What if Wisconsin stopped making childcare pointlessly costly?

Patrick McIlheran

Gov. Tony Evers may not get this, so he griped Thursday about how the Legislature didn’t heed his summons to show up in a special session and approve his idea to pour fuel onto the bonfire that is childcare costs.

Instead, the Legislature came, refused to make the problem worse, then went back to considering better ideas.

The argument between the Democrat governor and the Republican majorities in the Legislature isn’t over whether parents need some help with costly childcare — which, if you use center-based care, can be more expensive than college tuition, a report noted Thursday.

Rather, it’s how to help, and over the meaning of “temporary.”

Atop its usual childcare subsidies given to parents, Wisconsin’s government for three years passed along $600 million in grants to childcare providers under the “Child Care Counts” program, a federal dollar-gusher meant to keep childcare centers afloat as pandemic lockdowns kept parents at home. The pandemic is past, and the temporary aid is reaching its expected end — after not merely keeping providers afloat but allowing wages in the industry to rise.

Evers insists that Wisconsin taxpayers need to take over, turning the temporary surge into a permanently higher baseline. Over the three years in which flowed those $600 million in extra federal subsidies, Wisconsin’s existing childcare subsidies to parents amounted to $871 million: This was not just a little extra help.

North Carolina embraces school choice

Tyler Cowen:

North Carolina’s budget for the new biennium would expand school choice across the state to an unprecedented level.

The budget, slated for votes Thursday morning, would enlarge the piggybank for the Opportunity Scholarship Program — the state’s voucher that enables families to choose a private school education for their children — to $520 million by the 2032-2033 fiscal year.

“Expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program would not only be a game changer for North Carolina families, giving parents a real choice on where they attend schools, the new legislation would help to redefine public education and underscore that not all state-funded education has to be publicly funded, administered and delivered,” said Dr. Robert Luebke, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation.

Notes on K-12 $pending and Governance: Wisconsin Edition

David Blaska:

Jill Underly is Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction. The position is elected for four years on the Spring non-partisan ballot along with city alders and circuit court judges. We are one of only 12 states to elect them.

One of Jill Underly’s predecessors was Tony Evers, now governor of Wisconsin. A Democrat. If there has been a conservative superintendent of public instruction in Wisconsin, it was long ago. Nonetheless, Jill Underly claims the position is non-partisan. She was endorsed by the teachers union, which gives all its campaign donations to Democrats. (Underly was good for $18,000.)

Thursday 09-21-23, Supt. Jill Underly gave her State of Education speech in the capitol. It was Woke boilerplate. The state’s chief school marm portrayed Wisconsin public schools as impoverished, even after the Republican legislature boosted education spending by $1.2 Billion dollars. Democrats wanted twice that. It’s never enough. Supt. Underly defended the Woke agenda.

Our children’s communities – their classrooms – are also some of the most inclusive and equitable places in our state. … Affirming the lives of our black, Indigenous, and students of color matter is not political. It is a statement of fact.

— Jill Underly, State of Education
What does that even mean? How is a life “affirmed”? Ms. Underly’s prepared remarks used the word “diversity” (or some form thereof) 10 times, “equity” 4 times, “inclusion” 2. At the other end of the scale: “Discipline” 0, “responsibility” 0, and “achievement” 0.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

Amid mass layoffs, BU Center for Antiracist Research accused of mismanagement of funds, disorganization

Molly Farrar and Lydia Evans

The $43 million, according to 2021 budget records obtained by The Daily Free Press, includes general support, such as the $10 million from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, as well as donations for specific projects.

The document, which is not an all-inclusive list of donors, also lists TJ Maxx’s foundation, Stop & Shop and Peloton as donating over a million dollars.

Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a history professor at BU, founded the Center three years after he founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. 

Kendi talked to BU Today when BU’s Center first launched in 2020. 

“My hope is that it becomes a premier research center for researchers and for practitioners to really solve these intractable racial problems of our time,” Kendi said to BU Today. “Not only will the center seek to make that level of impact, but also work to transform how racial research is done.”

A week after the layoffs, BU announced Wednesday that they received complaints “focused on the center’s culture and its grant management practices.”

Idaho Law School And Two Former Deans Settle Discrimination Case With Former Tenured Professor For $750,000


A federal judge in Idaho approved the settlement on Wednesday, ending more than four years of litigation. Plaintiff Shaakirrah Sanders, who is Black, sued the law school and former law dean Mark Adams in June 2019 alleging that she had been passed over for leadership roles and denied raises that were offered to white male colleagues. She later added former interim law dean Jerrold Long to the suit.

Sanders, who left Idaho Law in July, and is now the associate dean for antiracism and critical pedagogy at Penn State Dickinson School of Law, also claimed that Idaho law school administrators retaliated against her raising concerns about pay disparities and discrimination with the university’s human resources department and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“I feel tired from the fight, but I feel proud of myself that I stood up,” Sanders told Reuters on Friday.

The Bvp47 – a Top-tier Backdoor of US NSA Equation Group

Language lab:

In a certain month of 2013, during an in-depth forensic investigation of a host in a key domestic department, researchers from the Pangu Lab extracted a set of advanced backdoors on the Linux platform, which used advanced covert channel behavior based on TCP SYN packets, code obfuscation, system hiding, and self-destruction design. In case of failure to fully decrypt, It is further found that this backdoor needs the check code bound to the host to run normally. Then the researchers cracked the check code and successfully ran the backdoor. Judging from some behavioral functions, this is a top-tier APT backdoor, but further investigation requires the attacker’s asymmetric encrypted private key to activate the remote control function. Based on the most common string “Bvp” in the sample and the numerical value 0x47 used in the encryption algorithm, the team named the corresponding malicious code “Bvp47” at the time.

Pandemic Fraud Hits a New Height

Wall Street Journal:

The new figure comes from a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The finding is a rebuke to the Biden Administration, which had previously put the fraud total as low as $45 billion based on surveys of state programs. Congressional Republicans suspected the estimates were low and asked GAO to conduct its own study.

The agency reached its estimate by assessing a sample of more than 2,500 unemployment insurance payments issued from 2020 to 2023. The Labor Department’s previous tally relied largely on adding confirmed fraud cases reported by states, but GAO auditors say that produced a massive undercount. The oversight agency assumed a higher, more plausible fraud rate by comparing unemployment insurance to similar federal programs.

The $135 billion finding places the pandemic unemployment program in a new tier of government disaster. Fraud claimed 11% to 15% of the nearly $900 billion that Washington paid out over three years. The theft rate is another demerit for a program that caused incredible harm even when it worked as planned. Federal and state governments provided an incentive for millions of people not to work with a $600 weekly jobless bonus in 2020 and up to 79 weeks of total unemployment benefits.

Repairing the damage Columbia’s Teachers College did to American kids will take years

Robert Pondiscio

I’ve come to bury Lucy Calkins, not to praise her.

Columbia University’s Teachers College announced this month what once seemed unthinkable: It’s “dissolving” its relationship with Calkins, sending the controversial literacy guru and her cash-cow publishing and consulting empire packing.

The divorce came a few months after the New York City Department of Education made the equally dramatic announcement that henceforth all the city’s elementary schools would be required to adopt one of three approved reading programs, none of which were Calkins’ “readers workshop” model, which has dominated reading instruction in city schools for the past quarter-century.

Dominated but didn’t improve reading ability in any meaningful way, particularly among the city’s black and Hispanic students. 

About two-thirds of New York’s Asian and white students passed the most recent round of state reading tests. 

For black and Hispanic students, the figure was closer to one-third making the grade.

I’ve been a persistent Calkins critic for 20 years, ever since I was trained in her methods as a Bronx public-school teacher, where I saw its shortcomings firsthand. 

I shed no tears over her long-overdue defenestration. But it’s a mistake to think simply showing Lucy the door will bring an overnight change in city schools’ reading scores. 

To be sure, any of the three phonics-based reading programs the DOE is imposing on its elementary schools represents an improvement over Calkins’ methods.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

5 Benefits Of Marrying Long Before You Own A House And Establish A Successful Career


Amanda Marcotte, a feminist writer infamous for describing Hallmark movies as “fascist propaganda,” penned an article in the Salon on Tuesday warning young women not to marry young. Using the Lauren Boebert “Beetlejuice” theater scandal as a hook, Marcotte argued that, “Marrying someone off before they’ve grown up doesn’t confer maturity and happiness.”

One could say that about just about anything. Nothing in this life, not even blissful feminist singlehood and child-free eternities, always “confer maturity and happiness.”

Take it from a 23-year-old woman a little over a year into married life: getting married young is a beautiful thing with real benefits. Here are five of them.

Eugene Volokh, Who Graduated From UCLA At Age 15, Is Retiring From UCLA At Age 56 To Join The Hoover Institution

Paul Caron:

Next year, I’ll become a Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA School of Law, after 30 years of teaching, and move (effective July 1, 2024) to the Hoover Institution at Stanford, where I’ll be a Senior Fellow—essentially like a permanent, tenured research faculty position, but with no teaching obligations.

Technically, I’ll be “retiring” from UCLA. But at the ripe old age of 56, I will not be at all retiring from scholarship—I’ll just be doing the same sort of research, public commentary (of course, including blogging), and occasional litigation as I have been doing at UCLA, but with more institutional support. Until June 30, 2024, I will be a Visiting Fellow at Hoover, while I finish my full-time obligations to UCLA.

I will continue to have complete academic freedom and security of employment (provided for expressly by the Hoover faculty contract, the same way as it is by Stanford for its tenured faculty members). As to this blog, this of course also means continued editorial independence, which I care about very much.

I expect I’ll probably feel pretty much at home ideologically at Hoover, which is on balance an institution of the center-right. Naturally, I’m sure that there will be much my colleagues and I will disagree on, as there of course has been at UCLA—but that is the nature of a healthy academic institution. (For whatever it’s worth, my sense is that the median ideological views at Hoover are much closer to the median American voter than are the median ideological views at the median top 20 U.S. law school.)

A 10 year old girl and Madison’s naked bike ride

Hope Karnopp

A spokeswoman for the Madison Police Department said Thursday there were no updates in the case. Police had planned to reexamine the case if more information became available and discuss internet safety with the girl and her mother if they were identified.

The police department’s Special Victims Unit reviewed the photo depicting the girl’s participation but determined Wisconsin’s statutes on possession of child pornography did not apply because the photo was not sexual in nature. Police also determined a statute relating to exposing a child to harmful material or narrations did not apply.

But Tiffany and Fitzgerald disagreed with police, organizers and legal experts that because the purpose of the event was not sexual, local ordinances and state laws would likely not apply.

“The laissez-faire attitude of all parties, such as the organizer, the attendees, and the Wisconsin Attorney General, underscores the need for the federal government to intervene and act to protect our children from this perverse behavior,” the lawmakers said in their letter.

Many of the students who left traditional public schools in 2020 have not returned

Duey Stroebel:

A couple months after the bipartisan agreement over shared revenue and education were enacted we are already seeing the effects. Besides the record increase in public school resources of $1.2 billion, the deal included the passage of Act 11, which significantly increased state payments to school choice and charter schools. Until earlier this year, voting on education alternatives had almost always fallen along party lines, even though the area of the greatest usage of education alternatives has been Democrat-dominated Milwaukee.

Act 11, which I was privileged to author in the Senate, has laid down a bipartisan marker acknowledging educational alternatives are here to stay in Wisconsin. Five Democrats supported Act 11 on the floor, creating legislative super majorities in both chambers. Moreover, a Democrat governor, who considers himself to be the champion of public education, signed it.

K-12 Tax & $pending Climate: US $33T Federal Debt implications


Moreover, even if a Republican *could* recapture the presidency, they’d be stuck with the flaming bag of dog poop that is DC’s financial position — $33T+ of debt and counting[1]. And you actually don’t want to be at the helm when this thing crashes.[2]

So, if Republicans were smart, they’d understand what areas they’re strong on, and focus there, rather than putting all their hopes on Hail Mary passes for national control.

Schumer Wants a Cut of AI

Andy Kessler:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who’s never seen a camera he didn’t want to jump in front of, held a closed-door meeting last week on artificial intelligence. What? Closed? To me, it suggests an agenda beyond paving the path to a fantastic future. At the meeting, Elon Musk warned that AI is a “civilization risk.” Mr. Schumer declared, “We can’t be like ostriches and put our heads in the sand.” They sound more like dodo birds.

One clue to the hidden agenda: Besides Mr. Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, OpenAI’s CEO and other techies, the attendees included union leaders such as Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO, Meredith Stiehm of the Writers Guild and two tech critics with “Humane” in their company names. Ugh. It looked like the ghosts of economics past had come to spook the spirit of economics future.

So of course it was held behind closed doors. It was as if the nascent AI companies were called into a meeting with a tough guy named Spike who listens and then says, “You wouldn’t want anything to happen to your nice companies there, would you?” Or as if the union representatives of the horse-drawn-trolley conductors, rail-gauge manufacturers and manure sweepers were sitting in car-design meetings, demanding full employment for their guilds.

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Politicians might have demanded to tax horses based on speed. Back then, no one appreciated the potential for those rickety automobiles to transform the economy. We’re at the same juncture with AI today.

UW-Madison students enrolled in data monitoring experiment without ability to opt out

Cormac LaLiberte:

Thousands of students and instructors were informed by email earlier this month that they or at least one student in their course had been enrolled in a data monitoring experiment without the ability to opt out.

The pilot program, Learner Activity View for Advisors (LAVA), notifies advisors of potential patterns of low academic performance. Instructors and students are not allowed to opt out of the program, Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen wrote in an email obtained by The Daily Cardinal.

Approximately 2,800 students are enrolled in the program, according to Zumbrunnen’s email. 

The two indicators of potential academic problems are if a student’s grades are in the bottom quartile of the class or if they have an assignment more than five days overdue. A student must have one of these outcomes in two or more classes for it to be flagged by LAVA.

Children will benefit if we face this fact: Married parents are ideal

Megan McArdle:

If we want to build a healthy society in which everyone has the best possible chance to flourish, we need to be able to say that bad things are bad.

You might be thinking that this is self-evident. I’m sure readers can come up with any number of ills that should be identified, and boldly named — cancer deaths, racism, the various depredations of Donald Trump.

Commentary on “AI” and the education experience

Andy Haldane:

I am suffering from PESD (post-examination stress disorder). This is a new condition — indeed, I have just invented it — but it afflicts millions of parents whose children are put through the psychological mangle of school examinations.

The trauma is, of course, not confined to parents. Pity the students each year facing trial by examination, followed by weeks waiting on the verdict. Little wonder there is an epidemic of wellbeing and mental health problems among the young.

In the UK, a terrifying one in five young people aged 17 to 24 were reported as having a probable mental health disorder in 2022. Of course, not all are rooted in education and examinations. But the correlation is strikingly high between the incidence of mental health problems and low educational attainment in young people. It can be seen, too, in surveys of wellbeing — as many as a quarter of young people leave education loathing, rather than loving, learning. It would be hard to think of a worse endowment.

This means those departing education with fewest skills are also least likely to engage in life-long learning. And it means the gaps in attainment in early years are likely to widen over time, becoming chasms in adult opportunity and income. Education can entrench inequality, rather than redress it.

What could be done to close those chasms? A good start would be to rethink the metrics of success. Currently, examination results and school league tables are paramount. But if the key arbiter of later-life success is learning attitudes and experiences, rather than outcomes per se, it would be better to target those directly by measuring pupil wellbeing.

Commentary on “ai” and legacy media

Scott Girard:

One example Scheufele sees of potential use to journalists: sorting through exceedingly large databases or sets of emails obtained through open records requests, with the technology able to “extract patterns that can serve as the basis of solid journalism.”

Chen said one of her major concerns is who is coming up with the rules around AI and its use. Right now, it’s mostly politicians and technology companies themselves having the conversations.

NSA’s Backdoor Key from Lotus-Notes


Before the US crypto export regulations were finally disolved the export version of Lotus Notes used to include a key escrow / backdoor feature called differential cryptography. The idea was that they got permission to export 64 bit crypto if 24 of those bits were encrypted for the NSA’s public key. The NSA would then only have the small matter of brute-forcing the remaining 40 bits to get the plaintext, and everyone else would get a not-that-great 64 bit key space (which probably already back then NSA would have had the compute power to brute force also, only at higher cost).

Anyway as clearly inside the application somewhere would be an NSA public key that the NSA had the private key for, I tried reverse engineering it to get the public key.

In doing this I discovered that the NSA public key had an organizational name of “MiniTruth”, and a common name of “Big Brother”. Specifically what I saw in my debugger late one night, which was spooky for a short moment was:

‘I Literally Cried’: Teachers Describe Their Transition to Science-Based Reading Instruction

Elizabeth Heubeck:

In an era where humans have managed to create an artificial intelligence toolsophisticated enough to churn out an essay on Shakespeare, it seems unlikely that there would still be ambiguity about how best to teach kids how to read. But the “reading wars” continue to incite differences of opinion in various forums, from school board meetings to legislative sessions. 

Recently, literacy curriculums that include systematic attention to phonics—the most contested of the strategies, but one that has been affirmed by decades of research—have again emerged as a best practice. (Phonics and sound-letter correspondence aren’t the only pieces of evidence-based literacy, of course; so are building students’ vocabulary, knowledge of sentence structure, and content.) 

Lofty curriculum decisions such as these are often made at levels far removed from classrooms. Between 2013 and July of this year, 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or implemented new policies related to evidence-based reading instruction. It’s teachers who must implement them, sometimes after years of using very different instructional approaches. It’s an inordinately challenging task.

Unveiling Oregon Department of Education’s Controversial Methods: A Deep Dive into Research Flaws and Lack of Oversight

Jeff Myers:

What we did was straightforward – a “fact check” of the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) “Community-Informed Recommendations for Equitable Graduation Outcomes” report, delivered to the Oregon legislature on September 1st, 2022. This report was created in response to Senate Bill 744, which was signed into law in 2021. You may remember this bill as the one that extended Governor Kate Brown’s pause of the Essential Skills Proficiency tests that were required to graduate high-school.

As we reviewed ODE’s report and the roughly 100 research studies and other citations included within it, we continually found ODE misrepresenting evidence and making unsubstantiated claims. In other words, they lied. They lied to all of us.

Here are links to download our full, 27-page report as well as a short, 2-page summary. I recommend starting with the summary and then moving on to the full report when you’re ready for the deep-dive:

“Tech ethics” SBF and Stanford

Theo Baker:

Crypto magnate Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to speak to a Stanford class this winter, The Daily has learned. The topic of the course? Tech ethics. Bankman-Fried wouldn’t have the opportunity to give that lecture, though — instead, before the winter quarter even began, he was placed under house arrest just a stone’s throw away from the lecture hall, confined to a home on campus owned by his parents, Stanford Law School (SLS) professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried.

His stay at Stanford came to an end Friday, when Bankman-Fried’s bail was revoked by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan over alleged attempts at witness interference. Instead of his parents’ $5 million house, Bankman-Fried is now confined to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. But the Stanford community’s ties to his case, already well-reported, are even deeper than previously thought. New court filings allege that Bankman and Fried were themselves improperly enriched, and exclusive Daily reporting shows that Bankman continues to serve in official capacities at the school.

Reading, Wisconsin Legislation and Rule Making

Act 20:

Beginning with the accountability report published for the 2024-25 school year, for a school district other than a union high school district and for each school that offers grade 3 in that school district, the percentage of pupils reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

Section 8 . 115.39 of the statutes is created to read:
115.39 Literacy coaching program. (1) Definitions. In this section:
(a) “CESA region” means the geographic territory within the boundaries of a cooperative educational service agency.
(b) “Eligible school” means any of the following that does not provide instruction that incorporates 3-cueing, as defined in s. 118.015 (1c) (c), in the core reading curriculum for grades kindergarten to 3:
1. A public school, including a charter school established under s. 118.40 (2r) or (2x).
2. A private school participating in a program under s. 118.60 or 119.23.
(c) “Office” means the office of literacy in the department.
(2) Literacy coaching program. The office shall establish and supervise an early literacy coaching program to improve literacy outcomes in this state. As part of the early literacy coaching program established under this subsection, the office shall, in consultation with cooperative educational service agencies, do all of the following:
(a) Contract with individuals who demonstrate knowledge and expertise in science-based early literacy instruction and instructional practices, and have instructional experience in grades kindergarten to 12 to serve as literacy coaches. The office may not contract for more than 64 full-time equivalent positions under this paragraph.
(b) Provide ongoing training on science-based early literacy instruction and instructional practices and supervision to individuals with whom the office contracts under par. (a).
(c) Prohibit literacy coaches from using or promoting instruction that includes 3-cueing, as defined in s. 118.015 (1c) (c).
(3) Participation; schools and school districts. (a) The office shall assign one-half of the number of literacy coaches under sub. (2) (a) as follows:
1. Based on scores of the standardized reading test administered to pupils during the prior school year under s. 121.02 (1) (r), the office shall identify the 50 eligible schools that had the lowest percentage of pupils score as proficient in reading at grade level and the 50 eligible schools that had the largest gap in pupils who scored as proficient in reading at grade level.

Wisconsin DPI:

The information below is designed to address ongoing questions related to 2023 Act 20 and its implementation. Please send questions or concerns about this page or Act 20 to DPI staff by emailing early.reading@dpi.wi.gov.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

$pending more for fewer students: Madison

Dave Cieslewicz:

Despite being the fastest growing large community in Wisconsin the Madison public school system is losing students. Last year the district lost almost 900 students. Why?

In a story in Isthmus last week long-time school board member Nicki Vander Meulen mused on the causes for the loss of market share to private schools and neighboring districts. She offered three theories: Madison has older facilities, larger schools are off-putting to parents, especially after COVID, and some schools in other districts are just closer to students’ homes.

Those are all plausible answers, but none of them are slam dunks and both Vander Meulen and the Isthmus reporter avoided the elephant in the classroom.

Let’s start with Vander Meulen’s theories.

It’s true that some Madison school buildings are going on a century old. But a couple of years ago voters approved a massive building referendum. All the high schools are getting big makeovers, most of the other schools are getting some upgrades and a brand spanking new elementary school has just opened. Those projects are either done or well underway and the results are visible and positive. If the building age argument ever had much juice it’s being squeezed out as we speak.

The size of the student population issue also could be real. But the decline started before COVID. Madison’s numbers are 7% lower since 2013 in a city that has grown at a steady clip of about 1.1% a year.


Abbey Machtig:

The board also discussed on Monday potential changes to the way budget amendments are suggested and reviewed. The board is preparing to vote on the final version of the district’s 2023-24 budget next month, after approving a preliminary version in June.

The changes would make it so board members need to submit a request to the district’s deputy superintendent in order to make an amendment to the budget. These requests would need to be received five business days before the board meets.

Soldner said the request would also need to acknowledge the financial effect of a proposed change. He cited the recent pay increases for teaching staff and custodians as an example, which he said collectively cost the district an additional $30 million in ongoing expenses.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

“ai” and teaching notes

Tyler Cowen:

Artificial intelligence is changing not only the way students learn, but also what kind of knowledge is important.

As a college professor, I get a lot of questions about homework — and lately they have almost all been about how artificial intelligence will change it. After all, if AIs can pass many medical, bar and economics exams, then they can certainly handle high-school or college homework.

Homework has long been a staple of the academic experience. How will it evolve as more students master the capabilities of (rapidly improving) AI systems? Or, to ask a slightly more pointed question: How am I supposed to know whether I am grading the student or the AI?

Many American Parents Have No Idea How Their Kids Are Doing in School

Jenny Anderson:

In third grade, Cristyonna mostly got As and Bs on her report cards. At parent-teacher evenings, teachers were positive about her learning. So Shareeda Jones, her mother, was surprised when they moved neighborhoods and schools and her daughter’s new teacher told her Cristyonna was three grade levels behind in reading. “I was shocked,” Jones says. 

Many American parents would be shocked to know where their kids were actually achieving. Nationally, 90% of parents think their children are reading and doing math at or above grade level. In fact, 26% of eighth graders are proficient or above in math and 31% are proficient or above in English, according to Learning Heroes, an organization that collects data and creates resources to improve parent-teacher relationships.

What’s worse, 80% of parents say they are confident they understand how their child is achieving academically, and more than three-quarters say they feel their kids are prepared to enter and succeed at college and in the workplace. They don’t seem to know there’s a problem. Which means they won’t see any reason to try and help, by securing support at school or accessing tutoring services that may be available.

There are two broad narratives about what has happened to universities in the English-speaking world over the past forty years.

William Davies:

They are very different from each other, yet both have some plausibility. The first runs roughly as follows. The rise of the New Right in the 1980s introduced a policy agenda for universities aimed at injecting enterprise and competition into a sector that had previously seen itself as somewhat insulated from the market. Measures such as the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act in the United States encouraged scientists and universities to treat their research as a private good, yielding financial returns on investment. In the UK, the Thatcher government’s deployment of the Research Assessment Exercise in 1986 (later the Research Excellence Framework) introduced a research scoring system in an effort to awaken the competitive instincts of universities and their managers.

The influence of ‘new growth theory’ on the policy agendas of the Democratic Party in the US and the Labour Party in the UK in the 1990s, when both parties were seeking to refashion themselves for a post-socialist age, placed universities firmly within the purview of economic policymaking. Universities would be tasked with building the ‘human capital’ that would generate productivity gains for the economy at large. They would also be at the centre of regional ‘clusters’ of innovation and enterprise, as their research was spun out into start-ups.

Meanwhile, the increasing prominence of national and international university league tables, often managed by the business press, further heightened competition between institutions, and anxiety at the prospect of failure. Salaries for senior managers began to escalate as universities were reconceived as a highly profitable export industry; new postgraduate courses were dreamed up, along with debt-fuelled construction projects to house the students who would ‘consume’ them.

West Virginia Budget Cuts Are a Taste of Higher Ed’s Future

James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley:

Gordon Gee thinks higher education is at a “crossroads.” If it takes the wrong turn, it will head over a demographic and financial cliff. To save West Virginia University, of which he is president, in February he announced significant cuts, including the elimination of 169 faculty positions and some 30 academic programs and departments that were either lacking enrollment or too expensive to maintain.

The plan went over poorly on campus. By a 797-100 vote, the faculty passed a resolution of no confidence in Mr. Gee, while students engaged in a steady stream of demonstrations. “STOP the Gee-llotine” read one sign. But Mr. Gee is undoubtedly correct to highlight the financial challenges his university faces. He may be the first college president to call for harsh financial measures, but he won’t be the last.

Colleges face a significant demographic challenge as the pool of future students begins to dwindle over the next several years. The annual number of U.S. births reached a generational peak in 2007 at 4.3 million, then declined to 3.9 million in 2012 and 3.6 million in 2021. Starting with the high school class of 2025, the pool of high school graduates is expected to decline by as much as 15% over a dozen years. Many colleges will have to cut programs and faculty as demand dries up.

These schools keep costs low and put graduates on pathways to lucrative careers

Kevin McAllister:

Baruch College offers the best value of any university in the country, according to the new Wall Street Journal/College Pulse college rankings.

Public schools dominate the list of colleges that offer students and families the best bang for their buck, taking 35 of the top 50 slots.

California schools also pepper the upper echelon of the value ranking, with nine of the top 20 schools located in the Golden State. Of those nine colleges, six belong to the California State University system, led by its Los Angeles campus, No. 3 on the value list.

(You can see our full overall ranking, as well as rankings focused on student experiences and schools’ impact on graduate salaries and social mobility, here, along with the methodology behind them all.)

The question of how much a college degree can boost future earnings and how that compares with its cost has become a centerpiece of the college decision process, as many Americans have come to doubt the value of a degree.

Guided by research conducted by the public-policy think tank Third Way, our best-value calculation looks at how quickly a degree from each college pays for its cost through the salary boost it provides its students. We do that by estimating the net price of a four-year education at each school, and comparing that to how much higher the median salary of the school’s graduates is, 10 years after enrollment, than that of high-school graduates in the state where the school is located.

Net price is the average overall cost of attending the college for students who receive federal financial aid, including tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies, taking into account any grants and scholarships.

ACT study finds grade inflation is most pronounced in high school math as colleges de-emphasize test scores in admissions

Jill Varshay:

Amid the growing debate over how best to teach math, there is another ballooning problem: grades. They’re becoming increasingly untethered to how much students know. That not only makes it harder to gauge how well students are learning math and catching up from pandemic learning losses, but it’s also making math grades a less reliable indicator of who should be admitted to colleges or take advanced courses.

The latest warning sign comes from college admissions test maker ACT, which compared students’ ACT test scores with their self-reported high school grades between 2010 and 2022. Grade inflation struck all high school subjects, ACT found, but it was highest for math, followed by science, English, and social studies.

Grade inflation accelerated after 2016 and intensified during the pandemic, as schools relaxed standards. But as schools settled back into their usual rhythms in 2021-22, grades didn’t fall back to pre-pandemic norms and remained elevated. Grades continued to rise in math and science even as grade inflation stabilized in English and social studies. For a given score on the math section of the ACT, students said they had earned higher grades than students had reported in previous years.

Edgar Sanchez, an ACT researcher who conducted the analysis, said the inflation makes it hard to interpret high school grades, especially now that A grades are the norm. “Does 4.0 really mean complete content mastery or not?” Sanchez asked, referring to an A grade on the 0 to 4 grade-point scale.

New York Times Doesn’t Want Its Stories Archived

Nikita Mazurov

The New York Times tried to block a web crawler that was affiliated with the famous Internet Archive, a project whose easy-to-use comparisons of article versions has sometimes led to embarrassment for the newspaper.

In 2021, the New York Times added “ia_archiver” — a bot that, in the past, captured huge numbers of websites for the Internet Archive — to a list that instructs certain crawlers to stay out of its website.

Crawlers are programs that work as automated bots to trawl websites, collecting data and sending it back to a repository, a process known as scraping. Such bots power search engines and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a service that facilitates the archiving and viewing of historic versions of websites going back to 1996.

BU Center for Antiracist Research lays off staff members

Nick Stoico:

Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research has laid off an undisclosed number of staff members, just over three years after its promising launch to reshape the national discourse on racial and ethnic disparities.

The layoffs come as the center, led by renowned author and antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi, shifts to a “fellowship model,” according to a university spokesman.

The center, which opened at BU in the summer of 2020 amid nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd and other Black men and women by police, will continue to be led by Kendi, its founder and director, BU spokesman Colin Riley said in a brief statement.

Madison notes.

Why Can’t America Teach Writing


I gulped as I took back the booklet with shaking hands. I put it in my fraying purple folder, where it sits unopened to this day. This wasn’t a booklet forced into your hands by an intimidating yet freakishly friendly man on the street—it was the final project for my high school senior year creative nonfiction class.

The booklet was relegated to collecting dust not because high school was ending (I couldn’t wait to be free of all responsibility), but because I had written about something I legitimately cared about: my journey through veganism. 

Only when I reflected on this, years later, I realized how absurd it was that I almost started college without ever writing about an actual passion of mine. Nowadays, writing my blog is one of my favorite things to do. What can explain the disparity? 

Subject Apathy

My fundamental rule for good writing is “have something to say.” Trying to drag something out of yourself just because you feel obligated to write about a topic is infinitely more challenging than writing when you know your “why”.

Unfortunately, the American writing education philosophy directly contradicts this with its singular focus on literature. No matter how much you think, “Kids these days don’t appreciate good writing like we did,” the bottom line is that the vast majority do not care an ounce about color symbolism in The Great Gatsby.

“The operating budget for the Chicago public schools has grown to $8.5 billion in 2024, from $6.3 billion in 2020”

Wall Street Journal:

Yet enrollment is down 80,000 students from a decade ago, and many schools are underutilized. Don’t dare try to consolidate, though.

“School closings is a racist and failed policy,” Ms. Gates argued in 2018. “You do not close schools in environments that need investment.” Is it any wonder that among the first things to go are extracurricular programs like orchestras and soccer teams?

Ms. Gates’s son deserves a quality education, but so do his neighbors. With any luck this controversy will improve the odds of renewing the Invest in Kids program. But the real moral and political scandal remains the same: that thousands of Chicago’s children are locked into failing public schools as part of a political job-protection program for the teachers union.

A CIA whistleblower pulls back the curtain on COVID’s origins in the shadowy world of U.S. biodefense programs

Ashley Rindsberg

Earlier this week, the mystery surrounding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 took another bewildering turn when the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic revealed that a “multi-decade, senior-level, current [CIA] officer” stepped forward to claim that when six of the seven specialists tasked by the CIA with investigating the origins of the virus concluded with low confidence that it likely came from a lab in Wuhan, the CIA paid those scientists hush money to reverse their decision. The six experts who were offered “financial incentives”—otherwise known as bribes—eventually concluded that the origin of the pandemic was uncertain. For its part, the CIA has denied the whistleblower’s claims. This denial was issued by CIA spokesperson Tammy Kupperman Thorp who, until just two years ago, worked as a journalist for CNN and NBC News covering, among other things, the CIA. 

Despite intense investigations for the past three years, the origins of the worst pandemic in generations remain, to this day, unknown. What is certain, however, is that a massive official cover-up took place. There is proof that Anthony Fauci knowingly deceived the public, that academic scientists and once-prestigious science journals colluded with him in that deception, and that scientists investigating the virus at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s National Center for Medical Intelligence were censored when they concluded it most likely came from a laboratory. Now there appears to be evidence that the CIA was involved as well.

What we still don’t know is what exactly was covered up. China isn’t a U.S. ally. So why would the CIA want to hide evidence that the virus might have come from a Chinese government laboratory? The answer may have to do with the fact that funding for the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)—which is relevant because USAID, while nominally America’s foreign aid agency, has decadeslong ties to the CIA and a history of acting as a cutout for the intelligence agency.

This is not the first time questions regarding America’s intelligence agencies’ ties to the Wuhan lab have come up. In June, I reportedthat one of the earliest gain-of-function experiments done at the Wuhan lab—where Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli houses what is likely the largest collection of bat-borne coronaviruses in the world—were funded by USAID. The aid agency’s funding was initially omitted from the paper that published the results of those experiments. But these new whistleblower allegations, which come from the CIA itself, present the first plausible evidence connecting America’s lead intelligence agency to efforts to sway official assessments of the pandemic’s origin.

Park Slope Pile

Colin Mixson:

The social media watchdog posts regular photos of the pile outside the John Jay Educational Campus at Seventh Avenue — which houses the Secondary School for Law, the Secondary School for Journalism, Park Slope Collegiate, and Millennium Brooklyn High School — where janitors toss their detritus directly onto the street, according to locals.

International SAT competition

www page

The purpose of the competition is to identify new challenging benchmarks and to promote new solversfor the propositional satisfiability problem (SAT) as well as to compare them with state-of-the-art solvers. We strongly encourage people thinking about SAT-based techniques in their area (planning, hardware or software verification, etc.) to submit benchmarks to be used for the competition. The result of the competition will be a good indicator of the current feasibility of such approach. The competition will be completely automated using the SAT-Ex system.

We’ve lost our advantage on education’: Democrats grasp for wins on public schools

Juan Perez, Jr.

Public schools are confronting significant post-Covid enrollment shifts to private and home schools. Policies that grant students access to school options beyond their traditional neighborhood campus are popular. That has left Cardona to protect the schoolhouse castle, navigate longstanding disagreements between labor unions and liberal education reform groups, and advance a distinctive Democratic vision of education that appeals to families and voters.

“We shouldn’t be promoting private schools because our neighborhood schools are not making the grade,” Cardona said as he rolled from an exurban Minnesota technical college toward a city dual-language elementary school. “We should make sure we’re working to support our neighborhood schools to make the grade.”

Here’s the thing. Private choice is taking off — and fast.

Republican governors in Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Florida and elsewhere are now presiding over major expansions of programs that give families public subsidies to pay for private school tuition and other education expenses. Oklahoma officials are also leading a campaign to open explicitly religious public schools, which some church leaders and conservative advocates see as a monumental leap for school choice and religious liberty.

Public school enrollment meanwhile dropped by 3 percent in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, a plunge of some 1.4 million students. There are also signs liberals have failed to regain the broad trust on education they once held with voters.

“Neither the administration, nor the left, has offered an alternative to the private school choice options that Republicans are offering,” said Elorza, a former mayor of Providence, R.I., who supported then-Gov. Gina Raimondo’s bid to have the state take over his city’s troubled school system and made headlines when he declared his family would not send their young son to the city’s public schools.

ObamaCare Turns Out to Be Affordable Only for the Healthy

John C. Goodman and Beverly Gossage:

When Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act of 2010, President Obama and lawmakers made the same claim over and over: The act would make good, affordable health insurance available to people with pre-existing conditions. The actual result has been the opposite. ObamaCare makes health insurance as good as possible for the healthy and as bad as possible for the sick.

According to President Biden, health insurance in America is free or almost free (“as little as $10 a month or less” after subsidies) for about 80% of people who acquire it in an ObamaCare exchange. Most preventive care—the only kind of care healthy people require—is also free.

If you are sick, things are different. Consider a hypothetical middle-aged couple in Dallas earning $70,000 a year. Suppose they have two children, both of whom have serious birth defects. Although this family will pay no premium for a Blue Cross bronze plan in the ObamaCare exchange, they will face a $9,100 deductible for each child. Their total out-of-pocket exposure is $18,200 a year.

It gets worse. Patients with serious diseases often require the care of highly trained specialists who usually work at centers of excellence. But that family in Dallas will discover that their Blue Cross plan isn’t accepted at leading cancer providers nearby, including Baylor University Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center, or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“he was asked to explain a seeming contradiction between his public and private statements about the origins of Covid”

Christine Rosen:

In fact, as internal messages among scientists later revealed, Andersen and his colleagues didn’t have anywhere near this level of certainty, either before or after the paper was published. On a Slack forum of scientists convened by Anthony Fauci, Andersen himself wrote, “Accidental escape [from a lab] is in fact highly likely—it’s not some fringe theory.” He had told Fauci the same thing just a few weeks earlier. Andrew Rambaut, a biologist from the University of Edinburgh also on the Slack forum, said, “I literally swivel day by day thinking it is lab escape or natural.” A few weeks later, the paper was published. How had Andersen and his colleagues moved off their position of doubt about Covid’s origins so quickly?

The question matters because the “proximal origin” paper became the ur-text for shutting down any further exploration of the idea that Covid might have emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan. It also conveniently shut down any discussion of the possibility that China and, by implication, the United States’ scientific funding apparatus—which had subsidized controversial “gain of function” research in Wuhan—were responsible.

DIE ditching

Lauren Wurth:

Big businesses are no strangers to being scrutinized for the lack of diversity amongst their employees. In 2020, many companies decided to adopt diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies to ensure that their hires came from diverse backgrounds. Newly implemented DEI protocols were met with mixed reviews. Some praised the inclusion efforts while others argued that people should get jobs based on their skillset instead of which marginalized group they represent. 

Since then, companies have started opting out of diversity commitments. DEI positions have been reduced to cut costs while other inclusion efforts have been put on the back burner. This shift in dynamic comes fresh off the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to prohibit colleges from admitting students solely based on their race. Over a dozen Republican attorney generals have sent letters to Fortune 100 CEOs warning them not to consider race as a factor during the already complex hiring process.

But DEI experts have spoken out against companies backtracking on their responsibility to make diverse hires, saying that their flip-flopping could have long-term consequences. Kathryn Minshew, co-founder, and CEO of The Muse, believes that corporations are making a big mistake. “We have been hearing from many of our job seekers and employers alike how frustrated they are that many companies have been seemingly backing away from diversity commitments that they’ve made in the last few years,” she explained.

A poll conducted on The Muse indicated that sixty percent of people claim to have noticed their organizations retreating from diversity commitments. More than a third of users said that their employer put a strong emphasis on diversity during the initial job interview, and then failed to produce any significant DEI efforts upon being hired. It’s important to note that the poll is not an accurate portrayal of the U.S. population, as the majority of participants were non-white, 65% were women and 53% were millennials and Gen Z.

While many companies were once eager to present themselves as progressive through the false promise of DEI efforts, actually implementing diversity practices requires significant effort and funding. The financial commitment may be a notable reason why some companies have been guilty of ‘diversity ditching.’ Minshew notes that the combination of budget cuts to DEI programs and failing to see companies practice what they preach could be a recipe for disaster. She believes that the trend of ditching diversity efforts could alienate young talent who value inclusion within the workplace.

How did American legal education become unmoored from the classical tradition?

Steven Smith:

[H]appiness, I am sure from having known many successful men, cannot be won simply by being counsel for great corporations and having an income of fifty thousand dollars. An intellect great enough to win the prize needs other food besides success. The remoter and more general aspects of the law are those which give it a universal interest. It is through them that you not only become a great master in your calling, but connect your subject with the universe and catch an echo of the infinite, a glimpse of its unfathomable process, a hint of the universal law.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

There are some people—and I am one of them—who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.

—G. K. Chesterton

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

—Proverbs 29:18

Holmes’s encomium to the law may strike us today as quaintly grandiose—and also deeply ironic, given Holmes’s own savagely nihilistic outlook on life and law. An “echo of the infinite”? A “hint of the universal law”? Seriously?

And yet through much of Western history, the statement might have seemed utterly sensible. In what is sometimes called the classical legal tradition, human law was understood to be grounded in the natural law, which was itself that part of God’s providential plan (or of the “eternal law,” as Aquinas called it) that was knowable through reason by human beings. Law was precisely the point at which the eternal truths studied in their abstraction by philosophers and theologians met up with the practicalities of everyday life.

Minnesota Reading Changes

Becky Z. Dernbach

“Looking at a small part of a word helps us figure out the meaning,” Selcer reminded her class. She then mapped out a series of morphemes on the board: un, in, habit, able, at, ing.

“‘Habit’ means to live,” she said, adding that it came from a Latin root. And when “at” comes at the end of the word, it means place, she told them. She showed them how to combine the word parts into habitat. The students penciled the meanings in their packets.

“What’s a habitat?” Selcer asked them.

“Place to live,” the children chorused.

“A what?” Selcer asked, putting her hand to her ear.

“Place to live!” her students shouted.

She then showed the students how to construct another word with similar roots: inhabit—to live in.

“I inhabit this classroom,” she said, gesturing around the room.

“This is your habitat?” one student asked.

Piecing together Latin roots and using linguistics terminology may seem like high-level concepts for eight-year-old multilingual learners, but the kids approached them with enthusiasm. These methods may become more common in Minnesota classrooms as the state’s new reading law takes effect. And at Prodeo Academy, they seemed to be working.

Academic Fired For Faking Data To Fit ‘Systemic Racism’ Narrative

Shawn Fleetwood:

A Florida State University professor whose work was foundational to perpetuating the false narrative that there is widespread “systemic racism” infecting American society has been fired for falsifying data in his academic research on the subject. 

In a recently resurfaced report from last month, the New York Post revealed that Eric Stewart, an FSU criminology professor, had been fired by the university “on account of ‘extreme negligence’ in his research,” as well as “incompetence” and producing “false results” in his nearly 20 years of work. 

“I do not see how you can teach our students to be ethical researchers or how the results of future research projects conducted by you could be deemed as trustworthy,” FSU Provost James Clark wrote in a July 13 letterformally notifying Stewart of his firing. 

According to the Post, Stewart has had six studies published in major academic journals between 2003 and 2019 that were “fully retracted,” including a 2019 study claiming the historical legacy of lynchings “made whites perceive blacks as criminals, and that the problem was worse among conservatives.” 

Stewart’s retracted research also included claims that racial disparities in criminal sentencing are racially motivated. In a 2015 study, for instance, Stewart suggested Americans supported tougher sentencing for Hispanics because they feared an increase in the U.S. Latino population and Latinos’ potential economic success. 

Other retracted studies include a 2018 analysis which “suggested that white Americans view black and Latino people as ‘criminal threats,’ and suggested that perceived threat could lead to ‘state-sponsored social control,’” the Post added.

The Student-Debt Bubble Fueled a Housing Bubble

Allysia Finley:

San Francisco’s deflating home market doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole nation, but it isn’t surprising. Easy money and excessively supportive government policy during the pandemic fueled a surge in housing prices nationwide. The withdrawal of cheap credit will doubtless cause pain, though where and how is hard to predict.

Credit scores of home buyers have generally improved since the 2000 bubble years thanks in part to changes in FICO’s calculations that reduced penalties for unpaid medical debt. A decade of historically low interest rates also made it easier for buyers to finance debt.

Yet perhaps the biggest credit boost came from Obama-era income-based student-loan repayment plans, which capped monthly payments at 10% of discretionary income. Many student borrowers consequently aren’t paying down their debt, but it isn’t counted against them when they attempt to buy homes. While credit scores are improving, it isn’t clear borrowers have become more credit-worthy.

Why Literacy Fails (Part 1)

The “confident teacher”

  1. Shallow initial teacher training on literacy domains. The very nature of initial teacher training is that it is short. As such, it is not viable to cover the science of reading, spelling, writing, dyslexia, or other literacy issues, in the requisite depth. Singular sessions are not going to cut it, whilst new teachers grapple with the complexity of the classroom and the curriculum. The problem is simple: limited time.
  2. Partial, limited professional development. Every teacher could describe a literacy INSET or two. Fewer teachers can articulate a sustained sequence of evidence-based professional development that encompasses reading, writing, oracy, vocabulary, and more. Not only that, but it is also typical that professional development doesn’t flow on from initial teacher training, nor does it specifically address gaps in teacher knowledge and practice. 

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

China’s coming lawfare offensive

Jay Newman:

The myopia of US financial regulators is historical fact, but obliviousness to efforts by the Chinese Communist party — and its security and regulatory apparatus — to manipulate information flows that affect domestic and international capital markets is still surprising. China has accelerated the implementation of an integrated program, founded on Xi Jinping Thought, to weaponise law, with both territorial and extraterritorial effect. Expressly termed “lawfare,” this program seeks to reshape economic relations with the rest of the world, creating a capital market “with Chinese characteristics”. Analysis by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies signals China’s intention. The goal, foreign minister Wang Yi is quoted as saying, is make to “good use of rule-by-law as a weapon and constantly enrich and improve the legal toolbox for foreign struggles” against governments, businesses, and individuals Beijing views as insufficiently deferential.

What Happens When Schools Abandon Merit?

George Leef:

America’s educational institutions used to adhere to objective standards of excellence. Students and faculty members had to strive and were rewarded (or not) according to their performance. What their background might be or where their ancestors lived didn’t matter.

That was true until a corrosive idea called “disparate impact” began taking hold in the country some 50 years ago. What that meant was that objective standards were objectionable if they resulted in poorer performance by certain racial groups. The obsession with disparate impact was kick-started by the Supreme Court’s 1971 Griggs v. Duke Power decision and has been growing in destructive force ever since.

In her latest book, When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives, Heather Mac Donald surveys the landscape and sees profound changes in crucial institutions: our schools and colleges, law-enforcement, medicine, and the fine arts. Everywhere, merit is being eroded due to the acceptance among “progressive” elites of what Mac Donald calls the bias fallacy—namely, that any underrepresentation or outcome disparities for blacks and Hispanics must be caused by bias against them.

Mac Donald sees profound changes in crucial institutions: colleges, law-enforcement, medicine, and the fine arts.FacebookTwitterEmailPrintMac Donald rebuts that notion, writing, “The underrepresentation of blacks in many professions is the result of the unequal distribution of skills, not of bias. Sixty-six percent of black twelfth-graders nationally were ‘below basic’ in math skills in 2019, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam.” Without good math skills, many opportunities are foreclosed, no matter your race. Bias is a facile but utterly mistaken explanation.

Large Language Models and Diversity

Tyler Cowen:

Put aside the political issues, do Large Language Models too often give “the correct answer” when a more diverse sequence of answers might be more useful and more representative?  Peter S. Park, Pilipp Schoenegger, and Chongyang Zhu have a new paper on-line devoted to this question.  Note the work is done with GPT3.5.

Here is one simple example.  If you ask (non-deterministic) GPT 100 times in a row if you should prefer $50 or a kiss from a movie star, 100 times it will say you should prefer the kiss, at least in the trial runs of the authors.  Of course some of you might be thinking — which movie star!?  Others might be wondering about Fed policy for the next quarter.  Either way, it does not seem the answer should be so clear.  (GPT4 by the way refuses to give me a straightforward recommendation.)

Interestingly, when you pose GPT3.5 some standard trolley problems, the answers you get may vary a fair amount, for instance on one run it was utilitarian 36% of the time.

I found this result especially interesting (pp.21-22):

DIE policies and campus climate

Jarrett Stepman:

The lengthy report in The New York Times, of all places, highlights how the use of DEI statements essentially has allowed schools to create ideological loyalty oaths for new faculty. These tests aren’t being applied only in humanities departments, they’re the norm in science departments and all others too.

California—upholding its reputation for being at the cutting edge of anti-civilizational lunacy and tyranny—has predictably gone all in on the diversity, equity, and inclusion regime. Fealty to DEI dogma has become practically mandatory at all levels of higher education.

The Times notes that the faculty senate at the University of California, San Francisco urged professors to apply an “anti-oppression and anti-racism” lens to their coursework. On its website, UCLA’s public affairs school pledged to “decolonize the curriculum and pedagogy.” And the faculty senate of California Community Colleges instructed teachers on their duty to “lift the veil of white supremacy” and “colonialism.”

“Professions of fealty to DEI ideology are so ubiquitous as to be meaningless,” Daniel Sargent, a professor of history and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Times. “We are institutionalizing a performative dishonesty.”

Requiem for a Dumpster Full of Books

Lance Morrow:

The dumpster behind the arts center in our upstate New York village is filled to the brim with discarded books—thousands of volumes that now, after a rainy August, have grown soggy and begun to dissolve, reverting squalidly to pulp. The mass grave is an unsettling sight to someone who was brought up in the worship of books.

The dumpster out back seems at odds with the sign in front of the arts center, which proclaims its annual “Festival of Books”: “More than 15,000 affordable, gently used books” for sale, all of them donated by locals. The thousands of volumes in the dumpster are the cull—the ones judged too damaged, smelly or defaced to be saleable.

Plenty of freshly published books are trashy, of course, but it’s somehow unbearable to see books in the trash. Book people in their reverence hold that to destroy books amounts to sacrilege and profanation. We are Old Believers in the cult of print. We accumulate scores and hundreds of books on our shelves. When the shelves are full and sagging, we build more. Books are friends, oracles, household gods, characters in the ongoing drama of our minds. If we own a book we haven’t read, we savor the knowledge that it’s there on the shelf, waiting—like money in the bank.

Enrollment fell at eight campuses, while it grew 1.3% in Madison.

Associated Press

The largest percentage growth was 3.4% at UW-Whitewater, while the steepest drop was 3.5% at UW-Stout.

Rothman said the numbers show a continuing rebound in freshmen students that is a “great sign” because that signals stronger overall enrollment.

The estimates are based on first-day registration numbers and projections of other new students.

Total enrollment at the Madison campus was 50,255, up from 49,587 last fall.

“The SAT and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Ability”

Steve Sailer:

Everybody complains about the college admissions process, but practically nobody ever looks into college admissions tests to see if they could be improved or even if, as they appear to be are getting worse. That’s probably because:

A. Thinking about the SAT and the like is hard.

B. The big racial gaps in test scores are, even more than in the past, society’s Forbidden Topic, so it’s possible that anybody respectable who looks into whatever is going on with the SAT will get himself canceled.

So, we have this situation where David Coleman gets unaccountable power over the SAT test because he’d earlier sold Bill Gates on the Common Core. And Gates had bought off most of the educational thinktanks in America with generous donations. So when Gates decided he liked the Common Core, everybody jumped on board across the country without pausing to test it first.

Because the Common Core was riding so high about a decade ago (it has largely been forgotten today as the billionaire-driven Ed Reform mania of the early 21st century has vanished), the College Board hired Coleman to make the SAT reflect the Common Core. So Coleman rolled out a big change in the SAT in 2017, with some unexpected results: notably, Native American scores plummeted and Asian scores skyrocketed.

Reading Reform on the Ground: How SoR Policy is Showing Up in Schools

Callie Lowenstein

One thing about teachers: we want to get our instruction right. 

After decades of mixed messages and misinformation in our professional development (PD), teacher training programs, and curricular materials, many classroom educators are eager to get on top of the science, to ensure that our efforts and hours, our lesson planning and detailed feedback and materials prep and book purchases and deep care for our students, are not being wasted. 

Indeed, after a major balanced-literacy leader published an unapologetic deflection of the science of reading movement last year, a group of teachers from across the country wrote our own open letter, collecting over 650 teacher signatures in a matter of days, attesting to the ways we, teachers, wished we had done better by our students.

As authors Susan B. Neuman, Esther Quintero, and Kayla Reist so expertly and carefully highlighted in the Shanker Institute’s Reading Reform Across America report, it’s not just us.

World’s Top School Systems Try to Ease Pressure on Students

Jon Emont:

The world’s most competitive school systems, known for their hard-driving approach and top-notch academic results, are easing up.

Students in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan score at the top of global tables in mathematics and science, far higher than their American counterparts. But their schools are also often stress factories where children are pushed hard to ace high-stakes national exams, sometimes achieved through long hours of homework and pricey private tutoring.

Governments are trying to rein in the education arms race.

Singapore has scrapped all exams for first- and second-year primary school students, and midyear exams all the way through secondary school—part of a roster of changes intended to make learning joyful, or at least less test-heavy. South Korea is cutting some of the toughest questions on national tests for graduating high-schoolers. Taiwan has begun requiring university applicants to list extracurricular achievements in an effort to reduce the emphasis on exam scores.

China has slashed homework for younger students and banned for-profit tutoring centers. It has forbidden written exams for first- and second-graders, ordered teachers to stop publicizing exam scores in chat groups with parents, and abolished what it calls “strange questions” on tests—a reference to extra-hard queries that go beyond the curriculum, often fueling demand for after-school tutoring.

Did New York City Forget How to Teach Children to Read?

Caitlin Moscatello

At a meeting with parents in May, Elizabeth Phillips, a longtime principal at P.S. 321, a highly sought-after elementary school in Park Slope, didn’t mince words about the new reading curricula being implemented across the city this fall by Mayor Eric Adams’s administration. Not only did she refer to the trio of options selected by Schools Chancellor David Banks and the mayor’s Cabinet as “three bad choices,” she also shared her plans to resist. “We are definitely pushing back against it,” she said, “and many principals in the district are. And our superintendent understands that we are not going to do it with fidelity, that we are going to keep doing what has worked for us.”

Phillips (who did not respond to interview requests; the spring meeting was recorded) is a devotee of “balanced literacy,” an approach to teaching kids to read that had been the prevailing ethos in New York City schools for roughly two decades — until it came crashing down last year when heightened scrutiny caused the method’s once-revered leader, Lucy Calkins, to concede that it was fundamentally flawed. Specifically, critics said kids were falling behind because they didn’t know how to sound out words. Instead of phonics, Calkins’s program pushed a cuing method that instructed students to look at the first letter of a word, then to a picture on the page, and consider the context and piece it all together. But this technique relied on students having enough background knowledge to make the proper inferences as well as the ability to process language without difficulty. As a result, many kids weren’t actually reading. They simply became really good at guessing.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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 State of the American Student: Fall 2023


As we reported in our inaugural State of the American Student report in September 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic and related school closures led to unprecedented academic setbacks for American students. They exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and accelerated the mental health crisis for young people. This second edition provides basic data on the overall system, but focuses especially on students who are nearing graduation, or have already graduated, from high school. The traditional pathways to college and career were already not working for too many of these students. The pandemic made everything worse.

Math Curriculum

Sharon Lurye:

A few years ago she shifted her approach, turning to more direct explanation after finding a website on a set of evidence-based practices known as the science of math.

“I could see how the game related to multiplication, but the kids weren’t making those connections,” said Stark, a math teacher in the suburbs of Kansas City. “You have to explicitly teach the content.”

As American schools work to turn around math scores that plunged during the pandemic, some researchers are pushing for more attention to a set of research-based practices for teaching math. The movement has passionate backers, but is still in its infancy, especially compared with the phonics-based “science of reading” that has inspired changes in how classrooms across the country approach literacy.

Math forum audio/video.

Singapore Math

Connected Math

Discovery Math

Remedial math

Madison’s math review task force.

Notes on math homework

Jill Barshay

On the strength of those results, an MIT research organization singled out ASSISTments as one of the rare ed tech tools proven to help students. The Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, which reviews education evidence, said the research behind ASSISTments was so strong that it received the highest stamp of approval:“without reservations.”

Still, Maine is an unusual state with a population that is more than 90 percent white and so small that everyone could fit inside the city limits of San Diego. It had distributed laptops to every middle school student years before the ASSISTments experiment. Would an online math platform work in conditions where computer access is uneven? 

The Department of Education commissioned a $3 million replication study in North Carolina, in which 3,000 seventh graders were randomly assigned to use ASSISTments. The study, set to test how well the students learned math in spring of 2020, was derailed by the pandemic. But a private foundation salvaged it. Before the pandemic, Arnold Ventures had agreed to fund an additional year of the North Carolina study, to see if students would continue to be better at math in eighth grade. (Arnold Ventures is among the many funders of The Hechinger Report.)

Those longer-term results were published in June 2023, and they were good. Even a year later, on year-end eighth grade math tests, the 3,000 students who had used ASSISTments in seventh grade outperformed 3,000 peers who hadn’t. The eighth graders had moved on to new math topics and were no longer using ASSISTments, but their practice time on the platform a year earlier was still generating dividends.

How American Institutions Went From Trust to Bust

Gerard Baker:

At the heart of America’s political and cultural turmoil is a crisis of trust. In the space of a generation, the people’s confidence in their leaders and their most important institutions to do the right thing has collapsed. The federal government, big business, the media, education, science and medicine, technology, religious institutions, law enforcement and others have seen a precipitous decline.

As public faith in the performance, credibility and integrity of these institutions has collapsed, so too has mutual trust—the social glue that holds the country together. Americans have become suspicious of one another, distrusting their fellow citizens as much as they distrust foreign adversaries.

Think about the controversies that have played out in the past few years—allegations from both parties of stolen elections, false claims by mendacious presidents and other politicians, politically motivated federal law-enforcement decisions, questionable advice and mandates from public-health officials, news coverage that skews in one political direction, a succession of corporate scandals and financial crises, and the various social dysfunctions caused by social media and emerging technologies.

All reflect and exacerbate a climate of deep popular distrust. This rapid loss of confidence is startling and unprecedented. It has ominous implications for the cohesion, prosperity and even survival of the U.S. Trust is the essential feature that allows society to function—more important the more modern and complex society grows.

Politics and reduced school choice: Wisconsin Democrat Party Edition

Will Flanders:

Recently, a group of Democrats in the state legislature that includes well-known school choice opponents Chris Larson and Kelda Roys announced a set of bills that would effectively bring educational choice in Wisconsin to an end.  Despite growing public support that includes more than 70% of Wisconsinites overall and even a majority of Democrats, these legislators would see the state move in a different direction.  There is no need for equivocation: these bills would bring school choice to an end for Wisconsin families. But that is not the only negative outcome. Below, we highlight the major implications of these bills, and why they are wrongheaded.  


Under LRB-4295, new private schools would be prohibited from entering the state’s school choice programs, and no new students would be allowed to enter—leading to an end to the programs over time. More than 48,000 students across Wisconsin rely on the Milwaukee, Racine, and Wisconsin Parental Choice programs to fund their education. All of these families are below 300% of the federal poverty limit. Outside of Milwaukee and Racine, they are all below 220% of the federal poverty limit. The majority of these families come from minority backgrounds as well. The chart below shows the share of participants who are black or Hispanic using the most recent report card data in comparison to public school percentages.

k-12 $pending and outcome Commentary

Lindsey Burke:

Two years ago, Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Jay Greene was retained
by the state of New York to write an expert report as part of its defense in New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights, et al. v. The State of New York.1 The Heritage Foundation is now able to publish that report, enabling Americans to see the evidence debunking the claim that increasing education spending generally leads to improved student outcomes.

This claim has become almost a matter of consensus among education policy research- ers, more than 450 of whom signed a group letter stating, “Research is abundantly clear that money matters for student achievement and other important life outcomes, and this is especially the case for low-income students.”2 That sentence contains four citations, all of which refer to research conducted by Kirabo Jackson, an economics professor at North- western University. Jackson also served as an expert witness in New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights, et al. v. The State of New York, but on behalf of the plaintiffs. The report reproduced below by Jay Greene is a rebuttal of Jackson’s claims about the effects of increasing school spending.

Special interests, speech and software

Scott Wong, Frank Thorp V and Ryan Nobles

“I think the idea that it is some great breakthrough to hear from the biggest monopolists in the world — and that they are going to share with us their great wisdom — I just think the whole framework is wrong,” said Hawley, who announced a bipartisan AI framework with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“You got to take it with a grain of salt. You got to realize that they’re interested parties, right? They stand to make a lot of money on this, which is fine,” he continued, “but you got to know that I just think the whole framing that ‘Oh, aren’t we so graced by their presence?’ — I mean, give me a break. These people are — they’ve done bad things for our country.”

Sweden brings more books and handwriting practice back to its tech-heavy schools

Charlene Pele:

 As young children went back to school across Sweden last month, many of their teachers were putting a new emphasis on printed books, quiet reading time and handwriting practice and devoting less time to tablets, independent online research and keyboarding skills.

The return to more traditional ways of learning is a response to politicians and experts questioning whether the country’s hyper-digitalized approach to education, including the introduction of tablets in nursery schools, had led to a decline in basic skills. 

Swedish Minister for Schools Lotta Edholm, who took office 11 months ago as part of a new center-right coalition government, was one of the biggest critics of the all-out embrace of technology.

The minister announced last month in a statement that the government wants to reverse the decision by the National Agency for Education to make digital devices mandatory in preschools. It plans to go further and to completely end digital learning for children under age 6, the ministry also told The Associated Press. 

Although the country’s students score above the European average for reading ability, an international assessment of fourth-grade reading levels, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, highlighted a decline among Sweden’s children between 2016 and 2021.

Simulating History

Benjamin Breen:

In the long term, I suspect that LLMs will have a significant positive impact on higher education. Specifically, I believe they will elevate the importance of the humanities. 

If this happens, it will be a shocking twist. We’ve been hearing for over a decade now that the humanities are in crisis. When faced with raw data about declining enrollments and majors like this and this, it is difficult not to agree. From the perspective of a few years ago, then, the advent of a new wave of powerful AI tools would be expected to tip the balance of power, funding, and enrollment in higher education even further toward STEM and away from the humanities. 

But the thing is: LLMs are deeply, inherently textual. And they are reliant on text in a way that is directly linked to the skills and methods that we emphasize in university humanities classes. 

What do I mean by that? One of the hallmarks of training in history is learning how to think about a given text at increasingly higher levels of abstraction. We teach students how to analyze the genre, cultural context, assumptions, and affordances of a primary source — the unspoken limits that shaped how, why, and for whom it was created, and what content it contains.

Almost half the students in Fort Worth schools can’t read at grade level

Dang le

Fort Worth resident Maria Gonzalez knew her daughter’s grades were off. 

Gonzalez’s 8-year-old daughter, Citlalic, got perfect scores at school. Her teacher said she was doing great. 

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But Gonzalez knew something else from observation — her daughter couldn’t read. 

“I guess I was just, in a way, making it easier for me, because I was just going through what they were telling me,” she said.  

Gonzalez was among about three dozen parents who flew balloons at Ella Mae Shamblee Library to mourn Fort Worth’s low literacy rate. Only 44% of students across all school districts and charters in the city of Fort Worth are reading at grade level. The next day, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker proclaimed Sept. 8 as International Literacy Day in the city.

Fort Worth is committed to students’ success by creating youth library programming, providing free community Wi-Fi in underserved neighborhoods and providing safe walking routes to schools, Parker said.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

‘Farewell MPD’: A Madison Police Officer’s Epic Letter to Colleagues

Jim Piwowarczyk & Jessica McBride

I have deep concerns for the future of this department and its ability to retain the most valuable resource it doesn’t know it has: the experienced and proficient officers and immediate supervisors who serve the community every day by responding to calls for service. You know who you are, you are the ones who do more than just show up.

I know that you do these things while balancing the standards that you hold for yourselves with the expectations placed on you by the department and the community. You are tasked with providing a high quality of service to the community with respect, dignity and proficiency; core values of this department.

However, more often than not, those same tenets are not afforded to you. The nature of this job is that you are asked to lay your lives on the line and take significant risks that involve the assertion of lawful authority in the scope of what we have been trained and sworn to do. In the event that we must take those risks, regardless of the outcome of our mission, the potential to be put under review or offered discipline is so great that it often overshadows the risk in the first place.

Taxpayer funded federal Lawfare and the New College

Christopher Rufo

Last week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into New College of Florida, where I serve as a trustee, regarding alleged “disability discrimination.”

The investigation was prompted by a complaint by ACLU attorney Jennifer Granick, alleging that the college’s trustees and administrators violated civil rights law by removing “gender neutral” signage from bathrooms, defunding the DEI and gender studies programs, and “misgendering” the former DEI director and a former student, who use “ze/zir” and “they/them” pseudo-pronouns, respectively. According to the complaint, these actions constitute discrimination “based on perceived disability and gender prejudice.”

As a tactical matter, the complaint is a clear attempt to disrupt the conservative reforms at New College, which represent a threat to the Left’s hegemony over higher education. Since January, when the new board of trustees was announced, New College has secured record funding from the state legislature, begun a campus-wide renovation, launched a new core curriculum, and recruited the largest incoming class in the college’s history. For left-wing activists, who had previously considered New College as an outpost for social-justice activism, this state of affairs—conservative leaders implementing conservative reforms—was intolerable. They might chant for “democracy” in theory, but, in practice, they are more than willing to use anti-democratic tools to restrict any democratic action that might undermine their cultural power.

The Kentucky Welding Institute announced its first-ever female student to become a part of the $100K club.

Dawn Floyd:

Rhiannon Howard graduated in October 2021, and did not realize until this year that she made $100,000 in her first year of work, she said.

This club is already exclusive and to be a part of it you must earn $100,000 your first year out of KWI. Howard explained she showed her pay stubs as proof to KWI and joined the club.

When joining the $100K Club, your old welder hood gets hung in a place of honor on the wall at KWI and the new club member receives a new hood.

Director of the KWI welding program, Ashley Applegate, said Howard is now part of the ‘golden arms’ and made a special mention of Howard as the first female to be a part of the $100K Club when addressing students at a recent event.

“The $100K Club is something we implemented in our first year. That welding trade school graduates can make $100,000 in their first year is like a myth to some people but when we had our first student make $108,000 in their first year we decided that we wanted to do something special, that’s why we retire their old hood and give them a new hood to make their next $100,ooo with,” Applegate said.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Washington’s “Fiscal Irresponsibility”

David Malpass

But the central bank has become part of the growth problem—in part because of policy changes after the 2008-09 financial crisis. Today’s Fed is silent on, or even enables, inflationary fiscal policies. After 2008 the central bank began paying interest on trillions of dollars borrowed from banks and money-market funds—it will pay more than $23 billion in September alone. The Fed bought huge tranches of government bonds as if it were a hedge fund, exposing taxpayers to massive losses when rates eventually came back up. The bond buying heavily subsidized Washington and other elite bond issuers but contributed directly to the global wave of inequality and excess government debt. At the same time, the Fed greatly intensified its regulatory control over bank lending, pushing banks away from the short-term working capital lending needed for robust growth. 

In essence, the central bank is picking winners and losers. The New York Federal Reserve Bank’s April Open Market Operations report describes a plan to buy trillions more in government bonds, further entwining fiscal and monetary policy, concentrating capital, and channeling it to one of the biggest winners—government.

Present policy envisions high short-term interest rates, permanent central-bank ownership of bonds, and silence on the dollar and fiscal policy. We need the opposite. Rather than setting rates even higher—or, worse, changing the inflation target from 2% to 3%—the Fed should create a path to rate cuts through policies that provide price stability and faster supply growth. This would curb inflation through an economic expansion rather than a contraction.

“the combined impacts of KIPP middle and high schools are dramatic and substantial”

Alicia Demers, Ira Nichols-Barrer and Elisa Steele:

KIPP middle schools had a positive impact on enrollment in four-year college programs, but the effect was not statistically significant.

Among our first two cohorts, for whom we can observe college persistence patterns for five years, students who received an admission offer to a KIPP middle school graduated from a four-year degree program, or were on-track to graduate, at rates similar to those of students not offered admission.
Students who received an admission offer to a KIPP middle school usually attended a KIPP middle school, and many went on to attend a KIPP high school.

Attending both a KIPP middle school and a KIPP high school had large, positive impacts on students’ college enrollment and college persistence rates.
KIPP middle and high schools also had a large and statistically significant combined effect on college graduation rates.

Previous research on KIPP high schools and interviews with KIPP college support staff suggest that these findings may be driven by the college preparatory culture at network high schools, as well as college-related supports delivered to KIPP high school students and alumni.

Notes on Mississippi’s reading progress

Bezos WaPo:

“[A]n analysis homing in on the inaugural group of Mississippians subject to the state’s rule concluded that repeating third grade resulted in significantly higher reading scores in sixth grade — with Black and Hispanic students showing particular improvement…. [But i]t is impossible to disentangle retention itself from all that comes with it… after-class tutoring, for example, or specialized instruction during the school day… In Mississippi, literacy coaches have been painstakingly selected, trained and monitored by the state and dispatched to perform one job: supporting teachers as they learn, and learn to teach, the science of reading…. [R]etention done absent such a strategy is retention done wrong — and it might hurt more than it helps. That’s why obsessing over retention as some sort of magic solution to learning loss is the wrong approach….”


“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

Governance, DIE staffing and spending commentary

Heika Mrema:

A New Hampshire university president recently wrote that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs benefit higher education, but some scholars argue that evidence suggests otherwise.

Plymouth State University President Donald L. Birx argues in an opinion editorial published Aug. 28 that DEI programs equip students with the skills needed to ‘advance’ the United States, and lawmakers imposing restrictions should ‘think twice.’

“By incorporating diversity of thinking, background, and culture in a positive way as part of the college experience, we’re preparing students to be creative leaders who know how to work with others and have the skills to advance our nation,” Birx writes. 

Birx, a former vice president for research and professor of physics in New Mexico says that significant developments occur when diverse ideas come together and that the same concept can be applied to DEI.

National populism as a response to Anywhere arrogance

Helen Dale & Lorenzo Warby:

The working class has been squeezed out of active political participation—literally so in the House of Commons, which has seen the number of MPs with working-class backgrounds dwindle.

This divide between different types of capital3
interacts uneasily with another social divide. That divide—to use social analyst David Goodhart’s formulation—is between progressive Anywheres (around a quarter of the population) and locality-centred Somewheres (around half the population). That is, folk whose professions and connections are not anchored in a particular locality—and have networks that regularly cross national boundaries—and those whose lives, jobs and connections are much more centred on their local communities.

Government citizen tracking

William Arkin

That surprising nugget is quietly revealed in the Department of Homeland Security‘s latest Annual Performance Report, which not only talks about the enormous growth in the number of people in “trusted traveler” programs—TSA Pre and Global Entry—but also the number of those travelers who have been kicked out of the program. The reason? The Department vets more than seven million travelers every day, looking for derogatory information or other information that might indicate changes in “risk” status, and thus disqualify people for expedited travel. Travelers with neither Global Entry nor TSA PreCheck are still vetted against the watch list and no-fly list. Even those flying on domestic flights are checked

“Sustainable development goals”

Harry Waters

Just over seven years ago the United Nations developed the 2030 agenda. The central theme of this agenda was the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But what are the SDGs? Why are they relevant to my English classroom? And how can I incorporate them into the curriculum? 

Let’s take a look at how, when and why we should be using the Sustainable Development Goals. We’ll change them from simply being a poster on the wall to being an effective learning tool and look at how to genuinely encourage students to engage in and connect with the 17 SDGs.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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 Government Censored Me and Other Scientists. We Fought Back—and Won.

Jay Bhattacharya:

Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the American government violated my free speech rights and those of my scientist colleagues for questioning the federal government’s pandemic policies. 

My parents had taught me that people here could criticize the government, even over matters of life and death, without worry that the government would censor or suppress us. But over the past three years, I have been robbed of that conviction. American government officials, working in concert with big tech companies, have attacked and suppressed my speech and that of my colleagues for criticizing official pandemic policies—criticism that has been proven prescient. 

On Friday, at long last, the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that we were not imagining it—that the Biden administration did indeed strong-arm social media companies into doing its bidding. The court found that the Biden White House, the CDC, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, and the FBI “engaged in a years-long pressure campaign [on social media outlets] designed to ensure that the censorship aligned with the government’s preferred viewpoints.” 

The judges described a pattern of government officials making “threats of ‘fundamental reforms’ like regulatory changes and increased enforcement actions” if we did not comply. The implication was clear. To paraphrase Al Capone: Nice company you have there. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.

It worked. According to the judges, “the officials’ campaign succeeded. The platforms, in capitulation to state-sponsored pressure, changed their moderation policies.”

Civics: “The country hosted the Anon interception server for the FBI, and then provided Anom’s messages to American authorities every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday”

Joseph Cox:

That country “requested its participation be kept confidential,” according to a document I previously obtained. The document said the third country was a European Union member but did not name the country itself. “The FBI is neither now nor in the future in a position to release the identity of the aforementioned third country,” the document added.

That country was Lithuania, 404 Media has learned from a source briefed on the operation but who did not work on it on the U.S. side.

The revelation provides important clarity on the complex technological and legal arrangements that facilitated the largest law enforcement sting operation in history, where more than 9,000 law enforcement officers sprung into action on June 7, 2021 as part of the globally coordinated arrests of many of Anom’s criminal users. Recently, defense lawyers in the U.S. have argued that they need to know the identity of the third country in order to scrutinize the legality of evidence collected against their clients. The government has so far not provided that information to defense teams.

Stacy Davis Gates wants choice for her son, but not for everyone else.

Wall Street Journal:

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates has called school choice racist and made it her mission to kill an Illinois scholarship program for low-income children. So how did Ms. Gates try to explain herself this week after press reports that she has enrolled her son in a private Catholic high school?

“Dear Union Sibling,” began her email to fellow teachers. She said that black students have “limited” options on the city’s south and west sides: “It forced us to send our son, after years of attending a public school, to a private high school so he could live out his dream of being a soccer player while also having a curriculum that can meet his social and emotional needs.”

Ms. Gates’s desire to do what’s best for her child is laudable. What’s not is to do that while denying other families the same choice. The school where her son is enrolled reportedly costs her $16,000 a year. What about those who can’t afford such a school? Illinois’s Invest in Kids program funds about 9,000 scholarships, and last year it had 31,000 applications. But the program is scheduled to sunset, and that’s exactly what the teachers unions have demanded.

“Here is the truth: If you are a Black family living in a Black community, high-quality neighborhood schools have been the dream, not the reality,” Ms. Gates’s email says. There’s no arguing about that. For some schools on the south side, the percentage of students who can read or do math at grade level is in the single digits. But then she insists, as the teachers unions always do, that the answer is spending yet more money to “undo the decades of systemic underinvestment.”

DPI ‘equity’ speakers talk revolution; Wisconsin parents just want their kids to be able to read

Patrick Mcilheran:

The series of day-long webinars, four per school year, is an initiative of the DPI, the regulator of every Wisconsin school. The agency says it doesn’t necessarily endorse everything said by every one of the academics it invites, but since racial equity is the first quality it mentions in its mission statement, one can see why 2,500 people signed up last school year to hear what was said under the sponsorship of the agency that controls Wisconsin teachers’ licenses.

One clear theme is the installing of a new definition of racism, one most Americans do not agree with, one that says racism isn’t an injustice committed by an individual who treats some people worse on account of their skin but, rather, the inescapable structure of American society.

This “structural racism” idea — “Racism Without Racists,” to quote the title of a book by one of the series’ regular speakers — leads to some remarkable conclusions.

It means, said the book’s author, Duke University sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, that when white people don’t racially discriminate, it’s “color-blind racism,” a “covert, subtle or even unconscious” evil.

Next spring, the series will feature Ibram X. Kendi, the best-selling author who preaches that society must go out of its way to treat some people worse than others on account of their race, to make things even. In January, it features Robin DiAngelo, famous for accusing any objectors to such a new order of being afflicted with “white fragility.” She’ll discuss her latest book, which says white Americans who try hard to treat minorities fairly are really “nice racists” who, if they avoid giving offense, are guilty of racist “carefulness.”

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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?

Governor Glenn Youngkin Grants Pardon to Loudoun County Dad Whose Daughter was Sexually Assaulted in Public School

Virginia Governor

“Scott Smith is a dedicated parent who’s faced unwarranted charges in his pursuit to protect his daughter. Scott’s commitment to his child despite the immense obstacles is emblematic of the parental empowerment movement that started in Virginia,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In Virginia, parents matter and my resolve to empower parents in unwavering. A parent’s fundamental right to be involved in their child’s education, upbringing, and care should never be undermined by bureaucracy, school divisions or the state. I am pleased to grant Scott Smith this pardon and help him and his family put this injustice behind them once and for all.” 

In his commitment to the parents and students of Loudoun County, the Governor issued an executive order on his first day in office to initiate an investigation into the sexual assaults in Loudoun County. Following the Attorney General’s incriminating investigation into the sexual assault cover-up, Superintendent Ziegler has been fired. Under Governor Youngkin’s leadership and actions, Loudoun County parents are getting the accountability and transparency they deserve.

Google redraws maps based on who is looking:

Greg Bensinger:

For more than 70 years, India and Pakistan have waged sporadic and deadly skirmishes over control of the mountainous region of Kashmir. Tens of thousands have died in the conflict, including three just this month.

Both sides claim the Himalayan outpost as their own, but Web surfers in India could be forgiven for thinking the dispute is all but settled: The borders on Google’s online maps there display Kashmir as fully under Indian control. Elsewhere, users see the region’s snaking outlines as a dotted line, acknowledging the dispute.

Computer Science from the Bottom Up

Ian Wienand

In a nutshell, what you are reading is intended to be a shop class for computer science. Young computer science students are taught to “drive” the computer; but where do you go to learn what is under the hood? Trying to understand the operating system is unfortunately not as easy as just opening the bonnet. The current Linux kernel runs into the millions of lines of code, add to that the other critical parts of a modern operating system (the compiler, assembler and system libraries) and your code base becomes unimaginable. Further still, add a University level operating systems course (or four), some good reference manuals, two or three years of C experience and, just maybe, you might be able to figure out where to start looking to make sense of it all.

The Strange Numbers That Birthed Modern Algebra

Charlie Wood:

Imagine winding the hour hand of a clock back from 3 o’clock to noon. Mathematicians have long known how to describe this rotation as a simple multiplication: A number representing the initial position of the hour hand on the plane is multiplied by another constant number. But is a similar trick possible for describing rotations through space? Common sense says yes, but William Hamilton, one of the most prolific mathematicians of the 19th century, struggled for more than a decade to find the math for describing rotations in three dimensions. The unlikely solution led him to the third of just four number systems that abide by a close analog of standard arithmetic and helped spur the rise of modern algebra.

The real numbers form the first such number system. A sequence of numbers that can be ordered from least to greatest, the reals include all the familiar characters we learn in school, like –3.7, √5 and 42. Renaissance algebraists stumbled upon the second system of numbers that can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided when they realized that solving certain equations demanded a new number, i, that didn’t fit anywhere on the real number line. They took the first steps off that line and into the “complex plane,” where misleadingly named “imaginary” numbers couple with real numbers like capital letters pair with numerals in the game of Battleship. In this planar world, “complex numbers” represent arrows that you can slide around with addition and subtraction or turn and stretch with multiplication and division.

Schools are the least economically integrated institution in America

The Economist:

In 1980 roughly 12% of the population lived in places that were especially rich or especially poor. By 2013, one-third did. That made local schools less of a melting pot. Meanwhile colleges became a sorting machine for adults. Low and high-wage workers rarely work in the same sectors. And though some high-paid men used to marry their secretaries, they now wed fellow executives whose paychecks resemble their own. An American in the top income quintile might come across people from different backgrounds at the post office or Starbucks, but they are unlikely to encounter an American from the poorest fifth.

In his book, “Coming Apart”, Charles Murray, a political scientist, argued that over the past several decades, upper- and lower-class white people “have diverged so far in core behaviours and values that they barely recognise their underlying American kinship”. That does not bode well for the worse-off. Drawing on a data set of 70m Facebook accounts, Raj Chetty, an economist at Harvard, and his research team found that people who had friends across the economic strata were more likely to finish high school and earn a better salary; girls were less likely to get pregnant as teens. Those inter-class bonds, they found, are far more predictive of a youngster’s chances of escaping poverty than being a member of a civic organisation or volunteering, which previous research identified as drivers of upward mobility.

In theory, Americans ought to encounter each other in public institutions. That a restaurant offering something called “family-style Italian dining” should do a better job might have surprised Andrew Carnegie, who funded 1,700 “palaces for the people” (as he called public libraries) in America, or Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City’s Central Park as a space for rich and poor to congregate.

Another court finds Biden Administration censored the public

US Fifth Circuit:

For the last few years—at least since the 2020 presidential transition—a group of federal officials has been in regular contact with nearly every major American social-media company about the spread of “misinformation” on their platforms. In their concern, those officialshailing from the White House, the CDC, the FBI, and a few other agenciesurged the platforms to remove disfavored content and accounts from their sites. And, the platforms seemingly complied. They gave the officials access to an expedited reporting system, downgraded or removed flagged posts, and deplatformed users. The platforms also changed their internal policies to capture more flagged content and sent steady reports on their moderation activities to the officials. That went on through the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 congressional election, and continues to this day.

Enter this lawsuit. The Plaintiffs—three doctors, a news website, a healthcare activist, and two states1 —had posts and stories removed or downgraded by the platforms. Their content touched on a host of divisive topics like the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine sideeffects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story. The Plaintiffs maintain that although the platforms stifled their speech, the government officials were the ones pulling the strings—they “coerced, threatened, and pressured [the] social-media platforms to censor [them]” through private

Mayor Johnson says the way to grade Chicago schools is how much money we give them


His answer: “I personally don’t give a lot of attention to grades…. My responsibility is not merely to just grade the system but to fund the system. That’s how I am ultimately going to grade whether our public school system is working — based upon the investments we make to the people who rely on it.”

He offered nothing further about how to grade the schools or educational outcomes.

That answer was not an offhand comment taken out of context. It was a thoughtful answer that he explained. See for yourself. The question and answer start at the 47.3 mark in the video of his appearance.

After saying, “I personally don’t give a lot of attention to grades, he went on to explain that, instead, “we have to establish a rubric that speaks to the needs as well as the unique dynamics that exist.” He described some of the special challenges Chicago schools face, and said “but, unfortunately, we have had this standardization of our schools that has sucked out our imagination.” He asked how we can “grade a system when the system has not fulfilled its basic obligation of providing an equitable system that speeks to the needs?”

K-12 Governance Climate: Principal Selection

Elizabeth Stauffer:

Understandably, Murnan’s hiring has caused quite a commotion among parents and district officials alike. The state’s superintendent of education, Ryan Walters, spoke to Fox about what the sane among us see as a crisis. Walters calls the choice of Murnan “unimaginable” and said, “This individual is not fit to lead a school district. It has to stop. … This is the liberal insanity every parent wants out of the classroom.”

Lessons learned from school’s Gadsden flag debacle

Jon Caldera:

There’s a lot to unfold with one Gadsden flag.

The most surprising and disappointing point about this kerfuffle is that, even at a reputable charter school with a classical curriculum, with an emphasis on teaching historic accuracy, staff needs to be schooled by parents that one of America’s founding flags has nothing to do with slavery.

The considerably greater takeaway is parents should record their encounters with school officials. It might be the thing that guarantees an education for your child.

If you missed the story, 12-year-old Jaiden Rodriguez is a student at the Vanguard School in Colorado Springs, a public charter school. His backpack is adorned by many patches including one of the Gadsden flag.

I loved this flag long before it was made popular by the Tea Party movement. Its truly American slogan of “Don’t tread on me” sings to my soul.

Google Chrome user tracking update

Ron Amadeo:

Don’t let Chrome’s big redesign distract you from the fact that Chrome’s invasive new ad platform, ridiculously branded the “Privacy Sandbox,” is also getting a widespread rollout in Chrome today. If you haven’t been following this, this feature will track the web pages you visit and generate a list of advertising topics that it will share with web pages whenever they ask, and it’s built directly into the Chrome browser. It’s been in the news previously as “FLoC” and then the “Topics API,” and despite widespread opposition from just about every non-advertiser in the world, Google owns Chrome and is one of the world’s biggest advertising companies, so this is being railroaded into the production builds.

Health-Insurance Costs Are Taking Biggest Jumps in Years

Anna Wilde Mathews:

Health-insurance costs are climbing at the steepest rate in years, with some projecting the biggest increase in more than a decade will wallop businesses and their workers in 2024.

Costs for employer coverage are expected to surge around 6.5% for 2024, according to major benefits consulting firms Mercer and Willis Towers Watson, which provided their survey results exclusively to The Wall Street Journal.

Such a boost could add significantly to the price tag for employer plans that already average more than $14,600 a year per employee, driving up health-insurance costs that are among the biggest expenses for many American companies and a drain on families’ finances.

Employers worry the hike might signal a new trajectory, with health costs resuming the rapid upward march of the early 2000s. Now, though, big increases would come on top of a total annual cost per covered family that is often equivalent to the purchase price of a small car. These increases come at a time when employers are reluctant to add to out-of-pocket charges that have left some of their workers in debt or unable to get care they needed.

“It’s much worse than we’ve seen over the last decade,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, chief executive of the Purchaser Business Group on Health. “It comes out of wages and core business.”

“The number of administrators in UW System increased 47% last year alone, while enrollment declined”


While the numbers of administrators increased, instructional faculty and staff have decreased.

Years of DEI focus has pushed down enrollment of white students so they are now underrepresented.

Unrestricted PR balances are higher than they were when the legislature uncovered the secret slush fund a decade ago.

Admissions changes have brought in more underprepared students and increased remediation expenses.

State GPR support per UW student has increased at a faster rate than state budget spending.

The three campuses looking at layoffs and furloughs all increased their administrative staffing over 50% while enrollments declined.

UW System President Jay Rothman, warned during budget deliberations that 11 of 13 campuses are running a cumulative deficit of nearly $60 million and they were in desperate need of a large increase in state funds. This is the same guy who hired a new, cabinet-level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion VP in the middle of these same budget deliberations where he was begging for cash, when legislators had made it clear that DEI indoctrination spending was not on their priority list and they wanted to see DEI positions cut.

Rothman is just another in a long line of System leaders who make it their business to cry poverty and blame legislators – who they hold in clear contempt, though some are better at hiding it than others – for driving the institution into poverty and disrepute.

This year, the UW requested a $436 million increase in tax dollars; Governor Evers’ massive budget provided only $306 million more. The legislature kept funding steady, withholding $32 million that the UW is spending on a raft of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) staff, pending a report to the finance committee.

“I will get teared up because I think I can’t read,” fourth grader Raven said.

Arthur Jones II, Tal Axelrod, and Jay O’Brien

Learning to read isn’t fair.

It comes naturally for some students. But for others it’s a frustrating, agonizing process that, if left unaddressed, can cause long-standing academic problems.

Ask D’Mekeus Cook Jr., a fourth grader from Louisiana, who was reading at a kindergarten level when he started second grade two years ago. Or Journey, another fourth grader from Ohio, who said when she comes across an unfamiliar word it makes her feel “sad.” They have both struggled to read — and they’re not alone.

A combination of under-funded schools, educator shortages, inadequate teacher preparation and months of lost learning due to pandemic school closures have caused a resurgence of concern about kids’ reading ability. But Department of Education data reviewed by ABC News show this reading problem has persisted in America for decades.

According to the Education Department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” roughly one-third of American fourth graders read at or below what’s considered the basic level. This has been the case since 1992.

Scores slightly increase as students get older, but not by much. In eighth grade, about one-fourth of students do not read at what’s considered the basic achievement level. That percentage stays about the same for high schoolers.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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”

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

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.

“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: Biden Administration censorship violated the first amendment

Brittany Bernstein:

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social-media platforms to censor posts about Covid-19 and elections. 

The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling says that the White House likely “coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences.” The panel of three judges found that the administration “significantly encouraged the platforms’ decisions by commandeering their decision-making processes, both in violation of the First Amendment.”

A lower court previously placed restrictions on the Biden administration’s communications with social-media platforms; those restrictions applied to a number of government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Department, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

After temporarily blocking the order, the Fifth Circuit judges have now modified the order to apply only to the White House, the surgeon general, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI.

“An emphasis on adult employment”; the implications

Karol Markowicz

The lives of our children were destroyed by lockdowns — and long lockouts — from school during the pandemic.

This policy was largely forced through by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. 

But we now know that President Biden and his wife-teacher, Jill Biden, were the ones who overruled their own medical experts to give Weingarten what she wanted — and threw American kids out the window.

It begins on the administration’s first day, when Jill Biden invited Weingarten and Becky Pringle, head of the National Education Association, to the White House, telling them, “I told you I was going to bring you with me to the White House. And on day one, you’re here,” according to a new book by Atlantic staff writer Franklin Foer, “The Last Politician.”

There they were, making sure kids didn’t get to have an education.

Foer is, of course, a partisan Democrat, and the portrayal of the Biden White House is comical in its friendliness. 

In retelling the story of Jill meeting with two women, Foer repeats the disgusting canard, “In upper-middle-class neighborhoods . . . there was a sense that the unions were acting in a spirit of selfishness.”

That’s obviously a joke. Upper-middle-class people, in areas unlucky enough to be under teachers unions’ thumb, had every option available to their children.


“Beware of legacy practices (most of what we do every day is the maintenance of the status quo), @12:40 minutes into the talk – the very public institutions intended for student learning has become focused instead on adult employment. I say that as an employee. Adult practices and attitudes have become embedded in organizational culture governed by strict regulations and union contracts that dictate most of what occurs inside schools today. Any impetus to change direction or structure is met with swift and stiff resistance. It’s as if we are stuck in a time warp keeping a 19th century school model on life support in an attempt to meet 21st century demands.”

Curated Education Information