Are College Exit Exams a Valid Measure of Learning? It’s Complicated

Richard Phelps:

Given the enormity of the public and private investment in US higher education, of course we should evaluate its effectiveness. But, how?

It is claimed that over 200 higher education institutions administer the one-size-fits-all Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). When administered pre-post—that is, near the beginning and then again near the end of a student’s program—the difference in scores on equivalent forms of the same test (i.e., the “gain score”) represents how much students have learned in that program. Or does it?

Everyone knows that any one test cannot be valid in all contexts. Administering an advanced calculus exam to kindergarteners would not tell us much, for example, nor would administering it as a college exit exam for art majors. College students study a wide variety of topics.

According to the CLA’s owner, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE),

One of the unique features of CLA+ is that no prior knowledge of any specific content area is necessary in order to perform well on the assessment.

Given that much of a student’s time in college is devoted to accumulating knowledge of specific content, this seems problematic. And according to cognitive scientists, it is. “Higher-order” skills, such as lateral thinking and experimentation, depend on the accumulation of a critical mass of knowledge. Content-free or generic skills do not exist.

If not from cognitive scientists, then, where does the belief in generic skills come from? Ed schools. The cynic in me wants to classify this as another attempt by US educators to hide from meaningful measurement. One of them might say, however, that factual content is readily available just a mouse click away on the internet. Such is true, but only in isolated, disaggregated forms.

Look beyond the college promotional froth about building better citizens, molding character, and teaching “higher-order skills,” such as “reasoning, critical reading and evaluation, and critique.” One will find remaining the more measurable and unfairly derogated benefit of “recall of factual knowledge,” which the CLA eschews.

Notes on 2022 Madison School Board Candidates

Emily Hamer:

Janeway said they were “very ignited by” the posts. Janeway wants to protect trans children, including the third- and fourth-graders that they teach in two Madison schools through a UW-Madison arts program called Whoopensocker.

“I go back to school on Tuesday and on Thursday, and I will be face to face with kids who use they/them pronouns,” Janeway said. “I have nothing but an urge and an inspiration to stand up for them.”

Janeway is a prominent activist who used to go by Andi, but recently changed their first name to Shepherd.

Walters, 55, is a mother of three who has experience teaching photography and art, including a program for children at risk. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2014 as a Democrat. She said safety in schools is her biggest priority.

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?

A Model for Transparency in School Training and Curriculum

Christopher F. RufoJames R. CoplandJohn Ketcham;

The purpose of this policy document is to ensure public transparency in schools’ instructional, training, and learning materials; and to give parents and students reasonable access to review such materials.
SECTION 2. TRANSPARENCY IN TRAINING AND CURRICULUM
A. The governing body of a public school, including public charter schools, shall ensure that the following information is displayed on the school website in an easily accessible location:

Germany: New government plans ‘right to encryption’.
The coalition contract of the newly ele

Tutanota:

As “amazingly specific” judges the German news magazine Die Zeit the coalition plan for a ‘right to encryption’.

Consequently, the coalition agreement was met with great approval, especially among net activists. The website Netzpolitik.org sees “many good and exciting promises,” but it is now a matter of implementation. And members of the Chaos Computer Club point out the great similarities between the new coalition paper and a formulation aid from the hacker association.

Taken together, the coaliation agreement signals a change in politics in Berlin. The former government led by the conversatives CDU/CSU repeatedly pushed for more surveillance, but fortunately, the new one plans to take a different road.

Some Professional Degrees Leave Students With High Debt but Without High Salaries

Rebecca Smith and Andrea Fuller:

Professional degrees like dentistry and veterinary medicine are leaving many students with immense college debt, threatening the outlook for fields that provide essential public services, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data.

Sara Jastrebski finished her veterinary studies at the University of Pennsylvania in May with about $400,000 in student debt, including more than $30,000 in loans from prior studies elsewhere.

Now working as an associate veterinarian for about $100,000 a year, Dr. Jastrebski, 29 years old, said she loves being a vet but is haunted by the tremendous cost of her education. “It doesn’t dominate my thoughts, but it’s always there,” she said.

In addition to programs for veterinarians and dentists, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy and optometry produced graduates with some of the worst combinations of high debt and modest beginning paychecks, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Students pursuing professional programs can take out loans to cover all their school costs and living expenses under a federal loan program called Grad Plus.

Madison schools’ war on discipline

David Blaska:

Yet students of color continue to be disproportionately disciplined. “The simple fact is this: black boys do commit more violent offenses in public schools than other kids,” acknowledges John McWhorter, in his book Woke Racism.

You want “equity”? According to MMSD data from 2017-18, 59% of disciplinary actions were taken against boys, even though they account for 49% of enrollment. To play their game: Why are Madison schools biased against boys? Professor McWhorter, himself black, argues:

To insist that bigotry is the only possible reason for suspending more black boys than white boys, is to espouse harming black students [who are left] not only improperly educated but beaten up.

Trouble at school? School district teachers and staff must navigate a 111-page school safety plan. Its flow chart is no help; it’s a bewildering corn maze of 23 possible action steps that begin with “Notify Central Office.” Try to find “call the cops” despite the mandate of state law to report serious threats.

Time and again, the school district pulls the rug out from under disciplinarians. The most tragic example is the white “positive behavior coach” beaten by an unruly black student at Whitehorse middle school in 2019. He did everything by the book. He still got the hook.

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?

A bizarre and abrupt reversal by scientists regarding COVID’s origins, along with clear conflicts of interest, create serious doubts about their integrity. Yet major news outlets keep relying on them.

Glenn Greenwald:

That COVID-19 infected humanity due to a zoonotic leap from a “wet market” in Wuhan — rather than a leak from a lab in the same Chinese city — was declared unquestionable truth at the start of the pandemic. For a full year, anyone dissenting from this narrative was deemed so irresponsible that they were banned from large social media platforms, accused of spreading “disinformation.” No debate about COVID’s origins was permitted. It had been settled by The Science™. Every rational person who believed in science, by definition, immediately accepted at the start of the pandemic that COVID made a natural leap from bats or pangolins; that it may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan which just so happens to gather, study and manipulate novel coronaviruses in bats was officially declared a deranged conspiracy theory.

The reason this consensus was so quickly consecrated was that a group of more than two dozen scientists published a letter in the prestigious science journal Lancet in February, 2020 — while very little was known about SARS-CoV-2 — didactically declaring “that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” The possibility that COVID leaked from the Wuhan lab was dismissed as a “conspiracy theory,” the by-product of “rumours and misinformation” which, they strongly implied, was an unfair and possibly racist attack on “the science and health professionals of China.”

Journalists today aren’t muckrakers — they are defenders of the liberal elite

Batya Ungar-Sargon:

The documents revealed a serious breach of journalistic ethics, though by no means Chris Cuomo’s worst. His coverage of the pandemic included staging a fake emergence from quarantine, and turning interviews with his brother, then governor, into a family joshing session, even as his brother was overseeing the deaths of 20,000 elderly and developmentally disabled New Yorkers through an edict that forced the COVID-positive back into nursing homes. 

There’s a deeper truth here about the interconnection of our political and journalistic elites. Because Chris Cuomo using his journalistic star power to protect his brother, who was using his political star power to harass and grope women and sentence seniors and the developmentally disabled to death, is not an aberration of how these two sectors of America’s elites operate. It is instead a perfect literalization of the role our elite chattering class plays consolidating the power of its chosen celebrity politicians.

“And third, I’d like to see a candidate who can actually win.”

Dave Cieslewicz

That one demonstrated some of the dysfunction of the district. Their spokesperson denied that anything had happened at the school because, technically, the incident, which involved students enrolled at West, occurred on a sidewalk that wasn’t part of school property.

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?

A California Attempt to Repair the Crumbling Pillar of U.S. Education

Andy Kessler:

Public-school education has gone from bad to worse. In the Chicago Public Schools, only 26% of 11th-graders were at grade level in reading and math in 2019. Remarkably, the school system had a record-high graduation rate of nearly 84% in 2021. Those students must have had strong senior years! This is why over half of first-year community-college students in the U.S. take at least one remedial course in reading or math. In the U.S., 43 million adults are illiterate. This is a disgrace.

In pre-pandemic California, only 32% of fourth-graders were at or above proficient for their grade in reading. Only 19% of eighth-grade Hispanics read at grade level, and only 10% of eighth-grade blacks did. Those who find disparate impact everywhere should be screaming from the rooftops that public education is racist. Instead, silence.

Despite these poor results, spending per student goes up each year. New York spent $25,139 per student in fiscal 2019. In California, it’s over $20,000. So why haven’t outcomes improved? Parents know why. Bad teachers don’t get fired. Because of tenure, even some capable teachers mail it in. Bad school districts don’t get fixed. Caps on charter schools, even those with proven records, limit their ability to put pressure on public schools. Teachers unions are all-powerful.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Welch is trying to improve California’s education system. He tells me we need “accountability of quality education.” You may recall the 2014 Vergara v. California decision, a suit Mr. Welch and others funded. Filed on behalf of nine public-school students, the ruling found that five California statutes related to teacher tenure, firing bad teachers and layoff policy violated the state’s Constitution. In his ruling, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu noted, “Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

An alarming trend in K-12 math education: a guest post and an open letter

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.”

The most significant potential for growth is among African American or Latino students, among whom only 12% enroll in Algebra before high school. This untapped potential has longer-term implications for both society and individuals. For example, although African Americans and Latinos comprise 13% and 18% (respectively) of the overall US population, they only account for 4% and 11% of engineering degrees. There is also a gap in access by income: Calculus is offered in 92% of schools serving the top income quartile but only in 77% of schools serving the bottom quartile (as measured by the share of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch). Thus minority and low income students have less access to STEM jobs, which yield more than double the median salary of non-STEM jobs, and are projected to grow at a 50% higher rate over the next decade.

Eight steps business leaders can take to prevent ideological pressure and political conformity in the workplace.

Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff:

After our book The Coddling of the American Mindcame out in 2018, business leaders from the corporate and non-profit sectors began contacting us about internal issues they are having with recent hires. They told us that their youngest employees show increased levels of anxiety, depression, and fragility; a tendency to turn ordinary conflicts between co-workers into major issues requiring the attention of the Human Resources Department; and greater insistence that the organization must share and express their personal political values related to social justice. 

In short: Beginning around 2018, parts of the corporate world began to experience the same changes we saw in universities from around 2014. This makes sense once you realize that members of Gen Z began to arrive on campuses in 2013 and 2014—they spent four years within institutions that largely catered to their new needs and demands, and began to graduate from four-year colleges around 2017 or 2018. 

2021 survey found that 48% of Gen Z respondents reported feeling stress all or most of the time, and the top source of worry among them was career prospects. As for the increased internal conflicts and tensions among employees, the title of a 2021 articleon the front page of the business section of The New York Times sums it up well: “The 37-Year-Olds Are Afraid of the 23-Year-Olds Who Work for Them.” Friction and punishment campaigns in the corporate world seem to be hypercharged by Slack and other internal company messaging platforms. 

The turmoil at The New York Times in 2020 offers multiple case studies of personal and political conflicts intermixing, as individual journalists ran afoul of the new sensibilities. Bari Weiss, a staff editor and Op-Ed writer, resigned in July 2020. In her resignation letter, Weiss mentioned “constant bullying” and how she was subjected to what one outlet described as “‘Mean Girls’-styled sniping at her in company Slack channels.” Science and health reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. resigned in 2021 over criticism of his behavior on a company-sponsored trip to Peru in 2019 (primarily his repeating a racial slur to clarify how it was being used in a story told by a student on the trip). McNeil had already been disciplined for his behavior on the trip, but co-workers, accusing McNeil of racism, complained that he hadn’t been fired. A month after his resignation McNeil wrote, “I’m surprised by how quick some colleagues who barely know me were prepared to accept those accusations and even add more on a Times alumni Facebook page.”

Advancing mathematics by guiding human intuition with AI

Alex Davies, Petar Veličković and Pushmeet Kohli:

The practice of mathematics involves discovering patterns and using these to formulate and prove conjectures, resulting in theorems. Since the 1960s, mathematicians have used computers to assist in the discovery of patterns and formulation of conjectures1, most famously in the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture2, a Millennium Prize Problem3. Here we provide examples of new fundamental results in pure mathematics that have been discovered with the assistance of machine learning—demonstrating a method by which machine learning can aid mathematicians in discovering new conjectures and theorems. We propose a process of using machine learning to discover potential patterns and relations between mathematical objects, understanding them with attribution techniques and using these observations to guide intuition and propose conjectures. We outline this machine-learning-guided framework and demonstrate its successful application to current research questions in distinct areas of pure mathematics, in each case showing how it led to meaningful mathematical contributions on important open problems: a new connection between the algebraic and geometric structure of knots, and a candidate algorithm predicted by the combinatorial invariance conjecture for symmetric groups4. Our work may serve as a model for collaboration between the fields of mathematics and artificial intelligence (AI) that can achieve surprising results by leveraging the respective strengths of mathematicians and machine learning.

“In the Michigan Shooting, What Is the School’s Responsibility?”

Ann Althouse:

By “put them in a safe place,” I think Ross means put Ethan Crumbleyin custody. He apparently begged “help me.” It sounds as though he struggled with an uncontrollable impulse. I understand the school wanting to defend itself after the fact, but what’s more important is for schools to take action to protect the students who are trapped there and endangered by other students. 

This is part of a larger issue of government declining to keep the peace and attempting to convince us that it cannot keep the peace, something I wrote about last month, after the Rittenhouse verdict and the Waukesha massacre, here:

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?

Litigation on Teacher curriculum commentary

Landon Míon:

A Massachusetts teacher who had been terminated from Hanover High School for posting a number of videos to TikTok opposing critical race theory has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against her former employers, claiming they had violated her First Amendment rights.

Kari MacRae, represented by nonprofit legal organization Judicial Watch, sued Hanover Public Schools superintendent Matthew Ferron and Hanover High School principal Matthew Mattos for firing her over two TikTok videos she posted as part of a campaign to be on the Bourne School Committee that criticized critical race theory, the controversial doctrine that teaches students that white people are oppressors and people of color are oppressed.

She had worked as a math and business teacher at Hanover High School for a month before she was fired.

The court filing notes that MacRae was hired on Aug. 31 and terminated on Sept. 29. However, the TikTok videos Hanover High School cited as the basis for her firing were posted months before she was hired as part of her committee campaign.

“So pretty much the reason I ran for school board and the reason I’m taking on this responsibility is to ensure that students, at least in our town, are not being taught critical race theory,” MacRae said in a video posted last spring, according to The Boston Globe. “That they’re not being taught that the country was built on racism. So they’re not being taught that they can choose whether or not they want to be a girl or a boy.”

Advocating Parental Responsibility

David Blaska:

As parental advice, it’s up there with Ma Barker.

“You have to learn not to get caught,” the mother of the Michigan school shooter advised.

What is chilling is that as school counsellors met with the 15-year-old sophomore and his parents, the semi-automatic handgun — an early Christmas present (Sig Sauers ain’t cheap!) — was nested in the boy’s backpack in that very room. That afternoon, Ethan Crumbley came out of the can blazing. The toll: four dead, seven injured.

The kid may as well have announced his murderous intentions over the school loud speaker. That morning, he’s drawing bullets and blood. The day before, a teacher espied young Crumbley searching for ammo on his smartphone.

Averting Targeted School Violence

US Secret Service:

BEHAVIORAL

Several plotters displayed symptoms of, or were diagnosed with, behavioral disorders, including disruptive disorders. One plotter was admitted to the hospital for a mental health evaluation after a tip was received about the attack. Prior to this, she had been diagnosed with multiple conditions, to include conduct disorder. She had been prescribed medication but stopped taking it due to its side effects, and she irregularly attended treatment due to the cost of the sessions.

NEUROLOGICAL/DEVELOPMENTAL

Several plotters evidenced a history of developmental issues and neurological conditions, including developmental delays, learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia), neurological conditions or symptoms (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome, sensory sensitivity), and diagnoses within the autism spectrum.

A 14-year-old male was arrested after a classmate told the principal that the student had two guns and was plotting an attack. The plotter had shown several students his firearms and told them of his intentions to target students and staff whom he felt mistreated and bullied him. When the plotter was an infant he had been removed from the custody of his biological parents due to their drug and alcohol abuse. He was subsequently diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome along with reactive attachment disorder due to childhood neglect.

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.

Commentary from Co-sponsor Senator Duey Stroebel.

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.

Curated Education Information