TV News Covered British Royal Visit 5,668% More Than Largest Academic Strike in U.S. History

Adam Johnso:

NBC News dedicated 39 minutes to the royal visits, ABC News 20 minutes, CBS news 12 minutes, and CNN 25 minutes. (Note: These figures do not include ABC, NBC, and CBS’s online only streaming platforms. If it did the number would likely be much greater.) Both Harry and William took separate trips to Boston, which producers at America’s leading TV news networks determined was of urgent and top news priority. NBC News and The Today Show, in particular, covered each and every move of the Princes’ visit like they were the moon landing. 

It wasn’t just puffy morning shows either. Ostensibly hard news programs like NBC Nightly News ran two different segments on the Royal visits. ABC World News Tonight ran two segments, and CBS Evening News ran three. None of the network evening news shows have mentioned the California academic strike at all.

The strike, which is now entering its 22nd day, has seen over 48,000 teaching assistants, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and other university workers demanding minimum living wages amidst a crushing California housing crisis. In a recent union survey, according to the New York Times, “92 percent of graduate student workers said housing consumed more than a third of their income. For 40 percent of them, it was more than half.” Yesterday, 17 strikers were arrestedstaging a sit-in in the lobby of the UC president’s office in Sacramento.

Comparing College Return on Investment

Will-Law:

Student loan forgiveness has been a major topic of debate in the United States in recent years. While many students face crippling debt, taxpayers argue that this debt is not the responsibility of those who did not take out the loans. Meanwhile, the college and universities that have encouraged students to take on this debt are largely ignored, creating another generation of heavily indebted students.

“Far more interesting are Woke’s own delusions”

David Rieff:

For the Woke sincerely and passionately believe themselves to be redeeming culture, the humanities, and, increasingly the STEM fields as well, both ethically and intellectually. What this blinds them to is that in reality they are the humanities’ death rattle. This is not because, as many of Woke’s critics are pleased to imagine, that Woke are the humanities’ executioners. Rather, it is because in a world where the universities have either become or are becoming trade schools, and where the past is considered only of interest insofar as it is relevant to the present, Woke plays an extremely important role, though in fairness, largely an unwitting one, in providing the ethical grease to ease this transition.

It is the idealization of relevance that is behind victory of the idea that the most important thing art and culture can do is equitably represent communities, rather than inspire something that transcends both communities and individuals. In practical terms, within the subsidized world of the academic-philanthropic-cultural complex this explains why relevance is more and more prized over excellence on moral and ethical grounds. A representative statement of this view came from the Arts Council England’s deputy chief executive for arts and culture, Simon Mellor, who stated categorically that, “Relevance not excellence will be the new litmus test for funding.” It its a view seconded by the Arts Council director of music, Claire Mera-Nelson, who insisted that, “It is sometimes more important to think about audience opportunity than it is to always prioritize the quality of the platform.”*

The problem here is not that what has mass appeal is always junk whereas what appeals only to the few is always good. To say this would mere snobbery, and too much of the critique of Woke is just that: snobbery. But what is true is that understanding certain kinds of art, just like engaging with certain forms of spiritual practice – Zen meditation is an obvious example here – and, of course, attaining athletic excellence, are very difficult things to do, and take a great deal of time, effort, and commitment. There is an old Buddhist joke about the student who goes to the Roshi and says, “Master, how long until I find enlightenment?” The master thinks, and then replies, “Ten years.” Aghast, the pupils cries out, “Ten years??” To which the Roshianswers, “Twenty years.”

Denver k-12 Governance reform (choice) outcome commentary

Jenny Brundin:

Denver’s controversial decade-long embrace of school choice and accountability led to some of the largest academic improvements in education research history, according to a University of Colorado Denver study.

The authors of the study argue argue that the results imply it is possible to improve public education on a large scale using the reform strategy adopted by Colorado’s largest district from 2008 to 2019 — a strategy they say relied on school choice and competition, closing low-performing schools, empowering educators, and holding everyone accountable for test results.

“Did the reforms launched by Denver Public Schools improve student achievement district-wide, for the average DPS student? The answer is unequivocally yes,” said Parker Baxter, director of CU Denver’s Center for Education Policy analysis.

The study was funded by Arnold Ventures, which invests in evidence-based research and solutions in the areas of criminal justice, education, health and public finance.

It shows that DPS, despite having a larger population with much higher needs than other districts, improved at a much faster rate than other large districts and other low-performing districts in Colorado.

High school graduation rates went up 14 percentage points, and between 2008 and 2019, DPS students received about 1 to 1.5 years of additional schooling compared to students at other large and low-performing districts.

Twitter Comes of Age

Tyler Cowen:

Twitter has reached some all-time highs in the last month.  The first was the coverage of FTX/SBF.  Some of the early MSM coverage was oddly exculpatory, while other pieces seemed pedestrian.  On Twitter, AutismCapital and others tore up a storm.  Every day one learned something exciting, almost unbelievable, and new.  I learned new words such as “polycule.”

The other issue is ChatGPT. At least as of yesterday (when I composed this post), the NYT hadn’t had a single story about it, and I believe the same is true for WaPo. There is Bloomberg, which in general is on top of things, and also I have heard of a single Guardian piece. Wake up people!

Trolling as a service

Vadim Berman:

Low-tech solutions combined with social engineering usually prove the most effective, both from the engagement perspective and the perspective of hosting expenses. A post saying “Fake news” in the comment section of Flipboard is a standard opening move, the King’s Pawn Game of trolling. Someone from the opposite political camp will likely be provoked. Does the article merely cite another article? Maybe it discusses a court decision that can’t be fake news? So what, a stupid remark is even more likely to generate a negative response — and that’s all they want!

How do they know where to post it? One way is to detect a combo of negative sentiment + mention of a particular political figure. Or, with the current partisan political environment, it could be assumed that a particular publication will be negative towards that figure most of the time or all the time, and skip the sentiment analysis altogether.

Today, several off-the-shelf platforms (sold at least to law enforcement agencies) allow managing fake persona, choreographing hardware fingerprint (SIM cards + devices) and generating text content GPT-style based on predefined profiles (e.g. radicals of a certain type). I had a chat with one of the vendors at a law enforcement trade event. I was told, “it’s a headache to manage even two sock puppet accounts. With our platform, you can manage tens of them, and generate content effortlessly”. My impression is that the TrollOps vendors still do not have access to these platforms, but it’s just a matter of time until they gain these capabilities.

Decolonization of the curriculum is the revenge of administrators

Thomas Prosser:

The decolonization of curriculums is growing in popularity. Based on social justice ideology, this agenda stipulates that university curriculums reflect Western prejudices, entailing discrimination against non-Western students and the reinforcement of colonial hierarchies. Supporters argue that curriculums should feature non-Western topics and readings.

Whilst some efforts can be laudable – in certain fields (e.g. history), curriculums could be more diverse – other initiatives can seem bizarre (e.g. mathematics) and/or dangerous (e.g. medicine). Therefore, the agenda raises questions about coalitions within universities and the trajectory of liberal democracy.

Notwithstanding academic demand for such agendas – famously, social justice ideology originated within universities – decolonization programmes have exogenous impetus. Curriculums reflect consensuses within disciplines and, given the slow pace of disciplinary change, profound disruption is more likely to come from external sources. And decolonization takes place in fields in which internal demand seems limited, such as mathematics, suggesting an external provenance.

2022 Lysenko Award

Louis Bonham:

Fall is in the air, which means it’s time to award the annual Minding the CampusTrofim Lysenko Award for the Suppression of Academic Speech (a Lysenko Award, for short).

As detailed in the inaugural award announcement, the Lysenko Award is named after Stalinist agronomist Trofim Lysenko. Like so many in today’s woke colleges and universities, Lysenko discarded the scientific method in favor of his own politicized theories (which happened to coincide with the Marxist concept of materialism). While his agricultural theories were neo-Lamarckian pseudoscience and, predictably, failed (causing millions to die from induced famines), Lysenko compounded matters by denouncing as an enemy of the state anyone who even questioned the veracity of his claims. With dissenters executed, sent to the gulags, or, at best, ruined, no one could point out the obvious: Lysenko’s theories were simply bunk. As a result, Lysenkoism remained official Soviet policy well into the 1960s, and Soviet biological science was set back decades.

As I wrote last year:

Why Are Americans Fleeing Public Schools?

John D. Harden and Steven Johnson

The pandemic transformed the landscape of K-12 education. Some parents withdrew their kids from public school and placed them into private or home schools. Their reasons varied: Many preferred private schools that offered in-person instruction; others distrusted public schools’ pandemic precautions.

It’s not clear whether those trends will stick, and the factors are complex. So far, data show that since 2019, private enrollment is up, public enrollment is down and home schooling has become more popular. Families flocked to private and home schools at the greatest rate in a decade, according to American Community Survey estimates from the U.S. Census. The government projects that K-12 public school enrollment — already facing demographic pressures — will drop further to about 46 million students by fall 2030, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, reversing decades of growth.

The Washington Post Magazine asked parents why they chose private or home schooling, and what the right to control their child’s education means to them. In written responses, many parents said they believed their child’s special needs or abilities were best served in a private school. Others thought public schools focused too much on teaching to standardized tests and not enough on social and emotional learning. Still others wanted to raise their children in the tradition of their faith — the sort of decision at the core of Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

Mississippi Microschools Are Expanding Education Options for Families

Kerry McDonald

We really couldn’t find what we were looking for. We tried several different schools,” added Funchess, who has a master’s degree in computer science and is a certified mathematics teacher. “We decided that if we can’t get the table, we’ll build the table.”

The result is Harper Academy, a mixed-age, K-12 microschool for children who benefit from a smaller school setting with a customized curriculum approach. The microschool currently has 14 students and two classroom teachers, along with Harper and Funchess who serve as administrators while continuing to do their consulting work. Indeed, it’s the consulting business that subsidizes the microschool and makes it more financially accessible to families.

Located in an inviting, home-like setting along a commercial strip, the microschool exudes warmth and happiness. The smiling children, most of whom have learning differences, learn at their own pace, with creative curriculum and state-of-the-art technology. In one language arts lesson, the teacher guided the older elementary and middle school-age children through an “escape the room” writing and critical thinking activity that blended Chromebooks and lively conversations. Meanwhile, a group of younger students in the adjacent classroom were enthusiastically working through a math lesson. They were allowed, and encouraged, to move their bodies as they listened to their teacher, rather than being told to sit still in their seats—something that is difficult for many young children and especially for children who may have an ADHD diagnosis, as many of these microschoolers do.

Funchess’s daughter is one of them. She struggled with ADHD and anxiety, and had been taking medications to treat these conditions. Since beginning Harper Academy over the summer, she no longer needs any medication. “A lot of it was because of her school settings,” said Funchess. “School was a big trigger for her. Here, we make them feel human. My daughter now says that when she’s here, she’s happy.” In addition to being happier, her daughter and the other microschooled children are also excelling academically through this more individualized educational approach.

Most Colleges Give Inaccurate Price Details in Financial-Aid Letters, Federal Report Finds

Melissa Korn:

The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report Monday saying that the aid letters that are supposed to lay out tuition, fees and other expenses, and what grants, loans and other financing options are available to cover those costs, lack crucial information that would allow families to compare institutions. At their worst, some financial aid offer letters lead students to enroll in schools they can’t afford.

One of the most troubling findings from its review, the GAO said, was that 91% of schools don’t properly list their net price, or the amount a student is expected to pay for tuition, fees, room, board and other expenses after taking into account scholarships and grants.

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Studying recent aid offers from a nationally representative sample of 176 colleges, the GAO found 41% of colleges didn’t include a net price, while 50% did offer a figure—but understated the cost by excluding certain items, or by factoring in loans for students and parents that ultimately need to be repaid.

Declining Enrollment amidst ongoing Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Growth

Scott Girard:

The Madison Metropolitan School District can expect its recent enrollment losses to continue, according to new projections.

The School Board discussed projections from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Applied Population Lab Monday during an Instruction Work Group meeting. The reason for the drop is a mix of declining birth rates and increasing rates of students using open enrollment to attend school elsewhere.

The latter point gave board member Laura Simkin a glimmer of hope.

APL’s forecasting models show an average drop of 10% over the next five years, from 25,139 this year to 22,739 by the 2027-28 school year. The lowest projection would have the district at 21,668, while the most optimistic still has a decrease to 23,884.

In the 2018-19 school year, MMSD had 26,916 students, which was similar to the 27,028 it had five years prior. But the district has seen a significant dropoff since the COVID-19 pandemic, losing hundreds of students in each of 2020-21, 2021-22 and this year.

MMSD quantitative analyst Grady Brown pointed out that the district is not alone in its experience over the past few years, noting that the state experienced a 5% decline in public school enrollment from 2009-10 to 2020-21 and 3% decline from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

K-12 tax & spending climate: “taxes are for the little people” edition

Glenn Reynolds:

Well, no problem, you can just tell the IRS that Venmo is wrong, right?

Oh, no. That would be too easy. According to the IRS: “Those who receive a 1099-K reflecting income they didn’t earn should call the issuer. The IRS cannot correct it.”

So if Venmo or PayPal mischaracterizes your nontaxable gifts as taxable income, you have to try to get Venmo or PayPal to change things. Good luck with that. You may wind up having to pay an accountant hundreds or thousands of dollars to straighten out the mess or face an IRS audit.

The threshold used to be $20,000 but was lowered to $600 as part of the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan Act. (No Republicans voted for this monstrosity.) The legislation tightened the screws on the little guy, and that was no accident.

As The Post editorialized in June, “Think about this the next time Elizabeth Warren and AOC whine about the wealthy not paying their share. Yet the legislation they passed goes after hobbyists and little folks trying to earn a few bucks in various side hustles. It’s only going to punish the US economy a bit more: Some will have to charge more to make the work worthwhile; others will quit now that it means more paperwork and taxes.”

Commentary on the taxpayer funded federal education department’s “parent council”

Mary Chastain:

The administration picked “Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and multiple pro-Black Lives Matter groups, including Mocha Moms Inc., United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN), and UnidosUS.”

Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily told Fox News: “We are gratified that Secretary Cardona’s Potemkin village ‘Parents Council’ will be disbanded, because families should never be used merely as props to advance progressive policies. Parental engagement is essential for students to succeed; accordingly, it is critical that ALL voices and perspectives be integrated into any feedback mechanism that the Biden Administration operates – and that the Department of Education respect the rule of law.”

“South Korea recently broke its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rate”

CNN:

“… showed the average number of children a South Korean woman will have in her lifetime is down to just 0.79. That is far below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population and low even compared to other developed countries where the rate is falling, such as the United States (1.6) and Japan – which at 1.3 reported its own lowest rate on record. And it spells trouble for a country with an aging population that faces a looming shortage of workers to support its pension system…. [M]ore than $200 billion has been spent trying to boost the population over the past 16 years…. A monthly allowance for parents with babies up to 1-year-old will increase from the current 300,000 won to 700,000 won ($230 to $540) in 2023 and to 1 million Korean won ($770) by 2024…. Government-funded nurseries are free…”

$809M in taxpayer PPP fund$ to top law firms

Mark Tapscott:

An investigation by Open the Books found that hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars went to top law and accounting firms even though most of them didn’t qualify as small businesses and didn’t have to lay off employees.

Open the Books is a nonprofit watchdog that uses public information laws such as the federal Freedom of Information Act to make government spending public, including “every dime online, in real time.”

Civics: Breaching China’s Censorship System

By Paul Mozur, Muyi Xiao and John Liu

In one video, a man sarcastically sings a patriotic song. In another, a group of protesters hold up blank pieces of paper and chant in unison. In a third clip, a group of mourners light candles around a vigil to those who died in a fire while in lockdown in western China.

Signs of organized dissent are relatively rare in China; so is their survival in the country’s digital space. China’s censorship apparatus — the most sophisticated of its kind in the world — has hunted down and deleted countless posts on social media showing the eruption of protests and anger at the government.

On Wednesday, it was unclear the extent of the protests, in part because of censorship, but new videos emerged of clashes the night before in the southern city of Guangzhou. Workers and residents resisting a Covid lockdown in an industrial district tore down barricades and threw bottles at riot police, as a top official in Beijing was ordering a crackdown on “sabotage activities by hostile forces.”

Yet over the past few days, as Chinese people frustrated by severe Covid lockdowns have taken to the streets, videos of the marches and rallies have continued to surface on Chinese sites such as WeChat, a chat app, and the short video sharing app, Douyin. Experts say the sheer volume of video clips has likely overwhelmed the automated software and armies of censors China has tasked with policing the internet.

Mississippi Microschools Are Expanding Education Options for Families

Kerry McDonald:

The result is Harper Academy, a mixed-age, K-12 microschool for children who benefit from a smaller school setting with a customized curriculum approach. The microschool currently has 14 students and two classroom teachers, along with Harper and Funchess who serve as administrators while continuing to do their consulting work. Indeed, it’s the consulting business that subsidizes the microschool and makes it more financially accessible to families.

Located in an inviting, home-like setting along a commercial strip, the microschool exudes warmth and happiness. The smiling children, most of whom have learning differences, learn at their own pace, with creative curriculum and state-of-the-art technology. In one language arts lesson, the teacher guided the older elementary and middle school-age children through an “escape the room” writing and critical thinking activity that blended Chromebooks and lively conversations. Meanwhile, a group of younger students in the adjacent classroom were enthusiastically working through a math lesson. They were allowed, and encouraged, to move their bodies as they listened to their teacher, rather than being told to sit still in their seats—something that is difficult for many young children and especially for children who may have an ADHD diagnosis, as many of these microschoolers do.

Funchess’s daughter is one of them. She struggled with ADHD and anxiety, and had been taking medications to treat these conditions. Since beginning Harper Academy over the summer, she no longer needs any medication. “A lot of it was because of her school settings,” said Funchess. “School was a big trigger for her. Here, we make them feel human. My daughter now says that when she’s here, she’s happy.” In addition to being happier, her daughter and the other microschooled children are also excelling academically through this more individualized educational approach.

From their experience working in public schools as teachers and consultants, Harper and Funchess say that the educators working in conventional schools try their best and are often hamstrung by institutional constraints, such as rigid curriculum standards and frequent testing. “It’s not the people, it’s how the system was created,” said Harper. “Our philosophy is that we’re doing what’s best for each child, not an institution.”

Civics: Arrest & Prosecution Data – San Francisco Edition

Susie Neilson:

After Brooke Jenkins replaced Chesa Boudin as San Francisco’s district attorney, police ramped up the number of arrests they brought to the District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution by nearly 20%, according to an analysis of data.

The Chronicle compared data from the last four months of Boudin’s term to Jenkins’ first four months, seeking to understand how arrest and prosecution rates have shifted following her appointment. While overall crime rates have not changed significantly, police presented an average of 100 more arrests per month to the D.A. since Jenkins took over in July.

Other than the number of arrests presented to them, few major differences in prosecutorial outcomes between Boudin and Jenkins are detectable yet. San Francisco’s jail population has not grown much; neither have the D.A. office’s conviction, dismissal or overall charging rates. The one case outcome that has shifted significantly is that Jenkins’ office is diverting a smaller share of criminal cases than under Boudin in his final months.

In an interview, Jenkins said she’s expecting the gap between her and Boudin’s case statistics to widen as her policies spread through the city’s criminal justice system.

Below is a breakdown of what has and hasn’t changed under Jenkins.

Why is the taxpayer supported Madison School District losing students?

Dave Cieslewicz:

There has been lots of news out of the Madison School District lately. I’d like to focus on three stories that are interrelated. 

The first is the reinstatement of Sennett Middle School Principal Jeffrey Copeland. I’ve writtenabout that extensively, so I won’t go over the details here, but his return is a good thing. Copeland had been credited with restoring order to his school before he was fired over a minor infraction (if it was any infraction at all) and the School Board had the good sense to reverse an ill-considered decision by the central administration. 

The next story is about the decline in MMSD enrollment. The District is rightly concerned about that and it also understands that it needs to get a better feel for exactly what’s going on. While it’s true that there is something of a baby bust at work here, it’s also true that Madison is growing. The Board needs to get more demographic data to better understand how those two things — a smaller school age cohort nationally but a growing population locally — are interacting. 

And the third story is an ongoing debate about stand alone honors classes. The administration and most of the Board want to eliminate them in favor of honors work that can be done as part of regular classes. The Board had a spirited debate about that last night. 

These things are all related because they go to the health and quality of the Madison public schools. MMSD is losing enrollment in part because more parents are transferring their kids out of the system than into it. The Board wants more data on that. They suggest doing exit and entry interviews to get a better handle on why parents are opting out or in. 

That’s fine, but the net out migration is a key problem. It could be related to lack of discipline and good order in the schools. That’s why putting Copeland back to work was so important. It sends the message that the Board cares about this issue. Now let’s see what Copeland can do in a full semester next year. Maybe he has approaches and answers that can be replicated throughout the District.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Deja Vu: Advocating the Elimination of Honors Classes in the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District

Scott Girard:

West math teacher Sigrid Murphy said that even more recently, in the 2020-21 school year, “30% of the students in geometry at West identified as white while 72% of the students in geometry honors identified as white.” The school’s overall enrollment that year was about 52% white students.

“Within the (West) math department, all of us are completely, 100% behind the district’s plan,” Murphy said.

Those opposed suggest eliminating the classes isn’t the solution — instead, preparing students earlier on in their school careers so they feel ready to take on a challenge is key. Lately, some have also pointed to low reading scores on standardized tests to show that the district may not be doing that.

Laurie Frost, who is part of a group of Madison residents that has pushed the district on literacy in recent years, wrote in an email to the School Board and district administration on honors last month that she is “as concerned about the race-based disparities in enrollment in our honors classes as you are,” but that she has “a different way of understanding why the disparities exist.

“Put simply, the race-based disparity in honors class enrollment is due to the fact that we are not preparing our students of color for honors classes in their pre-high school years,” Frost wrote.

Board president Ali Muldrow suggested the district needs to focus on what outcome it wants, “striving for greater inclusion for all at the most rigorous levels of opportunity for our district.” She, like Frost, pointed out that preparing students for success in advanced high school coursework needs to begin early.

“One of my problems with how we’ve had this conversation over and over again is that we create the achievement gap in elementary school and then we pretend to resolve it in high school,” Muldrow said. “I’m really curious how what we’re doing in elementary school and middle school is going to align with this approach in high school, or if we’re just going to kind of create classrooms where some kids are more successful in a variety of ways than others.”

Associate superintendent of teaching and learning Cindy Green said the district is working on early literacy, full-day 4K and access to the arts, among other initiatives, to do just that.

Another concern from some opponents to the plan has been whether or not classes will be rigorous enough. La Follette High School senior and student representative to the School Board Yoanna Hoskins said she completed earned honors for a history course, and it only required one additional piece of work from the rest of the class.

“It wasn’t hard or anything like that,” Hoskins said.

The plan’s timeline includes updating course catalogs and course selection cards in November 2022, a step Green said they have already taken.

Round and round we go: Once size fits all English 10 in the mid 2000’s.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

“Education media, advocates, and leaders might ask why they lost their voice in the face of a politically complicated set of circumstances where we are talking about fundamental issues of student safety.”

Andrew Rotherham

Over the past year and a half I wrote a few posts on Loudoun Countyand how the “narrative” about it was often at odds with the facts on the ground. From an October 2021 post:

A common response to those posts was the idea this Loudoun controversy was all partisan, it was transphobic, it was much ado about nothing. In fact, the local newspaper, The Washington Post, could barely be bothered to report on it in any depth until today. It was freelance journalist Matt Taibbi – far from a local – who did the most definitive deep dive.

This is the key takeaway from a grand jury report released today about Loudoun’s handling of two sexual assaults:

Civics: “Twitter’s suppression [of the Hunter Biden story] violated the First Amendment principles Brennan articulated in [New York Times v.] Sullivan”

Jonathan Adler and Congressman Ro Khanna:

Twitter banned links to the story and suspended accounts that shared it, including President Trump’s press secretary and the New York Post itself—arguing that the story violated company policy because it contained information obtained through illegal means. Under the same logic, they’d have to suspend any account that posted the Pentagon Papers, which is protected by New York Times Co. v. U.S. (1971), or the story of Mr. Trump’s leaked tax returns.

As Silicon Valley’s representative in Congress, I reached out to Twitter at the time to share these concerns. In an email meant to be private, but recently made public by Matt Taibbi’s “Twitter Files” thread, I wrote to Twitter’s general counsel that the company’s actions “seemed to be a violation of First Amendment principles.” Although Twitter is a private actor not legally bound by the First Amendment, Twitter has come to function as a modern public square. As such, Twitter has a responsibility to the public to allow the free exchange of ideas and open debate.

Unlike many who comment on such controversies, Rep. Khanna recognizes that whether a company like Twitter is legally obligated to respect free speech principles is a seprate question from whether it is desirable or beneficial for it to do so. That Twitter is not required to provide a robust forum for divergent views and perspectives does not mean it should not do so. Put another way, pointing out that Twitter is not bound by the First Amendment is no answer to criticism of Twitter for selectively suppressing speech or information that is disagreeable or disfavored.

The COVID lockdowns were all for naught

Dan Hannan:

No Western politician, as far as I can see, is insulting the protesters. They are not dismissed as selfish or sociopathic, nor as dupes of conspiracy theories. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) captured the mood: “To the people of China — we hear you and we stand with you as you fight for your freedom.”

Broadcasters and columnists who spent 2020 calling anti-lockdowners kooks and criminals are now uncomplicatedly applauding their Chinese counterparts. They see ordinary people standing up against an authoritarian government the anti-COVID policies of which were crushing liberty.

So, what changed? Perhaps pundits tell themselves that the disease is less virulent now, or that vaccination has altered the balance of risk, or that, in some other way, Beijing’s crackdown is less proportionate than those of 2020. But none of these explanations stacks up.

Yes, the coronavirus became less lethal. All viruses that spread through human contact eventually become less lethal because they have an evolved tendency to want to keep their hosts up and active and therefore more infectious. For this to happen, they require a critical mass. Enough people need to be incapacitated or killed by the original version to give milder strains an advantage. And, yes, the vaccines helped, too.

But the trade-offs are essentially the same in China today as they were three years ago — coronavirus deaths versus other deaths. The current unrest was sparked by a fire in Xinjiang, which was allowed to become needlessly deadly because the authorities were following COVID protocols. In other words, they were elevating COVID above other forms of harm.

Most countries did the same in 2020 with, as we now see, disastrous results. The lockdowns did not just cause an economic meltdown from which we will take years to recover. They also failed on their own terms. They killed more people than they saved.

White Liberals Present Themselves as Less Competent in Interactions with African-Americans

Jyoti Madhusoodanan

Dupree and her co-author, Susan Fiske of Princeton University, began by analyzing the words used in campaign speeches delivered by Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to different audiences over the years. They scanned 74 speeches delivered by white candidates over a 25-year period. Approximately half were addressed to mostly-minority audiences—at a Hispanic small business roundtable discussion or a black church, for example. They then paired each speech delivered to a mostly-minority audience with a comparable speech delivered at a mostly-white audience—at a mostly-white church or university, for example. The researchers analyzed the text of these speeches for two measures: words related to competence (that is, words about ability or status, such as “assertive” or “competitive”) and words related to warmth (that is, words about friendliness, such as “supportive” and “compassionate”). 

Warmth, related to intentions towards others, and competence, related to the ability to carry out those intentions, are two fundamental dimensions of how we see others and portray ourselves in social interactions. Stereotypical portrayals of black Americans generally show them as being less competent than their white counterparts, but not necessarily less friendly or warm, Dupree explains.

The team found that Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes. There was no difference in Democrats’ or Republicans’ usage of words related to warmth. “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.” 

With this preliminary evidence in hand, the researchers set out to further test their ideas.

Grand Jury Finds Virginia School Bathroom Rape Handling Worse Than Known, Rips Officials’ ‘Intentional Amnesia’

Luke Rosiak:

Virginia grand jury investigating a public school district’s apparent coverup of the rape of a girl by a male student in a girls bathroom–which made national headlines after a Daily Wire investigation–blasted school officials for their “stunning lack” of transparency and “intentional amnesia” in a much-anticipated report released Monday.

In the fact-finding report, the nine-person Loudoun County panel disclosed for the first time that a teacher’s aide walked into the bathroom while the ninth-grade victim was being raped by her male classmate and saw two pairs of feet under a stall door, but did nothing. The 91-page report called out district officials for a host of lapses that continued long after the initial attack.

“We believe that throughout this ordeal LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS,” the report stated. “This invariably led to a stunning lack of openness, transparency, and accountability both to the public and the special grand jury.”

The report also found that the district concealed the nature of the attack even as the district was preparing to impose a controversial new transgender bathroom policy. After the rape, the student was transferred to another school where he was involved in multiple incidents of misbehavior against girls that were known to officials but, until now, unknown to the public, the report said. Even the rapist’s own grandmother told officials he was a sociopath, but little was done, it said. The rapist soon committed another sexual assault, this time in a classroom.

A

“To which she won an Afghan government scholarship at 16”

Anne Sylvaine-Chassany:

Ghafari was born in Kabul in 1994, the eldest of eight children, to parents who at times supported, at times resisted her getting an education. Before 2001, with girls’ education banned under the first Taliban regime, they sent her to a clandestine school, risking their lives in doing so. After the US-led invasion, Ghafari’s father was transferred to Paktia, a Taliban stronghold near Pakistan. There her parents barred her from going to class after a suicide attack aimed at the school nearly killed her. She attended in secret and ended up in hospital after being caught up in a bombing that killed the provincial governor. Back in Kabul, her parents refused to let her go to Khost university, in eastern Afghanistan, because it would have meant living alone. She had been ready to give up until she learnt about the scholarship in India. When she won it, her father relented.

Civics: “The phrase “I don’t recall” was prominent in Fauci’s deposition. He said it a total of 174 times”

Techno Fog:

For example, Fauci couldn’t remember what anyone said on a call discussing whether the virus originated in a lab:

During that same call, Fauci couldn’t recall whether anyone expressed concern that the lab leak “might discredit scientific funding projects.” He also couldn’t recall whether there was a discussion about a lab leak distracting from the virus response. Fauci did remember, however, that they agreed there needed to be more time to investigate the virus origins – including the lab leak theory.

What else couldn’t Fauci remember? Whether, early into the pandemic, his confidants raised concerns about social media posts about the origins of COVID-19. 

Yet Fauci did admit he was concerned about social media posts blaming China for the pandemic. He even admitted the accidental lab leak “certainly is a possibility,” contradicting his prior claims to National Geographic where he said the virus “could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

‘I do wish our students were more resilient about nasty remarks’

Henry Mance:

Britons have a love-hate relationship with Oxford university. It designed a Covid-19 vaccine, yet oozes academic feuds. It represents aspiration, yet the left see it as elitist and the right as woke. Its attempts to portray itself as a modern university — which needs more public support — jar with the medieval architecture and formal dinners.

Of the 13 postwar prime ministers who undertook higher education, only one did not go to Oxford. Yet Oxford’s academics, who often lead the world, receive potshots from politicians, who usually do not.

Dame Louise Richardson has faced all of this with a direct style that some colleagues find no-nonsense, others find abrasive. When she steps down as vice-chancellor this month, she can claim to leave the university on a high. “We have exploded the myth that Oxford can’t change,” she says, seated in her imposing, impersonal office in the city centre.

Oxford has been named the world’s top university by Times Higher Education in each of Richardson’s seven years in charge. The vice-chancellor, whose academic influence is limited, can’t take credit for that. But she has overseen a financial reset. Faced with a public funding squeeze, Oxford took advantage of low interest rates in 2017, raising £750mn in 100-year bonds, yielding 2.54 per cent. It has also received its “largest gift since the Renaissance” — £185mn from private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman — and created a new graduate college with £80mn from the Reuben brothers. It has also struck a £4bn property dealwith Legal & General.

Civics: “Perceptions of Newsworthiness are Contaminated by a Political Usefulness Bias”

Hal Pashler and Gail L. Heriot

Are people’s perceptions of the newsworthiness of events biased by a tendency to rate as more important any news story that seems likely to lead others to share their own political attitudes? To assess this, we created six pairs of hypothetical news stories, each describing an event that seemed likely to encourage people to adopt attitudes on the opposite side of a particular controversial issue (e.g. affirmative action and gay marriage). In total, 569 subjects were asked to evaluate the importance of these stories ‘to the readership of a generalcirculation newspaper’, disregarding how interesting they happened to find the event. Subjects later indicated their own personal attitudes to the underlying political issues. Predicted crossover interactions were confirmed for all six issues. All the interactions took the form of subjects rating stories offering ‘ammunition’ for their own side of the controversial issue as possessing greater intrinsic news importance.

“An Assessment of the Conventional Global Warming Narrative”

Richard Lindzen:

The Earth’s climate has, indeed, undergone major variations, but these offer no evidence of a causal role for CO₂. For the glaciation cycles of the past 700 thousand years, the proxy data from the Vostok ice cores shows that cooling precedes decreases in CO₂ despite the very coarse temporal resolution (Jouzel et al.,1987, Gore, 2006). Higher temporal resolution is needed to show that warming preceded the increase in CO₂ as well (Caillon et al, 2003). For earlier variations, there is no suggestion of any correlation with carbon dioxide at all, as shown in Figure 9a, a commonly presented reconstruction of CO₂ levels and ‘temperature’ for the past 600 million years or so.

This all leaves us with a quasi-religious movement predicated on an absurd ‘scientific’ narrative. The policies invoked on behalf of this movement have led to the US hobbling its energy system (a process that has played a prominent role in causing current inflation), while lifting sanctions for Russia’s Nordstream 2 pipeline, which was designed to bypass the existing pipeline through the Ukraine used to supply Germany. It has caused much of the European Union to ban exploitation of shale gas and other sources of fossil fuel, thus leaving it with much higher energy costs, increased energy poverty, and dependence on Russia, thus markedly reducing its ability to oppose Mr Putin’s aggressions. … 

Unless we wake up to the absurdity of the motivating narrative, this is likely only to be the beginning of the disasters that will follow from the current irrational demonization of CO₂. Changing course will be far from a simple task. As President Eisenhower noted in his farewell address in 1961: The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

The pursuit of credentials and specialization was a lot more harmful.

Naomi Schaefer Riley:

Mr. Agresto, 76, is a lifelong champion of liberal-arts education—the subject of his new book, “The Death of Learning: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do About It.” It’s an unpopular cause: According to U.S. Education Department data, students who majored in English, history, philosophy, foreign languages or literature constituted only 4% of college graduates in 2020. The number of degrees awarded in each of these disciplines declined by between 15% and 34% between 2012 and 2020, while the total number of degrees rose by 14%.

Many young Americans—old ones, too—don’t see the point of liberal arts: “We are suspicious, because we don’t know what good they are and we don’t know what use they are,” Mr. Agresto says in a Zoom interview. But for those students in Iraq, this was the first time they were “allowed to think about how you build a democracy, or what’s the place of religion in society or what is the role of my having a free and inquisitive mind” while also being “a person who obeys what the imam says. Once they got a taste of the liberal arts, that changed everything.”

Civics: How the 2002 Iraq AUMF Got to Be So Dangerous, Part 1: History and Practice

Scott R. Anderson

For the past two years, Congress has been on the verge of a step that it hasn’t taken in more than half a century: the repeal of an outstanding war authorization. Several decades-old authorizations are nominally on the chopping block. But only one has been the subject of substantial debate: the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Legislation rescinding the 2002 AUMF was among the first House measures introduced in the 117th Congress in 2021. A few weeks later, the Senate reintroduced its own longstanding bipartisan proposal to repeal both the 2002 AUMF and the separate 1991 AUMF that authorized the first Gulf War. A bipartisan House majority voted 268-161 in support of repeal in the summer of 2021. The Biden administration even endorsed the move, providing assurances that it “would likely have minimal impact on current military operations,” as “the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis.” And after holding an additional hearing on the matter, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-8 to favorably report that chamber’s own repeal measure to the broader Senate a few months later.

But since then, progress on the proposal has flagged. Despite discussions among Senate leadership, the Senate proposal has yet to receive a floor vote. Last year, the House incorporated repeal into its version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but the Senate did not, leading the conferees to omit it from the final version that was enacted into law. This year, the same scenario may yet repeat itself: while the House has included repeal in its version of the 2023 NDAA, it’s not yet clear whether a parallel measure will make its way through the complex NDAA process being pursued by the Senate. If it does not, then the robust bipartisan coalition of Senators supporting repeal will have to find another legislative vehicle—or make the difficult case that a freestanding bill warrants some of the extremely limited floor time both chambers have left before this Congress ends. Otherwise, they will have to start the process all over again when the 118th Congress sits in January next year.

“schools have removed classic books from their curriculum, and with it, artistic, thoughtful writing”

Kayley Fryre:

In all education, and life in general, there is nothing more important than writing. From writing school essays and reports to applying for a job, the ability to write well is essential. More than that, in recent years, with the emergence of texting and social media, writing has devolved to be much more casual and lighthearted. While casual writing is not necessarily bad, it harms writing as an art. The beauty of writing seems to be lost, along with great writers like Tolkien, Shakespeare, or Charles Dickens. By reading those classical works of literature, a student expands their vocabulary and writing style.

Part of this problem has to do with the media we consume, but another problem is public school’s approach to writing. In my experience, and those of my friends, schools have removed classic books from their curriculum, and with it, artistic, thoughtful writing. 

In my own life, I have seen the effect public schools have had on my writing capabilities, but only in hindsight. I now realize the forest I was trapped in, and how detrimental it was to my educational health. After all, as a kid, I read plenty on my own, so I never thought anything was wrong. However, my parents also saw it differently. They believed that school should teach children, instead of having children independently teach themselves, or worse, other students. So, they made a decision. 

Once my parents saw the problem of public-school education, they pulled me out and put me in a Classical Homeschool program. Classical curriculums have been around for thousands of years, and it focuses on “training your child’s mind” (homeschoolon.com, Classical Homeschooling Style: What is it and How Does it Work?) The classical curriculum has students read works of literature like the Odyssey, the legends of Beowulf and The Hobbit. Besides that, they study ancient history, Latin, as well as core classes. Learning Latin greatly expanded my knowledge of the English language and its structure. The classical curriculum is almost certainly the reason I enjoy writing and succeeded at it in school.

Why problems with literacy instruction go beyond phonics

Natalie Wexler:

In the debate over Emily Hanford’s podcast “Sold a Story,” two groups have been vocal: those who agree that teachers have been conned into believing most children learn to read without systematic phonics instruction; and those who, like the 58 educators who signed a letter to the editor of the Hechinger Report, respond that Hanford has “reduce[d] the teaching of reading to phonics.”

But there’s a third perspective that needs to be heard if all children are to become fully literate.

Related: Reading Matters: Read Hechinger’s reporting on literacy

I disagree with the contention that Hanford has reduced reading instruction to phonics. She’s acknowledged that comprehension is important. And she deserves enormous credit for revealing that standard instructional methods have left many children unable to decode words.

But I agree with the letter writers that there’smore to the story than Hanford’s podcasts cover. I just don’t think we agree on what that is.

Those who signed the letter ask for “stories of school districts and educators who have seen incredible success using comprehensive approaches to reading instruction.” Given that Lucy Calkins is one of the letter’s signatories, I suspect they mean approaches that include methods of teaching reading comprehension and writing that Calkins herself has long promoted. (Disclosure: The Hechinger Report is an independent unit of Teachers College, Columbia University, where Calkins and several other signatories to the letter serve as professors.)

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Civics: “Manipulated by whom? And to what end?”

Matt Bivens:

Could a single, late-breaking corruption allegation really have dictated a presidential election’s outcome? 

Yes, and it has happened before. The 2020 election was razor close — but four years earlier, in 2016, the election had also been razor close, and many later blamed Hillary Clinton’s loss on the FBI’s last-minute announcement that she was back under investigation for improper handling of official e-mails. Clinton herself, in her memoirs, used a prison metaphor to say FBI Director James Comey “shivved” her; statistician Nate Silver is among those who assert that the Comey surprise cost Clinton the presidency. 

Comey and the FBI were clearly embarrassed and haunted by that possibility — Comey has called it “a nightmare I can’t awaken from” — and making matters worse, many top FBI officials loathed their new and unexpected boss Trump. (Comey in his memoirs says he just assumed Clinton would win.)

So it was Comey’s fault. 

Or maybe it was the Russians? Weeks before Trump’s inauguration, in the final days of the Obama-Biden White House, the intelligence community — meaning, Comey & colleagues — handed down a major report that alleged broad-based Russian interference in our affairs. 

This was the first big public report, the one that kicked off a cottage industry of government publications and investigations about “Russian meddling in our democracy” in the years since. Yet more than half of this grand report was just a prolonged, petulant sulk about ingrates around the world who, on YouTube, seemed to actually prefer English-language Kremlin television over BBC and CNN

In fact, our intelligence community continued, Kremlin-sponsored television had garnered such popularity by reporting on things like fracking damage to the environment and “alleged” Wall Street greed that it was now more popular in London than CNN. (It was still Russia-run television, though: it got very unpopular very quickly after the invasion of Ukraine).

The intelligence community was indignant about all of this, and the FBI, cheered on by a wildly delusional press corps, soon opened a new chapter in the story of American xenophobia. They would spend years investigating (or manufacturing) some ludicrous propositions: that Donald Trump was a Russian sleeper agent; that Russia had compromised the 2016 election by posting a tiny amount of totally obscure clickbait ads of no possible logical significance.

Fast forward to 2020. After years of hyperventilating that Russians are trying to control us through our social media and “hack our elections”, representatives of FBI and CIA now seemed far better placed to do that instead.

Jonathan Turley:

Not unexpectedly, Gadde and Baker would play prominent roles in the suppression of the Hunter Biden scandal. There was hardly a need to round up “the usual suspects” in the suppression scandal when Musk took over the company. Both lawyers swatted down internal misgivings to bury a story that could well have made the difference in the close 2020 election.

The Sad Fate of Girls’ Schools

Kari Jenson Gold:

Not that any of this is unique to Nightingale. Virtually every school in the country—public and private—is in thrall to the DEI gods and woke idealogues. Every day brings a new story of some atrocity in the schools. Brearley, Collegiate, Dalton, Fieldston, Grace Church, Riverdale—each has been the subject of recent articles about the takeover of New York’s private schools. Many were already headed that way in 1999 when we first visited them, but back then, Nightingale seemed immune, so it is doubly painful to watch it go the way of all the others.

What has happened? Well, of course, a great deal. But the seeds for all of this were planted decades ago. Activists have been marching though the academy and all our other institutions, winning battle after battle, while everyone else looks the other way, collaborates, or surrenders.

Which brings me to a moment in 2005, when my daughter was in Class IV. Morning coffee sessions for parents and the headmistress (as we then referred to her) were frequent, and we were attending one of these meetings, sitting in an informal circle and listening to her speak. When she asked whether we had any questions or concerns, I brought up the new photography exhibit on the second floor outside the cafeteria and library. Usually, the space featured art by the girls, but an exception had been made for this show, and it had generated a good deal of behind-the-scenes parental conversation.

The exhibit was titled “Love Makes a Family” and was sponsored by an activist LGBT organization committed to bringing about same-sex marriage. It featured a mostly benign group of portraits showing families with two fathers, two mothers, and a variety of other non-traditional combinations. But one photograph, in particular, had sparked interest. It was of two transgender men. To be clear, these were biological women who had chosen to become “men.”

Bear in mind that Nightingale is in the heart of deep-blue Manhattan. These were liberal parents, most of whom were in favor of gay parenting and wholly supportive of the anodyne statement “Love Makes a Family.” There was, however, some rumbling about the transgender photo, and there was a general feeling that the exhibit, if it belonged at all, should have been on the Upper School floor rather than next to the cafeteria. As I recall, not one of the parents thought the exhibit or its subject appropriate for Classes K-IV.

Madison Sennett’s (restored) principal does not need re-education

David Blaska:

Are we supposed to rejoice that the board of education 12-02-22 unfired the principal of Sennett middle school? How generous! What tender mercies! After three months of banishment and besmirched reputation, Principal Copeland must endure further punishment.

• A letter of reprimand in his P file. 
• Docked three weeks pay. 
• And most humiliating of all — forced to endure re-education camp. Or, as the district calls it, “undergo professional development.”

Who administers this “professional development”? Probably some recent critical race theory graduate. And for what? For questioning whether the district hires based on superficial identity characteristics rather than teaching competency. That is what it comes down to: identity politics. Jeffrey Copeland called them on it and he is being punished for it.

Re-education? For an educator who, for 27 years, served as interim principal, lead administrator, leadership support specialist, instructional leader, asst. principal, and educator in an urban K-12 environment. A doctorate in education.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Why You Should Buy into the ‘Sold a Story’ Podcast

Nat Malkus

Let me get this hard sell on the table right up front: You should listen to “Sold a Story,” a podcast about reading instruction in U.S. schools. After all, you can be concerned that 1 in 3 American fourth graders read below a basic level and still not want a deep dive into how literacy is taught. But “Sold a Story” is about more than a national problem; it’s about a deeply personal struggle experienced by families of all kinds.

In the hands of adept reporter and storyteller Emily Hanford, that deep dive unfolds with crystal clarity, emotional anchors and dramatic cliffhangers to spotlight why many students struggle to read: It is because many schools don’t teach them the specific skills they need to successfully do so.

The podcast’s basic premise is that extremely popular approaches to teaching young kids to read — to decode written words — give short shrift to explicit lessons that connect letters in words to the sounds they represent. In many schools, this explicit phonics instruction is sprinkled into reading lessons, but in woefully inadequate amounts and crowded out by other strategies, including “three-cueing” — which coaches students to use context or pictures to guess what unknown words are. Research, much of it decades old and now called the Science of Reading, shows that systematic phonics instruction is key to helping students become fluent readers. But these other approaches have largely ignored it.

Why? In six episodes, Hanford and her colleague Christopher Peak deftly stitch together the complete picture: an overview of those popular approaches to reading instruction, the national political battle over how to teach literacy and the reading guru whose three apostles, with their billion-dollar publishing company, championed this flawed approach.

Student busing diversity around Madison

Scott Girard:

pandemic-delayed change to Madison middle school start times is now hurting some families’ bank accounts.

With those later start times, which began being implemented in fall 2019, the district planned to shift all middle schools from Madison Metro to yellow buses. But with an ongoing driver shortage for Badger Bus, the switch was put on hold before the final year of implementation.

That left only east siders to work with Metro this school year.

“That’s been delayed understandably because of driver shortages, that’s understandable and that is the situation we’re in,” Sennett Middle School parent Marilee Cronin said. “But the fact of the matter is that the west side families no longer need to rely on Metro.”

West side students didn’t need to worry about bus passes. Yet the rollout of bus passes to ensure east side families didn’t have to spend money was inconsistent, according to parents, with schools clearly not on the same page about the district offering free bus passes.

District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said the district offered free passes for all students who met the criteria for bus transportation: living more than 1.5 miles from their school.

Free speech litigation in Alabama

Jack Applewhite:

The group challenged the permit requirement and argued it violated the 2019 “Alabama Campus Free Speech Act.” University spokeswoman Elizabeth Gibisch has not responded to an email sent in the past week that asked for comment on the ruling.

An ADF attorney updated The College Fix on the status of the lawsuit via email on November 22.

Now that the Alabama Supreme Court has allowed the lawsuit to continue, “the case will proceed on the merits in circuit court,” according to attorney Mathew Hoffmann.

Hoffmann said that ADF was not aware of any plans by the university to change its free speech policies in light of the lawsuit.

K-12 Tax & spending climate-Pentagon’s inability to account for 61% of assets

Ellen Mitchell:

After 1,600 auditors combed through DOD’s $3.5 trillion in assets and $3.7 trillion in liabilities, officials found that the department couldn’t account for about 61 percent of its assets, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Tuesday. 

McCord said the department has made progress toward a “clean” audit in the past year, but later added “we failed to get an ‘A.’” 

“I would not say that we flunked. The process is important for us to do, and it is making us get better. It is not making us get better as fast as we want,” he said. 

This year’s outcome was not unexpected. 

Federal law since the early 1990s requires mandatory audits for all government agencies, and since fiscal year 2013 all but the DOD have been able to satisfy that requirement. 

The sheer size and scope of the department — which makes up for more than half of the U.S. discretionary spending and has assets that range from personnel and supplies to bases and weapons — makes it difficult to audit.

How Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand Found Liberty in an Age of Darkness

CATO

Critics of libertarianism argue that it is an ideology created by and for privileged white men. But the modern libertarian movement was founded and kept alive thanks to the writings and advocacy of three unstoppable women: Isabel Paterson, a literary critic; Rose Wilder Lane, a journalist; and Ayn Rand, a philosophical immigrant.

In 1943, Paterson published The God in the Machine, Lane TheDiscovery of Freedom, and Rand The Fountainhead. These three books changed the course of libertarianism in the United States.

Timothy Sandefur’s new book Freedom’s Furies tells the story of how this trio created a movement based on the principles of individualism and individual rights. Debunking the stereotypes of libertarians, Sandefur shows how these women inspired future generations to fight for freedom.

Please join us for an introduction to Freedom’s Furies by Timothy Sandefur and interim director of Libertarianism.org Paul Meany, followed by a discussion featuring Libertarian activist Carla Howell, Reason Magazine’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown, and Kat Murti from the Cato Institute.

Student career planning app

Scott Girard

Upon completion, the app will have a variety of features to help students. They’ll be able to communicate with their adviser through it rather than by email — key for students who can easily get lost in a sea of emails, they said — and see how certain classes can lead to a wide array of career possibilities. Another tool will show how much it costs to get into a field given degree or certification requirements.

They’re also doing outreach to workers in a variety of fields to create videos explaining their profession and their path into it. The first video they completed came from the teacher whose class they skipped to visit Evers.

Among their most significant challenges throughout the process has been avoiding distractions, they said, recounting times they’ve had to walk by friends playing video games to instead find a room to meet in and discuss next steps for the app.

“Every single day, you see your friends playing and it’s like, ‘Business meeting, we’ve got to go,’” Obuseh said. “We’ve got images of hundreds of whiteboards split up with all different ideas and different customizations and features.”

Notes on Law School Governance and intellectual diversity

James Allan:

When I got there, I learned that what you might describe as the conservative wing of the law school was now largely being kept off key law school committees, most importantly the hiring committee. For me, the 2019 sabbatical was as excellent as the one six years before. But I sensed this island of comparative tolerance for iconoclastic, nonconformist, dissident—save time and call it “conservative”—viewpoints had noticeably shrunk. And if future hires were to be judged through the prism of “diversity and inclusion” and not on straight-up merit, well, you could guess how many conservatives would be hired. The USD law school would slowly become like all the other 200-odd accredited US law schools where Democrat-donating and voting law profs outnumber Republicans by double figures to one. This little sanctuary of open-mindedness would wither and die.

A few weeks ago, I learned that some of the stalwarts of the USD law school, well-known and long-standing professors of law who certainly could not be described as “progressives,” had all put in their notice to take up the three-year retirement option. USD was losing Larry Alexander. Losing Steve Smith. Losing former dean Kevin Cole. Losing Gail Heriot. All of them had endured enough. Yes, there are some nonconformists still there who haven’t announced their take-up of the retirement pathway, and will battle on. But we can’t kid ourselves. As that unexpected sanctuary for dissident conservative outlooks, USD was in its death throes. 

Hiring was now to be done explicitly with an eye to “diversity” (though of course, not the sort that has anything to do with outlook). In the not-too-distant future, this small private law school will be much of a muchness with other like law schools. Its market differentiation was occasionally to grab up people whose views made being employed harder than their qualifications would otherwise warrant. Taking advantage of this market failure, as it were, allowed USD to punch well above its weight. Alas, seemingly no more. The capture of law schools by one dominant outlook rolls on to the peripheral outliers, to that wonderful USD law school that gave me two magnificent sabbaticals. And I cannot tell readers how sad this all makes me. I thought of Shakespeare and Much Ado About Nothing

That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
While it was ours.

Student mental health litigation at Yale

Emma Camp

Now, Mántica’s experience is included in a lawsuitagainst Yale, alleging that the school’s policies violate several federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Yale’s policies and practices, as described in the lawsuit, reveal both a stunning callousness on the part of Yale administrators and how ever-expanding university bureaucracies don’t improve university life but instead develop methods for seamlessly disposing of problem students.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by two current Yale students and a mental health nonprofit, alleges that the university’s policies violate a number of federal laws, including the ADA and the Affordable Care Act. It explains that Yale pushes students with mental health crises to withdraw voluntarily, often while covertly threatening that an involuntary withdrawal would “not look good” on an application for readmission. Upon withdrawal, students are given only 48 hours to vacate campus and are often escorted by police to their dorm rooms.

According to the lawsuit, withdrawn students must stay away from campus for at least one full term. They cannot return earlier, even if students’ medical providers believe they are ready to return to academic life. Making matters worse, students at Yale must graduate in eight to nine semesters, and, according to the lawsuit, “The semester in which they withdraw is counted against the eight or nine semesters in which they must complete their degree.”

Author warns about ‘epidemic of self-censorship’

BBC:

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has said she worries society is suffering from an “epidemic of self-censorship”.

In a BBC lecture on freedom of speech, the writer said young people were growing up “afraid to ask questions for fear of asking the wrong questions”.

Such a climate could lead to “the death of curiosity, the death of learning and the death of creativity”, the award-winning Nigerian author warned.

“No human endeavour requires freedom as much as creativity does,” she added.

Adichie, known for novels including Half Of A Yellow Sun and Americanah, was speaking in the first of the four annual Reith Lectures for Radio 4, all this year on themes of freedom.

She argued that Sir Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel The Satanic Verses would “probably not” be published today – something he himself said in 2012.

Taxpayer Supported Censorship Spending

Foundation for Freedom Online

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $38.8 million on government grants and contracts to combat “misinformation” since the start of the Biden administration.
  • 64 NSF grants totaling $31.8 million were given to 42 different colleges and universities to research the science of stopping viral ideas.
  • Some grants explicitly target “populist politicians” and “populist communications” to scientifically determine ”how best to counter populist narratives.”

When most people think of the National Science Foundation (NSF), they think about the US government investing tax dollars in grand advancements in mathematics, aerospace and engineering.

But under the Biden administration, the fastest-growing field of NSF grant funding appears to be the science of censorship.

At Foundation for Freedom Online, we previously reported the strange fact that the exact two universities who partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to censor the 2020 election received a $3 million joint grant from the National Science Foundation just months after the election ended.

Neither of those two academic “disinfo labs” were taxpayer-funded before the 2020 election. But then, after an election where in effectthey exclusively censored the social media opposition of the current administration, suddenly the current administration started hooking them up with government grants.

After that revelation, we investigated every NSF grant issued in 2021 and 2022 relating to social media “misinformation” or “disinformation.” Our goal was to determine the extent to which NSF is spending US tax dollars on censoring US taxpayers.

The Twenty-Seven Most Embarrassing Reactions to Taibbi Thread About Twitter Censoring Hunter Biden Tweets

Study shows prestigious institutions produce more published manuscripts because they have a bigger labor pool

Bob Yirka:

A quartet of researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has found that the reason more prestigious universities are able to publish more scientific papers than lesser institutions is that they have a larger pool of undergrads, fellows and postdocs to assist with such efforts.

In their paper, published in the journal Science Advances, Sam Zhang, Hunter Wapman, Daniel Larremore and Aaron Clauset describe analyzing massive amounts of data in the Web of Science database to learn more about publishing by institutions in the U.S.

Most of the prestigious science paper publishing institutions in the U.S. are college- or university-based. Some of the most well known are MIT, Harvard, Stanford and the University of California. Researchers at these institutions conduct a lot of science research and publish a corresponding number of science-research based papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Be it resolved, don’t trust mainstream media.

Munk Debates:

Public trust in mainstream media is at an all-time low. Critics point to coverage of COVID-19, the 2020 election, and the Ottawa trucker protest as proof that legacy outlets like the New York Times, The Globe and Mail and CNN can no longer be relied upon to provide unbiased reporting. Activist journalists are using pen and paper to push political agendas while their bosses lean into the profitability of polarization. Mainstream media’s defenders argue that their institutions offer an invaluable public service that alternative outlets are either incapable or uninterested in providing: careful fact-based reporting on important issues and holding the powerful to account. In a brave new world of “fake news” and “drive by” journalism, traditional news organizations are essential to democracy and a bulwark against corruption, misinformation and the private interests of the powerful.

Notes and commentary.

Madison school board reinstates Sennet Principal

Scott Girard:

Copeland told the Wisconsin State Journal this week that his comments were not about the applicant’s country of origin or race. Instead, he said, they were focused on ensuring students had a teacher they could understand in front of them.

He also suggested the comment about “just giving people damn jobs” was in reference to the national teacher shortage and lowering standards of who is hired, generally. When he was put on leave, he said, district leadership walked him out of the building in front of staff and students.

Multiple staff members and parents had told the School Board that Copeland had changed the school for the better in his short time there.

Science teacher Carmen Ames, who has worked at Sennett for 30 years, said in September the year had been one of “hope” because of the attitude Copeland brought early on, despite the short amount of time he was there.

“To see a culture change in eight days is phenomenal,” Ames said. “We need to continue that culture, and yes it is us (teachers and staff), we are part of that culture, but we need someone that backs us up and believes in the culture and believes in Sennett the way we do.

“That was Dr. Copeland.”

Olivia Herken:

About a dozen Sennett staff members spent their Friday evening sitting in the hallway outside the closed session, listening to music and chatting as they waited to hear a final verdict. They at one point sang along to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” subbing out “we” for “Sennett.”

After the board made its decision, the staff erupted in cheers and thanked the board members, asking for Copeland to start as soon as Monday. The district didn’t have his return date settled yet.

Afterward, the group of teachers called Copeland to tell him the news, with one teacher saying, “We’ll see you soon, boss.” Another said, “Our kids deserve the best, and you are the best.”

“To me, it shows that the power of people coming together can make things happen,” said Erin Proctor, a sixth-grade math teacher at Sennett.

She noted that many of the teachers who supported Copeland’s reinstatement were union members, who are typically fighting against administrators, not for them.

“To have us be part of the conversation and our support of him speaks volumes to the character he has,” Proctor said. She hopes this will spark change in other schools and districtwide.

When one of his staff members suggested they celebrate him, Copeland said no. “We will celebrate the teachers and the students. Not me. We will celebrate the teachers who stood by me and the students that were waiting,” he said.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

The largest collection of references & resources on COVID’s origin – in the world

Charles Rixey:

I recently uploaded version 8.0 of my SARS-CoV-2 Origin Reference Resource Project to ResearchGate, and although it’s my 8th update in the last 18 months, most of my readers probably need an introduction to it, since I haven’t really mentioned it here in over a year. 

In short, it’s a free, public collection of information, links, timelines and evidence, all focused on various aspects of the ‘mystery’ of where the SARS-CoV-2 virus came from – nature or …. somewhere else. 

[Note: the Excel file on Research Gate is public and free for anyone to download; my only request is that if you find it useful for your own research, cite the file so that awareness of its existence can grow]

The project started as just a published version of the list of references I found useful as I began studying the origin mystery back in May 2020; at that time, I was mostly focused on analyzing case/death and other epidemiological data from the first waves of the pandemic:

Civics: political media class censorship

Civics: censorship “trust and safety” regime at Apple + political class

Revolver:

Five months after Richardson started at Apple, the company made one of the most ideologically aggressive cancellations ever when it banned Parler from its app store. While Apple works hard to obscure its decision-making process, Richardson was without a doubt central to that decision, and with her involved, it wasn’t a surprising one. In April 2022, shortly before she left, the company also committed itself to a ridiculous internal “racial equity audit.”

So, where did this person come from? Well, just looking at her tweets, one notices that Richardson doesn’t just have a habit of boosting left-wing causes. She has a noticeable preference for boosting senior figures from the Obama Administration itself — Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan, John Kerry, and so forth. Richardson was particularly active when President Trump dismissed acting attorney general Sally Yates for insubordination after she refused to enforce his executive order implementing a travel ban on several nations linked to Islamic terrorism.

This isn’t random.

After earning dual degrees in law from UC-Berkeley and in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, Richardson spent three years working at a free legal clinic in the Bay Area. From there, she went to the Obama campaign, and after his election she joined the Justice Department as a top adviser to Eric Holder, eventually ascending to become his chief of staff.

Revolver suspects that for many of our readers, Eric Holder’s DOJ feels like it was a century ago. So, a quick reminder: Holder wasn’t just an Obama Cabinet member. Holder was one of the most aggressive ideological attack dogs of the whole Obama era.

Holder crushed Arizona’s SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law, claiming it infringed on the sole right of the federal government to enforce (or totally ignore) immigration law. Holder dropped charges against the New Black Panthers who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place and menaced “white devils” with a billy club, since after all it only involved gross white kulaks facing threats and violent intimidation, rather than a member of America’s noble caste. Holder’s DOJ launched Operation Choke Point, which tried to curtail gun rights by pressuring American banks to deny service to gun dealers, on the flimsy pretext that such dealers had a higher risk of fraudulent behavior. Most disastrous of all, Holder’s DOJ harassed American police departments for their supposedly “racist” policing efforts, pressuring them into consent decrees that paved the way for the urban homicide explosion of the “racial reckoning” era.

All of Holder’s misbehavior climaxed with his oversight of Operation Fast and Furious, in which DOJ intentionally allowed more than 2,000 guns to be illegally smuggled to Mexico, one of which was later used in the murder of a Border Patrol agent. While he was deliberately sending guns to criminals in Mexico, Holder simultaneously insisted America needed stricter gun laws to stop crime. The scandal culminated in Holder becoming the first sitting Cabinet member in history to be found in contempt of Congress — the same offense that Steve Bannon faces prison time for. Of course, since Holder himself ran the Justice Department, he never faced any criminal charges for his behavior.

Civics: Legacy media and fraud coverage

Douglas Murray:

That is what Sam Bankman-Fried has done. The slovenly crypto-fraudster was exposed weeks ago. His business was not simply badly handled or the victim of unfortunate circumstances. FTX crypto exchange and the hedge fund Alameda Research went out of their way to defraud investors and users. But despite this fact, Bankman-Fraud still seems to have support. No cancellation for him!

Just look at how his friends at The New York Times have treated him. In recent weeks they have tried to portray the collapse of FTX as — at the worst — a case of unfortunate mismanagement. The poor diddums billionaire boy just became too successful too fast. Problems are bound to happen. You know how it is.

This week the paper went one further. They actually hosted the fraudster at a New York Times event. Their description of him in the event program was “29-year old American investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist.” Well that’s one way to describe him. At the end of the event the moderator asked everyone to join him in applauding their guest and the audience dutifully did so. 

Can anyone think of another example of this happening. Did Bernie Madoff get soft-soap articles about him after his fraud was discovered? Did he have invitations to major public events to put his side of the story after his ponzi scheme collapsed? Not that I remember. But Bankman-Fried has been given all the soft treatment possible. Now why should that be?

Meanwhile: China.

On Nov. 30, New York Times journalists Muyi Xiao and Paul Mozur discussed their recent reporting on China’s growing domestic surveillance with OPC Past President William J. Holstein. Both were part of teams that analyzed more than 100,000 state bidding documents and talked to citizens on the ground to unravel the Chinese government’s use of technologies such as phone tracking, DNA collection, facial and voice recognition software to gather vast amounts of data. This information is fed into algorithms to find patterns and predict behavior such as crimes or protests, or signal police when someone with a history of mental illness approaches a school.

Civics: Volokh v. N.Y. A.G.: “New York Can’t Target Protected Online Speech by Calling It ‘Hateful Conduct'”

Eugene Volokh:

From the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression:

Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression sued New York Attorney General Letitia James, challenging a new state law that forces websites and apps to address online speech that someone, somewhere finds humiliating or vilifying.

The law is titled “Social media networks; hateful conduct prohibited,” but it actually targets speech the state doesn’t like—even if that speech is fully protected by the First Amendment.

“New York politicians are slapping a speech-police badge on my chest because I run a blog,” said plaintiff Eugene Volokh, who co-founded The Volokh Conspiracy legal blog in 2002. “I started the blog to share interesting and important legal stories, not to police readers’ speech at the government’s behest.”

The law forces internet platforms of all stripes to publish a policy explaining how they will respond to online expression that could “vilify, humiliate, or incite violence” based on a protected class, like religion, gender, or race. The law also requires the platforms to create a way for visitors to complain about “hateful” content or comments, and mandates that they answer complaints with a direct response. Refusal to comply could mean investigations from the attorney general’s office, subpoenas, and daily fines of $1,000 per violation.

New York’s law doesn’t define “vilify,” “humiliate,” or “incite.” Yet, it targets speech that could simply be perceived by someone, somewhere, at some point in time, to vilify or humiliate, rendering the law’s scope entirely subjective. (The First Amendment does not protect inciting imminent violence, but New York’s law offers no indication, as the First Amendment requires, that it applies only to speech directed to and likely to produce imminent lawless action.)

What expression could the new law reach? Plenty of speech fully protected by the First Amendment, including but not at all limited to:

Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books

Brewster Kahle:

For those of us tending libraries of digitized and born-digital books, we know that they need constant maintenance—reprocessing, reformatting, re-invigorating or they will not be readable or read. Fortunately this is what libraries do (if they are not sued to stop it). Publishers try to introduce new ideas into the public sphere. Libraries acquire these and keep them alive for generations to come.

After ‘Sold a Story,’ what comes next?

Alexander Russo:

For Schwartz, the first step is figuring out what’s actually happening in classrooms, which may vary by school or even within a single building.

Many districts don’t have a single reading program. Even if they do, teachers vary widely in how they implement it. Sometimes, there are differences and conflicts even within a school.

“It’s important to watch what kids and teachers are actually doing and ask teachers why they’re making the choices they’re making,” says Schwartz.

“It’s important to watch what kids and teachers are actually doing and ask teachers why they’re making the choices they’re making,” says Schwartz.

#Find an alternative to the “reading wars” focus

How well or poorly a program is being implemented is the bottom line for reporting a reading story, agrees McLaren.

“If, at the end of the day, Science of Reading isn’t being implemented with fidelity, where does that leave kids?”

Superficial or ineffective changes to reading instruction shouldn’t go unnoticed in the clamor to “fix” literacy instruction.

McLaren also recommends that reporters not “waste too much time” on the reading wars narrative.

“Sure, you need to touch on it – but it doesn’t need to be the thrust of your story,” notes McLaren. “It’s been done. A lot. Going back decades. And where has that gotten us?”

As an alternative, McLaren recommends reporters focus their reporting and writing on the people affected by poor reading instruction and tell their stories.
“The more we can put a human face to the problem, I believe the more impact we can have as journalists.”

Stanford is investigating its president over allegations of research misconduct

Andrew Joseph

Scientists have been scrutinizing the papers on PubPeer, a site where researchers can flag potential problems in articles, the Daily reported.

The Chronicle of Higher Education first reported the university board’s investigation.

“The university will assess the allegations presented in the Stanford Daily, consistent with its normal rigorous approach by which allegations of research misconduct are reviewed and investigated,” the university said in a statement.

Tessier-Lavigne gained renown in biotech circles as a research executive at Genentech starting in 2003, a golden period at the company. He left Genentech in 2011 to become president of Rockefeller University, and in 2016 became president of Stanford. Tessier-Lavigne is also a co-founder of Bay Area-based Denali Therapeutics, which is developing medicines for neurodegenerative disorders. He is on the board both at Denali and at Regeneron, and previously was on the boards of Pfizer, Agios Pharmaceuticals, and Juno Therapeutics, according to his resume.

Tessier-Lavigne, who specializes in brain development and repair, was a professor at Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco, before joining Genentech.

In a statement released by the university, Tessier-Lavigne said: “Scientific integrity is of the utmost importance both to the university and to me personally. I support this process and will fully cooperate with it, and I appreciate the oversight by the Board of Trustees.”

In its story Tuesday, the Daily reported that the EMBO Journal had started a review into the 2008 study co-authored by Tessier-Lavigne after concerns about the images were raised on PubPeer. The otherstudies in question were published in Science and Nature, according to the newspaper.

As COVID pandemic wanes, expect more Black families to seek alternatives to traditional schools

Lisa Buie:

Many families whose schools were closed in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic or who erred on the side of caution about sending their children back to the classroom responded innovatively by forming learning pods – small groups of students led by a teacher or an educator guide.

Now that the crisis has passed, most students have returned to their traditional schools. But many of these innovative solutions have persevered, especially those serving Black families.

Black education leaders who discussed the issue at a recent forum agreed that these tiny private schools are now an established alternative to traditional schools, which they say have failed their children.

Among six participants in a webinar sponsored by the Center on Reinventing Public Education – a group studying the role of learning pods – was Robert S. Harvey, former superintendent of a charter school network in East Harlem, New York, and now president of FoodCorps, a nonprofit dedicated to child nutrition.

School safety notes

WisPolitics

Ty Breitlow, district administrator of the Lomira Public Schools, says “it’s about time somebody’s asking” about how prepared schools are for threats such as school shootings.

“Safety is our first priority,” Breitlow said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Hearst Television’s national investigative unit asked every public school district in Wisconsin and all 50 states what steps they’re taking to keep kids safe.

Of those who responded, one out of every three said they do not have a district police department or school resource officer and nearly one in five said they have not been briefed this year by their local law enforcement on active shooter response plans.

Brietlow lost his father, Dale Brietlow, nearly three decades ago in a school shooting at Wauwatosa West High School.

Retired Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson from Wisconsin says she wants to see engagement from members of Congress amidst issues surrounding sexual abuse and suicide within the military and how that impacts recruiting efforts.

“Congress certainly has an oversight role, and I would hope as a former commander that they would be engaged and actively seeking information and talking about solutions with the services,” Anderson told “UpFront.”

Anderson serves on the Defense Advisory Committee on the Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces.

Notes on Stanford’s academic freedom conference

Hollis Robbins:

Now that the dust has settled and the drama of midterm elections has come and gone, I have some thoughts on the Stanford University–hosted conference on academic freedom held earlier this month, from my perspective as the only dean on the program and as a scholar whose political affiliations are not wholly aligned with the generally right-libertarian positions of the conference organizers.

I will be a better dean for having attended and participated in the conference, hosted by the Classical Liberalism Initiative of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The stated goal of the conference was identifying ways “to restore academic freedom, open inquiry and freedom of speech and expression on campus and in the larger culture and restore the open debate required for new knowledge to flourish.”

I’m grateful to the organizers for including an administrator, as it is our job to adjudicate, manage, resolve, turn the heat down on or stand firm on issues of academic freedom as well as freedom of expression. There can be no academic freedom without enforcement. Conflicts are harrowing for everyone.

Improving third-grade scores and the number of graduates ready for college are among DISD trustees’ goals for the new leader.

Megan Mangrum:

The metric is one of five incentives trustees decided to include in its annual superintendent evaluation. The incentives mirror the district’s overall student outcome goals, which the board approved last month.

“I for one deeply appreciate the direct alignment between the evaluation and what this board unanimously agreed [are] the most important things for the school district,” trustee Ben Mackey said. “It is easy to look at what the board set as its goals and how we are tracking progress toward them.”

These stretch goals are based on students’ academic performance and will be measured against how children did during the 2018-19 school year. After approving Elizalde’s three-year contract in July, trustees said the metrics were intended to be “challenging but attainable.”

Elizalde would earn an additional $20,000 for each goal met for a potential total of $100,000.

Trustee Dustin Marshall echoed Mackey and said the goals — and the incentives tied to them — “mimic how big, multibillion-dollar corporations function.”

Marshall, along with trustees Dan Micciche and Camile White, served on the committee that worked with Elizalde and her staff to determine the measures.

Harvard employs 7,024 total full-time administrators, only slightly fewer than the undergraduate population.

Brooks Anderson:

It is no secret that Harvard and its peers have amassed fortunes that are largely kept safe from the clutches of the Internal Revenue Service — apart from the 1.4 percent excise tax created under President Donald Trump, against which Harvard continues to lobby fiercely. Amidst rhetoric among Harvard students calling for higher taxes on large corporations and the wealthiest Americans, it seems strange that Harvard’s $53.2 billion, Yale’s $42.3 billion, and Princeton’s $37.7 billion are left off the hit list.

Ostensibly, universities have this mostly tax-free status because they are charitable institutions serving educational missions, an exemption which dates to one of the first American income tax laws passed in 1894. This status makes sense. Harvard is one of the world’s preeminent universities; surely it has used its billions of dollars of accumulated wealth to primarily invest in its educational program, building an unparalleled roster of top professors, expanding offerings to students, and reducing class sizes. Right?

Wrong. Harvard has instead filled its halls with administrators. Across the University, for every academic employee there are approximately 1.45 administrators. When only considering faculty, this ratio jumps to 3.09. Harvard employs 7,024 total full-time administrators, only slightly fewer than the undergraduate population. What do they all do?

Most administrators have a legitimate function. I will happily concede that the University does need administration to operate effectively. No professors want to handle Title IX compliance or send institution-wide emails about Covid-19 protocols. Yet of the 7,000-strong horde, it seems that many members’ primary purpose is to squander away tax-free money intended for academic work on initiatives, projects, and committees that provide scant value to anyone’s educational experience.

Finds Fairfax “failed to provide” a free appropriate education to 1000s of kids

Asta Nomani:

“This is a victory for every parent,” said Oettinger. “In 2020, we knew that the actions that FCPS was taking were in noncompliance with IDEA. We are now vindicated, and every parents should contact FCPS to make sure that every child receives COMPENSATORY EDUCATION and other services that meet their needs.” 

The key words here are to ask for COMPENSATORY EDUCATION — for example, so many parents paid out of pocket and took on second jobs to pay for tutors and other services to meet educational needs that Fairfax County failed to provide. And so many parents couldn’t afford these extra services, and their children were left behind. 

“It’s criminal that so many children went without services and appropriate education,” said Tisler, at her dining table, as she learned the news. “The investigation must not stop with Fairfax County. Governor Glenn Youngkin should now reconsider the leadership that he inherited that allowed such an atrocity to occur under their watch. The full weight of his office must be used to hold accountable those responsible for this failure. 

The Department of Education concluded:

Civics: FTX’s Collapse Was a Crime, Not an Accident

David Morris:

It is now clear that what happened at the FTX crypto exchange and the hedge fund Alameda Research involved a variety of conscious and intentional fraud intended to steal money from both users and investors. That’s why a recent New York Times interview waswidely derided for seeming to frame FTX’s collapse as the result of mismanagement rather than malfeasance. A Wall Street Journal article bemoaned the loss of charitable donations from FTX, arguably propping up Bankman-Fried’s strategic philanthropic pose. Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias, court chronicler of the neoliberal status quo, seemed to whitewash his own entanglements by crediting Bankman-Fried’s money with helping Democrats in the 2020 elections – sidestepping the likelihood that the money was effectively embezzled.

Perhaps most perniciously, many outlets have described what happened to FTX as a “bank run” or a “run on deposits,” while Bankman-Fried has repeatedly insisted the company was simply overleveraged and disorganized. Both of these attempts to frame the fallout obfuscate the core issue: the misuse of customer funds.

Banks can be hit by “bank runs” because they are explicitly in the business of lending customer funds out to generate returns. They can experience a short-term cash crunch if everyone withdraws at the same time, without there being any long-term problem.

But FTX and other crypto exchanges are not banks. They do not (or should not) do bank-style lending, so even a very acute surge of withdrawals should not create a liquidity strain. FTX had specifically promised customers it would never lend out or otherwise use the crypto they entrusted to the exchange.

CoinDesk’s Chief Insights Columnist David Z. Morris unpacks his latest opinion piece that argues Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of troubled crypto exchange FTX, is a fraud.

Challenges to union control of local school governance were often successful.

Wall Street Journal:

The parental revolt even spread to Minnesota despite opposition from teachers union. Denise Specht, the president of the teacher’s union Education Minnesota, claimed in September that its “political program has been successful between 80 and 90 percent of the time when our locals make endorsements in school board races and carry out an aggressive voter contact plan.” 

Yet 49 of 119 school board candidates endorsed by the Minnesota Parents Alliance won on Nov. 8. The alliance was formed in response to parental concern about learning loss and a desire to be more involved in children’s education. “The fact that our candidates did as well as they did” shows that “the parent movement really transcends politics,” says executive director Cristine Trooien.

November’s parental-rights outlier was Michigan. The state “had abortion on the ballot, and that turned out Democrats,” said Ryan Girdusky, the founder of the 1776 Project PAC, which opposes critical race theory in school curricula. Nationwide only 20 of the 53 school board and state superintendent candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC won on Nov. 8, with the majority of their losses in Michigan. Yet in total this year 72 school-board candidates and one state superintendent candidate won among the 125 candidates the group endorsed. 

Ballotpedia has identified 1,800 school board races where the Covid response or teachings on race, sex and gender were campaign issues. By Nov. 28 it had identified 1,556 winners. Some 31% of the identified victors opposed woke curricula or the Covid response, with some 37% expressing mixed or unclear opinions.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Civics: Voting twice

Chattanoogan:

The evidence presented at trial showed that a Walker County resident’s absentee ballot for the January 2021 runoff election was sent by mistake to an old address, a PO box in LaFayette, Ga. When the resident’s ballot never arrived but her husband’s did, the resident called the Elections Office in Walker County to inquire about her ballot. The Elections Office discovered that they had already accepted, but had not yet counted, an absentee ballot for the resident, and the ballot appeared to have the resident’s signature on the Oath of Elector section. The resident went to the Election Office to view the ballot with the signature on it and immediately noticed it was not her signature. The Elections Office immediately cancelled the forged ballot and had a new ballot sent to the resident’s current address.

The Case Against Public Sector Unions

By: John O. McGinnis, Max Schanzenbach:

Public employees unions have wielded huge influence to gain perquisites for themselves at the expense of the public. Early retirement, job tenure, high wages, and generous defined-benefit pension plans have gained increasing attention from commentators and voters, though many public sector perks are intentionally shrouded and confuse the public debate. What has received far less attention is the pernicious effect of public sector union privileges on the provision of public goods in the United States. Public sector unions have greatly distorted state spending priorities and made it more difficult for states to devise innovative public goods that would benefit their citizenry as whole. For example, prison guard unions have directly influenced penal policy, fighting reduced sentences or decriminalization of drugs. Teachers’ unions fight charter schools and merit pay. The strong organizational rights of these unions, protected or abetted by statute and regulations, enables their outsized influence on public policy.

But crisis is also opportunity. The dire straits of states offer the chance for entrepreneurial governors to abolish public employee union privileges, like the rights to strike, to collectively bargain, to seek binding arbitration, and to collect dues. Public employee unions are the great reactionary force in public life today, using their privileged position both to defend the rewards their members receive and to block innovation. As a result, this recession offers a political opening for both liberal and conservative governors.

For conservatives, taking on public employee unions provides a way to eliminate inefficient spending and create a polity of low taxes and lean government. For liberals, it provides a way to redirect spending to effective public goods, like better educational outputs, that public employee unions frustrate. If both liberal and conservative governors moved against public employee unions, the public would have the best of all possible worlds, a demonstration project pitting a low-tax, small-government jurisdictions against a higher-tax, high-value public goods jurisdictions. It would create a fair fight between the attractive options that conservatism and liberalism can offer. Union contracts, however, prevent most state governments from nimbly responding to changing circumstances. This ossification short-circuits the beneficial competition among jurisdictions created by our federal system, which works best when there are not entrenched impediments to government innovation.

Private versus public sector unions

Communities feel they’ve lost the ability to influence bloated school bureaucracies. Time to break them up.

Andy Smarick:

Some U.S. school districts have become so large and unwieldy that parents and taxpayers feel they have no ability to influence them. To restore local, democratic control, it’s time to break up those big districts. 

Public schooling was largely decentralized a century ago. A movement to standardize and professionalize K-12 education began in the Progressive Era. Consolidation may have accomplished some of its goals, but America’s largest districts today tend to be among the lowest-performing. For the most part, they are located in big cities and their ring suburbs. The nation’s three largest districts serve the nation’s three largest cities: New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Many large districts also spend vast sums per student: San Francisco and Atlanta spend more than $17,000 a pupil; Washington spends more than $22,000; Boston more than $25,000; and New York more than $28,000.

Civics: The Gray Lady Winked: How the New York Times’s Misreporting, Distortions and Fabrications Radically Alter History

Grassroots Journalist:

These are the stories that mattered most, including the Times’s disastrous coverage of the:

Second World War – Holocaust – Rise of the Soviet Union – Cuban Revolution – Vietnam War – Second Palestinian Intifada – Atomic Bombing of Japan – Iraq War – Founding of America

The result is an essential look at the tangled relationship between media, power and politics in a post-truth world told with novelistic flair to reveal a uniquely powerful institution’s tortured relationship with the truth.

Most importantly of all, The Gray Lady Winked presents a cautionary tale that shows what happens when the guardians of the truth abandon that sacred value in favor of self-interest and ideology—and what this means for our future as much as for our past.

Changes let high school athletes bank big endorsement bucks

Bernie Wilson:

Jada Williams was a social media star and a talented point guard when she moved with her mother from a Kansas City suburb to San Diego, looking to play basketball for a high school powerhouse and parlay her online prowess into endorsement deals.

She found it all in California, which has become the trendsetter among the 19 states that allow high school athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness without affecting their eligibility to play in college.

The 17-year-old Williams is now pulling in six figuresa year from six major endorsement deals. The senior at La Jolla Country Day School has signed to play at the University of Arizona.

“It’s definitely a big change for me, but it was good in every single direction,” Williams said during a break from her exhaustive practice routine, which she often documents with videos and photos posted online. It was the right decision for school and basketball, “and on top of that I was able to start capitalizing off NIL,” shorthand for name, image and likeness.

Views of children shifted from capable and responsible to the opposite.

Peter Gray:

I have previously written much about the decline, over decades, in children’s freedom to play and explore independently of adults and how that has contributed to well-documented declines in children’s mental health, creative thinking, and internal locus of control(e.g., herehere, and here). Recently I came across a book that documents brilliantly how adults’ attitudes about children’s competence, duties, and responsibilities have changed over the past hundred years. I wish I had discovered it earlier, as it was published 11 years ago and would have been a great reference for some of my writings over the past decade. 

The book, entitled Adult Supervision Required, is by Markella Rutherford, an associate professor of sociology at Wellesley College. It is based primarily on her systematic qualitative analysis of 565 articles and advice columns about childrearing that appeared in popular magazines—especially in Parents and Good Housekeeping—from the early 20th century on into the early 21st century. Here, under separate headings, are four of her main conclusions.

1. Children’s public autonomy declined greatly.

If you are considerably younger than I, you might be amazed to read articles for parents written prior to the 1970s, in which the prevailing assumption is that children, even young ones, will spend much of their time outdoors away from adults. Here are three examples from Rutherford’s book:

• An article in Parents, in 1956, expressed approval of a mother’s decision to acquiesce to her 5-year-old’s desire to walk to school by himself, about four blocks from home. The article made it clear that a child old enough for kindergarten is old enough find his or her own way to and from school and can be trusted to make that trip without an adult. The article implicitly judged the child’s desire for such independence to be healthy and normal, something the parent should encourage.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall resigns teaching position over free speech issues

Patrick Richardson:

Just over a month after an associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Law labeled a speechthat had yet to be given “hate speech,” Justice Caleb Stegall resigned from his teaching position at KU Law over the controversy.

On Oct. 19, the KU student chapter of the Federalist Society (FedSoc) invited Jordan Lorence, the senior counsel and director of strategic engagement at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to speak to KU Law students about the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Leah Terranova fired off an email to the entire staff and student body of the law school, decrying the talk as “hate speech” 90 minutes before the start of Lorence’s talk.

On November 25, Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall, who has been teaching appellate advocacy at KU Law as a member of the adjunct faculty, submitted a scathing, six-page resignation letter to Dean Stephen Mazza, head of the law school.

Stegall wrote that he had sensed “a dampening of the spirit of open inquiry I have so loved and benefited from at KU Law. A spirit that — going all the way back to my days as a law student — always existed within Green Hall. But events this fall have brought an unwelcome clarity to what before was only a vague and foreboding feeling. So I write to let you know that, as a result, I will not be renewing my teaching relationship with KU Law next fall.”

The Sentinel reached out to several members of the KU Law faculty, including Mazza, the communications department of the school of law, as well as members of the school’s Federalist Society chapter for comment, but as of publication, had received a response only from Mazza.

WILL holds Wisconsin DPI accountable for bureaucratic overreach, minimal barriers should be implemented for families to apply to school choice programs

Will-Law

The News: On behalf of School Choice Wisconsin Action, Inc. (SCWA), Catholic Memorial High School of Waukesha, Inc., and Roncalli Catholic Schools, Inc., the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jill Underly. The suit challenges several of DPI’s rules which were not promulgated in compliance with statutory rulemaking procedures, and which exceed the DPI’s authority as set forth in state law.

The lawsuit alleges that DPI implements and enforces an “application perfection” rule (also known as the perfection rule) for various school choice programs despite never promulgating the rule as required by state law. Instead, DPI uses informal bulletins to enact its chosen policies. This suit is filed in the Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The Quotes: WILL Associate Counsel, Cory Brewer, stated, “DPI is exceeding its authority under state law in how it administers the Parental Choice Program and must be held accountable. The program was designed to be an easy-to-use option for parents, and DPI’s unilateral implementation of additional requirements constitutes unlawful bureaucratic overreach.”  

Chair of School Choice Wisconsin Action, Inc., Jamie Luehring, said, “DPI’s unrealistic rules hurt not just schools, but parents. Applying to a Choice school should not be any harder for families than registering to send their kids to their local public schools.”

Catholic Memorial High School of Waukesha, Inc. President, Donna Bembenek, said, “Parents, not DPI, should be trusted to make the best educational choice for their child. Creating unnecessary red tape does not serve anyone or help parents access the best school for their child.”

Notes on politics and “the science of reading”

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

“The incoming House of Representatives should hold hearings on the destructive racialization of medical schools and medicine”

William Jacobson:

“We have analyzed CRT-related training in colleges and universities and elite private K-12. As bad as those institutions have become, things are much worse in medical schools because the stakes are so high. Patient care and people’s lives are at risk when doctors and medical providers view patients as proxies for racial or ethnic groups in sociological and political battles,” he continued. “Every person has the right to be treated equally as an individual, based on his or her medical condition, without societal racial politics influencing treatment. Yet increasingly we see the medical establishment, including the American Medical Association, demanding that medical students and physicians become race-focused activists.”

The subjects of mandatory training and coursework are worded and phrased differently at individual schools, but use terms including “anti-racism,” “cultural competency,” “equity,” “implicit bias,” “DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion” and critical race theory, according to CriticalRace.org.

For example,… University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine pushes incoming students to participate in “the Common Read Program to learn more about racial biases in medicine,” according to the study. The University of Illinois College of Medicine has a “Medical School Curriculum” subcommittee which will “plan the summer anti-racism reading/discussion group for incoming students and plan roll out across all phases” and “focus on reviewing the current curriculum content in all phases to remove biases and inaccuracies, identify deficiencies/omission… and to continue to incorporate the social determinants of health into the materials being taught,” the study found.

Officer, wife struggling with infertility adopts infant dropped off at hospital

Chris Williams:

Bruce and Shelby Faltynski were a little hesitant to accept one of the many calls from Indiana’s Department of Child Services, seeking to see if the couple wanted to adopt another baby.

They weren’t sure why the department tried so hard to get in touch with them. Now they believe it was fate and God’s hand at work.

The government informed them that an infant girl was dropped off at a hospital’s Safe Haven baby box in Lake County, a suburb of Chicago. The baby boxes are named after the Indiana Safe Haven Law, which enables a person to anonymously give up an infant no more than 45 days old and without fear of arrest or prosecution.

Child Services thought the Mishawaka couple was the perfect match to adopt her.

The Child Tax Credit Is a Failed Experiment

Scott Hodge:

Since the child tax credit was enacted in 1997, it has become one of the largest federal income transfer programs. It is one of the leading reasons that more than 40% of all filers pay no income tax. The beleaguered Internal Revenue Service isn’t the right agency to play such a big role in addressing poverty.

The child tax credit made its debut in my February 1993 Heritage Foundation paper titled “Putting Families First: A Deficit Reduction and Tax Relief Strategy.” The strategy called for a cap on the growth of federal spending, which would not only reduce the deficit but also fund pro-growth and pro-family tax relief. The pro-growth elements were faster expensing for capital purchases and a reduction in the tax rate on capital gains. 

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The pro-family component was a $500-a-child tax credit. The tax code wasn’t sheltering as much income of families with children as it did during the 1950s, and the credit was a simple way of remedying that problem. A credit reduces a family’s tax bill dollar for dollar, while a deduction does so indirectly by reducing taxable income.

Civics: Asian American groups urge rejection of nominee for U.S. Attorney in Tennessee’s Eastern District

Jamie Satterfield:

Advocacy groups across the nation are calling on the Biden administration and the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Casey Arrowood for U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The Biden administration in August nominated Arrowood for the top job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Knoxville despite his role in the wrongful prosecution of University of Tennessee professor Dr. Anming Hu as part of former President Donald Trump’s “China Initiative.”

In an exclusive interview with the Tennessee Lookout earlier this month, Hu called the nomination “ridiculous” and shocking and has since penned a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to withdraw Arrowood’s name from consideration.

After the story was published, a slew of advocacy groups, including APA Justice, Asian American Scholar Forum, Tennessee Chinese American Alliance and United Chinese Americans, have teamed up with Hu to try to defeat Arrowood’s nomination.

“The nomination of Mr. Arrowood is an affront to the Asian American, immigrant and scientific communities,” the groups stated in a letter-writing campaign notice. “It opens a new wound when we still need to heal from the targeting and fallout before and during the ‘China Initiative.’”

Hu is an internationally-renown nanotechnology expert who was targeted by FBI Agent Kujtim Sadiku under the Trump administration’s “China Initiative,” which the former president touted as an effort to rid the U.S. of Chinese spies.

Law Schools Without LSATs

Wall Street Journal:

The flight from merit continues across America, and it’s spreading fast in the legal profession. An arm of the American Bar Association (ABA), which accredits law schools, voted on Nov. 18 to end the requirement that prospective law students take the Law School Admission Test. And here we thought torturing prospective lawyers was a widely accepted public good.

The LSAT has long been a target of diversity advocates who argue that the use of the test has limited minority enrollment in law schools because the test questions are allegedly biased in favor of white test takers. Detractors also object to the LSAT because affluent students often pay thousands of dollars to prepare for the test that is supposed to predict their first-year law school performance.

The ABA decision is best understood as an attempt to get ahead of a possible Supreme Court decision against the use of racial preferences in school admissions. By making the LSAT optional, schools will be able to admit the students they want without lowering the average LSAT score that is one measure of elite status. But the schools need the ABA to move first.

Put Students First

George Leef:

In short, colleges and universities do not put their students first. That is the point of a recent book by Paul LeBlanc, president of the University of Southern New Hampshire. In Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education, LeBlanc explains why our higher-education system so badly underperforms and why we need an educational “ecosystem” in its place.

Before going into the book, it’s important to note that Paul LeBlanc cannot be dismissed as a “right-wing” critic who’s eager to tear down higher education. Besides serving as president of SNHU, he was an advisor to Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell during the Obama administration and is a member of NACIQI, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. And the book (published by Harvard Education Press) is sprinkled with reminders that LeBlanc is a liberal in good standing.

Therefore, Students First might gain some traction. Our overwhelmingly progressive cadre of educational policymakers should recognize it as a sincere and well-supported case for change.

Here is LeBlanc’s argument in a nutshell: “Higher education as an industry is in many ways ill-suited to [the] new reality. It is too slow, too rigidly hierarchical and territorial, too hesitant to adopt new technologies and ways of doing things, too inefficient, and too focused on itself. We need a higher education ecosystemthrough which people will move in and out over the course of their careers and lives.”

Exactly what is wrong with higher education?

LeBlanc’s first big point is that it is structured around time rather than learning. College classes and degrees are built upon credit hours and semesters. That’s our tradition. The problem, LeBlanc understands, is that, for many students, those time constraints are a terrible obstacle. Many students have busy, complicated lives that make it difficult for them to fit classes in. The solution is to offer asynchronous learning opportunities.

There is no reason why colleges couldn’t liberate students from the arbitrary confines of credit hours and allow them to learn at their own pace.

RethinkING Need for College Degrees

Austen Hufford:

‘I’m not good at academics. It’s not for me,’ said Lucy Mathis, who discontinued her undergraduate studies to enter the workforce. The majority of its U.S. roles at IBM no longer require a four-year degree after the company conducted a review of hiring practices, IBM spokeswoman Ashley Bright said.

Delta eased its educational requirements for pilots at the start of this year, saying a four-year college degree was preferred but no longer required of job applicants.

Walmart Inc., the country’s largest private employer, said it values skills and knowledge gained through work experience and that 75% of its U.S. salaried store management started their careers in hourly jobs.

“We don’t require degrees for most of our jobs in the field and increasingly in the home office as well,” Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart executive vice president, said at an online event this fall. The company’s goal is to shift the “focus from the way someone got their skills, which is the degree, to what skills do they have.”

A four-year college degree holder has more lifetime earnings than one without. The lifetime earnings of a worker with a high-school diploma is $1.6 million while that of a bachelor’s degree holder is $2.8 million, according to a 2021 report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

This Tiny West Texas HS Has Five Boys. Three of Them Made the State Cross-country Meet.

Jeff Miller:

Participation trophies are a good way to elicit eye rolls: Let’s not salute someone for merely showing up.

But no one has yet created an award that could properly honor what three cross-country runners from tiny Valentine School accomplished by completing the class 1A state meet held earlier this month at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

Junior Eduardo Cardenas-Ramirez finished 36th; his older brother, senior Erick Ramirez, placed 85th; and sophomore Robert Alvarado came in 102nd in a field of 146 top qualifiers from around the state. Why would that be worth recognizing? Because the three runners make up 60 percent of their school’s entire male enrollment, and the town of Valentine, located about 35 miles northwest of Marfa and 25 miles east of the Mexico border, is home to an estimated 73 total residents.

Early on the Thursday morning before the meet, Valentine’s cross-country contingent—McWilliams, assistant coach and social studies teacher Bianca Porras, and the four runners—boarded the school’s Suburban for the nearly five-hundred-mile ride to Round Rock. The trip would have normally taken about seven and a half hours, but Porras built in some educational stops along the way. They headed to San Antonio before going up Interstate 35, with visits to the Alamo, the River Walk, and, by spontaneous popular demand, the Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels.

“we would do well to be a little more scared of the AntiChrist and a little less scared of Armageddon” – Peter Thiel @ Stanford Academic Freedom Conference

“Antonym of diversity is university”.

Armageddon:

Armageddon, (probably Hebrew: “Hill of Megiddo”), in the New Testament, place where the kings of the earth under demonic leadership will wage war on the forces of God at the end of history. Armageddon is mentioned in the Bible only once, in the Revelation to John, or the Apocalypse of St. John (16:16).

AntiChrist:

Antichrist, the polar opposite and ultimate enemy of Christ. According to Christian tradition, he will reign terribly in the period prior to the Last Judgment. The term Antichrist first appeared in the Letters of John (1 John 2:18, 2:22, and 4:3; 2 John 1:7), and the fully developed story of Antichrist’s life and reign is found in medieval texts. As applied to various individuals and institutions for nearly two millennia, Antichrist and precursor of Antichrist have been, and remain, terms of the most intense opprobrium.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Dane County Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging taxpayer supported Madison Schools gender identity policy; appeal planned

Ed Treleven:

Remington’s Nov. 23 decision does not directly address the merits of the policy but spends a great number of its 33 pages discussing what is considered legal standing, as expressed in recent state and federal court decisions.

Ignoring Doe’s lack of standing, Remington wrote, would be ignoring his own “limited and modest role in constitutional governance” and telling people he knows what’s best for them.

Remington wrote that while he doesn’t doubt her “genuine motive and keen interest in this case,” she is someone who was brought into the case to “invoke a court ruling upon” the matter. Many parents could believe, he wrote, that they or their children will be harmed by the policy, but they’re not part of the case.

“That is not to say that Jane Doe’s claims are not important — they just are equally important to every other member of the public who also disapproves of their local school board,” Remington wrote. “That our Constitution does not allow this court to take a side may leave the parties unsatisfied.”

Scott Girard:

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has appealed the dismissal of its 2020 lawsuit over Madison Metropolitan School District gender identity guidance.

On Nov. 23, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington dismissed the lawsuit, citing a lack of standing for the sole remaining petitioner, Jane Doe 4. The anonymous complainant is one of 14 original parties on the lawsuit — the rest have left amid two years of appeals and arguments over the process for the lawsuit.

“(Jane Doe 4) does not predict or anticipate she will be harmed, but she nevertheless seeks a declaratory judgment that a transgender student policy of the Madison Metropolitan School District violates her constitutional right to parent,” Remington wrote. “Because she presents no evidence that she predicts, anticipates, or will actually suffer any individual harm, Jane Doe has no standing and her Complaint must be dismissed.”

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

‘No action’ on fired taxpayer supported Madison Sennett principal’s appeal yet

Scott Girard:

The Madison School Board’s closed session meeting to discuss the appeal of fired principal Jeffrey Copeland Tuesday lasted just over 15 minutes without a decision.

“I can’t explain that,” board member Nicki Vander Meulen said, leaving around 5:16 p.m. and declining further comment. Other board members who left shortly after also declined to comment and said they could not share what happened.

District spokesperson Tim LeMonds wrote in a statement sent half an hour later that “no action was taken” during the meeting.

“The Board will be scheduling final action in the upcoming days,” LeMonds wrote. “This change was made to address a technical issue with the public notice in fairness to all parties involved.”

A group of about 10 Sennett staff stood outside the door at the beginning of the meeting, but most left about 10 minutes in as the board met behind the closed door, with one remaining to deliver the news to the others at the end of the meeting.

Because the meeting was held in closed session, as allowed under state law when a public body considers someone’s employment, board members are mostly barred from sharing information on what happened during the meeting.

Two board members — board president Ali Muldrow and vice president Maia Pearson — remained in the room with a small group of district leaders after the meeting, including general legal counsel Sherry Terrell-Webb and senior executive director of staff Richard McGregory. As a reporter stood outside the open door, another staff member closed it as the group continued to meet.

Olivia Herken:

The School Board was set to have the final say on whether Copeland would be reinstated after he was fired Sept. 26 for comments he accidentally left on a teaching applicant’s voicemail on Sept. 6 that the district has deemed bigoted.

The candidate, with whom Copeland had spoken on the phone, speaks English as a second language and holds a doctorate from a university in the Dominican Republic.

Thinking the phone call was over and unaware his comments were being recorded, Copeland remarked to Assistant Principal Matt Inda that he could barely understand the applicant on the phone, and then made comments about “just giving people damn jobs.”

In an email to the Wisconsin State Journal this week, Copeland said he was expressing concern about teacher qualifications amid widespread school staffing shortages and not specifically referencing the candidate.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Curated Education Information