Alumni Withhold Donations, Demand Colleges Enforce Free Speech

Douglas Belkin:

“This is a battle for our culture and, in many ways, for Western civilization,” said John Craig, who heads a similar organization at Davidson College in North Carolina called Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought and Discourse. “Open and free expression is what makes our country great, and if we lose this, our country is in deep trouble.”

Some faculty and students say campus politics are more complicated now than it was when many of these baby-boomer alumni were in school because student bodies are much more diverse.

Students carefully calibrate their remarks because people from so many more backgrounds and beliefs are listening, said Carol Quillen, president at Davidson.

“A little intellectual humility is not a bad thing,” she said.

An alarming trend in K-12 math education

Scott Aaronson:

Today, I’m turning over Shtetl-Optimized to an extremely important guest post by theoretical computer scientists Boaz Barak of Harvard and Edith Cohen of Google (cross-posted on the windows on theory blog). In addition to the post below, please read—and if relevant, consider signing—our open letter about math education in the US, which now has over 150 signatories, including Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, and Nobel laureates. Finally, check out our fuller analysis of what the California Mathematics Framework is poised to do and why it’s such an urgent crisis for math education. I’m particularly grateful to my colleagues for their writing efforts, since I would never have been able to discuss what’s happening in such relatively measured words. –Scott Aaronson


Mathematical education at the K-12 level is critical for preparation for STEM careers. An ongoing challenge to the US K-12 system is to improve the preparation of students for advanced mathematics courses and expand access and enrollment in these courses. As stated by a Department of Education report“taking Algebra I before high school … can set students up for a strong foundation of STEM education and open the door for various college and career options.” The report states that while 80% of all students have access to Algebra I in middle school, only 24% enroll. This is also why the goal of Bob Moses’ Algebra Project is to ensure that “every child must master algebra, preferably by eighth grade, for algebra is the gateway to the college-prep curriculum, which in turn is the path to higher education.”

Governor Evers Vetoes Legislation to Provide Parents with Access to Classroom Materials

WILL

The News: Governor Tony Evers vetoed curriculum transparency legislation (SB 463/ AB 488), Friday, denying parents access to the classroom materials in our public schools. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) supported the legislation to require all public schools to publicly provide access to the material taught in our public-school classrooms.

The Quotes: WILL Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, said, “Governor Evers’ veto of the curriculum transparency legislation, authored by Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Behnke, denies parents access to taxpayer-funded classroom materials. By vetoing this important legislation, the Governor is telling parents that their concerns are less important than the status quo in Wisconsin public schools.”

Bill Brewer, a parent from Slinger, Wisconsin, said, “Governor Evers chose politics over parents when he vetoed SB 463, legislation that would have required transparency for public school learning materials. When we send our children to school, we entrust their education to our teachers and school districts. But as parents, we also want access to what our kids are learning. Governor Evers and his veto pen has denied every public-school parent a path for easier and more timely access to this information.”

Why WILL Supported This Legislation: The pandemic provided parents with a unique peek into the classroom. Many demanded to know more about what their children are learning in public schools. WILL supported this legislation because parents deserve to access curriculum material and information without having to jump through hoops, like submitting open-records requests and paying exorbitant fees.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Civics: Disclosing state-linked information operations we’ve removed

Twitter:

Twitter first published a comprehensive, public archive of data related to state-backed information operations three years ago. We’ve made improvements, outlined our principles, and iterated on our approach over time. Since that first disclosure in October 2018, we’ve shared 37 datasets of attributed platform manipulation campaigns originating from 17 countries, spanning more than 200 million Tweets and nine terabytes of media. 

Today, we’re disclosing an additional 3,465 accounts to our archive of state-linked information operations — the only one of its kind in the industry. The account setsinclude eight distinct operations we’ve attributed to six countries – Mexico, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Venezuela, respectively. Every account and piece of content associated with these operations has been permanently removed from the service. 

In addition, we have shared relevant data from this disclosure with three leading research partners: the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Cazadores de Fake News, and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO). In most instances, accounts were suspended for various violations of our platform manipulation and spampolicies. See more via our Transparency Center.

Civics: Iowa election lawfare

Matthew Foldi:

Taxpayers were left with the bill for more than $800,000 worth of legal fees after Democrats moved to overturn the results of an Iowa election won by Republican congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, congressional records show.

House Democrats took advantage of a provision they tucked into this year’s rules package to use government money to challenge the results of the Iowa election in the Committee on House Administration. The Democrats on the committee paid high-priced law firm Jenner & Block a total of $699,294 to lead their attempt to overturn the election results, which had already been officially certified by Iowa’s secretary of state after a recount. Republicans on the committee retained law firm Jones Day to respond to the challenge, paying it a substantially smaller sum of $126,942, according to committee records requested by the Washington Free Beacon.

Miller-Meeks’s victory over Democratic nominee Rita Hart was never seriously in doubt, even with her small six-vote margin of victory. Several Democrats urged party leadership to drop the challenge, citing concerns that it undermined their criticism of former president Donald Trump questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), however, stood by the decision to challenge the results through the House committee, all on the taxpayer dime.

Beloved Burlingame teacher might hang it up after 50 years of teaching kids the joy of music

Jill Tucker:

When Carol Prater started what she thought would be a few years teaching at Burlingame elementary schools, she had a master’s degree in music and a talent for math and technology, never imagining a career of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Hot Cross Buns” played out of tune and off key.

It was 1972 and Donny Osmond was singing about puppy love and the average family had a choice of three television channels, with “The Mod Squad” and “The Waltons” in a fierce battle for Thursday nights.

FBI Tracks Threats Against Teachers, School-Board Members

Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has set up a process to track threats against school-board members and teachers, moving to implement a Justice Department directive that some law-enforcement officials and Republican lawmakers say could improperly target parents protesting local education policies.

The heads of the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents in an Oct. 20 memo to flag all assessments and investigations into potentially criminal threats, harassment and intimidation of educators with a “threat tag,” which the officials said would allow them to evaluate the scope of the problem.

The internal email asks FBI agents to consider the motivation behind any criminal activity and whether it potentially violates federal law. Agents should tag such threats “EDUOFFICIALS” to better track them, according to the memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“The purpose of the threat tag is to help scope this threat on a national level, and provide an opportunity for comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels,” says the email signed by Timothy Langan, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, and Calvin Shivers, the assistant director of the bureau’s criminal division, who retired this month.

“The popularity of low-quality online credit recovery suggests that’s a realistic concern”

Joanne Jacobs:

The pandemic has accelerated a push to ease grading and homework policies, writes Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews.

“Schools have stuck to an outdated system that relies heavily on students’ compliance — completing homework, behaving in class, meeting deadlines and correctly answering questions on a one-time test — as a proxy for learning, rather than measuring the learning itself,” editorializes the Los Angeles Times.

Mathews asked four experienced public school teachers what they thought.

None of them assign much homework, except as a way to complete work begun in class. They don’t emphasize one-time tests.

But when it comes to making sure everyone is behaving in class, they are firm traditionalists. Class time to them is vital because, in their minds, the give-and-take between students and teachers during those precious hours is the essence of what they do.

. . . D’Essence Grant, an eighth-grade English and language arts teacher at the KIPP Academy Middle school in Houston, said, “My content requires meaningful conversations about the text to help support text comprehension and character development. . . . Making claims, supporting claims with evidence, and listening, building and challenging other student claims verbally is just as important as writing them on paper.”

Under “mastery learning,” students demonstrate a skill or subject-matter knowledge, then move on. Greg Jouriles, a social studies teacher at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California, thinks students need to practice academics as they do sports. If doing something once was good enough, “a basketball coach would end practice after each player made one free throw,” he told Mathews.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Restoring our public schools and empowering parents

Dan Lennington and Dr. Will Flanders:

At the top of the list of legitimate parental grievances was the decision to keep many schools closed during the 2020-21 school year, despite strong scientific evidence that it was safe to reopen. Research by our own organization, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), found that it was not the rates of COVID transmission in a community that effected reopening decisions, but rather whether there was a strong union presence in the school district.

This electoral disconnect has continued into the present school year with many schools persisting in their belief that mask mandates are necessary or somehow even legally required. Also, many schools have doubled down on the continued expansion of critical race theory and “equity” policies. Here in Wisconsin, school boards have also eschewed transparency and in some cases attempted to limit public comment at meetings.

In response, parents have certainly escalated the fight by employing unusual and extreme tactics. For example, Wisconsin has had more school-board recall attemptsthis year than any other state except California. While no school board member has yet been recalled, six schoolboard members have resigned in response to recall attempts and roughly 1/3 of incumbents lost in the spring 2021 election. Some parents have also moved to take over annual school board meetings, and in one case, successfully cut school-board member salaries by $6,400 each. Other school board meetings have become colorful, to say the least, and in some circumstances, rather raucous.

Next Step for the Parents’ Movement: Curriculum Transparency
Parents have a right to know what’s being taught to their children.

James R. Copland John Ketcham Christopher F. Rufo:

In 2021, public school parents vaulted to the forefront of America’s fractured political landscape. Around the country, parents objected both to Covid-related school closures and to racially divisive curricula. Parental frustration helped secure sweeping GOP wins last month in Virginia, highlighted by Glenn Youngkin’s victory over former governor Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin has promised to rein in public-school radicalism and “ban critical race theory” on his first day in office.

Perhaps the central moment in the Virginia gubernatorial race was McAuliffe’s comment during a debate: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Like most Virginia voters, we couldn’t disagree more. Research shows that greater academic success follows when parents actively engage in their children’s education. To be sure, this doesn’t mean that we should decide the finer points of curricular design by plebiscite; nor does it mean that a minority of objecting parents should dictate school pedagogy. But public schools are institutions created by “We the People” and should be responsive to the input of parents and the broader voting public at the state and local level.

At a minimum, parents should be able to know what’s being taught to their children in the classroom. Transparency is a virtue for all of our public institutions, but especially for those with power over children. To that end, we have drafted a template—building on one of our earlier efforts at the Manhattan Institute and the work of Matt Beienburg at the Goldwater Institute—to inform state legislatures seeking to foster school transparency. The policy proposal is designed to provide public school parents with easy access—directly on school websites—to materials and activities used to train staff and teachers and to instruct children.

I find it interesting that this is an issue. University course syllabus are easily available. Perhaps college professors and lectures have a personal marketing, accomplishment and industry incentive – that unionized k-12 teachers lack. “They are all good”.

Meritocracy made the modern world. Now the revolt against merit threatens to unmake it.

Adrian Wooldridge:

Yet taking something so fundamental to the health of both our economy and our polity for granted is the height of folly. Look at the history of the West and you don’t have to go back very far to find a world where jobs were handed from father to son or sold to the highest bidder. Look at the rest of the world and you can see governments riddled with corruption and favoritism. The meritocratic idea is necessarily fragile: humans are biologically programmed to favor their kith and kin over strangers. We are right to think that the modern world, with its vibrant economy and favor-free public sector, would be impossible without the meritocratic idea. But we are wrong to think that meritocracy will be with us forever if we proceed to douse its roots in poison.

The old world

The pre-modern world was founded on the basis of the very opposite assumptions from meritocracy: lineage rather than achievement and willing subordination rather than ambition. Society was ruled by hereditary landowners (headed by the monarch) who seized their positions by fighting and pillaging and then justified them by a combination of God’s will and ancient tradition. Civilization was conceived of as a hierarchy in which people occupied their God-given positions. Ambition and self-promotion were feared. “Take but degree away, untune that string”, Ulysses says in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, “And, hark, what discord follows!” People were primarily judged not on the basis of their individual abilities but on the basis of their relationship with family and land. British aristocrats still come with place names attached: the higher the rank the bigger the place.

Requiring Preschool Teachers to Earn a B.A. Would Hike Costs for Parents

Noah Diekemper

A key piece of the massive “Build Back Better” legislation under consideration in Congress is the institution of “universal, high-quality, free, inclusive, and mixed preschool services” funded by the federal government but administered by the states — with strings attached. For example, the bill would require that “at a minimum, [States] requir[e] that lead teachers in the preschool have a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education or a related field by not later than 7 years after the date of enactment of this Act.”

This requirement doesn’t seem to address the challenges about pre-K, including lack of childcare options and childcare workers. Parents want a safe and loving place to take their children. Is the government creating a solution for that, or more barriers?

The strongest argument for the policy might be the fact that several states already have some such requirement on the books for state-run preschool systems, and nothing is obviously apocalyptic. There is a sort of patchwork across the states with many requiring a college degree, some requiring it for only some of the state-run systems, and some having no requirement — or no state-run program at all.

And there’s certainly a lot of partisan diversity in the different state policies. States like New York, Texas, Hawaii, and Alabama all require such degrees already. But states like Florida, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Arizona, and Oregon do not require a degree.

But that would miss the fact that preschool demand is in fact a crisis subject for many parents who are in the market for it. Wisconsin, which requires bachelor degrees for some programs, has had a well-documented shortage of preschool teachers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington, DC, which adopted the policy, is already the most expensive place for infant care in the country.

Requiring Preschool Teachers to Earn a B.A. Would Hike Costs for Parents

Noah Diekemper:

A key piece of the massive “Build Back Better” legislation under consideration in Congress is the institution of “universal, high-quality, free, inclusive, and mixed preschool services” funded by the federal government but administered by the states — with strings attached. For example, the bill would require that “at a minimum, [States] requir[e] that lead teachers in the preschool have a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education or a related field by not later than 7 years after the date of enactment of this Act.”

This requirement doesn’t seem to address the challenges about pre-K, including lack of childcare options and childcare workers. Parents want a safe and loving place to take their children. Is the government creating a solution for that, or more barriers?

The strongest argument for the policy might be the fact that several states already have some such requirement on the books for state-run preschool systems, and nothing is obviously apocalyptic. There is a sort of patchwork across the states with many requiring a college degree, some requiring it for only some of the state-run systems, and some having no requirement — or no state-run program at all.

And there’s certainly a lot of partisan diversity in the different state policies. States like New York, Texas, Hawaii, and Alabama all require such degrees already. But states like Florida, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Arizona, and Oregon do not require a degree.

Civics: FBI And Other Agencies Paid Informants $548 Million In Recent Years With Many Committing Authorized Crimes

Adam Andrzejewski:

Federal agencies paid out at least $548 million to informants working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in recent years, according to government audits. 

  • A few informants became millionaires, with some Amtrak and “parcel” delivery workers making nearly $1 million or more. 
  • Many informants were authorized to commit “crimes” with the permission of their federal handlers. In a four-year period, there were 22,800 crime authorizations (2011-2014). 
  • The FBI paid approximately $294 million (FY2012-2018), the DEA paid at least $237 million (FY2011-2015), and ATF paid approximately $17.2 million total (FY2012-2015) to informants.

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com compiled this information by reviewing federal reports. While some of the data is several-years old; it’s apparently the most recent available.

The FBI spent an average of $42 million a year on confidential human sources between fiscal years 2012 and 2018. “Long term” informants comprised 20 percent of its intelligence relationships (source: DOJ IG 2019 report). 

The ATF employed 1,855 informants who were paid $4.3 million annually (FY2012-2015). Therefore, on average, each informant made $2,318 for the year. (source: DOJ IG report 2017).

We Opened the Schools and … It Was Fine: Many parents feared the worst, but so far, no widespread COVID crisis has come to America’s classrooms.

Schools aren’t the problem. They never have been.

One of the frustrating things about the pandemic has been our inability, even at this late date, to understand why surges occur. They hit communities with mask mandates, and communities without. Last year, we believed that the surge from October through February was caused by seasonal changes. The cold drove everyone indoors, where COVID was much more likely to spread, and therefore cases developed more quickly. This year, though, the surge began long before the weather turned cold. Vaccines are certainly protective and likely mitigate the severity of surges locally. Even so, things may worsen again—the data right now aren’t looking good for much of the country, and many people fear more hardship to come from the emergent Omicron variant—but no predictable pattern has emerged to explain what sets off periods of dramatic increases.

What is pretty certain, however, is that schools are not to blame. They didn’t cause the surges. They didn’t cause the massive numbers of hospitalizations and deaths that Florida experienced this summer and thatMichigan appears to be experiencing now. They haven’t done nearly as much damage as bars, restaurants, and indoor events (including kids’ birthday parties), which never seem to receive the same amount of attention.

This doesn’t mean that kids aren’t getting COVID, of course. It doesn’t mean that kids aren’t in danger,haven’t gotten sick, haven’t been hospitalized by the thousands, and even died. Kids catch COVID, and transmission does occur in schools, but it is rare when precautions are taken. Because of this, the level of school transmission is sometimes lower than that of the surrounding community. Most schools are on guard, at least. Many require masks. More are being thoughtful about close contacts and group dynamics, and they enforce isolation and quarantine as much as they can. That may be inconvenient, but it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t made a difference.

Notes and links on Public Health Dane County Madison

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Commentary on Wisconsin’s “state k-12 report card”

Will Flanders:

The News: The recent release of Wisconsin’s state report cards for individual districts and schools proved, once again, that the current composition of the report card is not doing enough to reveal the true state of education and academic performance in Wisconsin’s schools. A new policy brief from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) highlights why the various elements of the report card intended to address persistent achievement gaps serve to create a scenario where schools with high numbers of low-income students can earn a passing grade, “Meets Expectations,” with academic proficiency rates of 10% or less.

The Quote: WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, said, “Wisconsin’s state report cards are, quite simply, not serving their purpose. Families, taxpayers, and policymakers deserve a report card that accurately shows the state of Wisconsin’s schools.”

How to Improve the Report Card: In The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations: Wisconsin’s Report Card “Fails to Meet Expectations,” WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, takes on the key metrics that are warping the results and masking poor achievement in Wisconsin’s state report card. Flanders suggests the following reforms:

  • Reduce the weight applied to growth scores in low-income schools. Student growth is important, but a report card formula that counts student growth as 45% of a score in some schools and only 5% in others is unfair and untenable.
  • Report card thresholds should be established by state law. The legislature should remove the ability of DPI to adjust report card thresholds at their own volition—”Meeting Expectations” should mean the same thing every year.
  • Restore absenteeism and dropout reductions in the report card formula. If the pandemic has shown us anything in education policy, it is that classroom-based instruction matters. School districts that fail to get students into the classroom should have that reflected in their scores.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Lockdown wasn’t worth it

Noah Carl:

Last year, Britain’s life expectancy fell by about 1.1 years. That means it would have fallen by an additional 1.1 years under focused protection. Is this figure large enough to justify the manifold harms of lockdown?

I would argue: no. Although 1.1 years is a large year-on-year change, it only takes us back 12 years in terms of rising life expectancy. In other words: to find a year in which mortality was as high as it was in 2020, we only need to go back to 2008. I remember 2008; it wasn’t full of front-page headlines about sky-high death rates. Aside from the financial crisis, people just got on with their lives.

Notes and links on Public Health Dane County Madison.

Civics: Advocating Mandates in the absence of elected official votes , debate “stifled”

Allison Garfield:

County Board Chair Analiese Eicher told the Cap Times that the resolution takes away from the “real work” the county could be doing to help with the pandemic. 

“The Dane County Board has been supportive of public health measures since the beginning of the pandemic. For many of us, we look at the health and overall safety of our community and see the measures being put in place working,” Eicher said. “A few supervisors are choosing to take this path and seek to spread misinformation and pursue resolutions that wouldn’t actually change anything.”

Emily Hamer:

Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher said the next step will happen at the board’s Dec. 16 meeting when board members will take a vote on whether to even discuss the resolution. Since that’s a decision on County Board procedures, the public won’t be able to comment.

Weigand’s resolution also seeks a public hearing on the mask order, an explanation from Heinrich to the County Board on the justification for it, and a consensus from both the County Board and public on whether the order should be in place.

“Whether masks are mandated or not really should be up to the people, and it should be up to the elected officials to make that decision,” Weigand said.

Weigand said he’s frustrated that debate over the topic of masking “is being stifled.” His resolution has been stuck for months. He declined to say whether he’s against masking, but said residents and the board should get a chance to discuss the issue. He said he plans to hold his own public hearing on the matter Dec. 13.

Notes and links on Public Health Dane County Madison.

School Closures Aren’t Just for Covid Anymore

Leslie Bienen:

When Reynolds Middle School shut down its classrooms for three weeks, it wasn’t because of Covid-19 cases. On Nov. 16, parents of students at school in Troutdale, east of Portland, received a brief email informing them the school would revert to online learning so that district officials could develop “safety protocols” and “social-emotional supports” to deal with disruptive student behavior, including fights.

Reynolds students aren’t alone in being stuck at home again. Thousands of schools in dozens of districts across the U.S. have taken previously unscheduled days off or moved back to remote learning for “mental health” reasons. Other schools have cut back time in school buildings because of staffing shortages or for “deep cleaning,” a pointless anti-Covid precaution.

“The shifts in learning methods and isolation caused by COVID-19 closures and quarantines have taken a toll on the well-being of our students and staff,” Reynolds Superintendent Danna Diaz’s email said. “We are finding that some students are struggling with the socialization skills necessary for in-person learning, which is causing disruption in school for other students.”

Subscriber Exclusive Portland teachers union proposes self-taught Fridays for high schoolers, says educators need more planning time

Eder Campuzano:

To help Portland Public Schools’ educators and students adjust to the stresses of resuming full-time in-person classes, the union representing the district’s teachers proposes cancelling in-person instruction for high schoolers one day every week after winter break.

Under a bargaining agreement proposed by the Portland Association of Teachers Monday afternoon, teachers would spend half of that day offering some students individual or small group help online and a half-day planning future instruction.

Additional commentary and notes.

Why I’m Backing Charter Schools: The public school system is failing. My philanthropy will give $750 million to a proven alternative.

Michael Bloomberg:

American public education is broken. Since the pandemic began, students have experienced severe learning loss because schools remained closed in 2020—and even in 2021 when vaccinations were available to teachers and it was clear schools could reopen safely. Many schools also failed to administer remote learning adequately.

Before the pandemic, about two-thirds of U.S. students weren’t reading at grade level, and the trend has been getting worse. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly known as the nation’s report card, show that in 2019, eighth-grade math scores had already fallen significantly.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Man wrongfully convicted in Wisconsin eyes reform to criminal justice system

Jonah Beleckis:

After spending a decade in prison, Jarrett Adams never wanted to come back to Wisconsin — the state that wrongfully convicted him as a teenager and tried to incarcerate him for a 28-year term.

He would only return if he could do so as an attorney, a force that can operate from within the criminal justice system he saw for himself and desperately wanted to change.

On Jan. 22, 2020, Adams was officially admitted to the Wisconsin State Bar during a ceremony at the state CapitolKeith Findley, a co-founder of the Wisconsin Innocence Project and part of the team who helped free Adams, was there for the occasion.

Now with an eye on reform, Adams is sharing his story in a book, “Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System.”

“If the courts could see me as I am now when I was a 17-year-old, I never would have been sentenced to 28 years in prison,” Adams said recently on WPR’s “Central Time.” “I enjoyed the moment (at the Capitol), and it inspired me to keep going to create other Jarrett Adamses.”

One systemic issue Adams pointed to was about public defenders, whom he believes are often saddled with too many cases. But Adams didn’t get a public defender. Sometimes if there are conflicts of interest, for example, private attorneys take on public defender cases.

What’s Behind The Massive Spike In Violence Inside Public Schools Nationwide

Will Flanders and Dan Lennington:

Ask any public high school student: violent in-school fights are on the rise and discipline is on the decline. Just consider one public high school: Madison East in Madison, Wisconsin.

In late September, local media reported a series of “disturbing” cell phone videos depicting vicious fights and beatings occurring in class and on school grounds over the course of several days. Then, several hundred students walked out of school twice in one week protesting the school’s sexual harassment policies.

The protest apparently spilled over to other local high schools, resulting in marauding groups of students causing “harm to others,” damaging “property in the downtown area,” and publicly “calling out” suspected sexual harassers, according to an email from one of the area school districts.

A few days later, on Oct. 20, 10 police officers responded to fights in a “massive crowd” of more than 100 students at Madison East. On Nov. 8, more than 15 police officers responded to what the media described as a “melee” in which five students were taken to the hospital. The next day, more than one-third of all students stayed home out of fear.

In all, Madison police were called to Madison East and its “surrounding area” 63 times during the first few months of the school year.

Madison East is no outlier. A simple Google search reveals similar headlines from around the country: “Woman with gun arrested as IMPD breaks up large fight at George Washington High School” in Indiana, “Big brawl At Woodhaven High School results in minor injuries” in Michigan, “Police investigating after large fight in parking lot of West Mecklenburg High School” in North Carolina, and “Reynolds Middle School is shutting down in-person learning for 3 weeks to address student fights, misbehavior” in Oregon. All these stories originated during the same week.

So what could be causing such a spike? Or perhaps more frighteningly, is this a new normal? Many factors may be contributing to this upward trend, but a few probable culprits require serious scrutiny.

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Former Temple Business School Dean Guilty in Rankings Scandal Fraud Case

Paul Caron:

Moshe Porat — who led the school for more than two decades until he was fired for the misrepresentations in 2018 — shook his head quietly as the jury announced it had found him guilty of federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges now likely to send him to prison.

It took the panel of eight women and four men less than an hour to conclude that he, along with two of his subordinates, had for years knowingly embellished the data they were sending on Fox’s students to the magazine U.S. News & World Report, allowing its online MBA program to achieve its No. 1 ranking for four straight years.

The distinction helped Fox more than double its enrollment for the program between 2014 and 2017, raking in millions in tuition payments from students and donor dollars.

“The hope is that this case sends a message to other college and university administrators that there are real consequences to making representations that students and applicants rely on,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff said. “So many people turn to these rankings … to help them make informed decisions of where to go to college, graduate school, and it’s important that people are honest and fully truthful with the representations they make.”

The American Prison System’s War on Reading

Alex Skopic:

The official narrative is that donated books could contain “contraband which poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility”—the language used in Michigan—and should be banned for everyone’s safety. This is a flimsy justification that begins to fall apart under even the lightest scrutiny. While it’s true that contraband is often smuggled into prisons (cell phones, tobacco, and marijuana being some of the most popular items), it’s not originating from nonprofit groups like the Appalachian Prison Book Project or Philadelphia’s Books Through Bars. In fact, twelve of the seventeen incidents used to justify a book ban in Washingtondidn’t involve books at all

Instead, the bulk of the contraband in today’s prisons is smuggled in by guards themselves, who profit handsomely from their illicit sidelines, sometimes making as much as $300 for a single pack of cigarettes. If prison officials’ concerns were genuine, the appropriate move would be to limit the power and impunity of their officers—not snatch books away from those who are already powerless. The old cartoon scenario of a hollow book with a saw or a gun inside just isn’t realistic, and its invocation is a sign that something else is going on.

That “something else,” predictably enough, is profit. With free books banned, prisoners are forced to rely on the small list of “approved vendors” chosen for them by the prison administration. These retailers directly benefit when states introduce restrictions. In Iowa, the approved sources include Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million, some of America’s largest retail chains—and, notably, ones which charge the full MSRP value for each book, quickly draining prisoners’ accounts. An incarcerated person with, say, $20 to spend can now only get one book, as opposed to three or four used ones; in states where prisoners make as little as 25 cents an hour for their labor, many can’t afford even that.

AI is making applying for jobs even more miserable

Sarah O’Connor:

Of course, there is fierce debate about whether algorithms could in fact reinforce human biases rather than eliminate them. Others argue some AI products are merely digital snake oil lapped up by credulous HR departments.

But in addition to interrogating whether the technology works as intended, employers need to pay more attention to how the process affects prospective employees. Researchers at the University of Sussex Business School, in association with the Institute for Employment Studies, have warned that young jobseekers feel confused, dehumanised and exhausted by automated recruitment systems.

“Many Administrators Are Cowards”

Andrew Koppelman:

Faculty susceptibility to administrative sanction is at the center of the highly politicized culture wars playing out across universities in the last five years or so. Law schools are no exception. In the last year, Northwestern Law’s Andrew Koppelman has emerged as a sort of monitor of what he sees as flagrant instances of administrative overreach. “Many administrators,” he told me, “are cowards who are pre-disposed to grovel before student demands. The way to make cowards behave appropriately is to give them fears in the other direction.” I spoke with Koppelman about recent events at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Law and at Yale Law School. Here’s some of that conversation.

You’ve written two pieces for the Review in relatively short order, the first about the Trent Colbert affair at Yale Law, and the second about Jason Kilborn at UIC. Both cases involve members of the law school, students or faculty, getting in trouble for putatively racist speech — speech which elicited great distress among other students. I’m reminded of a somewhat different but not unrelated dilemma, what Jeannie Suk Gersen at The New Yorker has described as new challenges around teaching rape law because of student sensitivity. What’s happening?

There are two different sets of sensitivities. There are the sensitivities of students, and there are the sensitivities of administrators. It’s important to keep them apart. There are always going to be some students who take offense at things. A teacher always needs to keep that in mind. Part of a teacher’s job is not to lose the room. So teaching is an exercise in rhetoric; rhetoric has a moral dimension. It forces you to learn about your audience, to get outside your own head and into the heads of other people. This is the morally attractive aspect of rhetoric. …

What I thought happened at Yale was that the administrators were so rigidly attached to a particular narrative that they misunderstood the situation and they made horrible mistakes. The impression I get is of quite possibly well-intentioned people who made really bad judgments.

What you are are seeing at UIC is much worse. It’s positively malevolent — there’s just no excuse for it. …

We are going into punitive damages territory here, where you have outrageous intentional infliction of emotional distress. There’s no excuse for it — it’s just insane.

Pandemic Media and Political Commentary

Natasha Loder:

Dr Tedros also pointed out that while America had highlighted China’s withholding of information about the early days of the pandemic, the country had not provided information to support its statement that the outbreak started in November. He said, “if something starts in China, and other countries knew, they have … the obligation to inform us.” (A previous post talks about November cases.)

In some countries they politicised… and leaders were trying to push back rather than focus on the real world.Dr Tedros, August 2020.

$pending more and getting less

Ralph:

As the nation sets out on a national spending spree fueled by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Biden this month, the job ahead carries enormous risks that the projects will face the same kind of cost, schedule and technical problems that have hobbled ambitious efforts from New York to Seattle, delaying benefits to the public and driving up the price tag that taxpayers ultimately will bear.

17-year-old charged with pulling out taser at weekend roller rink fight, complaint says

Lucas Robinson:

The charges against Thompson stem from a melee at Fast Forward Skate Center last Friday night. A crowd of about 250 people, most of them teenagers, poured out of the roller rink just after 8:30 p.m. as they brawled in the parking lot, Madison police said in a statement.

Nearly 30 police officers from five separate law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, police said. Police used pepper spray against the crowd after people attempted to stop police from arresting someone.

Thompson was arrested alongside two other juveniles during the fight, police said.

The 17-year-old appeared in court Tuesday and was released from custody on a signature bond. She would be found in violation of her bond if she is found carrying any deadly weapon like a taser or returned to the Fast Forward Roller Rink at 4649 Verona Road, court records said. Thompson is set to appear in court again for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 7.

Act 10 at 10

Johnny Kampis:

Unions, he says, were more concerned about protecting the pensions of the old membership than in the future benefits for new members. “They weren’t fighting for the little guy. They were fighting for themselves.” 

Among the proudest accomplishments in Act 10, Walker told us, was the fight for schoolchildren. Act 10 was about a lot more than money. It made teaching a meritocracy again, he says. “They can put the best and the brightest in the classrooms and keep them there.”

Those interested in Act 10 should become familiar with the earlier Milwaukee Pension Scandal.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

The Effect of Teacher Evaluation on Achievement and Attainment: Evidence from Statewide Reforms

Joshua Bleiberg, Eric Brunner, Erica Harbatkin, Matthew A. Kraft, Matthew Springer:

Starting in 2009, the U.S. public education system undertook a massive effort to institute new high-stakes teacher evaluation systems. We examine the effects of these reforms on student achievement and attainment at a national scale by exploiting the staggered timing of implementation across states. We find precisely estimated null effects, on average, that rule out impacts as small as 1.5 percent of a standard deviation for achievement and 1 percentage point for high school graduation and college enrollment. We also find little evidence of heterogeneous effects across an index measuring system design rigor, specific design features, and district characteristics.

“Recent data, however, indicate that the epidemiological relevance of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals is increasing”

Gunter Kampf:

High COVID-19 vaccination rates were expected to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in populations by reducing the number of possible sources for transmission and thereby to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease. Recent data, however, indicate that the epidemiological relevance of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals is increasing. In the UK it was described that secondary attack rates among household contacts exposed to fully vaccinated index cases was similar to household contacts exposed to unvaccinated index cases (25% for vaccinated vs 23% for unvaccinated). 12 of 31 infections in fully vaccinated household contacts (39%) arose from fully vaccinated epidemiologically linked index cases. Peak viral load did not differ by vaccination status or variant type [[1]]. In Germany, the rate of symptomatic COVID-19 cases among the fully vaccinated (“breakthrough infections”) is reported weekly since 21. July 2021 and was 16.9% at that time among patients of 60 years and older [[2]]. This proportion is increasing week by week and was 58.9% on 27. October 2021 (Figure 1) providing clear evidence of the increasing relevance of the fully vaccinated as a possible source of transmission. A similar situation was described for the UK. Between week 39 and 42, a total of 100.160 COVID-19 cases were reported among citizens of 60 years or older. 89.821 occurred among the fully vaccinated (89.7%), 3.395 among the unvaccinated (3.4%) [[3]]. One week before, the COVID-19 case rate per 100.000 was higher among the subgroup of the vaccinated compared to the subgroup of the unvaccinated in all age groups of 30 years or more. In Israel a nosocomial outbreak was reported involving 16 healthcare workers, 23 exposed patients and two family members. The source was a fully vaccinated COVID-19 patient.

Enemies of the School Board: Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Christopher Rufo:

The school board was able to do this because the Round Rock Independent School District has its own police force, with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit. The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has the power to order the arrest of citizens in their homes. For many parents, the school board is sending a message: if you speak out against us, we will turn you into criminals. When reached for comment, the school district’s police department confirmed that it initiated the investigation and that “one board member requested details from the RRISD Police” prior to the criminal referral.

Round Rock is not the only school board to resort to repressive tactics to stifle dissent. In Loudoun County, Virginia, for example, where parents have protested against critical race theory and a sexual assault cover-up, the superintendent asked the county sheriff to deploy a SWAT team, riot control unit, and undercover agents to monitor parents at school board meetings. The sheriff refused, telling the superintendent that he had not provided “any justification for such a manpower intensive request,” but the mere attempt was astounding.

Even the FBI, under the direction of Attorney General Merrick Garland, has mobilized to monitor parents at school board meetings and, if necessary, prosecute them under domestic terrorism laws. The National School Boards Association, which had requested the federal intervention in a letter to the Justice Department, was later forced to apologize after state chapters strenuously objected to the tone and content of that letter. Yet the Biden administration has moved forwardwith the effort, creating a task force of federal agents and attorneys to coordinate against parent protesters.

The battle lines are clear: on one side, the Biden administration, public school bureaucrats, and their armed agents; on the other, parents and families who oppose school closures, mask mandates, critical race theory, and corruption. Public school officials have demonstrated a willingness to use police power to silence and intimidate their opponents. If parents are to succeed, protesters must continue to organize peacefully and highlight corruption and abuses of power by local school officials.

“This isn’t just about Dustin [Clark] and me,” said Story. “It is about everyone. If they can come for us and get away with it, school boards nationwide will be emboldened to come for you.” He is right—and parents must work together to stop it.

Open Records and a Minnesota School District

Landon Mion:

“The District has completed an extensive analysis of your 41-page, 332-paragraph data practices request,” the law firm representing the school district said in a letter to Mohrman, Kaardal, & Erickson. “The District estimates that it will take 13,478 hours to search for, retrieve, and make copies of the data. Using the employee with the lowest wage rate who would have the right to search for and retrieve the data that have been requested, and applying the actual cost of making copies, the District estimates that the actual cost of searching for, retrieving, and making copies is $901,121.15.”

Civics: “But this “harm reduction” approach is obviously failing”

Michael Shellenberger:

Cities already do a good job taking care of temporarily homeless people not addicted to drugs. Drug dealers stab and sometimes murder addicts who don’t pay. Women forced into prostitution to support their addictions are raped. Addicts are dying from overdose and poisoning. The addicts living in the open drug scenes commit many crimes including open drug use, sleeping on sidewalks, and defecating in public. Many steal to maintain their habits. The hands-off approach has meant that addicts do not spend any amount of time in jail or hospital where they can be off of drugs, and seek recovery.

Now, even a growing number of people who have worked or still work within the homeless services sector are speaking out. A longtime San Francisco homeless service provider who read San Fransicko, and said they mostly agreed with it, reached out to me to share their views. At first this person said they wanted to speak on the record. But as the interview went on, and the person criticized their colleagues, they asked to remain anonymous, fearing retribution.

China’s globetrotting students hit the road

The Economist:

Qin yibo is half way through a science degree at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. But she has not been in the country since early 2020 when it closed its borders to prevent the spread of covid-19 (she was back in China at the time). Instead the university has arranged for Ms Qin and other stranded students in China to take up residence on campuses in their own country while they continue their studies remotely. Ms Qin has thought about transferring permanently to a Chinese university, but she still plans to return to New Zealand when it eases its border controls.

There are good reasons for Western universities to be anxious. In 2019 around 700,000 Chinese headed abroad to study, more than three times the number a decade earlier. Most joined universities in English-speaking countries. Chinese students have had several reasons to reconsider their destinations. Foreign travel is difficult during a pandemic, and covid is still rife in Western countries. China has grown more unpopular in recent years, and some Chinese people in the West have suffered racist abuse. Anti-Western sentiment has also been rising in China, sometimes stoked by ruling-party propaganda. Many Chinese chafe at Westerners who blame China for its initial cover-up of covid, or who fail to give it credit for its subsequent success in curbing the virus.

N.Y. school spending: through the roof, with little to show for it

Aaron Smith:

Preliminary data on the 2019-2020 school year released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that New York now spends more than $30,000 per K-12 student, further entrenching its position as the most expensive public education system in the country. Despite this new public school spending milestone, falling enrollment anddissatisfied parents indicate education dollars aren’t doing enough to help kids.

All told, New York spends $30,772 per student each year. This number doesn’t account for recent influxes of cash including $13 billion in federal COVID relief and a $3 billion state dollars for last school year that taxpayersare footing the bill for. New York City schools will get roughly half of this total windfall, amounting to billions in additional funding for the embattled district.

The Future of Digital Public Spaces: Are the troubled social media platforms used for democratic discourse and informing the public likely to be improved by 2035?

Janna Anderson & Lee Rainie:

Some 61% chose the option declaring that, “yes,” by 2035, digital spaces and people’s uses of them will change in ways that significantly serve the public good; 39% chose the “no” option, positing that by 2035, digital spaces and people’s uses of them will not change in ways that significantly serve the public good. It is important to note that a large share of who chose “yes” – that online public spaces would improve by 2035 – also wrote in their answers that the changes between now and then could go either way. They often listed one or more difficult hurdles to overcome before that outcome can be achieved. Thus, the numeric findings reported here are not fully indicative of the troubles that they think lie between now and 2035.
In fact, in answer to a separate question in which they were asked how they see digital spaces generally evolving now, a majority (70%), said current technological evolution has both positives and negatives, 18% said digital spaces are evolving in a mostly negative way that is likely to lead to a worse future for society, 10% said the online world is evolving in a mostly positive way that is likely to lead to a better society, and about 3% said digital spaces are not evolving in one direction or another.
It is also worth

Young Finns’ educational level has dropped below OECD average

yle:

The educational level of young people in Finland has fallen from the top echelon to mid-table among industrialised countries, says the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (Soste).

Contrary to popular belief, young adults are not necessarily more educated than retiring age groups. According to the federation, the level of education could be raised by increasing the number of university places and extending compulsory education.

The confederation on Friday expressed concern about the relatively rapid decline in educational achievement and calls for major changes to reverse this trend. Since the peak years of the early 2000s, the level of education of young people in the country has dropped to about that same as that of the age groups leaving the labour market.

According to the organisation, young Finns are now less educated than their counterparts in the OECD countries on average. OECD members include 38 economically developed democracies.

Reversing American Decline

Education consumers foundation:

From A Nation at Risk, 1983:  “We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

The SAT scores since since 1967 clearly document the decline and tide of mediocrity referenced by A Nation at Risk .

John F. Kennedy said that the ignorance of one voter impairs the security of all, yet the issues on which America’s future hinges are irrelevant and incomprehensible to a huge swath of today’s electorate.  For forty years, ineffective public schools have flooded the population with voters who are low-information and without economic prospects.

Reversing American Decline discusses the impact of ineffective schooling, analyzes its causes, and proposes a path to reversing it that can be implemented today.

“LeMonds said the victim’s parents called police while at the school, but “it is likely (Madison) West staff would have also.”

Chris Rickert:

16-year-old charged in beating outside Madison West High School

A 16-year-old boy was tentatively charged with substantial battery after he punched another boy in the head outside Madison West High School Monday, police said.

Police said the mother of the victim called them just before 3:30 p.m. to report the attack, which the victim did not fully remember because the punch might have caused him to black out. Madison police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer said the victim and a friend had been walking to a bus stop at the corner of Regent and Ash streets “when three other teens approached wanting to fight.”

“The victim and his friend turned around to leave the area and the victim was punched in the head,” she said.

Regent and Ash streets make up one corner of the block that includes West High, and police reported the attack happened “while at school.” Fryer said the victim and his attacker are West High students.

But Madison School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said Tuesday morning that no such incident happened on “any of our campuses.”

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Intoxicated 13-year-old arrested after crashing stolen car at a Madsion Beltline off-ramp, police say

Chris Rickert:

“As a community, we should be extremely concerned over a 13-year-old driving a stolen car, during rush hour, while high on (marijuana),” Hanson wrote. “Everybody’s kind of numb, and we can’t be,” he added during the interview with the State Journal.

The vehicle was reported stolen on Monday, police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer said, and an investigation into the Tuesday crash was ongoing.

Hanson used the incident to highlight a $125,000 federal grant the department has received that could help deter similar crimes in the future, as the Madison area has for years been experiencing a rash of stolen vehicles and home break-ins by groups of teens and young adults. The vehicles are often used to go steal other vehicles and break into other homes, where credit cards are sometimes taken and used at local stores before cardholders know they’re gone, police have said.

The grant comes after Madison police sought ideas from the community last year for how to stem repeat juvenile crime, and as a result, the department is working with a four-year-old Madison nonprofit called RISE to “provide resources directly into the homes of our most familiar teenagers committing violence in our community,” Hanson said.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Madison East principal removed after tumultuous start to year

Madison365:

Madison East High School principal Sean Leavy has been reassigned to a district administration position and assistant principal Mikki Smith will take over as principal for the remainder of the school year effective Wednesday, Madison Metropolitan School District officials announced.

A Sean Levy serves on the Beloit Board of Education, according to their website. PDF copy on 30 November 2021.

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Commentary on Covid “Mandates”

Ted Rall:

Ms. Mason, the teacher, feels vilified by a party for which she has voted in election after election: “I always thought the Democrats would be sympathetic to the working class. The unvaccinated don’t want to lose their jobs. Now it seems like conservatives are the only ones investigating” the safety of the vaccines.

Another New York high-school teacher, Ricardo Alexander, 51, says vaccines violate his religious beliefs: “My body is a temple.” As a student, Mr. Alexander received religious exemptions from vaccination requirements at City College of New York, Adelphi University and Columbia. But his request to the New York City Board of Education was summarily denied.

“Your application has failed to meet the criteria for a religious-based accommodation,” the board emailed him. “Per the Order of the Commissioner of Health, unvaccinated employees cannot work in a Department of Education (DOE) building or other site with contact with DOE students, employees, or families without posing a direct threat to health and safety. We cannot offer another worksite as an accommodation as that would impose an undue hardship (i.e. more than a minimal burden) on the DOE and its operations.” Regular free testing isn’t being offered as an alternative to the shot, making the New York mandate even more onerous for employees than OSHA’s.

Crises of Elite Competition in the East and West

Malcom Kyeyune and Marty MacMarty:

Although this educational paradigm is often seen in the West as an outgrowth of the “Confucian model” of education, this is in some ways the opposite of the truth. There are, broadly speaking, two types of education, defined in terms of their method and purpose. In the first model, which can be called the “Confucian,” “classical,” or “humanist” model, the point of education is to create a more refined or virtuous human being, not to teach particular technical skills. The reasoning behind this approach is that a scholar who is steeped in the works of the classical world and the wisdom of the ancients will be equipped with the sound judgment and faculties of reasoning required to learn essentially any job, on the job. In ancient China, would-be public administrators studied the philosophy of Confucius in order to become wise, not to become engineers. It was believed that a wise person would have the necessary capacity to learn to be a great engineer, but a trained engineer would not necessarily have a path to attaining wisdom. If both wisdom and technical knowledge are considered important, then the Confucian or humanist view of education argues that the attainment of the former takes precedence over the latter, and so instilling wisdom is therefore the logical place to start.

Against the Confucian model stands a very different view of educa­tional attainment, a view that might be called the “Prussian” approach to education. Put simply, the Prussian approach focuses on instructing students in specific, measurable skills: technical knowledge, mathematical proficiency, mastery of official state propaganda, and so on. Learning to be a great engineer is the entire point, and proficiency in engineering can also be objectively measured, unlike nebulous concepts such as “wisdom” or “virtue.” The Prussian view has little use for scholarly ideals, and encourages rote memorization or similar practices to make knowledge of the subject matter stick.

How to remove red tape and create a more robust teacher talent pool

Matthew Simon:

Key Points

  • Current teacher talent pipelines are deficient to meet students’ and schools’ needs and demands.
  • Reforming teacher certification laws to allow and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds—with different work experience and community ties—to enter the teacher workforce can help address teacher shortages.
  • Giving local school leaders the autonomy to hire, train, and certify their own teachers puts power at the local level and allows leaders to drive their own workforce needs. 

Influential authors Fountas and Pinnell stand behind disproven reading theory

Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies reading and language development, said this statement doesn’t square with what decades of scientific research has shown about how reading works. “If a child is reading ‘pony’ as ‘horse,’ these children haven’t been taught to read. And they’re already being given strategies for dealing with their failures. This is backwards. If the child were actually given better instruction in how to read the words, then it would obviate the need for using all these different kinds of strategies.” 

Seidenberg said the blog posts offered nothing new. “They clarified for me that they haven’t changed at all. They illustrate they still don’t get it and that they’re still part of the problem. These folks just haven’t really benefitted much from the ongoing discussion about what are the best ways to teach kids to read so that the most kids succeed.”

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Genetically informed, multilevel analysis of the Flynn Effect across four decades and three WISC versions

Evan J. Giangrande, Christopher R. Beam, Deborah Finkel, Deborah W. Davis, Eric Turkheimer:

This study investigated the systematic rise in cognitive ability scores over generations, known as the Flynn Effect, across middle childhood and early adolescence (7–15 years; 291 monozygotic pairs, 298 dizygotic pairs; 89% White). Leveraging the unique structure of the Louisville Twin Study (longitudinal data collected continuously from 1957 to 1999 using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC], WISC–R, and WISC–III ed.), multilevel analyses revealed between-subjects Flynn Effects—as both decrease in mean scores upon test re-standardization and increase in mean scores across cohorts—as well as within-child Flynn Effects on cognitive growth across age. Overall gains equaled approximately three IQ points per decade. Novel genetically informed analyses suggested that individual sensitivity to the Flynn Effect was moderated by an interplay of genetic and environmental factors.

Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars

Ben Smith:

On Friday afternoons this fall, top American news executives have dialed into a series of off-the-record Zoom meetings led by Harvard academics whose goal is to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.”

Those are hot topics in the news industry right now, and so the program at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy drew an impressive roster of executives at CNN, NBC News, The Associated Press, Axios and other major U.S. outlets.

A couple of them, though, told me they were puzzled by the reading package for the first session.

It consisted of a Harvard case study, which a participant shared with me, examining the coverage of Hunter Biden’s lost laptop in the final days of the 2020 campaign. The story had been pushed by aides and allies of then-President Donald J. Trump who tried to persuade journalists that the hard drive’s contents would reveal the corruption of the father.

The news media’s handling of that narrative provides “an instructive case study on the power of social media and news organizations to mitigate media manipulation campaigns,” according to the Shorenstein Center summary.

Chinese province targets journalists, foreign students with planned new surveillance system

Reuters:

Security officials in one of China’s largest provinces have commissioned a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other “suspicious people”, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

A July 29 tender document published on the Henan provincial government’s procurement website – reported in the media for the first time – details plans for a system that can compile individual files on such persons of interest coming to Henan using 3,000 facial recognition cameras that connect to various national and regional databases.

Progressives forget that parents are in charge of kids’ education

Andrew McDiarmid:

A growing number of parents are pushing back on public school teachings they consider harmful to their children. They’ve raised a collective voice against divisive approaches like Critical Race Theory, radical gender policies, and the injection of woke ideology into almost every school subject. And they’re making a difference. 

After winning Virginia’s gubernatorial race earlier this month largely on an education platform, Glenn Youngkin assured Virginian parents he’s in their corner: “We’re going to restore excellence in our schools…We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them.” 

But many public education proponents aren’t so welcoming toward parents. Youngkin’s opponent, Terry McAuliffe, ran on the premise that parents shouldn’t be telling schools what to teach. Former president Barack Obama echoed his sentiments, referring to parental concerns as “phony, trumped-up culture wars.” A recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by education professor Jack Schneider calls parents’ efforts “conspiratorial fantasies,” comments that earned kudos on Twitter from Randi Weingarten, head of one of the nation’s largest teacher’s unions. Another education professor, Christina Wyman, put it even more bluntly in an NBC News opinion piece: “Parents, community members, and politicians who aren’t qualified to teach should keep their noses out of school curricula.” And in a calculated attempt to scare parents and silence their dissent, liberal advocacy group National School Boards Association asked President Biden to intervene, calling angry parents a “form of domestic terrorism.” Less than a week later, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo activating the FBI to probe local “threats of violence” to school boards.

Columbia Settles COVID-19 Class Action Tuition Refund Suit For $12.5 Million

Law360:

Columbia University has agreed to pay $12.5 million to resolve a lawsuit seeking tuition and fee reimbursements in the wake of coronavirus-spurred campus closures, according to a settlement proposal filed in New York federal court.

Students brought a putative class action last year, alleging the Ivy League school deprived them of in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities and other benefits for which they had paid tuition and fees. Certain refunds the school had already provided were insufficient, according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman trimmed the students’ tuition claims, but said they were able to reclaim all the fees paid.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, the university will return more than $8.5 million in fees and pay an additional $4 million so the plaintiffs don’t seek to revive the tuition claims, according to a lawyer for the students, Roy T. Willey IV.

University Administrators on the Rittenhouse Verdict

Conor Friedersdorf:

Rather than encourage independent scrutiny, administrators on many campuses have issued statements that presuppose answers to hotly contested questions, and assert opinions about the not-guilty verdict in the case and its ostensible significance as though they were matters of community consensus.

The whole episode is an illustration of a bigger problem in academia: Administrators make ideologically selective efforts to soothe the feelings of upset faculty members and students. These actions impose orthodoxies of thought, undermining both intellectual diversity and inclusion. “Certainly,” declared a statement by Dwight A. McBride, president of the New School, “the verdict raises questions about … vigilantism in the service of racism and white supremacy.” In reality, many observers are far from certain that, when 12 jurors concluded that a white man shot three other white men in self-defense, they were saying anything about white supremacy.

Afghan Teachers Defy Taliban by Secretly Schooling Teenage Girls

Margherita Stancati:

A group of teenage girls filed quietly into Fawzia’s house, took off their shoes and gathered in the living room for a clandestine history lesson.

Fawzia, who asked to be identified only by her first name, talked about Afghanistan’s fabled treasure, the Bactrian Gold, and its past kings and queens. The 56-year-old teacher sees her new, secret work with teens as essential.

When the Taliban started reopening public schools in September, they banned girls from attending beyond the sixth grade. Since then, middle and high schools in a few provinces have reopened to girls, but in Kabul and most of the country they remain shut.

“If they just sit at home they will get depressed or addicted to their phones,” Fawzia said. “We need to give them hope that one day schools will reopen.”

The Taliban leadership has so far espoused a more moderate attitude toward women and girls compared with their rule in the 1990s. Taliban officials say schools for older girls will reopen in Kabul and elsewhere once appropriate gender-segregation arrangements are made.

Yet three months after the Taliban seized control of the country, many Afghans wonder if those promises to reopen schools will be kept.

“It’s clear from their past behavior how they feel about women’s education. They don’t want to empower women through education. Their goal is to keep women in their homes,” said Axana Soltan, who fled Afghanistan as a child when the Taliban were last in power and runs an NGO in the U.S. that advocates for the education of Afghan girls.

Civics: The FBI’s Raid on James O’Keefe

Wall Street Journal:

The subject of the investigation is apparently a diary believed to belong to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden. Project Veritas says it was given the diary by two individuals last year and chose not to publish it because its authenticity couldn’t be verified, then handed it over to law enforcement. The diary was later published by an obscure website.

It’s settled law that it’s not a crime for journalists to publish information that was obtained unlawfully. If it was a crime, most of America’s largest news organizations would be criminal enterprises. Project Veritas says the people who gave the group the diary said it was not stolen. How the diary was obtained, and how it came to be published by a different website, is still murky.

Yet the search warrant says Justice is investigating “possession of stolen goods” and related offenses, suggesting Project Veritas or its employees may be targets. Imagine if the Trump Administration raided New York Times editors’ homes after the publication of the President’s tax records—or even for an investigation into documents they did not ultimately publish.

Nothing that invasive ever happened. But partly in response to the furor over the Trump Administration’s supposed threat to press freedom, Mr. Garland published guidelines in July narrowing Justice’s ability to seize information from reporters. The policy said Justice “will no longer use compulsory legal process” against journalists “acting within the scope of newsgathering activities.”

There are exceptions for things like the threat of imminent terrorist acts, or where a reporter “has used criminal methods, such as breaking and entering” to obtain information. Mr. Garland’s deputy must also approve any searches.

University of Pittsburgh Students Disrupt Pro-Life Conference

Jonathan Turley:

We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.

The issue is not engaging in protest against such speakers, but to enter events for the purpose of preventing others from hearing such speakers. Universities create forums for the discussion of a diversity of opinions. Entering a classroom or event to prevent others from speaking is barring free speech. I would feel the same way about preventing such people from protests outside such events. However, the concern is not with outdoor events where all groups can be as loud and cantankerous as their voices will bear. Both sides have free speech rights to express. The issue on campus is the entrance into halls, or classrooms to prevent others from hearing speakers or opposing viewpoints by disputing events.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others. Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, even including a few speakers like an ACLU official. Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech. At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display. In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech. CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,” Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students). We also previously discussed the case of Fresno State University Public Health Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher who recruited students to destroy pro-life messages written on the sidewalks and wrongly told the pro-life students that they had no free speech rights in the matter.

School pulls event with former Islamic State sex slave over fears it would ‘foster Islamophobia’

Jamie Johnson:

A Canadian school has been forced to apologise after a book club event with Nadia Murad, a Nobel Prize-winner and former Islamic State sex slave, was cancelled over fears it would “foster Islamaphobia.”

Helen Fisher, the superintendent at the Toronto District School Board, voiced her concerns over Ms Murad’s ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State’ and said that her students would not participate in a sit-down event with the author scheduled for February.

The move drew wide criticism, and the board has been forced to clarify that these views are not its official position and that it will be reviewing the books.

Ms Murad’s frightening story details her family being executed and how she was snatched from her home and sold into sexual slavery. She was raped, tortured and exchanged among militants in northern Iraq before escaping.

She is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, UN Goodwill Ambassador, and a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence.

After Ms Fisher’s claims, Tanya Lee, a Toronto mother and entrepreneur who runs the book club for teenage girls called A Room Of Your Own said she sent an email back with information about Islamic State from the BBC and CNN, according to the Globe and Mail.

Commentary on taxpayer supported k-12 reading practices

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Rare Greek Variables

Gwern.net:

Some  variables are just plain overused. It seems like no paper is complete without a bunch of E or μ or α variables splattered across it—and they all mean different things in different papers, and that’s when they don’t mean different things in the same paper! In the spirit of offering constructive criticism, might I suggest that, based on  frequency of usage, you experiment with more recherché, even, outré variables?

Instead of reaching for that exhausted π, why not use… ϰ(variant kappa)? (It looks like a Hebrew escapee…) Or how about ς(variant sigma), which is calculated to get your reader’s attention by making them go “ςςς” and exclaim “these letters are Greek to me!”

The top 10 least-used Greek variables on ⁠, rarest to more common:

Stop Telling Kids They’ll Die From Climate Change

Hannah Ritchie:

There are a couple of ways I think this doomsday scenario has become commonplace. First, you don’t need to look far to find people with large platforms promoting these messages. Take Roger Hallam, the founder of Extinction Rebellion. In one of his most recent videos—titled “Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation”—he claims we must get emissions to zero within months, otherwise humanity will be wiped out. He claims that this annihilation is now locked in. The worst thing about this message is that, rather than inspiring action, it resigns us to the falsehood that we are already too late. There is now nothing we can do. It’s easy to dismiss Hallam as an extreme outlier, but he is also the founder of one of the world’s largest environmental movements. A movement whose name is hinged on this premise that we’re heading for a total wipeout. This is out of line with the science, and scientists should call this out more prominently.

“The first and most important job of public schools is: Teach the basics”

Shannon Whitworth:

Ensure that kids can read, write, understand the fundamentals of math, science and history. But a lot of public schools appear to be more interested in pushing an ideological agenda than providing children with the skills they need to compete on a global scale. For the first time, many parents started to take note of critical race theory concepts and the sexual and gender ideology being taught at the youngest levels. Then, of course, there are the tanking proficiencies in math and English, closed schools and never-ending mask mandates, and even indescribable levels of violence in our urban schools. The deafness to parents’ concerns, coupled with the arrogance and condescension of a government that appears to have forgotten who is supposed to serve whom, appears to have “awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve” (“Tora! Tora! Tora!”).

The educational establishment should be paying attention to this trend coming into an election period next year. If Wisconsin is going the way of the rest of the country, the establishment is particularly vulnerable. When the state of our public schools is coming under increasing scrutiny, those who have been failing our system for decades are about to be held to account. School choice is now favored by a majority of Americans. Inner city parents have been complaining and trying to get their children out of failing schools for decades. Now with the rest of the country paying attention to the sorry state of our public schools, the rising crescendo will be difficult to ignore. Which leads us to our latest educational outrage here in Wisconsin.

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

In San Francisco, Parent Anger Focuses on School Board Recall

Christine Mai-Duc:

Siva Raj, a recall organizer with children in fourth and 10th grades, said the renaming campaign is one of several social justice issues the board focused on while schools remained closed. Board members also changed the admission policies of an elite public high school in an attempt to diversify its student body and rejected a gay father seeking to join a volunteer parent advisory board because he did not qualify as a diverse member.

“We are trying to take a school system that has fallen to rock bottom and lift it up to a better place,” said Mr. Raj.

Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and mother to a seventh-grader in the district, said she is undecided on the recall but wants to hear the school board members acknowledge that they failed students.

“A lot of parents felt extremely unheard,” she said, “and to be told that our concerns are just because we’re not politically correct or that we’re being partisan or elitist does a disservice to what’s actually happening here.”

David Thompson has served as the recall campaign’s unofficial mascot as “Gaybraham Lincoln,” a character who sports a rainbow beard, tie-dye faux fur and silver pleather pants at campaign events in a satire of the school renaming debate.

“This is not about being anti-woke,” said Mr. Thompson, whose 10-year-old son is Black and attended a largely Latino school in the Mission neighborhood until late last year. “It’s just waking up to the fact that the board has an ideological agenda which is completely out of sync with most San Franciscans.”

In a citywide overhaul, a beloved Black high school was rezoned to include white students from a richer neighborhood.

Minneapolis, among the most segregated school districts in the country, with one of the widest racial academic gaps, is in the midst of a sweeping plan to overhaul and integrate its schools. And unlike previous desegregation efforts, which typically required children of color to travel to white schools, Minneapolis officials are asking white families to help do the integrating — a newer approach being embraced by a small group of urban districts across the country.

The changes included redrawing school zones, including for North. “This plan is saying, everyone is going to be equally inconvenienced because we need to collectively address the underachievement of our students of color,” Mr. Moore added.

Research shows that de facto school segregation is one major reason that America’s education system is so unequal, and that racially and socioeconomically diverse schools can benefit all students.

But decades after Brown v. Board of Education, the dream of integration has remained just that — a dream.

Today, two in five Black and Latino students in the United States attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are children of color, while one in five white students goes to a school where more than 90 percent of students look like them, according to the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

Locally, Madison taxpayers recently expanded our least diverse schools (despite space in nearby facilities). Boundaries have not been adjusted in decades.

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

“She accused American higher education institutions of stripping people’s ability to think critically”

Teny Sahakian:

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found. 

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.  

Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school.

During orientation, she was scolded by a university staff member for admitting she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen. 

“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” recalled Park. 

“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”

Hamilton County’s 3rd-grade reading scores languishing in the tank

Clint Cooper:

“To a child who doesn’t read,” the nearly 50-year-old public service television advertisement intoned, “the world is a closed book. Drifting, dropping back, dropping out. Once you start a child reading, there’s no stopping them. If America is to grow up thinking, reading is fundamental.”

The commercials were made on behalf of a now 55-year-old organization called Reading Is Fundamental, the country’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit whose goal is to ensure that children have the ability to read and succeed.

As a country, as a state and as a county, though, we’re not making the reading progress we should. In some ways, we’re probably going backward.

The reading proficiency scores for Hamilton County third-grade students were released recently, and what they revealed flies in the face of some of the hoopla the school district trumpeted earlier this fall with its announcement of schools that increased achievement, schools that met or exceeded growth standards and teachers whose classes met or exceeded growth standards.

“The district [now] is in a completely different place,” Dr. Nakia Towns, interim schools superintendent, said at the time.

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

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Beyond Conspiracy Theory – The Sick History of Public Education

Zay:

Funding America’s New Education

John D Rockefeller donated over $100 million dollars (equivalent of over $3bn in today’s dollars) to establish the General Education Board in 1902, and also to fund universities and teacher’s colleges across the nation. Andrew Carnegie chartered the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1905. Both organizations had the explicit purpose of helping to bolster institutional schooling across the US. Though the aims of these men may appear altruistic (It should be noted Rockefeller only had two years of actual school attendance and Carnegie had none), their actual motives were of a different intent. Frederick Taylor Gates, who Rockefeller put in charge of daily operations of the General Education Board, had the below excerpt from the Board’s internal memos reprinted in his book The Country School of To-morrow:

In our dreams…people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple…we will organize children…and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers were doing in an imperfect way.”

Ellwood P Cubberley, dean of the Stanford School of Education, was monumental in shaping educational practices across the US and was “perhaps the most significant theorist of educational administration of his day.” He worked directly and intimately with the Rockefeller General Education board on how to bring scientific management into public schooling. Cubberley wrote in his 1916 treatise, Public School Administration:

Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products… The Specifications of manufacturing come from the demands of twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down.”

The Rockefeller board explicitly worked to bring standardized and compulsory education out of the industrialized urban centers of the North and into the cities of the south and vast rural areas across the country. Additionally, the Rockefellers along with the Carnegie trusts worked to implement and expand standardized testing as the means in which schools could procure funding from both the public and private sector.

Remarks of the time will reflect on the success of these titanic influences. Edward A Ross, an esteemed economist and president of the American Sociological Association noted in his book bluntly titled Social Control: “The schooling of the young is a long-headed device to promote order” The goal of such a system is “To collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneading-board.

Correlates of “Coddling”: Cognitive distortions predict safetyism-inspired beliefs, belief that words can harm, and trigger warning endorsement in college students

Jared Celniker Megan Ringel Karli Nelson Peter H. Ditto:

In their book, The Coddling of the American Mind, Lukianoff and Haidt (2018) contended that the rise of “safetyism” within American society has inspired beliefs and practices that hinder college students’ socioemotional development. One of their most controversial claims was that college students’ safetyism-inspired beliefs (e.g., emotional pain

Teaching ‘honest history’ from Douglass to King

Joanne Jacobs:

Daniel Buck describes how he teaches “real” American history — no white-washing — in National Review. There’s no need to teach “anti-racism” to get real about slavery, writes Buck, who’s denounced the “ubiquity and radicalism” of critical race theory.

His students read Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, which “paints in every graphic detail the torn-skin and broken-body reality of American slavery,” he writes.In a unit on the Harlem Renaissance, students read poems and short stories and “listen to Strange Fruit performed by Billie Holiday, a poetic description of a lynching, before reading Claude McKay’s poem If We Must Die.”

Failing the Class: How our education system went wrong and what to do about it

Ines Lee & Eileen Tipoe:

The original model of education, devised by the Ancient Greeks, aimed to produce well-informed citizens by fostering intellectual development and thinking skills. Under the rise of pragmatism in the late 1800s, the primary focus of education shifted to achieving economic outcomes and specific jobs, which stood in direct contrast to philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey’s idea that “the educational process has no end beyond itself; it is its own end”.

In modern times, the two purposes of education are often conceptualised as a dichotomy, with greater emphasis on one purpose requiring a sacrifice of the other. Nowadays, most students, particularly those studying subjects not explicitly associated with a vocation, have been asked: “But how will that help you get a job?” The ubiquity of this question reflects the growing importance of education for career development, fuelled by changes to the higher education business model and government priorities.

Commentary on K-12 Taxpayer spending variation. (Excludes redistributed Federal tax and borrowed funds)

Mark Lieberman:

In close to two dozen states, high-poverty schools get less money per student or just the same amount as low-poverty schools, a new report shows, despite abundant evidence that high-poverty schools benefit from more robust investment.

A new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data also shows wide disparities in how evenly school funding is distributed. On average, schools in the U.S. spend roughly $15,000 per student. But within states, average funding ranges from roughly $9,700 per student in Arizona to roughly $26,700 in New York. That’s a difference of roughly $17,000 per student.

These figures are among the findings in the annual “Making the Grade” report published Thursday by the Education Law Center.

They highlight the longstanding reality of U.S. public school funding: Per-student spending ranges widely from state to state and varies considerably from year to year, depending on property values, tax revenues, budgetary constraints, and political conditions. A highly complex and chaotic school finance system leaves thousands of schools with inadequate resources and millions of students with insufficient opportunities to learn.

Schools in more than half of U.S. states get fewer dollars per student than the national average. In 12 of those states, average school funding is more than $3,000 below the national average.

Award-winning Indiana teacher who exposed how CRT is being taught in schools in viral video has been put on leave because he is causing colleagues ‘anxiety’

Stephen LePore:

An Indiana school administrator has been punished for a viral video where he explained how his school district pushes critical race theory on students.

Tony Kinnett, the Indianapolis School District science coordinator, instructional coach and administrator blew up social media on November 4 with the video.

‘When we tell you that schools aren’t teaching critical race theory… that’s misdirection,’ he says in the video, which has been retweeted and quote-tweeted more than 7,000 times.

A dean found something fishy in a magazine’s list of business schools. The editors say he’s off base.

Nell Gluckman:

There was a lot that Anjani Jain liked about Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of business schools. It was only when the deputy dean at the Yale School of Management dug deeper that it stopped making sense to him.

Like most publications that rate institutions of higher education, this one chose certain categories to evaluate, such as how much money graduates make, and weighted each category based on its importance. But unlike with many other rankings, Businessweek asked students, recent alumni, and recruiters what was important to them, and used their responses to determine how much weight to give to each of the five categories it used to evaluate schools: compensation, learning, networking, entrepreneurship, and diversity. To Jain, this seemed like a good idea.

Robin Appleby quits following a row over a new ‘woke’ agenda

Guy Adams and Vanessa Allen:

Although presented as a resignation, sources last night said the head’s departure was forced by the board of trustees after a furious revolt by parents.

One parent celebrated her departure but claimed that several teachers remain who ‘appear resolute in their determination to continue to indoctrinate our children into this racist and toxic ideology’.

A recent email from the board’s chairman told parents: ‘Robin Appleby has given us notice of her resignation, effective as of January 1, 2022.

‘Robin has informed the board that she now needs to focus on her own wellbeing and that of her family, which we fully understand.’

The move comes five months after the group of parents wrote their letter criticising the school’s decision to teach the theory.

This was sparked by the tragic killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota last year, triggering worldwide anti-racism protests.

During the holidays, parents were sent an email declaring that, in the wake of that unrest, ASL had decided to implement a ‘detailed action plan’ to improve its policies on ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ as well as ‘social justice’.

India’s fertility rate drops below 2.1, contraceptive prevalence up: NFHS

Rhythma Kaul and Anonna Dutt:

India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime, has declined from 2.2 to 2 while the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased from 54% to 67%, according data from the National Family Health Survey-5. The union health ministry released data for Phase-2 of the survey on Wednesday; data from Phase-1 was released in December 2020.

A TFR of 2.1 is termed the replacement rate, and means there will be neither an increase, nor a decrease in population.

As per the fourth edition of the survey conducted between 2015 and 2016, the TFR was 2.2. The fifth survey was conducted between 2019 and 2021 in two phases and reflects gains made in population control.

Choose life.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Child Cognitive Development: Initial Findings in a Longitudinal Observational Study of Child Health

Sean CL Deoni, Jennifer Beauchemin, Alexandra Volpe, Viren D’Sa, the RESONANCE Consortium:

Since the first reports of novel coronavirus in the 2020, public health organizations have advocated preventative policies to limit virus, including stay-at-home orders that closed businesses, daycares, schools, playgrounds, and limited child learning and typical activities. Fear of infection and possible employment loss has placed stress on parents; while parents who could work from home faced challenges in both working and providing full-time attentive childcare. For pregnant individuals, fear of attending prenatal visits also increased maternal stress, anxiety, and depression. Not surprising, there has been concern over how these factors, as well as missed educational opportunities and reduced interaction, stimulation, and creative play with other children might impact child neurodevelopment. Leveraging a large on-going longitudinal study of child neurodevelopment, we examined general childhood cognitive scores in 2020 and 2021 vs. the preceding decade, 2011-2019. We find that children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic. Moreover, we find that males and children in lower socioeconomic families have been most affected. Results highlight that even in the absence of direct SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness, the environmental changes associated COVID-19 pandemic is significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development.

Inside the academic destruction of a proud private university

Jacob Howland:

But it became clear some years ago that TU was in financial trouble. Faculty have had no raises since 2015. That same year, President Steadman Upham (whose compensation in 2014 exceeded $1.2 million) informed the campus community that the university was providing athletics with a $9 million annual subsidy. The total deficit in 2016 was $26 million. For nine months in 2016–2017, the university ceased to contribute to faculty retirement accounts—effectively, a 9 percent cut in pay. In September 2017, 5 percent of the nonfaculty workforce was laid off. In December 2017, Moody’sdowngraded $89 million of TU’s parity revenue bonds and $57 million of student-housing revenue bonds. Around the same time, it was revealed that TU had for years been running a structural deficit of about $16 million. Athletics accounted for most of the total loss; TU’s law school and Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum, which the university has managed since 2008, made up much of the rest.

TU’s board of trustees is composed of business executives and lawyers, none of whom has a higher-education background. Three trustees graduated from TU’s law school; two others serve on the board of the Gilcrease; more than a few are major supporters of TU’s Division I football program. Disinclined to address the deficit’s primary causes, the board prefers to plug the deficit through a combination of academic program cuts and consolidations, faculty attrition, and a massive capital campaign. Then again, it was never clear to faculty why a university with a billion-dollar endowment needed to cut academic programs. Some suspected that the financial crisis was just an excuse for fundamentally transforming the institution.

Yes, American education has a transparency problem

Robert Pondisco:

Teachers don’t generally conceive of themselves as government employees, but they are. This alone suggests that transparency should be the default mode. At the same time, there’s a difference between a cop, a sanitation worker, and a teacher charged with the care and education of two dozen children whose privacy is protected under various state and federal laws. The politics are also complicated and unpredictable. The same people who demand body cameras on police officers might be horrified at the suggestion they be worn at all times by kindergarten teachers.

To a degree most people don’t fully appreciate, the American public school classroom is a bit of a black box. According to a RAND study, nearly every US teacher draws upon “materials I developed and/or selected myself” in teaching English language arts. Only one in four secondary-school social-studies teachers cited resources “provided by my school or district” as comprising the majority of what they use in class on a given day.

All this creation, customization, and tinkering is not evidence of teachers subversively undermining officially sanctioned curriculum. Often it is the curriculum. Teachers are expected to “differentiate instruction” to account for disparate skill levels or to make lessons more engaging. Often they are left to their own devices to choose texts to meet vaguely written “standards” that describe the literacy skills children should master but are silent on specific texts or content. A few years ago a researcher from the University of Southern California had to file Freedom of Information Act requests merely to find out what textbooks were in use in several states. The issue wasn’t secrecy but indifference: School districts were either not required to post the information publicly or didn’t think it important enough to report.

Most Americans are only now becoming aware of the degree to which race and “equity” concerns are central to education policy and practice, but it’s not a recent development. To receive my own masters degree in elementary education 20 years ago, I had to demonstrate my ability to “teach for social justice” and willingness work as “an agent of change.” This implies a significant degree of teacher discretion, which I exercised in my classroom. It was news to me some years later to learn the courts generally regard teachers as “hired speech” and that school boards — not teachers — have nearly unquestioned authority to set and enforce school curriculum. My question, then and still: what curriculum? There wasn’t one.

“Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) spending has increased five times faster than enrollment”

Arthur Purves:

Since 2000 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) spending has increased five times faster than enrollment. However, according to ACT test  results, only 55 percent of seniors are prepared for college STEM courses, and that’s only for students applying to college. The percentage would be lower if all seniors took the ACT. Schools futilely try to raise achievement with higher salaries, more staff, or relocating students instead of fixing the real problem, which is a flawed curriculum.

Finally, the advertised budget gives a large increase ($26M) to WMATA. The average WMATA salary is $90K, (compared to $77K for FCPS teachers). WMATA employees can retire at age 50 with 50% of salary or age 60 with 70% of salary. WMATA has a $3 billion unfunded liability for its pension and retiree health plans.

To pay for all this, Fairfax County residential real estate taxes have increased three times faster than household income since 2000. That may explain why the average price of homes sold in 2018 increased by only 1.9%.

The supervisors should cap school spending until the curriculum is fixed and school administration is cut, and should reduce raises and benefits, whose cost is eating away at the county’s economy. The supervisors should demand similar restraint on raises and benefits from WMATA, whose ridership is declining, as a condition for more funding.

Where the Humanities Aren’t in Crisis

Scott Samuelson:

The pandemic has unveiled the reality behind what’s been vexing the academic humanities for decades. Classes went online, as business demanded. Classes returned to in-person, as business demanded. Since humanities enrollments have been declining, naturally higher education has been hiring more administrators to hire consultants to figure out how to attract what we’ve grown used to calling its customer base—or, if that doesn’t pan out, to provide a rationale for cutting its programs. When students and administrators aren’t teaming up against professors for not delivering what the customer wants, all parties seem to have made a non-aggression pact for reasons that have almost nothing to do with liberal education.

Fear not, payers of exorbitant tuition and legislative defunders of the public good, our institutions have all been taking ample time away from class to generate epic assessment reports that quantify our continuous quality improvement in the latest management lingo. In their new book Permanent Crisis, Chad Wellmon and Paul Reitter argue persuasively that crisis talk is constitutive of the modern academic humanities. But this is the first time I’ve looked around the room at a faculty meeting and realized that my colleagues were inwardly doing early-retirement math.

Miraculously, the pandemic has revealed to me where the humanities aren’t in crisis. It all began in July 2020, when Zena Hitz—the author of Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life and a fellow Hiett Prize winner—reached out to me over Zoom.

Public School Curriculum Transparency Legislation Key to Battling Politics in the Classroom

WILL:

Reform proposal would arm parents with the ability to access, review controversial curriculum material

The News: A new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) is urging the adoption of curriculum transparency legislation to arm parents and taxpayers with the ability to access and review controversial curriculum material in public schools. WILL recently issued identical open records requests to nine large Wisconsin school districts and experienced, first-hand, the cost, time, and difficulty of accessing curriculum material.

The Quotes: WILL Policy Associate, Jessica Holmberg, said, “America’s culture wars are finding their way into public school classrooms. With curriculum transparency legislation, we can arm parents and taxpayers with access to curriculum material to ensure that local school districts are held accountable.”

Scarlett Johnson, a Hispanic American parent in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, said, “Parents like myself are at a disadvantage when school districts are not forthright about philosophies like Critical Race Theory being taught in the classroom. More transparency is vital for parents to ensure that our students are not being taught propaganda that denies the fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution or losing precious learning time in critical topics like math, science, and reading.”

Diving Deeper: Opening the Schoolhouse Door: Promoting Curriculum Transparency, by Will Flanders, Ph.D, and Jessica Holmberg, provides an in-depth look at some of the controversial curriculum material being presented in Wisconsin classrooms, along with the difficulty of accessing the material. The findings include:

Understanding the response to financial and non-financial incentives in education: Field experimental evidence using high-stakes assessments

Simon Burgess Sally Sadoff:

We analyze the impact on high-stakes assessments of incentivizing students’ effort in a field experiment with over 10,000 high school students. We contribute to the literature by using our rich data and machine learning techniques to explore treatment heterogeneity; by comparing financial and non-financial rewards in rewarding effort rather than grades; and by using high-stakes outcomes. We find little average impact of incentives in the overall population, but we identify a “right tail” of highly responsive students: in the upper half of the responsiveness distribution, test scores improve by 0.1-0.2 SD, about half the attainment gap between poor and non-poor students.

The elite American media apparatus is disturbingly similar to the Chinese propaganda machine.

Habí Zhang:

In China, where I grew up, news is known to the people as propaganda in its neutral, if not positive, sense. Since all news agencies are run by the state, “news” is whatever events and opinions the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party permits or manufactures.

Growing up in a household of illiterate parents, I never saw newspapers as a child. My first dose of propaganda was a 30-minute TV program named Xinwen Lianbo(“CCTV Network News”), broadcast in the early evening via all local stations, that I occasionally watched at relatives’ homes. Sounds and images, rather than words, work better with uneducated or indifferent masses. Since 1978, this daily news program remains a textbook success of the Soviet style of propaganda—a refined manipulation warping concepts, language, and history, aimed at convincing the Chinese people of the benevolence of the Party and the superiority of Socialism. Many years later, when I read Orwell’s 1984, the depiction of the Two Minutes Hate ritual reminded me of the 30-minute Xinwen Lianbo.

Segregating kids by race — even as a class exercise — will only fuel endless racial conflict

Jonathan Tobin:

The ostensible purpose is to increase sensitivity to race. But kids understand that people from various backgrounds have different experiences. After all, the school has a population that is 44 percent Asian, 29 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic and 8 percent black.

Public education in a country committed to racial equality would not, however, seek to reinforce the notion that race is what defines us as individuals. And it would never pressure a diverse group of students to essentially re-enact the shameful racial segregation that was once commonplace in American schools.

Rittenhouse Revisited: How Media Misinformation Can Fuel Social Unrest

Jonathan Turley:

The growing disconnect between actual crimes and their coverage is unlikely to change in our age of rage. Rittenhouse had to be convicted to fulfill the narrative and any acquittal had to be evidence of a racist jury picked to carryout racist justice.

That is what occurred in the Rittenhouse trial. The jury stood between a mob and a defendant to see that objective justice was done. On that chaotic night on Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, few things were clear. What is clear however is that the shooting – and those killed and accused – became vehicles for broader narratives. Those popular portrayals crashed in Kenosha on a wall of 12 jurors who ruled by proof rather than passion.

Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout

Anya Kamenetz

Two weeks’ notice: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina voted on Oct. 28 to close schools on Nov. 12 for a “day of kindness, community and connection.”

Five days’ notice: On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17, Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan announced that schools would be closed the following Monday and Tuesday, extending Thanksgiving break for a full week. The district cited rising COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

Three and even two days’ notice: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 9 and 10, three different districts in Washington state — in Seattle, Bellevue and Kent — announced schools would be closed that same Friday, the day after Veterans Day, due to staff shortages.

Schools and districts around the country have been canceling classes on short notice. The cancellations aren’t directly for COVID-19 quarantines; instead schools are citing staff shortages, staff fatigue, mental health and sometimes even student fights.

Controversy Rages as California Follows SF’s Lead With New Approach to Teaching Math

Joe Hong:

At the heart of the wrangling lies a broad agreement about at least one thing:
The way California public schools teach math isn’t working. On national standardized tests, California ranks in the bottom quartile among all states and U.S. territories for 8th grade math scores.

Yet for all the sound and fury, the proposed framework, about 800-pages long, is little more than a set of suggestions. Its designers are revising it now and will subject it to 60 more days of public review. Once it’s approved in July, districts may adopt as much or as little of the framework as they choose — and can disregard it completely without any penalty.

“It’s not mandated that you use the framework,” said framework team member Dianne Wilson, a program specialist at Elk Grove Unified. “There’s a concern that it will be implemented unequally.”

K-12 Math links:

“Discovery math” (Seattle lawsuit)

What impact do high school mathematics curricula have on college-level math placement?

Connected Math.

Singapore Math

Math forum

ABA Tries Again With Legal-Ed Diversity Rule

Josh Blackman:

The American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has released a revised proposal for Standard 206. The Council approved a version of this rule in May, but it generated some controversy, including a letter co-authored by Eugene.

Standard 206. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

(a) A law school shall ensure the effective educational use of diversity by providing:

(1) Full access to the study of law and admission to the profession to all persons, particularly members of underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity;

(2) A faculty and staff that includes members of underrepresented groups, particularly those related to race and ethnicity; and

(3) An inclusive and equitable environment for students, faculty, and staff with respect to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, and military status.

(b) A law school shall report in the Annual Questionnaire and publish in accordance with Standard 509(b) data that reflects the law school’s performance in satisfying Standard 206(a)(1)-(2).

(c) A law school shall annually assess the extent to which it has created an educational environment that is inclusive and equitable under Standard 206(a)(3). The law school shall provide the results of such annual assessment to the faculty. Upon request of the Council, a law school shall provide the results of such assessment and the concrete actions the school is taking to address any deficiencies in the educational environment as well as the actions taken to maintain an inclusive and equitable educational environment.

Interpretation 206-1

Underrepresented groups are groups related to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, and military status that are underrepresented in the legal profession in the United States when compared to their representation in the general population of the United States. Faculty for purposes of Standard 206(a)(2) includes full-time and part-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as contract faculty, research faculty, adjunct faculty, and any other faculty category.

Mandates for thee but not for me: Snapchat shows UW-Madison chancellor indoors without wearing mask in violation of COVID mandate

Jackson Walker:

Not wearing a mask indoors is a direct violation of two campus indoor masking orders, both for Camp Randall Stadium and the university at large.

Asked for comment, a university spokesperson told The College Fix via email on Saturday that “Chancellor Blank supports campus indoor masking policies, including those for indoor spaces in UW Athletics facilities.”

“During several instances Saturday, she removed her mask to eat or drink and did not immediately put it back on while talking with campus guests. She regrets the oversight and plans to be more vigilant in the future.”

The mask policy was created in August by a “Chancellor Order.”

Related: Mandates without County Board or City Council votes from non-elected Dane County Madison Public Health:

Curated Education Information