids without proper planning and curriculum.

“Don’t just think you’re home-schooling because you’re giving your kid a book all day and leaving them at home,” Polis said. “… It’s not something to be taken lightly.”

The governor said that parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to school for in-person learning should at least enroll them in an online program. That will give children access to social interaction with their peers as well as counseling, should they need it.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Will Cioci:

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person,” she said. “I have asked that the county should revisit some of those K-12 limits.”

One particular area of concern with off-campus spread is the return of the Badger football games and the tailgating events that will inevitably come with.

“While we all love our football Saturdays, the festivities that come with them are going to serve as new spreading events within our community,” Parisi wrote in a statement after the Big Ten announced that its football season would resume in late October.

On Tuesday, Blank defended the choice to restart the season, which she and the other heads of Big Ten schools agreed upon unanimously. Before that decision was made, she said, a Big Ten Medical Advisory Group supplied a list of recommendations with which a safe season would be possible, and that the schools will implement those recommendations. 

The Chancellor also said that there would be no fans in attendance at Badger football games.

“There’s no way you can have, even if it’s only one quarter of your stadium, 20,000 people walking in and standing in line for the restrooms,” Blank said. “There are no fans in the stadium this year.”

Blank ended the call by emphasizing the agency of students in behaving responsibly and limiting the spread of the virus.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

New OECD PISA report reveals challenge of online learning for many students and schools

PISA, via a kind email:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to school closures across the world and forced teachers and students in many countries to adapt quickly to teaching and learning online. But a new OECD PISA report reveals wide disparities both between and within countries in the availability of technology in schools and of teachers’ capacities to use ICT effectively.

Effective Policies, Successful Schools analyses findings from the most recent OECD PISA 2018 test, involving around 600,000 15-year-old students in 79 countries and economies.

On average across OECD countries in 2018, there was almost one computer available at school for educational purposes for every 15-year-old student. Yet in many countries school principals reported that the computers were not powerful enough in terms of computing capacity, affecting one in three students globally.

“This crisis has exposed the many inadequacies and inequities in education systems across the world,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. “Disadvantaged young people have been particularly affected and every country should do more to ensure that all schools have the resources they need so that every student has an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.” 

Differences between advantaged and disadvantaged schools were significant. In Brazil 68% of students in advantaged schools had access to sufficiently powerful digital devices, according to principals, compared to just 10% of students in disadvantaged schools. In Spain, there was a 40 percentage-point difference (70% vs. 30%) in the availability of sufficiently powerful digital devices between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

Madison School District Staff Cannot Lie or Deceive Parents About Gender Transitions at School

WILL:

WILL sued MMSD for violating parental rights with gender identity policy

The News: Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington issued an injunction last week in a WILL parental rights lawsuit that forbids Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) employees from lying or deceiving parents about the gender identity that their child may have adopted at school. The lawsuit is ongoing, but the injunction goes into effect immediately as the case is under consideration.

The Quote: Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said, “We are pleased Judge Remington issued this injunction that will require honesty when Madison Metropolitan School District staff interact with parents about critical matters impacting their child’s health and wellbeing. This is an important win for parental rights as the court considers this matter.”

Background: On behalf of a group of Madison parents, WILL and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in February 2020 for adopting and implementing policies that violate the rights of District parents. MMSD policies adopted in April 2018 enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and then directs District employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school. The Circuit Court’s injunction prevents District staff from lying to or deceiving parents if they directly ask about their child, including the name and pronouns their child is using at school.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Test-Optional Admissions Policies Hurt the Populations They Intend to Help

Jillian Ludwig:

In late July, the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined the rest of the UW System in receiving a waiver from the Board of Regents to suspend ACT and SAT score requirements for admissions in response to COVID-19. The original waiver was set to expire on December 31, 2020, but the university has already opted to extend the suspension until the summer of 2023. This raises suspicions that their choice is not solely due to COVID-19 but a trend spreading throughout higher education.

In the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, flexibility is necessary, but as the UW System’s flagship university, UW-Madison must refrain from having fashionable policies and work to maintain its high academic standard. If the university wants to maintain that standard, they will continue to take into account all measures of academic preparedness — both high school performance and standardized test scores, first and foremost.

In recent years, test-optional admissions policies have become increasingly popular in higher education, as standardized tests have been scrutinized for furthering inequity among students. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into many aspects of life, it has also had the unintended effect of spurring on this movement. In fact, the pandemic has resulted in hundreds of universities from California to New York opting to remove their requirements for scores.

College enrollments are falling in the US—except for graduate degrees

Oliver Staley:

One of the more worrying aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US is its effect on undergraduate enrollments.

Over the summer there were indications, through student loan data and Census surveys, that students were either dropping out or not enrolling in previous numbers. For some students, particularly those from low-income and minority families, the financial and logistical challenges posed by the pandemic were too much to overcome.

Now we have an early glimpse of actual enrollment figures from 629 US colleges (or about 22%) that reported their data to the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit that collects information for universities. The data, which compare the same colleges from 2019 to 2020, go through Sept. 10, and were reported Sept. 24.

Why Music is Helpful for Concentration

Tinnire:

Content

1 What is concentration?

2 Ways to improve focus and concentration

3 What kind of music disrupts focusing

4 Flow state music

What is Concentration?

There are several meanings of the word concentration. If we talk about focusing attention, then this is keeping the interest on one aspect while ignoring other things.

In English language, this word came in the 1630s from Italian concentrare. Its origin is Latin: com ‘with, together’ + centrum ‘center’. This literally means ‘action of bringing to a central point’.

Our ability to concentrate is important because the human body has limited resources. If we work being constantly distracted, then we will not be able to complete the task.

Since ancient times, people have developed various techniques to stay focused. Let’s dwell on the most popular methods.

What Republicans Must Do To Get Critical Race Theory Out Of Schools

Joy Pullmann

President Trump is bringing some attention to the connections between this summer’s riots, the 63 percent of young Americans who believe America is racist, and the disaster that is civics and history instruction in U.S. public schools. He recently announced a federal commission to counter the saturation of anti-American ideology in American education institutions through “patriotic education.” He also “threatened to cut funding to schools that teach the 1619 Project.”

This is a start, but it’s going to take a lot more to address this serious problem. Significant structural changes are required, and state-level elected officials need to do most of it. Since schooling that teaches children to hate their own nation threatens its very existence, it’s past time to get serious about this.

The examples are myriad and expansive, and they are not limited to deep-blue locales (as if indoctrination is okay if local politicians approve). The College Board’s changes to its U.S. and European history Advanced Placement curriculum, which more than 800,000 American high school students take each year, are one major example.

Hacker Releases Information on Las Vegas-Area Students After Officials Don’t Pay Ransom

Tawnell Hobbs:

A hacker published documents containing Social Security numbers, student grades and other private information stolen from a large public-school district in Las Vegas after officials refused a ransom demanded in return for unlocking district computer servers.

The illegal release late last week of sensitive information from the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, with about 320,000 students, demonstrates an escalation in tactics for hackers who have taken advantage of schools heavily reliant on online learning and technology to run operations during the coronavirus pandemic. The release of the district’s information is being reported for the first time by The Wall Street Journal.

Hackers have attacked school districts and other institutions with sensitive information even before the pandemic, typically blocking users’ access to their own computer systems unless a ransom is paid. In those instances, the so-called ransomware crippled the district’s operations but hackers didn’t usually expose damaging information about students or employees.

“A big difference between this school year and last school year is they didn’t steal data, and this year they do,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst for cybersecurity company Emsisoft, who said he was able to easily access the Clark County data on a hacker website. “If there’s no payment, they publish that stolen data online, and that has happened to multiple districts.”

Oconomowoc High School and two intermediate schools will shift to all in-person classes

Alec Johnson:

Nature Hill Intermediate School, Silver Lake Intermediate School and Oconomowoc High School students will have class in person five days a week starting Sept. 28 after an Oconomowoc School Board vote on Sept. 23.

The board voted, 4-2, in a special meeting to have the intermediate school and high school students return to a full, five-day face-to-face setting. The vote also provided a virtual option for students in grades five through 12 who do not want to return to school in person beginning Sept. 28.

Those three schools started the school year in a hybrid model, alternating in-person and virtual learning from home.

Board members Jessica Karnowski, Kim Herro, Rick Grothaus and James Wood voted in favor of the new plan, while board members Scott Roehl and Dan Raasch voted against it. Board member Juliet Steitzer abstained, saying there was insufficient data for her to make a decision.

Oconomowoc made substantive changes to their high school teaching approach several years ago. I wonder how that has played out?

How we bend the knee to our HR overlords

Aris Roussinos:

The extraordinary spread in recent months of what has become known, in the writer Wesley Yang’s phrase, as “the successor ideology” has encouraged all manner of analysis attempting to delineate its essential features. Is it a religion, with its own litany of sin and redemption, its own repertoire of fervent rituals and iconography? Is this Marxism, ask American conservatives, still fighting yesterday’s ideological war?

What does this all do to speed along policing reform, ask bewildered African-Americans, as they observe global corporations and white celebrities compete to beat their chests in ever-more elaborate and meaningless gestures of atonement? What kind of meaningful anti-systemic revolution can provoke such immediate and fulsome support from the Hollywood entertainment complex, from the richest oligarchs and plutocrats on earth, and from the media organs of the liberal state?

If we are to understand the successor ideology as an ideology, it may be useful here, counterintuitively, to return to the great but increasingly overlooked 1970 essay on the “Ideological State Apparatuses,” or ISAs, by the French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser. Once influential on the Western left, Althusser’s reputation has suffered somewhat since he killed his wife in a fit of madness 40 years ago. Of Alsatian Catholic origin, and a lifelong sufferer from mental illness, Althusser wrote his seminal essay in a manic period following the évènements of 1968, for whose duration he was committed to hospital.

K-12 Tax; referendum and spending climate: Blue-city urbanization imposes a downward mobility people don’t want and don’t need.

Joel Kotkin:

“No Bourgeois, No Democracy”
– Barrington Moore

Protecting and fighting for the middle class regularly dominates rhetoric on the Right and Left. Yet activists on both sides now often seek to undermine single-family home ownership, the linchpin of middle-class aspiration.

The current drive to outlaw single-family zoning—the one protection homeowners possess against unwanted development—has notched bans in the City of Minneapolis and the state of Oregon, with California not far behind. Advocates have tapped an odd alliance of progressives and libertarians. Essentially, it marries two inflexible ideologies, in principle diametrically opposed, but neither of which see housing as a critical element of family and community. In its stead, the Left seeks to place the state in charge, while libertarians bow instinctively to any de-regulatory step they see as increasing “freedom and choice.”

Although couched in noble sentiments, both approaches are fundamentally hostile to both middle- and working-class aspirations. Without a home, the new generation—including minorities—will face a “formidable challenge” in boosting their worth. Property remains key to financial security: Homes today account for roughly two-thirds of the wealth of middle-income Americans while home owners have a median net worth more than 40 times that of renters, according to the Census Bureau. Equally important, a shift from homeownership would also weaken the basis of democracy. Since ancient times, republican institutions have rested on the firmament of dispersed property ownership, and forced unwilling millions to live not as they wish to but in such a way as to fulfill the visions of planners and of portions of the capitalist elite.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

America’s missing kids: Amid COVID-19 and online school, thousands of students haven’t shown up

Erin Richards:

This year, after a lot of research about COVID-19 and schooling options and after the district announced it was starting virtually, Ludtke withdrew the girls and enrolled them in a state college that offers online classes. They’re earning both college and high school credit in English and math. (Because the girls are 12 and 13, the college administrators asked to interview them first – then offered them a grant toward tuition.) 

Ludtke resigned from her principal role and stepped back to teaching, which leaves her time to home-school her daughters in their other necessary subjects, such as social studies and physical education. The girls hadn’t learned much in the spring when Clark County moved to remote instruction, she said, and the combination of college classes and home-schooling seemed to be the most rigorous option.

The upshot: The girls are learning, but they’re no longer enrolled in any school district.

As parents nationwide tread through a wildly different education landscape this year, many kids, like the Ludtke sisters, disappear from the rosters of their public schools. Clark County schools are down about 10,000 students this year, a loss that will translate into a reduction of about $61 million from the state of Nevada, though the impact won’t be felt right away.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Florida schools reopened en masse, but a surge in coronavirus didn’t follow, a USA TODAY analysis finds

Jayme Fraser, Mike Stucka, Emily Bloch, Rachel Fradette, Sommer Brugal:

Many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida made the controversial push to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.

A USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults – not schoolchildren – driving the trend, the analysis found.

The early results in Florida show the success of rigorous mask wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts and quick contact tracing when necessary, health experts said.

“Many of the schools that have been able to successfully open have also been implementing control measures that are an important part of managing spread in these schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health.

Although things went well early, the experts cautioned that schools could still be the source of future problems. They warned against reading the data as a reason to reopen all schools or abandon safety measures.

Hundreds of students and staffers contracted the novel coronavirus despite the precautionary measures. The Florida Department of Health published a report last month showing 559 COVID-19 cases related to elementary, middle and high schools logged from Aug. 10 to 23. State health officials quickly retracted the report, saying it was a draft and “inadvertently made available.” 

A majority of teens (59%) say that online learning is worse than in-person schooling

Laura Wonski:

A majority of teens (59%) say that online learning is worse than in-person schooling, though just 19% characterize it as “much worse,” according to a new poll from Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey. The rest of teens are nearly evenly split between those who say online learning is better than in-person schooling (19%) and those who say they are about the same (21%). 

US society at risk as it decouples from China in science and tech

Yuki Okoshi and Yuki Misumi:

The U.S. government is starting to exclude Chinese students and researchers, while the Chinese government is going its own way when it comes to developing science and technology, trends that academics say will hollow out the institutions America has come to rely on to maintain its global competitiveness.

Researchers from the hegemons are used to collaborating and in many cases have become interdependent, but the U.S.-China decoupling in scientific research puts American science and technology advances at risk.

“I thought studying in Japan would be better than in the U.S.,” said Wang Yuchen, who is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Tokyo. Wang graduated from Peking University in 2016, having majored in physics. Accepted by Princeton University, he chose not to go.

The Students Left Behind by Remote Learning

Alec MacGillis:

The biggest challenge was not technological. No one made sure that Shemar logged on to his daily class or completed the assignments that were piling up in his Google Classroom account. His grandmother, who is in her seventies, is a steady presence, but she attended little school while growing up, in a sharecropping family in South Carolina. She was also losing her eyesight. One day, she explained to me the family’s struggles to assist Shemar: though three of his four older siblings lived in the house, too, they had jobs or attended vocational school, and one of them had a baby to care for; Shemar’s mother was often absent; and his great-uncle, who also lived in the house, had dropped out of school in South Carolina around the age of eight, and was illiterate.

Shemar’s teachers worried about him but had a hard time reaching him, given his mother’s frequent changes of phone number. One time, his English teacher drove to his house and visited with him on the small front porch.

Foundation for Madison PUblic Schools $pend$ to Support 2020 Referendum

Foundation for Madison Public Schools [Board] recently spent funds on a pro 2020 Tax & Spending increase referendum Facebook advertising campaign.

The advertisement.

The advertisement includes a reference to https://yes2investmsn.org

The Foundation for Madison Public Schools lists $9,011,063 in assets at the end of 2019 (!) via FMPS’ IRS Tax Form 990 “Return of Organization Exempt from Tax” .

How to digitize your lab notebooks

Anna Nowogrodzki:

When the coronavirus pandemic closed the University of Minnesota in St Paul, plant pathologist Linda Kinkel’s laboratory team cast around for tasks they could do from home. They realized there was one job they’d wanted to do for some time: digitizing the team’s 30-year-old collection of paper lab notebooks. “COVID really was what made us commit to the digital lab notebooks,” says technician Andrew Mann. “All of us being alone and needing access to former students’ experiments so we can write grants and plan our next experiments.”

Research groups digitize their old lab notebooks for a host of reasons. Digital records can be backed up so they are impervious to floods and fires, and encrypted to protect them from theft. They require no physical space, and can be used by multiple team members at the same time from different locations. The scanning process makes the text readable, accessible and suitable for archiving; if the software includes optical character recognition (OCR), scanned typewritten text can also generally be searched — although OCR is not error-free, so the resulting text often needs manual correction.

Some researchers scan notebooks using smartphone apps or physical scanners; others outsource the work to specialized companies. “Digitization is on the increase, especially after COVID,” says Jan Cahill, marketing director at Cleardata, near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, which digitizes books and documents. Lab closures because of pandemic restrictions have highlighted the benefits of having documents remotely accessible by every team member simultaneously, Mann says. For Glenn Lockwood, a computer scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, digitization was about providing peace of mind. “It just helps me sleep better at night,” he says.

Commentary on 2020 Urban Governance

Kevin Williamson:

This represents a truly impressive display of political incompetence on the part of Black Lives Matter and its allies. If you came to the American public with an argument that cities such as Louisville and Philadelphia are poorly governed, that this poor governance imposes especially terrible costs on African Americans, that the municipal incompetence naturally extends to police work, and that sweeping reform is called for, you would get a great deal of buy-in from both sides of the aisle. Republicans don’t need a whole lot of convincing that Chicago is a flying circus of whirling buffoonery.

In truth, the Left isn’t especially interested in police reform. If they cared about police reform, progressives would be offering actual halfway serious proposals for police reform, which have been notably few and far between over these past months, drowned out by unserious and irresponsible rhetoric about abolishing city police departments. The police are a special problem for the Left in that they represent an incompatibility between the Left’s post-1960s Bill Ayers–style radicalism and the realpolitik that recognizes police as unionized municipal employees and hence natural constituents of the Democratic Party.

The scandal of urban America is a stumbling-block for Democrats, for the obvious reason that this is pretty much exclusively their show and has been for generations. Louisville, currently convulsed by the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. Portions of American cities were ceded to armed militias over the summer, not by Republican authorities accommodating right-wing radicals descending from the hills of Idaho but by the powers that be in impeccably progressive Seattle inviting a left-wing occupation force to set up shop in a corner of that declining city, where they promptly set about shooting a few children.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Dishonesty in academia: the deafening silence of the Royal Society Open Science Journal on an accepted paper that failed the peer review process

iqoqi:

More than two years ago, on February 26th 2018, I was contacted by the Royal Society Open Science Journal to referee a submitted manuscript. Two prior referees had accepted the paper and two had rejected it, and I was the tiebreaker. The manuscript, Quantum Correlations are Weaved by the Spinors of the Euclidean Primitives by Joy Christian, basically claims that Bell’s theorem is incorrect. If true, this would be a game changer in the foundation of quantum mechanics. Bell’s theorem shows that it is impossible to construct a local realistic model of the theory.

Bell’s result is an impossibility proof; it attracts such passion as the impossibility of perpetual motion machines that were so popular some 100 years ago. A manuscript claiming the invention of a working perpetual motion device, proof that Earth is flat (yes, there is such a thing as an annual conference of Flat-Earth-ers), or that the sun circles Earth would be rejected by any respectable journal right away.

So, what if someone managed to “disprove” Bell’s theorem and, better yet, to publish that “discovery”? This would create lots of debates and excitement – certainly, notoriety and free publicity for the journal who published your claim. In other words, good business.

You’re Enlightened. Now What?

Zohar Atkins:

Suppose you are enlightened. Whether it was because you were born into it, stumbled into it, or worked at it, no matter. Perhaps you ate some magic mushrooms. Perhaps you had an epiphany on a park bench. Perhaps you spent decades meditating in a monastery. Perhaps you read a self-help book or attended a retreat or some high-end executive workshops. How do you translate the experience or insight into the wider world?

Do you try to turn your experience into a commodity so that everyone gets to have more of it, on the cheap? Do you create a tribe of like minded missionaries?

What makes you think that your company or religion or city-state will avoid all the pitfalls that have traditionally bogged every other cult: authoritarianism, corruption, hypocrisy, compromised quality produced by effects at scale? Why should you be exempt from “the innovator’s dilemma?” Doesn’t every new Jesus eventually become a Grand Inquisitor? Is enlightenment compatible with bureaucracy? 

You describe your experience as one in which you realize everything is one. You are photosynthesis. You are infinitely compassionate and truly feel the pain of all beings.

But there are political considerations. Will you go to war to protect your values and ideals against those who are not infinitely compassionate and do not feel the pain of all beings? Will you renounce your family and your communities of origin so as not to be overly tied down in your loyalties, being free to love everyone all the same? But you will have to choose a country in which to live? You already speak English and are unlikely to learn more than one or two second languages.

What led to Utah’s K-12 enrollment dropping for the first time in 20 years

Courtney Tanner:

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a shift that hasn’t been seen in Utah’s public schools in 20 years: The number of students enrolled has declined.

Some parents have started home-schooling their kids. Others have opted to keep their 5-year-olds out of kindergarten for now. As a result of those and other decisions, the state’s anticipated 7,000 increase in students this fall evaporated. In reality, the school population is instead down roughly 2,000.

A change like this, even if it is temporary, has huge ramifications.

“It’s cause for real concern,” said Mark Huntsman, chair of the Utah Board of Education, which reviewed the preliminary fall head counts for K-12 during a special meeting Tuesday.

The enrollment numbers dictate how much money districts get each year from the state. Put simply, fewer students means less funding. And with a drop as big as this year’s, that could mean losing millions of dollars for public school districts.

The Case for Urban Charter Schooling

David Griffith & Michael J. Petrilli:

A decade ago, the charter-school movement was moving from strength to strength. As student enrollment surged and new schools opened in cities across the country, America’s first black president provided much-needed political cover from teachers’ union attacks. Yet today, with public support fading and enrollment stalling nationwide — and with Democratic politicians from Elizabeth Warren to Joe Biden disregarding, downplaying, or publicly disavowing the charter movement — the situation for America’s charter schools has become virtually unrecognizable.

This is a strange state of affairs, given the ever-growing and almost universally positive research base on urban charter schools. On average, students in these schools — and black and Latino students in particular — learn more than their peers in traditional public schools and go on to have greater success in college and beyond. Moreover, these gains have not come at the expense of traditional public schools or their students. In fact, as charter schools have replicated and expanded, surrounding school systems have usually improved as well.

To be sure, the research is not as positive for charter schools operating outside of the nation’s urban centers. Furthermore, multiple studies suggest that internet-based schools, along with programs serving mostly middle-class students, perform worse than their district counterparts, at least on traditional test-score-based measures. But like the technologies behind renewable energy (which work poorly in places where the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine), charter schools needn’t work everywhere to be of service to society. And, contrary to much of the public rhetoric, the evidence makes a compelling case for expanding charter schools in urban areas — especially in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco, where their market share is still relatively modest. Indeed, encouraging such an expansion may be the single most important step we can take to improve the lives of low-income and minority children in America’s most underserved urban communities.

It is a particularly cruel irony that many within the Democratic Party — with its historic legacy of standing up for needy urban families — have turned against a policy that could so dramatically improve the lives of their constituents. But despite some Democrats’ about-face on charter schools, it is imperative that America’s dispirited education reformers — who have experienced more than their fair share of disappointment — not throw in the towel just yet. Although the political climate may now entail a serious fight over charter schools in the coming years, the benefits of such schools make them well worth the effort.

What Is Math?

Dan Falk:

It all started with an innocuous TikTok video posted by a high school student named Gracie Cunningham. Applying make-up while speaking into the camera, the teenager questioned whether math is “real.” She added: “I know it’s real, because we all learn it in school… but who came up with this concept?” Pythagoras, she muses, “didn’t even have plumbing—and he was like, ‘Let me worry about y = mx + b’”—referring to the equation describing a straight line on a two-dimensional plane. She wondered where it all came from. “I get addition,” she said, “but how would you come up with the concept of algebra? What would you need it for?”

Someone re-posted the video to Twitter, where it soon went viral. Many of the comments were unkind: One person said it was the “dumbest video” they had ever seen; others suggested it was indicative of a failed education system. Others, meanwhile, came to Cunningham’s defense, saying that her questions were actually rather profound.

Major Changes to Student Visa Rules Proposed

Elizabeth Redden:

The Trump administration is set to publish a new proposed rule today that would set fixed terms of up to four years for student visas and establish procedures for international students to apply to extend their stay and continue studying in the United States. Applications for extensions of stay could be approved “if the additional time needed is due to a compelling academic reason, documented medical illness or medical condition, or circumstance that was beyond the student’s control,” the new rule states.

Currently, student visas are good for “duration of status,” meaning students can stay in the U.S. indefinitely if they remain enrolled in school and otherwise abide by the rules relevant to their immigration status.

The fixed four-year term is notably shorter than the length of a typical Ph.D. program — and shorter than the time many students take to finish a baccalaureate program — meaning that if the proposed rule were to take effect as written, many students would need to apply for an extension of stay midprogram.

The Trump administration says the proposed rule is necessary to increase oversight of international students and combat fraud and visa overstays. Advocates for international students say the proposed rule creates unnecessary new burdens for international students and makes the U.S. a less welcoming destination at a time when international student enrollment has already been declining.

The more than one million international students in the U.S. are estimated to have a $41 billion economic impact and account for 5.5 percent of all students enrolled in higher education in this country.

Woke Science Is an Experiment Certain to Fail

Heather MacDonald:

President Trump has ordered an end to training on “white privilege” and “critical race theory” in the federal bureaucracy. The directive is a good first step toward removing identity politics from federal operations. Next up should be the millions of taxpayer dollars devoted annually to cultivating race- and sex-based grievance in the sciences. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all embraced the idea that science is pervaded by systemic bias that handicaps minorities and women. Those agencies have taken on the job of extirpating such inequity on the theory that scientific advancement depends on a “diverse” scientific workforce.

Earlier this year the NIH announced a new round of “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.” Academic science labs could get additional federal money if they hire “diverse” researchers; no mention was made of relevant scientific qualifications. This latest grant solicitation expanded the agency’s social-justice agenda into novel territory. Besides the usual preferences for blacks, Hispanics and women, the NIH would fund student researchers who were or had been homeless, who were or had been in foster care, who had been eligible for free school lunches, or who had received WIC payments (a food program for low-income mothers) as a child or mother.

The federal science agencies have absorbed the vocabulary of academic victimology—from “intersectionality” to “heteronormativity” and “stereotype threat.” Intersectionality holds that people who can check off more than one victimhood box are particularly burdened by American bigotry. Science labs angling for the latest NIH diversity supplements will increase their chances of federal funding by hiring a woman who is also an underrepresented minority, disabled or from a “disadvantaged background.”

On Quitting Academia

Malcolm Gaskill:

In​ May, I gave up my academic career after 27 years. A voluntary severance scheme had been announced in December, and I dithered about it until the pandemic enforced focus on a fuzzy dilemma. Already far from the sunlit uplands, universities would now, it seemed, descend into a dark tunnel. I swallowed hard, expressed an interest, hesitated, and then declared my intention to leave. A settlement agreement was drafted, and I instructed a solicitor. Hesitating again, I made a few calls, stared out of the window, then signed.

My anxiety about academia dates back to my first job, a temporary lectureship in history at Keele University. I had drifted into doctoral research with a 2.1 from Cambridge and an unclassified O-Level in self-confidence. My friends from university, many headed for work in London, had initially been sceptical. One of them, later the deputy prime minister, worried that academic pay was crap and I’d have to read everything. Besides, decent posts were scarce. But I liked my subject, was taken on by a charismatic professor, scraped a grant, and switched Cambridge colleges as a gesture towards a fresh start. Reality had been evaded. To an extent unthinkable today, arts postgrads were left alone to read. At lamplit tutorials and seminars, held in book-lined rooms in dark courtyards, it was hard not to feel like an impostor, though, looking back, I now realise that others were also straining to suspend disbelief in themselves. Then, suddenly, I was out of time and needed a job. It was the end of what feels now like one long autumn of snug teas and cycling through mists.

Princeton’s Confession of Bias

Wall Street Journal:

The folks at Princeton are supposed to be smart. But you have to wonder about the intelligence of inviting federal scrutiny by declaring their own school guilty of racism.

Amid a struggle session with progressive faculty and students this month, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber published an open letter promising to combat “systemic racism” at the school. That’s an eye-opener since Princeton has assured students and the federal government that it doesn’t discriminate. Has the university been lying?

Enter the Education Department, which wants to know. On Wednesday Assistant Secretary Robert King wrote Mr. Eisgruber requesting records related to his confession of bias. “Among other things,” Mr. King writes, “you said ‘[r]acism and the damage it does to people of color persist at Princeton . . .’ and ‘[r]acist assumptions . . . remain embedded in structures of the University itself.’”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that no one on the basis of race should “be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Colleges each year must certify to the Education Department that this is true to receive federal funds.

25 Madison high school students named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Elizabeth Beyer:

Twenty-five Madison high school seniors have been named semifinalists for the 2021 National Merit Scholarships.

The students join about 16,000 other high school seniors across the country that were named this month as semifinalists for the prestigious scholarship. About 15,000 of semifinalists are named finalists, and about 7,600 of the finalists go on to receive a scholarship.

More than 1.5 million high school juniors from roughly 21,000 schools across the country entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The test is used to screen initial program applicants. Semifinalists represent less than 1% of high school seniors in the U.S.

Wisconsin’s cut score is 216. Texas is 221, Minnesota 219, California 222 and New York 221….

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The mysterious cause of stuttering in the brain

Amber Dance:

After centuries of misunderstanding, research is finally tying the speech disorder which affects millions of people around the world to certain genes and brain alterations – and new treatments may be on the horizon.

Gerald Maguire has stuttered since childhood, but you might not guess it from talking to him. For the past 25 years, Maguire – a psychiatrist at the University of California, Riverside – has been treating his disorder with antipsychotic medications not officially approved for the condition. Only with careful attention might you discern his occasional stumble on multisyllabic words like “statistically” and “pharmaceutical”.

Maguire has plenty of company – more than 70 million people worldwide, including about three million Americans, stutter. That is, they have difficulty with the starting and timing of speech, resulting in halting and repetition. That number includes approximately 5% of children, many of whom outgrow the condition, and 1% of adults. Their numbers include presidential candidate Joe Biden, actor James Earl Jones and actress Emily Blunt. Though those people and many others, including Maguire, have achieved career success, stuttering can contribute to social anxiety and draw ridicule or discrimination by others.

2021 Best Colleges in America: Harvard Leads the University Rankings

David M. Ewalt:

The more things change, the more they stay the same—at least at some of the oldest, most prestigious universities in the U.S.

That’s one of the takeaways from this year’s Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, which award Harvard University the top spot for the fourth straight year, followed by its next-door neighbor, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in second place, and Yale University in third.

In fact, the eight private universities traditionally known as the Ivy League are all among the top 15 schools. In addition to Harvard and Yale, the Ivies dominated with Brown University tied for fifth place, Princeton University tied for seventh, Cornell University ninth, Dartmouth College at No. 12, the University of Pennsylvania at No. 13 and Columbia University tied for No. 15.

(You can see our full rankings as well as sort the complete rankings by a variety of measures and reweight the main contributing factors to reflect what’s most important to you. Or you can compare two colleges.)

Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Adam Tyner, Ph.D. Sarah Kabourek; Foreword by: Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Michael J. Petrilli:

Even as phonics battles rage in the realm of primary reading and with two-thirds of American fourth and eighth graders failing to read proficiently, another tussle has been with us for ages regarding how best to develop the vital elements of reading ability that go beyond decoding skills and phonemic awareness.

The dominant view is that the way to improve America’s abysmal elementary reading outcomes is for schools to spend more time on literacy instruction. Many schools provide a “literacy block” that can stretch to more than two hours per day, much of it allocated to efforts to develop reading skills such as “finding the main idea,” and “determining the author’s perspective.” But it doesn’t seem to be working.

Yet a small army of cognitive psychologists, analysts, and educators has long cast doubt on the view that reading is a discrete skill that can be mastered independently from acquiring knowledge. To these contrarians, a focus on academic content—not generalized reading skills and strategies—will equip students with the background knowledge they need to comprehend all sorts of texts and make them truly literate.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report