Taxpayer supported Wisconsin K-12 Analytics, including enrollment changes

Steve Sharp:

The Wisconsin Policy Forum is reporting that Wisconsin’s K-12 school enrollment is down by more than 25,000 students for the 2020-21 school year, one of many far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that may warrant a response from state and local policymakers.

The information is contained in the findings of a new interactive data tool from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

According to the forum’s data, Watertown went from 3,889 in 2011-12 to 3,296 in 2020-21. In the same period, Fort Atkinson’s district went from 3,000 students enrolled to 2,652; Hustisford from 420 to 364; Dodgeland from 818 to 744; Jefferson from 1,932 to 1,806; Johnson Creek from 653 to 567, Waterloo from 871 to 768 and Janesville 10,325 to 9,574. Lake Mills defied the trend and went from 1,432 to 1,586.

This latest edition of the tool is the third since its 2019 debut. It is located at https://wispolicyforum.org/research/school-datatool/. It was updated with the most recent available data, which goes through the 2019-20 school year in some categories and through 2020-21 in others.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

“But it is the height of hypocrisy for Miller to attack the relatively straightforward agreements required in some charters while ignoring that far stricter rules exist at some schools under MPS’s purview.”

Will Flanders and Libby Sobic:

As is typical of those who oppose school choice, Miller’s piece is full of misconceptions and outright falsehoods that distract from the important goal of ensuring that more kids have access to high quality schools.   Below, we highlight three of the biggest problems with his piece.

Admissions Requirements: “In fact, once a student is selected, families must agree to a strict contract that cannot be legally required at any public school. It requires that parents support enforcement of a strict uniform and behavior code, check off homework nightly, attend parent conferences and spend a certain number of hours in the school. Those terms prevent many low-income families from participating.”

Miller claims that the parental agreement that students at some charter schools must agree to constitutes an admissions requirement.  However, this could not be further from the truth. Many charter schools recognize that parental involvement is key to student success, and strive to make that happen. This vision is shared by the parents of students who choose to attend these schools, and the requirements are far from onerous. What is not mentioned by Miller is that many of the best public schools in MPS—such as Golda Meir or many of the Montessori schools—have strict admissions guidelines that truly close the door on many students.  Indeed, what Miller calls the “beauty and necessity” of public schools in being open to all students is not met by these schools.

The list of entry requirements is extremely long. Students must submit their last two years of report card grades, two recommendations, and FOWARD exam scores to even be considered. We don’t necessarily oppose these measures—there can be value in gearing a learning environment to a certain type of student. But it is the height of hypocrisy for Miller to attack the relatively straightforward agreements required in some charters while ignoring that far stricter rules exist at some schools under MPS’s purview.

Meanwhile, 72 miles west, in Madison:

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Oregon legislators are poised to mandate teacher union say on class size. Portland’s experience suggests it could undermine push for equity

Hillary Borrud:

Oregon teachers unions could be on the cusp of winning a state mandate for school boards to negotiate class size limits.

A bill to institute the requirement is under consideration in the state House after passing the Senate.

Adding class size to the list of issues districts must bargain over with unions would increase teachers’ power, in part because it would be another item over which they could strike.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Public Health Madison and Dane County reports that as of Thursday, it knows of no COVID-19-related deaths or hospitalizations linked to in-person learning in the county.

Chris Rickert:

The smaller number of F’s stands in contrast to the experience of almost all of the 15 other school districts completely or predominantly within Dane County. Fourteen districts saw more failing grades once instruction went online; only the McFarland district saw fewer failing grades in fall 2020 than in fall 2019.

Meanwhile, the percentage of students considered “chronically absent” — meaning they missed 16% or more of school days — in the Madison district increased from 21% to 27% of high schoolers from fall 2019 to fall 2020, and from 11% to 22% at the middle school level.

The increase came despite looser online school attendance standards under which students could be marked presentsimply by exchanging messages with “the homeroom teacher and any specials teacher they are scheduled to receive instruction from that day.” Madison is one of eight school districts in Wisconsin with state waivers from enforcing state attendance laws this school year. Three others are also in Dane County: Sun Prairie, Mount Horeb and Middleton-Cross Plains.

…..

Failing a class in high school also will not result in an F on a student’s report card this school year. Instead it’s an “NP,” for “no pass,” and while the student doesn’t receive credit for an NP course, the NP is not factored into the student’s GPA.

In August, the district also implementeda permanent grading change at the high schools that dictates no assignment gets a score of less than 50%, even ones that aren’t turned in. The idea is to avoid overly penalizing students who missed some assignments but proved through others that they understood the material.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison schools lower the goal posts, yet again.

Ontario teachers’ unions slam province for considering permanent online learning option

Miriam Katawazi:

Ontario teachers’ unions are sounding the alarm after the provincial government announced its holding consultations on whether or not to make online learning options a permanent choice for families once the pandemic ends.

Union leaders and parents voiced their concerns during a news conference on Wednesday, saying the plans will undermine Ontario’s publically funded education system and will harm students.

“Their plan to make online classes permanent means a student could go from Kindergarten to Grade 12 without ever setting foot inside a school,” Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), told reporters.

“They’re planning to make virtual learning permanent while undermining Ontario’s publicly funded education system. It’s a plan that they’re busy working on behind closed doors during a global pandemic.”

According to a confidential presentation by the ministry of education first obtained by The Globe and Mail in March, the government is considering three forms of online school.

Untested Admissions: Examining Changes in Application Behaviors and Student Demographics Under Test-Optional Policies

Christopher Bennett:

This study examines a diverse set of nearly 100 private institutions that adopted test-optional undergraduate admissions policies between 2005–2006 and 2015–2016. Using comparative interrupted time series analysis and difference-in-differences with matching, I find that test-optional policies were associated with a 3% to 4% increase in Pell Grant recipients, a 10% to 12% increase in first-time students from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds, and a 6% to 8% increase in first-time enrollment of women. Overall, I do not detect clear evidence of changes in application volume or yield rate. Subgroup analyses suggest that these patterns were generally similar for both the more selective and the less selective institutions examined. These findings provide evidence regarding the potential — and the limitations — of using test-optional policies to improve equity in admissions.

Texas Virtual Academy trains students to enter workforce right after high school

Jon Garaffa:

‘Formed to meet the increasing demand for unique educational options for students in Texas’

At one online Texas institution, high schoolers learn a high-paying trade, while college is optional.

Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville offersa tuition-free online schooling program of Hallsville Independent School District and lets students statewide from grades 3 to 12 attend class wherever there is an internet connection.

Students can specialize in one of several career tracks, including health science, information technology, and business, marketing and finance.

They also have opportunities to earn industry-recognized certificates in their field, including Microsoft certifications. Academy high school students also can earn early college credits through a dual-enrollment program at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Politics and the English Language

Orwell Foundation:

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language – so the argument runs – must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.

A reckoning Looms on our Massive Taxpayer Backed Student Loan Bubble

Josh Mitchell:

The federal budget assumes the government will recover 96 cents of every dollar borrowers default on. That sounded high to Mr. Courtney because in the private sector 20 cents would be more appropriate for defaulted consumer loans that aren’t backed by an asset.

He asked Education Department budget officials how they calculated that number. They told him that when borrowers default, the government often puts them into new loans. These pay off the old loans, and this is considered a recovery, even though in many cases the borrowers haven’t repaid anything and default on the new loans as well.

In reality, the government is likely to recover just 51% to 63% of defaulted amounts, according to Mr. Courtney’s forecast in a 144-page report of his findings, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“If you accounted this way in the private sector, you wouldn’t be in business anymore,” Mrs. DeVos said in a December interview. “You’d probably be behind bars.”

What Problems are Young People Facing? A discussion

Lucy Warwick-Ching:

Cramped housing

I absolutely cannot relate to mid career professionals being glad to be at home in their leafy three bedroom houses with gardens, when I have to have mid afternoon calls with the sound of my flatmates frying fish for lunch in the background. — A 20-year-old female reader living in London

The burden of student loans

Student loans feel like a unique problem for our generation. I can’t think of a similarity in the past when youth had such large financial burdens that can’t be discharged in most cases. Not that cancellation is necessarily the right choice. I knew what I signed up for, but what was the alternative, work in a coffee shop while the rest of my generation bettered themselves?

Mortgages and car payments just aren’t comparable to the $100k in loans I’ve been forced to deal with since I was 22. The rest seems similar. We have climate change and equality, my parents generations had communist totalitarian governments, nuclear war and . . . equality. — Matt, who works in Chicago, US

Mismatched ideas

The older generation has never understood that while our pay has increased it has been wiped out by extortionate rise in property prices. The older generation also thinks young people only enjoy spending money on experiences rather than saving money, which is not true. — A 30-year-old engineer living in the UK

Living with uncertainty

Older generations don’t feel the uncertainty we younger generation live with. Now it is more common for us to have more temporary jobs, for example, the gig economy. This uncertainty makes planning for future harder and makes taking risks impossible. — Ahmed, a lecturer living in Egypt

Scrap stamp duty on housing

The government needs to sort out house prices and stop inflating them. It should also scrap stamp duty and introduce annual property taxes instead. — A 25-year-old investment banker living in London

MPS closes five schools and 51 classrooms due to COVID in first weeks of in-person learning

Rory Linnane:

Just over two weeks into a transition back to in-person learning, Milwaukee Public Schools has shut down five full schools and an additional 51 classrooms due to COVID cases. The district has 152 schools.

Under MPS’ plan, classroom closures are triggered by a single positive test, prompting all students in that class to transition to virtual learning for two weeks. Three positive tests in a school trigger a full school closure.

The MPS COVID dashboard showed five school closures as of Friday afternoon:

Academy of Accelerated Learning
Eighty-First Street School
Garland Elementary School
Manitoba School
Milwaukee German Immersion School

The dashboard showed 51 classroom closures at 22 additional schools. MPS spokesperson Earl Arms said some schools may have multiple classroom closures from the same single case if, for example, a student or staff member tested positive after spending time in multiple classrooms.

Civics: 96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find

Samuel Axon:

Based on the data from those one million apps, Flurry Analytics says US users agree to be tracked only four percent of the time. The global number is significantly higher at 12 percent, but that’s still below some advertising companies’ estimates.

The data from Flurry Analytics shows users rejecting tracking at much higher rates than were predicted by surveys that were conducted before iOS 14.5 went live. One of those surveys found that just shy of 40 percent, not 4 percent, would opt in to tracking when prompted.

‘I seek a kind person’: the Guardian ad that saved my Jewish father from the Nazis

Julian Borger:

Richard Nelsson, the Guardian’s information manager and archivist, emailed me a picture of the ad in January. Its existence had been the subject of family myth, but I had never seen it before. Its emotive impact took me by surprise – three lines of anguish, from parents willing to give up their only child in the hope he would be safe. The Nazi annexation of Austria, the Anschluss, had taken place five months before my father’s ad was placed, while the Nuremberg race laws had been imposed in May, stripping Jews of basic rights. Groups of Nazi Sturmabteilung, the brownshirted SA, had free rein in Vienna to beat and humiliate Jews.

My father was identified as a Jew by his classmates and at one point was grabbed by an SA gang, who locked him inside the local synagogue. My grandfather Leo, who owned a radio and musical instrument shop, was summoned to Gestapo headquarters to register. He was ordered, like other Viennese Jews, to get down on his hands and knees and wash the pavement, in front of jeering crowds.

Two weeks and the “madness of experts”

Jerry Stratton:

There’s an old saying about people who say one thing, and act like they believe the opposite. They obviously don’t believe their own words. They might be lying, but they might also merely believe that only other people ought to follow the rules they make.

They might even believe that everyone, including themselves, should follow the rules—but only in the abstract. Everyone else is always abstract, but they easily come up with specific reasons why they, themselves, should be exempt in this particular case. They have Reasons for not following their own rules, while not recognizing that everyone else will also have Reasons.

This blindness is not uncommon among people in general; the problem with government administrators and government experts is that they actually get to make rules that only other people have to follow. Government “experts” are still trying to bring back the 55 mph speed limit, and repeal the 85th percentile rule1, despite all of the hard evidence about how many lives were lost the last time we tried that. Of course, when they’re on the road, they’ll have good Reasons for exceeding those limits, just like they did the last time around.

Linux Foundation Starts Landmark Open Source Agtech Project, AgStack

Investable Universe:

Linux Foundation noted in its official AgStack announcement on Wednesday that 33 percent of all food produced is wasted, while nine percent of the people in the world are hungry or undernourished. These societal drivers are compounded with legacy technology systems that are too slow and inefficient and can’t work across the growing and more complex agricultural supply chain. AgStack will use collaboration and open source software to build a 21st century digital infrastructure that it says will be a catalyst for innovation on new applications, efficiencies and scale.

Wokeness and Adoption

Naomi Schaefer Riley:

In a startling new report, Bethany Christian Services, one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, announced that allowing white families to adopt Black children from the foster care system “can cause a lot of harm to children of color.” As a result, the agency favors “overhauling” the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, which bars racial discrimination in placing a child into an adoptive family. As part of its “long journey toward becoming an anti-racist organization,” Bethany’s leaders now believe a child’s race should be considered “as part of the best interest determination for child placement.”

How the agency arrived at this backward view—that determining the most welcoming, stable and potentially permanent home for a child should involve matching their skin color with that of the adults involved—is worth understanding both because it bodes ill for the tens of thousands of children of all races who need permanent homes and because it demonstrates just how quickly our understanding of discrimination has shifted in recent years.

In 2017, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of two same-sex couples, claiming that by contracting with religious agencies like Bethany that don’t place children with gay couples, the state was engaged in discrimination. While Bethany was only responsible for placing 12 percent of the state’s foster children and there were many other agencies in the state that did serve gay couples and no evidence that any gay couples were unable to adopt in Michigan, the ACLU lawyers maintained that allowing agencies to be exempt from the state’s nondiscrimination rules because of their religious beliefs could be the difference “between a child finding a permanent loving home or staying in the system.” (The Supreme Court will be deciding a similar case this month involving the city of Philadelphia and Catholic Charities.)

Commentary on Critical Race Theory

Dana Loesch:

In total, CCAP mentions “equity” 135 times and focuses on behavioral conditioning, not education. Agreeing to CCAP would mean accepting the view that our republic is irrevocably flawed and that the absence of racism is impossible—and that opportunity and resources must be allocated to reflect this disparity. This is what critical race theorists mean by “equity.” Whereas “equality” treats everyone the same regardless the circumstance, “equity” treats everyone differently because of the circumstance.

Southlake parents recognized this danger masquerading as education and clearly articulated their objections based on the publicized facts of the plan.

Comment.

In L.A. and San Francisco, Schools Are Open but Classrooms Are Near-Empty

Alejandro Lazo and Ian Lovett:

When Siniya Longino arrived for her first day of in-person eighth grade in San Francisco last week, there was only one other student in the classroom. Everyone else was remote, as were all of her teachers. Siniya logs into Zoom on her laptop from her desk to see them.

“I personally would have preferred to stay at home,” Siniya said. “I just feel like there’s no point.”

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, tens of thousands of middle- and high-school students returned to classrooms last week for what some parents are calling “Zoom in a Room.” The unusual model, in which students sit at desks with laptops learning remotely while an adult supervises them, is the latest twist in the slow reopening of public schools here in the nation’s most populous state.

Although it currently has the lowest per capita Covid-19 rate of any state, California has the highest percentage of school districts still entirely virtual, at nearly 13%, according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Return to Learn tracker. The nationwide rate is 4%.

One large California school district, Santa Ana, isn’t opening at all this school year. And while many students across the nation are using computers at least some of the time, the “Zoom in a Room” format in L.A. and San Francisco isn’t common, according to education researchers.

How College Became a Ruthless Competition Divorced From Learning

Daniel Markovits:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen begins Pride and Prejudice, “that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” In early-19th-century society—an aristocratic world of inherited wealth—marriage occupied center stage. A good spouse was an all-purpose resource: essential for moving up in the world, as for Austen’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, or for sustaining a dynasty, as for the object of her affections, Mr. Darcy.

School and work were not a path to wealth and status—certainly not for women, nor even for men. Elites were indifferent to education and disdained work. The landed gentry in Pride and Prejudice look down on Elizabeth’s working uncle, no matter that he gets his income from “a very respectable line of trade.” The economic facts on the ground supported their antipathy. The highest-paying jobs tended to be in government. But even at the end of the century, an elite English civil servant made just 17.8 times the median wage, and his American counterpart just 7.8 times. Mr. Darcy’s £10,000 a year from inherited capital was more than 300 times the median wage.

Report recommends Madison terminate district employees who OK’d East High hidden cameras

Elizabeth Beyer:

Upon further investigation, it was discovered there was evidence a camera may have been installed in the smoke detector with the approval of district staff in September 2019 in an effort to document “an employee discipline issue related to work rule violations,” according to a statement released by the district.

The district hired a third-party investigator, MWH Law Group LLP, upon conclusion of the Madison Police Department investigation into the incident in February. Madison Police determined no crime had been committed. LeMonds said the district will not be releasing the full third-party investigative report, citing attorney-client privilege. 

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Civics: Journalism Is Riddled With Bias, Errors, Narrative Setting and Pack Reporting

Tim Murtaugh:

Barely a day passes anymore without one or more major corporate news outlets exposing their liberal bias, sometimes by how they frame stories, sometimes by the massive errors they commit, and sometimes by the mistakes they make in groups. In recent weeks there have been a series of glaring examples in which members of the mainstream press have not exactly covered themselves in journalistic glory, and they extend a pattern in journalism that is disturbing.

In the Dallas suburb of Southlake this week, local elections made national news largely because of controversial left-wing attempts to impose critical race theory on public school students. While sounding benign on its face, critical race theory in schools is actually the indoctrination of children with the notion that people are either oppressed or oppressors, depending on the color of their skin.

After the election results were in, NBC News tweeted that the “opponents of anti-racism education” were the winners, adopting the language of the program’s proponents and making those who oppose it seem, well, proracism.

NBC favorably referred to critical race theory as a “school diversity plan” rejected by voters in the “wealthy Dallas-Fort Worth suburb,” making sure that readers understood that not only were these people pro-racism, they were also rich, thereby doubling their sins.

60% of School Apps are Sending Student Data to Potentially High-risk Third Parties Without Knowledge or Consent

Me2B Alliance:

What you need to know:

  • 60% of school apps were sending student data to a variety of third parties, including advertising platforms like Google and Facebook
  • On average, there were more than 10 third-party data channels per app
  • Public-school apps are more likely to send student data to third parties than private-school apps (67% public vs. 57% of private school apps)
  • 18% of public-school apps included very high-risk third parties – i.e., third parties that further share data with possibly hundreds or thousands of networked entities
  • Android apps are much more likely than iOS apps to be sending data to third parties, and are much more likely to be sending to high or very high-risk third parties

Me2B Alliance, a non-profit industry group focused on respectful technology, today published a research report to drive awareness to the data sharing practices of education apps associated with schools and school districts. According to the research findings, 60% of school apps were sending student data to a variety of third parties, including advertising platforms like Google and Facebook.

Monkey Human Embryos

Robert Lee Hotz:

Imagine pigs with human hearts or mice whose brains have a spark of human intelligence. Scientists are cultivating a flock of such experimental creations, called chimeras, by injecting potent human cells into mice, rats, pigs and cows. They hope the new combinations might one day be used to grow human organs for transplants, study human illnesses or to test new drugs.

In the latest advance, researchers in the U.S. and China announced earlier this month that they made embryos that combined human and monkey cells for the first time. So far, these human-monkey chimeras (pronounced ky-meer-uhs) are no more than bundles of budding cells in a lab dish, but the implications are far-reaching, ethics experts say. The use of primates so closely related to humans raises concerns about unintended consequences, animal welfare and the moral status of hybrid embryos, even if the scientific value of the work may be quite high.

“There were lots of breakthroughs in this experiment,” says bioethicist Nita Farahany of Duke University. “A remarkable step has been taken scientifically that raises urgent issues of public concern. We need to figure out what the right pathway forward is to help guide responsible progress.”

Commentary on K-12 curriculum and outcomes

Will Flanders and Jessica Holmberg:

For every example like this that generates media coverage, there are probably 10 more that don’t. It is critical that parents are aware of what is being taught in their child’s schools. Children may not always know when they are being indoctrinated, and it can be extremely difficult for parents to discover what is being taught.

For example, WILL conducted an open records investigation into the 10 largest districts in the state asking for any teaching materials which include specified “woke” terms. Unfortunately, we found receiving the relevant information to be a tedious, time-consuming, and costly task. For instance, during a Zoom call with two representatives from Racine School District to discuss the records request, we were told by one representative that she did not “believe teachers would fulfill this request,” that the request would take “thousands of hours of work,” and would have a large location fee associated. In the same call we were also told the district wasn’t teaching any of the requested terms anyway—even sending us the district controversial teachings policy—and that the request included too many teachers to manageably fulfill (17 teachers.) One can only imagine how defeated and unsure a parent would feel after such a call.

Later, after consulting with an attorney at WILL, we informed the district we would pay any associated fees; however, we would not modify the request by reducing the number of teachers as the request fell within the parameters of the law. Within 10 business days, the school district fulfilled the request without payment, including all 17 teachers and included teaching materials that directly contradicted their claim about not teaching any of the requested terms. And although the request was eventually completed it took a lot of time and effort on our end and even required the use of an attorney, something which cannot be expected of any parent.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

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

Universities and free speech (!)

Academic Freedom Alliance:

The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), founded in March by more than 200 faculty across the U.S., announced today the successful conclusion of two cases in which it intervened on behalf of professors facing threats of termination over constitutionally protected speech. Yesterday, the University of San Diego declined to take disciplinary action against Professor Tom Smith over his criticisms of China. Earlier this week, the University of Rhode Island dropped its proceedings against Professor Donna Hughes over her comments about gender and sexuality.

“We can think of no better way to celebrate the two-month anniversary of the AFA’s founding than to have our first two cases resolved successfully,” said Keith Whittington, chair of the AFA’s Academic Committee. “These investigations should never have been launched to begin with, but we are pleased that Professors Smith and Hughes can now move on with their scholarship. These victories seemed unlikely just days ago, and they provide powerful proof of concept for the solidarity and legal defense provided by the AFA.”

The birthrate in the United States has fallen by about 19 percent since its recent peak in 2007

Sabrina Tavernise:

How the declining birthrate could profoundly shape the nation’s future.

michael barbaro
From The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily.

[music]
A few days ago, the U.S. government revealed that the country’s population is growing at the slowest rate in nearly a century. Today, Astead Herndon spoke with our colleague Sabrina Tavernise about why that is and just how profoundly it could shape America’s future.

It’s Tuesday, May 4.

astead herndon
So Sabrina, when the U.S. government finished counting the American people this time in the census, it found that the American population was growing really slowly. That was a bit surprising to me personally. What’s going on here?

sabrina tavernise
So this is a very interesting and relatively new thing for the United States. We have this extremely slow population increase, which is different for the United States. The United States usually grows really quickly. What we saw with the census data was the second-slowest decade for population growth in American history. That is since 1790, when the United States government started taking the census. So that’s really surprising. We had known that there was some slowdown for some time, but this census data really tells us this is really the new normal in the United States.

astead herndon
So population is growing at a slower rate. How do we explain this?

Abortion notes, links and data. Choose life.

Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools resist charters

Will Flanders:

Recently, Milwaukee College Prep (MCP) charter schools and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) failed to make an agreement for continued authorization. This ends a ten year relationship between MCP and MPS, and once again highlights the horrific environment for public charters in the city of Milwaukee due largely to the power of teachers unions.

The four MCP schools that are authorized by MPS are some of the highest-performing in the city. The table below shows proficiency in English/Language Arts between MPS and each of the schools on the most recent round of the Forward Exam. MPS proficiency overall remains woeful. Less than 20% of students districtwide were found to be proficient on the exam. In contrast, proficiency rates in MCP charters are far higher–more than double the MPS proficiency rates in all but one case.

Economic freedom reform: Does culture matter?

Nicholas Moellman & Danko Tarabar:

We analyse the role of culture in economic freedom reform and dispersion in an unbalanced panel of up to 80 countries, and in dyadic models with up to 3,003 unique country pairs. We find that a sense of individualism strengthens the effectiveness of democracy in promoting economic freedom within countries over 1950-2015, and that institutional distance between countries increases in their cultural distance, suggesting an important role of culture in determining long-run institutional equilibria. Our results are robust to a large variety of socio-economic controls, measures of institutions and measures of bilateral geographic, economic and demographic distances.

“Masking kids at camp outdoors is simply virtue signaling.”

Robby Soave:

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance to help summer camps mitigate their coronavirus risk. Given that summer camps involve both children and the outdoors—two factors that render COVID-19 significantly less worrisome—and will be opening in the wake of widespread vaccination, one might have expected the CDC to depart from its characteristic over-caution.

Nope: This is among the most restrictive, unrealistic guidance the agency has released during the pandemic. It’s more limiting than the CDC’s guidance for vaccinated people exercising outside more generally. If followed, summer campers would be miserable, deprived of physical contact, and in considerable danger of overheating. The government has essentially recommended that summer camps treat kids like prisoners.

Here are just some of the restrictions:

  • Everyone at the camp—including staff and every kid over the age of two—must wear masks at all times, unless they are eating or swimming. They should wear two layers of masks, especially when social distancing is difficult, regardless of “whether activities are indoors or outdoors.”
  • Campers should be placed in “cohorts,” and their interaction with people outside the cohort must be limited.
  • There should always be at least three feet between campers of the same cohort, and six feet between campers of different cohorts. Staff should keep six feet away from campers at all times, whether inside or outside. Distance should be maintained while eating, napping, or riding the bus: The CDC suggests seating kids in alternating rows.
  • The use of physical objects that might be shared among kids—toys, art supplies, electronics—should be limited wherever possible.
  • Camps should not permit close-contact sports and indoor sports, and should require masks regardless.
  • If anyone is curious there are separate restrictions for outdoor gardening.

Teens, tech and mental health: Oxford study finds no link

Zoe Kleinman:

There remains “little association” between technology use and mental-health problems, a study of more than 430,000 10 to 15-year-olds suggests.

The Oxford Internet Institute compared TV viewing, social-media and device use with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies and behavioural problems.

It found a small drop in association between depression and social-media use and TV viewing, from 1991 to 2019, 

There was a small rise in that between emotional issues and social-media use.

Facebook and Civics

Shoshana Wodinsky:

A series of Instagram ads run by the privacy-positiveplatform Signal got the messaging app booted from the former’s ad platform, according to a blog post Signal published on Tuesday. The ads were meant to show users the bevy of data that Instagram and its parent company Facebook collects on users, by… targeting those users using Instagram’s own adtech tools. 

The actual idea behind the ad campaign is pretty simple. Because Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform, any data that gets hoovered up while you’re scrolling your Insta or Facebook feeds gets fed into the same cesspool of data, which can be used to target you on either platform later. 

Across each of these platforms, you’re also able to target people using a nearly infinite array of data points collected by Facebook’s herd of properties. That data includes basic details, like your age or what city you might live in. It may also include more granular points: say, whether you’re looking for a new home, whether you’re single, or whether you’re really into energy drinks.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Facebook services, including Madison.

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 Governance Class

The Capital Times:

Madison has a great public schools system that faces great challenges. A year of pandemic-required distance learning made existing vulnerabilities and inequities all the more serious. Now, as the COVID-19 threat is easing, and as the schools are reopening, it is impossible to avoid the evidence of the work that must be done to address immediate concerns for students who have struggled in this period, as well as longer-term concerns over achievement gaps, curriculum choices and lingering debates over policing and safety.

Yet, as Albert Einstein observed long ago, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

To our view, there is no issue facing the Madison Metropolitan School District that cannot be addressed with dynamic leadership, and we believe the Madison School Board now has just that.

Last week, Ali Muldrow was elected board president and Savion Castro was elected vice president, as the members of the elected body that oversees Madison’s schools embraced the vision laid out by two of this city’s most thoughtful and engaged young leaders.

Muldrow and Castro both have deep roots in Madison. They know the schools well, from personal experience — as MMSD graduates — and from long histories of involvement with education issues.

They are ready to face the challenges, and seize the opportunities, of a moment when so much is up for grabs.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

“Democrat Party obeisance to the AFT and NEA”

Jason Reilly:

Cal­i­for­nia, which is the most pop­u­lous state and cur­rently has the low­est per capita Covid rate in the coun­try, also has the high­est per­cent­age of school dis­tricts that re­main en­tirely vir­tual. Teach­ers unions have used the pan­demic to de­mand more money and more-gen­er­ous ben­e­fits. They know that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans can’t re­turn to work if kids can’t re­turn to schools. For par­ents it’s a dilemma, but unions see it as lever­age. The United Teach­ers of Los An­ge­les re­quested free child care for its mem­bers as a con­di­tion for re­turn­ing to the class­room. Union clout is the main rea­son that Cal­i­for­nia’s per­cent­age of all-vir­tual school dis­tricts is more than three times the na­tional av­er­age.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

2021 Math Framework Revision

California Department of Education:

The State Board of Education adopted the Mathematics Framework on November 6, 2013. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to educators, parents, and publishers, to support implementing California content standards.


2021 Revision of the Mathematics Framework

The California Department of Education (CDE), Instructional Quality Commission, and State Board of Education have commenced the revision process for the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Mathematics Framework). Information and updates concerning the revision of the Mathematics Framework will be posted here.

Mathematics Framework First Field Review

Comments were received from February 8 through April 8, 2021.

Public Comment for Draft Mathematics Framework 

At its January 21–22, 2021, meeting, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) approved the draft Mathematics Framework for public review and comment. The public review and comment period is an opportunity for interested individuals or organizations to provide comments and suggested edits to the IQC. The comment and suggestions received will be reviewed by the IQC/Mathematics Subject Matter Committee at its meeting on May 19–20, 2021, when the IQC is expected to recommend a revised draft for a second public review to take place in June and July, 2021.

We Owe Our Deepest Appreciation to Our Nation’s Civics and History Teachers

iCivics:

As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, we owe our nation’s civics and history teachers our deepest gratitude. This has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging school years in recent memory for all teachers, but amid cascading social and political crises, it has been particularly challenging for those who teach about our history and system of government. Civics and history teachers deserve special recognition and appreciation for a job well done through such uncertain times. 

Together, iCivics, Facing History and Ourselves, the Bill of Rights Institute, National Constitution Center, the Center for Civic Education, the Ashbrook Center, Generation Citizen, and Mikva Challenge want to send this message of gratitude to civics and history teachers across the nation.

Internal Combustion Engine

The invention of the internal combustion engine in the 19th century has revolutionized transportation over land, water, and air. Despite their omnipresence in modern day, the operation of an engine may be cryptic. Over the course of this article I’d like to explain the functionality of all the basic engine parts shown in the demonstration below. You can drag it around to see it from other angles:

It’s hard to talk about a mechanical device without visualizing its motion, so many demonstrations in this blog post are animated. By default all animations are enabled, but if you find them distracting, or if you want to save power, you can globally pause them.

An engine like this may seem complicated, but we will build it up from first principles. In fact, we’ll start with a significantly simpler way of generating a rotational motion.

John Eastman lays groundwork to sue CU Boulder for stripping him of duties after appearance at Jan. 6 Trump rally

Elizabeth Hernandez:

Visiting scholar John Eastman laid the groundwork to sue the University of Colorado Boulder on Thursday, filing a legal claim alleging defamation and violation of his First Amendment rights over school leaders’ response to his role in efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.

The six-page notice of claim, a necessary precursor to suing the university, also alleges breach of contract, and indicates Eastman will seek at least $1.9 million in damages, including nearly $20,000 that remains in a CU research account and $1.85 million in future salary he alleges he can’t earn because of “reputational harm.”

“The educators who are intent on adding this symposium of op-eds to the syllabus have every reason to fear their critics.”

Noah Rothman:

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood described the project as “wrong in so many ways.” Lauded chronicler of the Civil War, James McPherson, called the project a “one-sided account” that “left most of the history out.” In these pages, author and University of Oklahoma history professor Wilfred McClay observed that the Project’s claim that America’s capitalistic ethos was an outgrowth of slavery is a byproduct of the project’s reliance on “demonstrably wrong” and long ago discarded academic theories. Its own editors describedthe “goal of the 1619 Project” not as dispassionate history but an effort to “reframe American history” and place slavery “at the very center of our national narrative.”

So, when the Department of Education published guidelines for a new grant emphasizing the “1619 Project” and advising applicants to show how they would teach “systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history” accordingly, there was plenty of room for good-faith objections. But when Sen. Mitch McConnell offered one such objection in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, the reaction provoked by his request to avoid promoting a “politicized and divisive agenda” in the classroom was anything but honest.

Rigor and Equity

NY Post Editorial:

On his Facebook page, Ian Serotkin of the Loudoun County School Board explained the “equity” issue involves the current tracking system, which makes it hard for kids to “get to calculus later on if they weren’t sufficiently accelerated in middle school.” But he rightly called the end of all math acceleration until 11th grade “absolutely bananas,” as it just limits how much higher math anyone gets to take. 

That’s progressive “equity” for you: Promote “fairness” not by adding opportunity, but by removing it from those who’ve already done well. Along with all the other garbage the left is pushing on US schools, it’s an invitation for China and other competitors to leave America in the dust.

San Francisco teacher warned for teaching in park

Joanne Jacobs:

Today, Andrew Libson, a physics teacher at San Francisco’s Mission High School, will be in a San Francisco park teaching children and their parents about circuits.

The district investigated Libson for teaching his students in a park during spring break,  but he received only a slap on the wrist, reports Kate Selig for Mission Local.
“News of the investigation quickly drew widespread blowback on social media from community members.”

In a letter to Libson, Mission High principal Pirette McKamey said he’d violated a health order by teaching students from more than three households.

Libson’s March 29 outdoor learning event over spring break involved 11 students and some of their family members; he led them in an activity about circuits, with Covid safety protocols enforced. The event was entirely optional for students, and students were required to get the consent of their parents before attending.

Mission High reopened on April 26 only for special-needs students.

She brought kids joy with her ‘magical’ toys. And hid her own misery until it became unbearable.

Ellen McCarthy:

Melissa Bernstein creates toys intended to delight and comfort children. They’re seemingly simple, no flashing lights or blaring noises. We’re talking about metal tea sets. Astronaut costumes. Farm-animal magnets. Wooden puzzles. Puppet theaters. The kinds of toys that today’s grandparents would’ve loved when they were children. The kinds of toys that bridge generational gaps, that evoke a feeling of getting back to something.

“Wokeness is a problem and we all know it”

Sean Illing:

You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “Latinx” that no one else uses. Or they use a phrase like “communities of color.” I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a “community of color.” I know lots of white and Black and brown people and they all live in … neighborhoods.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not.

Civics: Don’t wait for the government to fix surveillance capitalism. It’s up to us.

Sauvik Das:

Don’t wait for the government to fix privacy. Any attempt to curtail and reverse the growing power of surveillance capitalism will have to start from us — the people — through grassroots mobilization.

Why?

Institutions in power do not willingly give up their power — it must be wrested from them. And, make no mistake, unilateral control over the collection and processing of personal data is one of the strongest emergent forms of power in the information age. It is the lifeblood of a trillion dollar global industry.

Sometimes a government that serves the people can be trusted do this wresting, assuming the privacy-violating institution is not the government itself. For example, anti-trust regulation can prevent the formation of exploitative corporate monopolies.

Not so when it comes to the protection of personal data. At least not yet.

Why?

Teacher union CDC influence

Jon Levine:

The American Federation of Teachers lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on, and even suggested language for, the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February.

The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.

The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative watchdog group Americans for Public Trust and provided to The Post.

The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly-anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.

“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

“It’s probably true that these children of Americans who are not getting born would probably be dull slackers compared to the plucky, effervescent immigrants.”

Ann Althouse:

There was some concern expressed yesterday over the “remarkable slackening” in population growth seen in the 2020 census. What will it do to the economy going forward if Americans don’t maintain the long human tradition of robust reproduction? I was inclined to say, don’t worry about it, less population growth is good for the environment. But if you took the other side of that debate… you’d better worry about women declining the option to undertake childbearing and men and women passing on the potentially fulfilling endeavor of child-rearing. It’s terribly expensive!… [Y]ou’re going to have to incentivize reproduction a little bit.

Abortion notes, links and data. Choose life

“a 41% funding increase—for the Department of Education”

Jude Schwalbach:

The president’s budget request includes significant funding increases for:

  • School districts with students from low-income households, increasing Title I funding from $16.5 billion to $36.5 billion.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, increasing funding from $12.9 billion to $15.5 billion.
  • Head Start, the federal government’s largest preschool program, which would receive $11.9 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion.
  • School districts, which would receive an additional $1 billion to increase the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in K-12 education.
  • The federal Pell Grant program, which would see an increase of $400 per grant on average.

This proposal is just one piece of a massive education spending spree that began a year ago and shows no sign of stopping.

“It has to produce results or it doesn’t mean anything.”: taxpayer supported K-12 Governance, Madison

Scott Girard:

Both mentioned a few areas of focus for the upcoming year, including most immediately the transition back to in-person learning as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Muldrow noted that the “vast majority of the young people we serve” are not eligible for a vaccine yet, requiring the district to continue to “provide high-quality educational opportunities” while keeping safety top of mind.

“The other thing I think that the board is really starting to think about differently is how we give our students credit for what they’ve learned about and from technology,” she said. “So how do we recognize that our students are coming back to school with all of these skills around the information age that we’ve never given students academic credit for, but that are super relevant to their ability to interact with the job market?”

Broadly, Castro and Muldrow have similar priorities from when they began on the board, including early childhood education, as the district plans a full-day 4-year-old kindergarten pilot program at eight schools next year. They hope it’s one way among multiple strategies to begin to close the longstanding opportunity gaps between students of color and their white peers.

“Making sure that the color of a kid’s skin isn’t a determining factor in whether or not they’re going to be able to read, whether or not they’re going to be perceived as disruptive or talented and gifted,” Muldrow said.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

“we just don’t see decisions being made to optimize student success at Milwaukee Public Schools”

Rory Linnane:

Schlifske also said that Northwestern Mutual will be reaching out to others in the philanthropic and business community to support the goal of an additional 5,000 seats in “high-quality schools” by 2025, as measured by state report cards based on standardized tests and other metrics.

Schlifske’s op-ed specifically criticized MPS board members over the district’s loss of Milwaukee College Prep charter school network. The schools, which have operated under contract with MPS, are moving to a contract with UW-Milwaukee after MPS held back incentive funding.

Milwaukee College Prep is suing MPS over the funding. In addition, losing the network of four high-performing schools will cost MPS revenue.

“Instead of focusing upon improvement and quality outcomes, our community finds itself in a divisive debate over the types of schools students attend,” he wrote in the piece for the Journal Sentinel.

Madison’s business community continues to sleep amidst long term, 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.

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Commentary on federal redistributed taxpayer funds for K-12 school districts and charters

Libby Sobic:

As Congress doles out billions of dollars for K–12 schools, charter schools already receive a much smaller portion of the education-funding pie. Currently Congress appropriates $440 million for the CSP, which is just 1 percent of U.S. Department of Education spending on K–12.

However, the CSP has been critical to the growth and sustainability of charter schools throughout many states. For instance, in 2017 Wisconsin received a five-year award of $95 million from the CSP. In the City of Milwaukee alone, seven charter schools were recipients of more than $5 million in CSP grants over the last three years. Elsewhere, in 2020, the Florida Department of Education received a five-year grant of over $78 million in charter funding through the CSP, the California Department of Education received a three-year grant of more than $41 million, and Texas received a five-year grant of $100 million.

These funds are used to plan and implement charter schools with a focus on improving academic outcomes for economically disadvantaged students.

Begin With The End: What’s The Purpose Of Schooling?

Michael Horn:

That means, as Stephen Covey wrote in one of the best-selling non-fiction books of all time, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” beginning “with the end in mind.” Or, as Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe wrote in the context of education in “Understanding by Design,” good teachers start with the goals and how they would know if students have met them and then backwards map all the things they need to provide to get to those outcomes.

Although it’s unlikely there will be any consensus across all communities in the country around a central purpose, that’s OK. That’s part of a robust pluralism underlying our democracy that values the fact that students sit in different circumstances and will have different needs.

But clarity in any specific schooling community is critical.

To help school communities think through what’s the purpose of schooling, a little history can help, as the dominant policy rationale for public schools’ purpose in society has changed over time. In “Disrupting Class,” Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson and I offered a brief history of these shifts.

Through much of the 1800s, a kind reading of history would say that the central role of public schools was to preserve the American democracy and inculcate democratic values.

University of Toledo law professor faces backlash for inclusivity award

Sophia Perricone:

University of Toledo students are speaking out after the Office of Diversity awarded law professor Lee Strang the 2021 Inclusive Excellence Award.

A current law student who asked to remain anonymous said in his opinion, Strang is not the clear winner.

“His views are not exactly in tune with, I guess you can say, modern diversity and views most professors would hold,” the student said.

And he isn’t alone. Students and alumni on Facebook pointed to an opinion piece written by Strang while at Harvard University in 2003.

In the article, he called homosexuality harmful, writing that “a corrupt society that does not seek to prevent homosexual activity makes it more difficult for us to properly raise our children.”

In a recent statement shared with law students, Strang said he regrets writing portions of past columns and that he wouldn’t make “arguments using this kind of language today.”

Grammar-Nerd Heaven

Mary Norris:

It’s hard not to mythologize Bryan A. Garner. He is the Herakles of English usage. As a boy growing up in Texas, he lugged Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged) to school one day to settle an argument with a teacher. When he was sixteen, he discovered “Fowler’s Modern English Usage” and swallowed it whole. By the time he was an undergraduate, he knew that he wanted to write a usage dictionary. Instead of going into academia or publishing, the traditional career paths for English majors, he went into law, a field where his prodigious language skills could have broad applications. His first usage dictionary was “Modern Legal Usage,” published in 1987. “Garner’s Modern American Usage” came out in 1998 and is in its fourth edition; with a significant tweaking of the title, it’s now “Garner’s Modern English Usage.” Move over, Henry Fowler.

Garner’s success—he is a highly sought-after speaker among lawyers and lexicographers—has enabled him to indulge his passions as a bibliophile and an antiquarian. A selection of sixty-eight items from the Garner Collection is on view at the Grolier Club (47 East Sixtieth Street, through May 15th), with a sumptuous hardcover limited-edition catalogue that serves as a companion guide. To enter the exhibit, titled “Taming the Tongue: In the Heyday of English Grammar (1713-1851),” via a discreet door on the second-floor landing of a stairwell at the Grolier, is to climb aboard the Grammarama ride at Disneyland for Nerds.

Academic freedom’s most determined adversaries are inside academia.

Keith E. Whittington:

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, institutions of higher education in the United States face an existential threat. Even if they can survive their current budget crisis, what kind of institutions will American universities and colleges be in a decade’s time?

One crucial front in the war over the university pits defenders of the free-ranging pursuit of truth against those who would put political limits on such inquiries. For most of higher education’s history, this dispute was between advocates of academic freedom inside the universities and skeptics of it who were outside. On behalf of conventional mores or the community’s political and economic interests, politicians, or donors, took the position that the pursuit of knowledge is all well and good…until it threatens vital orthodoxies. The example of Socrates has always been both an inspiration and a warning. Heterodox gadflies tend to get swatted.

In the 21st century, however, academic freedom’s most determined adversaries are inside rather than outside academia. A growing army on college campuses would like to restrict the scope of intellectual debate by subjecting academic inquiry to political litmus tests. Over the 20th century, American universities’ students and faculty pushed to make them havens for heretics, dissenters, iconoclasts, and nonconformists. In the wake of their success, many scholars now demand that campuses adhere to their own orthodoxies. Until recently I would have said that many students and faculty want the range of intellectual debate on a college campus to be narrower than the offerings in the New York Times’s op-ed pages. But now, of course, the college graduates hired by the Times are scrubbing its op-ed pages of heresies as well.