What We Learned From Hating the Unvaccinated

Susan Dunham:

The battlefield is still warm, following Canada’s war on the unvaccinated. The mandates have let up, and both sides stumble back into something that looks like the old normal — except that there is a fresh and present injury done to the people we tried to break. And no one wants to talk about it.

Only weeks ago, it was the admitted goal of our own leaders to make life unlivable for the unvaccinated. And as a deputized collective, we force-multiplied that pain, taking the fight into our families, friendships, and workplaces. Today, we face the hard truth that none of it was justified — and, in doing that, uncover a precious lesson.

It was a quick slide from righteousness to cruelty, and however much we might blame our leaders for the push, we’re accountable for stepping into the trap despite better judgement.

We knew that waning immunity put vast numbers of the fully vaccinated on par with the shrinking minority of unvaccinated, yet we marked them for special persecution. We said they hadn’t “done the right thing” by turning their bodies over to state care — even though we knew that principled opposition to such a thing is priceless in any circumstance. And we truly let ourselves believe that going into another ineffectual lockdown would be their fault, not the fault of toxic policy.

And so it was by the wilful ignorance of science, civics, and politics that we squeezed the unvaccinated to the degree that we did.

A Minneapolis teacher weighs the cost of battling the white education hierarchy—and her own union.

Becky Dernbach:

The announcement went out to media outlets and school staff in the predawn hours of Friday, March 25: The three-week Minneapolis teachers strike was nearly over. District officials had reached a tentative deal with the union. The union hailed the “historic agreements” and “major gains.”

At a press conference at district headquarters a few hours later, school officials seemed elated to welcome students back to class. 

But a few miles away, at the Get Down Coffee Company near Patrick Henry High School, English teacher Nafeesah Muhammad and some of her Henry colleagues had a different story to tell about the strike. 

I joined the Henry teachers in a circle of couches at the coffee shop. Brightly colored records lined the walls, and R&B played from the loudspeakers.

Tuition Discount Rates at Private Colleges and Universities Hit All-Time Highs

NACUBO:

Average private college and university tuition discount rates continue to climb—but a new analysis from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) shows correlation between the longstanding financial aid strategy and admissions selectivity.

In the 2021 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study, 359 private, nonprofit colleges and universities reported an estimated 54.5 percent average institutional tuition discount rate for first-time, full-time, first-year students in 2020-21 and 49 percent for all undergraduates—both record highs. By providing grants, fellowships, and scholarships, these institutions forgo about half the revenue they otherwise would collect if they charged all students the tuition and fee sticker price.

Another open records suit filed against Madison School District

Chris Rickert:

or the second time in less than two weeks, the Madison School District is being sued over its response to a public records request.

The conservative Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, or WILL, filed suit Thursday asking a judge to order the district to release staff training materials entitled “LGBTQA+ 101.”

LGBTQA+ typically refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and asexual individuals and groups. The + refers to “the limitless sexual orientations and gender identities used by members of our community,” according to the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, which has conducted trainings with the school district in the past.

The suit comes after the district’s teachers union, Madison Teachers Inc., filed suit May 9 alleging the district violated Wisconsin’s public records law by failing to fulfill a Nov. 3 records request for information on staff benefits and contracts.

The college admissions contribution to the labor market beauty premium

David Ong:

We investigate the contribution of college admissions to the labor market beauty premium. We sampled 1800 social media profiles of students from universities ranked from 1 to 200 in China and the US. Chinese universities use standardized test scores for admissions. US universities use also extracurricular activities. Consistent with beauty-blind admissions, alumni’s beauty is uncorrelated with the rank of the school they attended in China. In the US, White men who attended high-ranked schools are better looking, especially attendees of private schools. A one percentage point increase in beauty rank corresponds to a half-point increase in the school rank.

Notes on the First Amendment

Evelyn douek & Genevieve Lakier

There are two main genres of content moderation controversy. In the first, a platform takes down a post. Then there are the inevitable screams of “First Amendment!!” and protests that such infringements on speech are downright un-American. This is followed by others rolling their eyes, exasperated at the need to remind people yet again that the First Amendment only applies to the government and that private companies are free to moderate speech as they see fit, dummies! Eventually the controversy dies down. … Until a platform takes down another high-profile post. Then it’s rinse and repeat.

In the second genre of content moderation controversy, platforms do not take down a high-profile controversial post. The post sits there while commentators and politicians erupt into a furor and lambast the platforms for failing to remove such harmful speech. The First Amendment is then invoked in another way. The speech is obviously protected, say critics, and it would be un-American to suggest otherwise! Don’t you remember that the First Amendment is exceptional and extraordinary in its protection for the thought we hate?

What unites both genres of controversy is the tendency of many of those who participate to invoke the First Amendment as a conversation-ending and self-evident trump card. But these invocations often make two false assumptions about First Amendment law: first, that First Amendment precedents are unambiguous in how they apply; second, that First Amendment rules are set in stone. But neither of these assumptions holds. The First Amendment—in all cases, but especially with respect to new technologies—is anything but clear or fixed. As we will show in this series of blog posts, neither the past nor the future of the First Amendment, nor how it will apply to the internet, are certain. The result is a public debate that rests on an oversimplified understanding of what the First Amendment is and can do.

Digital Humanists Need to Learn How to Count

Mordechai Levy-Eichel and Daniel Scheinerman

There’s an old, self-deprecating Jewish joke about our collective differences. A French student, a German student, an American student, and a Jewish student are each asked to write a paper on the elephant. The French student, of course, writes about the elephant’s sex life; the German one composes a thick tome entitled “Prologue to a Comprehensive Bibliography on the Classification of the Pachyderm”; the American writes about how to make bigger and better elephants; and the Jewish student, as ever, writes about “The Elephant and the Jewish Question.” While neither of the authors of this review essay is especially fond of playing the Jew, certain works — not so much by their focus on Jews, but rather by their omission and marginalization of them — prompt one to sit up and wonder: Wait, just where are the Jews? And why is it so hard to count well in the first place — and not just with regard to Jews — when it comes to the study of literature and the humanities?

‘I Cannot Imagine My Life Without Parents.’

Isabel Coles:

The first entry in Tymofiy Zozulia’s war diary is dated March 12, days after Russian forces occupied this village east of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. By then, his mother and stepfather were dead, but the 12-year-old had yet to discover the truth.

“For four days my brother Serafim and I are staying with our auntie,” Tymofiy wrote in a blue notebook. “We often went to hide in their neighbor’s cellar. I have lost count of how many times we went to the cellar but that’s OK. My mom and [stepfather] Sirozha have been stuck in Kyiv since last week.”

For Tymofiy, the war began when he returned from school on Feb. 23 and learned he would stay home the next day. His mother, Yuliya Vashchenko, and her partner, Serhiy Yesypenko—nicknamed Sirozha—instructed him to switch off the lights early that evening, he recalled.

In the dark, he wrote in his diary before trying to sleep, but his mind was racing. “I had millions of questions,” he said. “The uncertainty was killing me.”

The report further critiques what it calls school districts’ lack of transparency regarding declining student performance — and it laments parents’ “eroding” confidence in the state’s public schools.

Hannah Natanson and Laura Vozzella

“We are not serving all of Virginia’s children and we must,” Youngkin said at a news conference in Richmond, where he and his education team presented the report. “We want to be the best in education. We should be the best in education. And the data that is compiled and shared with you today suggests that we have a lot of work to do to be the best.”

A Washington Post analysis of the report, though, suggests its use of data is misleading, and shows Virginia students performed at least as well as or better than students nationwide over the past several years. And some educators and politicians took immediate exception to the report Thursday, criticizing its presentation and analysis of student test scores.

Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said in a statement: “To accuse Virginia’s education system of failure is an outright lie, supported by cherry-picked data and warped perspective.”

Although Youngkin has rejected equity initiatives in education and called “equity” a “very confusing word,” he promised on Thursday to address racial and socioeconomic performance gaps by providing more funding for school facilities, raises for teachers, and innovation in early childhood and literacy programs — all things expected to be included in the two-year state budget that the General Assembly must finalize before July 1. And he vowed to employ the best teachers to serve the students most in need.

The Education Department report also outlines steps to improve students’ academic skills, including developing an improved in-state assessment system, revising Virginia’s school accreditation standards and hiring reading specialists to improve student literacy.

At Thursday’s news conference, Virginia’s top education officials condemned education policy decisions made by previous administrations, especially a 2017 revision of Virginia accreditation standards that allowed students’ academic progress to count toward accreditation along with their test scores. Education Secretary Aimee Guidera said such initiatives were part of a misguided push for equity.

“There was a general culture of lowering expectations,” Guidera said. “What happened before was we took our eye off the ball in the state of Virginia.”

Notes on mediocrity.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Commentary on middle school diversity training

Tom Knighton:

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk a bit about Kirkland Middle School in Kirkland, Washington. It seems that some hinky stuff went on there with some “diversity” education the students received.

Kirkland Middle School (KiMS) used wholly unsubstantiated claims about hate speech on campus to justify left-wing equity training for kids. What’s worse, the school appears to have cooked up data to justify the training after it had already begun. The incorrect data may have been used to address the complaints of two parents who questioned the hate speech claims.

According to emails shared with the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, KiMS principal Niki Cassaro alleged there was “an increase in the use of racial and identity slurs.” She said the incidents were occurring across all grade levels and were “pervasive rather than a single isolated incident.” Consequently, the school conducted student training to discuss the importance of diversity and the dangers of hate speech and slurs. The district, through a spokesperson, confirmed the training came “in response to a trend” about biased behavior.

Except, after a couple of parents pressed the issue, it turns out there’s little to no evidence of there being any such trend.

Civics: After this story posted, the spokesperson confirmed that the Inspector General is not investigating EcoHealth Alliance grants.

Paul Thacker:

Beginning last week, I sent the NIH a series of questions asking them to confirm how many referrals they had sent to the Inspector General about EcoHealth Alliance. Hill sources had told me that the NIH had sent the IG several referrals about EcoHeatlh Alliance, although the exact number is unknown. I also asked NIH to explain if the Inspector General had then contacted NIH for further information, or if the referrals were ignored.

“NIH does not comment on OIG investigations,” emailed an NIH spokesperson.

I then pointed out that it was public knowledge that the NIH had sent 51 criminal referrals to the IG and that I just needed to know how many specifically involved EcoHealth Alliance. I also asked NIH if they were still working with the FBI to investigate EcoHealth Alliance. The Intercept had discovered an email that showed the NIH was working with the FBI to investigate EcoHealth Alliance’s grants.

Notes on Race Based College Admissions

George Will:

Since then, Heriot and Mulder say, the court has not explained “why, alone among government instrumentalities, public colleges and universities should be exempt from the strong presumption against racially discriminatory laws and policies (or why, alone among industries, private colleges and universities should be exempt).” Research into schools’ practices shows that race-based admissions are the product not of empirical educational research but “of political winds from both inside and outside each institution,” and are intended to keep campus peace and attract funds.

The authors correctly say, “The quality of a college education is a difficult thing to judge, especially in the short run,” so education is “prone to fads,” especially politically fashionable ones. Today’s fad — racial monomania — deepens the contradictory nature of the argument for the constitutionality of race-based admissions: Preferences supposedly improve the diversity pertinent to education — diversity of views — yet also dissolve stereotypes about race being a reliable indicator of mentalities.

Presenting “diversity” as an educational benefit for all students is academia’s way of justifying racial discrimination actually intended for aims that the Supreme Court has not said justify such discrimination — “social justice,” or compensation for past injuries. As Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, who supports affirmative action, writes, many advocates of racial preferences in the name of diversity’s benefits (“only a contingent, pedagogical hypothesis”) “would rightly defend affirmative action even if social science demonstrated uncontrovertibly that diversity (or its absence) has no effect (or even a negative effect) on the learning environment.”

California Parents Say No to Anti-Semitic Ethnic Studies

Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Jesse M. Fried:

A group of Jewish public-school parents and teachers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the adoption of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist curricular materials in Los Angeles public schools.

Last year California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring public-school students in the state to complete a course in ethnic studies to graduate from high school. He said it was needed because “students deserve to see themselves in their studies, and they must understand our nation’s full history if we expect them to one day build a more just society.” But the ethnic-studies movement has never been about representation or justice. A creature of 1960s radical left-wing activism, ethnic studies was from the start about attacking the U.S., capitalism and Zionism.

Advocates—including teachers union officials, public-school teachers and other ideologues—have formed the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium, through which they hope to influence the teaching of ethnic studies in the state. The consortium, which disseminates teaching materials lifted directly from radical anti-Israel websites, rejects the idea that all cultures should be studied. It asserts that ethnic studies is about only four groups: Native Americans, black Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders. That last group includes Arabs from the Middle East—but not Jews, who’ve lived in that same region for millennia.

Advocating transparency in the origins of COVID 19

Neil Harrison and Jeffrey Sachs:

This lack of an independent and transparent US-based scientific investigation has had four highly adverse consequences. First, public trust in the ability of US scientific institutions to govern the activities of US science in a responsible manner has been shaken. Second, the investigation of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 has become politicized within the US Congress (5); as a result, the inception of an independent and transparent investigation has been obstructed and delayed. Third, US researchers with deep knowledge of the possibilities of a laboratory-associated incident have not been enabled to share their expertise effectively. Fourth, the failure of NIH, one of the main funders of the US–China collaborative work, to facilitate the investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 (4) has fostered distrust regarding US biodefense research activities.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The excellence gap and underrepresentation at America’s most selective universities

Michael J. Petrilli

The connection between the excellence gap and affirmative action should be obvious. College administrators would not have to twist themselves into knots to find ways to admit more Black, Hispanic, and low-income students into highly selective institutions were it not for the pervasiveness of the excellence gap.

Consider: In 2015–16, the most recent year for which we have national data, Black, Hispanic, and poor students remained underrepresented in America’s “very selective”[1] universities—this despite widespread use of various forms of affirmative action.

Commentary.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on the University of Wisconsin-Madison School Climate

Jackson Walker:

There has been no improvement in the UW-Madison campus climate over the last six years despite the public university pouring millions of dollars into programs and staff positions to support diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Students of color, students with disabilities, nonbinary students, transgender students, and other LGBTQ+ students responded less positively than their counterparts” when rating whether they feel welcome, safe and respected, according to the results of a recently released campus climate survey.

“The gap in reported perceptions between these students and other students did not change between 2016 and 2021,” the survey found.

Outgoing Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the survey results were disappointing and she hopes her replacement can do a better job on diversity.

“It’s clear that there do remain gaps between more marginalized groups and their degree of satisfaction and their sense of belonging and comfort on this campus,” Blank said during her final press conference on campus May 11.

“I think we’ve done a number of things that have helped move the university forward, but as others have noted, we are a predominantly white institution in a predominantly white state and this is work that is going to be ongoing for a long time.”

Notes on the taxpayer funded federal censorship bureau

Ann Althouse

Experts, eh? Would those be left-wing experts? Who thought it was a good idea to use the government to help “government, the media and educational bodies” “understand” how political rhetoric works? Taylor Lorenz is openly stating that the Disinformation Governance Board was supposed to go after the right wing! 

Lorenz goes on to say that the right followed its standard methodology to go after Jankowicz: 

Jankowicz’s case is a perfect example of this system at work, said Emerson T. Brooking, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “They try to define people by these single, decontextualized moments,” Brooking said. “In Nina’s case it’s a few TikTok videos, or one or two comments out of thousands of public appearances. They fixate on these small instances and they define this villain.”…

“The irony is that Nina’s role was to come up with strategies for the department to counter this type of campaign, and now they’ve just succumbed to it themselves,” said one Hill staffer with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the issue. “They didn’t even fight, they just rolled over.”

I think they didn’t fight because they saw they’d only be digging a bigger hole for themselves. It is ironic, but that makes it funny. And it’s a great thing to be in a position to laugh at what happened.

Civics: Taxpayer funded censorship advocates

Adam Andrzejewski

Musk also tweeted “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

We agree, so OpenTheBooks.com got to work. We searched federal spending to find that nine of the 26 organizations collected about $10.5 million in federal funds over the past few years.

Black Lives Matter was one of them, receiving $19,000 in grants from the Small Business Administration in 2020 and $11,300 in forgivable SBA loans in 2020. However, the organization was collecting these funds at the same time that some of their leaders were encouraging protests that looted small businesses.

The other organizations that received federal funding are:

  • Friends of the Earth – $1.2 million grant in 2020
  • GLAAD – $7,650 grants in 2019 and 2020 and $2 million in forgivable loans from the SBA in 2020 and 2021
  • Media Matters for America – $1.1 millionforgivable SBA loan in 2020
  • MediaJustice (formerly Center for Media Justice) – $210,255 forgivable SBA loan in 2020
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America – $936,350forgivable SBA loan in 2020
  • National Hispanic Media Coalition – $194,789 in two forgivable SBA loans in 2020 and 2021
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – $195,722 in three forgivable SBA loans in 2020 and 2021
  • Union of Concerned Scientists – $4.5 millionin a forgivable SBA loan in 2020

The School District of Philadelphia encouraged teachers to attend a conference on “kink,” “BDSM,” “trans sex,” and “masturbation sleeves.”

Christopher Rufo:

I have obtained videos from a publicly accessible website that show that the conference went far beyond the school district’s euphemism about “issues facing the trans community.” The event included sessions on topics such as “The Adolescent Pathway: Preparing Young People for Gender-Affirming Care,” “Bigger Dick Energy: Life After Masculinizing [Gender Reassignment Surgery],” “Prosthetics for Sex,” “The Ins and Outs of Masturbation Sleeves,” and “Trans Sex: Banging Beyond Binaries.” The conference attendees included educators, activists, adults, and adolescents. There were graphic sessions on prosthetic penises, masturbation toys, and artificial ejaculation devices, which some hosts explicitly promoted to minors. As one session host explained, “there’s no age limit, because I feel like everybody should be able to access certain information.”

The conference began with presentations promoting puberty blockers, hormone treatments, breast removals, and genital surgeries. In one session, “The Adolescent Pathway Preparing Young People for Gender-Affirming Care,” Dr. Scott Mosser, the principal at the Gender Confirmation Center in San Francisco, explained that he has performed “over two thousand top surgeries,” which involve removing girls’ breasts, and that there is no age limit for beginning the “gender journey.” “I do not have a minimum age of any sort in my practice,” he said, explaining that he would be willing to consult with children as young as ten years old with parental consent. In another session open to children, “Gender-Affirming Masculine and Feminizing Hormones for Adolescents and Adults,” Dane Menkin, divisional director of LGBTQ services at Main Line Health, endorsed treatments ranging from puberty-blocking hormones to manual breast-binding for “masculinizing” adolescent girls. “I’m a strong proponent that you can bind for as many hours a day as you can tolerate binding,” he said.

Other presentations at the Trans Wellness Conference involved explicit sexual themes. Two female-to-male trans activists, Kofi Opam, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, and Sami Brussels, a medical illustrator, hosted a presentation called “Bigger Dick Energy,” in which they explained the process of phalloplasty and using an artificial penis for “navigating cruising and anonymous/casual sex life.” Chase Ross, a transgender activist and YouTuber, hosted a series of sessions on “packers,” “masturbation sleeves,” and “prosthetics for sex,” demonstrating various devices from his collection of more than 500 genital prosthetics. “I have tried and touched many dicks, right—prosthetics, real dicks, all dicks. This is one of the most realistic feeling in terms of like the inside of a penis,” he said during one demonstration. “It’s a big boy, this is, like, gigantic. Alright, give me two hours alone and I’ll get this in my butt,” he said during another.

Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District

David Blaska:

If you doubt that the Woke Wobblies have taken over Madison’s public schools, we submit the following: School board president Ali Muldrow and immediate past member Ananda Mirilli are accusing Ismael Ozanne, a black man, of racism most foul.

They want him to resign (!!!) because police arrested Freedom Inc. spokesperson Jessica Williams for threatening the district attorney during a courtroom trial. (Freedom Inc. apologists at The Capital Times have more.) Freedom Inc. is the BLM affiliate that harassed parents, taxpayers, and (ultimately) elected officials to expel school resource officers on the grounds that the four minority-race police were racist. Ironically, minority students are disproportionately victims of the resultant classroom chaos.

Two summers ago, the Freedom Inc. mob hit the school board president at the time, Gloria Reyes — an hispanic, at her residence, in late evening. Bullhorns blasted F-bombs; her yard was littered with F-bombed signage. One’s home should be off-limits. Holds for abortion protesters, as well. So, good on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing legislation prohibiting the practice. The Werkes makes its living off the First Amendment, but protestors do not lack for public venues, physical and virtual. One more point: physical threats are not protest.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Duke Commencement Speaker Is ‘Mortified and Embarrassed’ After Similarities in Speech Spark Probe

Omar Abdel-Baqui:

A Duke University student said she is taking “full responsibility” for parts of her commencement speech that included passages similar to those in a Harvard University graduation speech years ago, prompting a university probe.

Undergraduate commencement speaker Priya Parkash spoke to her fellow classmates at Duke’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. The following day the Duke Chronicle—the university’s student newspaper—reported that several passages of Ms. Parkash’s speech were similar to that of a Harvard speech in 2014 given by then-student Sarah Abushaar.

Duke is investigating the matter, a spokesman said. Ms. Parkash said she would fully cooperate with the university’s probe.

She said she incorporated ideas for passages provided by friends without researching if they had been used previously. Ms. Parkash said she didn’t find out until the day after the speech that those passages had come from the speech given at Harvard, which she said she hadn’t previously seen.

$pending more for less: K-12 budgets grow amidst declining enrollment

By Shawn Hubler

All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon.

A broad decline was already underway in the nation’s public school system as rates of birth and immigration have fallen, particularly in cities. But the coronavirus crisis supercharged that drop in ways that experts say will not easily be reversed.

No overriding explanation has emerged yet for the widespread drop-off. But experts point to two potential causes: Some parents became so fed up with remote instruction or mask mandates that they started home-schooling their children or sending them to private or parochial schools that largely remained open during the pandemic. And other families were thrown into such turmoil by pandemic-related job losses, homelessness and school closures that their children simply dropped out.

Now educators and school officials are confronting a potentially harsh future of lasting setbacks in learning, hardened inequities in education and smaller budgets accompanying smaller student populations.

“This has been a seismic hit to public education,” said Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. “Student outcomes are low. Habits have been broken. School finances are really shaken. We shouldn’t think that this is going to be like a rubber band that bounces back to where it was before.”

In some states where schools eschewed remote instruction — Florida, for instance — enrollment has not only rebounded, but remains robust. An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank, concluded last month that remote instruction was a major driver around the country, with enrollment falling most in districts most likely to have delayed their return to in-person classrooms.

Private schools have also seen some gains in enrollment. Federal head counts have not yet been released, but both the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Catholic Educational Association have reported increases that total about 73,000 K-12 students during the past two years.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

“Low state capacity”: spending more for less

Helen Dale

America’s dysfunctional airports are instances of widespread low state capacity. And this is bigger than airports. Low state capacity can only be used to describe a country when it is true of multiple big-ticket items, not just one.

State capacity is a term drawn from economic history and development economics. It refers to a government’s ability to achieve policy goals in reference to specific aims, collect taxes, uphold law and order, and provide public goods. Its absence at the extremes is terrifying, and often used to illustrate things like “fragile states” or “failed states.” However, denoting calamitous governance in the developing world is not its only value. State capacity allows one to draw distinctions at varying levels of granularity between developed countries, and is especially salient when it comes to healthcare, policing, and immigration. It has a knock-on effect in the private sector, too, as business responds to government in administrative kind.

Think, for example, of Covid-19. The most reliable metric—if you wish to compare different countries’ responses to the pandemic—is excess deaths per 100,000 people over the relevant period. That is, count how many extra people died beyond the pre-pandemic mortality rate on a country-by-country basis. For the sake of argument, drop the five countries leading this grim pack. Four of them are developing countries, and the fifth is Russia, which while developed, is both an autocracy and suffers from chronic low state capacity.

At the other end of the scale, ignore China, too. It may be lying about its success or, more plausibly, may have achieved it by dint of being an authoritarian state with high state capacity(notably, the latest round of draconian lockdowns in Shanghai commenced after the WHO collated that data).

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Spending more on facilities amidst enrollment decline and long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard:

Officials outlined a total of $28 million in additional costs to the School Board Monday night. Of that, $11 million is related to high inflation, $9 million is for additional mechanical and electrical work and $8 million for additional environmental projects.

MMSD chief financial officer Ross MacPherson said those costs are likely to be split over the next three years as the referendum construction projects play out. MacPherson suggested a mix of funds could help cover the additional costs, including the future closure of a tax incremental financing district.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The impact of digital media on children’s intelligence while controlling for genetic differences in cognition and socioeconomic background

Bruno Sauce, Magnus Liebherr, Nicholas Judd & Torkel Klingberg

Digital media defines modern childhood, but its cognitive effects are unclear and hotly debated. We believe that studies with genetic data could clarify causal claims and correct for the typically unaccounted role of genetic predispositions. Here, we estimated the impact of different types of screen time (watching, socializing, or gaming) on children’s intelligence while controlling for the confounding effects of genetic differences in cognition and socioeconomic status. We analyzed 9855 children from the USA who were part of the ABCD dataset with measures of intelligence at baseline (ages 9–10) and after two years. At baseline, time watching (r = − 0.12) and socializing (r = − 0.10) were negatively correlated with intelligence, while gaming did not correlate. After two years, gaming positively impacted intelligence (standardized β =  + 0.17), but socializing had no effect. This is consistent with cognitive benefits documented in experimental studies on video gaming. Unexpectedly, watching videos also benefited intelligence (standardized β =  + 0.12), contrary to prior research on the effect of watching TV. Although, in a posthoc analysis, this was not significant if parental education (instead of SES) was controlled for. Broadly, our results are in line with research on the malleability of cognitive abilities from environmental factors, such as cognitive training and the Flynn effect.

COVID-19 Misinformation from Official Sources During the Pandemic

Todd Rokita, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Kulldorff;

The Office of the Surgeon General requested information on the prevalence of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of such misinformation on the U.S. public health system in order to be better prepared to respond to a future public health crisis.
We agree that misinformation has been a major problem during the pandemic. The spread of inaccurate scientific information has made it difficult for the public to make the right decisions to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from COVID-19 and the collateral public health damage arising from the pandemic countermeasures. As such, the disinformation has led to great harm in the lives and livelihoods of Americans. We submit the following examples of disinformation from the CDC and other health organizations that have shattered the public’s trust in science and public health and will take decades to repair.

1 Overcounting COVID-19: The official CDC numbers for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are inaccurate. The official tallies include many people who have died with rather than from COVID-19. CDC has not distinguished deaths where COVID-19 was the primary cause of death, where COVID-19 was a contributing cause of death, or where the death was entirely unrelated to COVID-19, but they incidentally tested positive.

There are three reasons for this problem. (i) The counting of COVID-19 cases and deaths is unlike the way that public health counts the incidence and mortality caused by other diseases; physicians have been advised to fill out death certificates to privilege COVID-19 as a proximal cause, even when the medical facts suggest otherwise.1 (ii) The population-wide testing to identify asymptomatic individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unprecedented in human history. (iii) Although it would have been easy, CDC has not conducted random national surveys of medical charts to determine what proportion of reported COVID-19 deaths were truly due to COVID-19. Ex-post audits of death certificates and medical records in

Santa Clara County2 and Alameda County3, California, for instance, found that in ~25% of death certificates in which COVID-19 was labeled as the primary cause of death, other causes of death were more likely. The peer-reviewed literature confirms that COVID-19 is overcounted in other developed countries. Ex post audits of death certificates should be conducted to establish an accurate death count from COVID-19.

2 Questioning Natural Immunity: There has been consistent questioning and denying of natural immunity after COVID-19 recovery. Using seriously flawed studies, CDC falsely claimed that natural immunity is worse than vaccine acquired immunity.4 In October 2020, the CDC director published a “memorandum” in The Lancet, questioning natural immunity.5 Most critically, by mandating vaccination for people who have recovered from COVID-19, the government, corporations, and universities de facto deny natural immunity.

For scientists, this has been the most surprising disinformation. We have known about natural immunity since the Athenian Plague in 430 BC; other coronaviruses generate natural immunity; and throughout the pandemic, we knew that the COVID-19 recovered have good natural immunity if and when they get exposed the next time. That is, six months after the start of the pandemic, we had epidemiological evidence that natural immunity lasts at least six months; a year into the pandemic, we knew that natural immunity lasted at least one year, and so on. 6

3 COVID-19 Vaccines Prevent Transmission: The CDC director and other health officials falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine prevents the transmission of COVID-19 to others.7 This was also the rationale for vaccine mandates and passports — to prevent the spread of the virus to others. At the time, we did not know, and it turned out to be wrong.8 When the COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency use, the manufacturers presented randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that showed that the vaccines reduced symptomatic disease. The trials were not designed to determine whether they could also limit transmission or prevent death, even though they could have been designed to do so9. As it turned out, vaccinated individuals spread the disease to others10. While it was unfortunate that the RCTs were not designed to answer the disease transmission question, it is irresponsible for public health officials to claim that they did when the RCTs did not even attempt to answer that question.

US grappling with Native American boarding school history

Felicia Fonseca

Boarding school survivors also might be hesitant to recount the painful past and trust a government whose policies were to eradicate tribes and, later, assimilate them under the veil of education. Some have welcomed the opportunity to share their stories for the first time.

Haaland, the first and only Native American Cabinet secretary, has the support of President Joe Biden to investigate further. Congress has provided the Interior Department with $7 million for its work on the next phase of the report, which will focus on burial sites, and identifying Native children and their ages. Haaland also said a year-long tour would seek to gather stories of boarding school survivors for an oral history collection. 

A bill that’s previously been introduced in Congress to create a truth and healing commission on boarding schools got its first hearing Thursday. It’s sponsored by two Native American U.S. representatives — Democrat Sharice Davids of Kansas, who is Ho-Chunk, and Republican Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who is Chickasaw.

Librarians cite safeguards as Tennessee bill seeks verification that access to obscene content is blocked on student research databases

Arian Campo-Flores:

The databases—assembled by research companies such as Ebsco Information Services and Gale, part of Cengage Group—are collections of newspaper, magazine and journal articles, as well as ebooks and other resources. State agencies, libraries and school districts typically contract with the companies to make the databases available to students, who can access them in class as well as through local libraries and online accounts.

Conservative parents’ groups have mounted various challenges to the databases since at least the mid-2010s. The rise of parents’ rights groups in the past few years, focused on issues of race and gender in school curricula and classroom discussion, has added fuel to the database effort.

At least eight states—most dominated by Republicans—including Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah, passed or considered database legislation in the past year, according to EveryLibrary, an advocacy organization opposed to the measures.

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed into law this week a bill passed by the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature that would require companies to verify that their databases block access to obscene content and prevent users from viewing material harmful to minors, as defined under current law. School districts could withhold payment to a database provider if it failed to do so, under the bill.

How citation cartels give ‘strategic scholars’ an advantage: A simple model

Richard Phelps:

Sincere scholars work to expand society’s knowledge and understanding. They cite all the relevant research, even that produced by those they disagree with or personally dislike. They encourage debate. For the sincere scholar, a citation is a responsibility, and proper and thorough citations demonstrate research quality.

For the strategic scholar, a citation is an asset to be used career-advantageously. As a certain former governor of the State of Illinois once said about his responsibility to fill an open US senate position, “I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden. I’m not just giving it up for (expletive) nothing.”

Strategic scholars cite the work of their friends, working colleagues, those they agree with, and those who reference them. Indeed, the most successful career-strategic scholars operate in groups of like-minded colleagues in which they promote each other’s careers together—citation cartels. They draw attention to that other work which supports their own and their careers.

Career-strategic scholars do not cite the work of those outside their group, unless they must because that other work is so well known their slight would be widely noticed. Debates are generally avoided with those outside one’s cartel.

Given the contrasting dynamics, over time the work of career-strategic scholars will attract more attention, produce better scholarly metrics which, in turn, leads to better employment outcomes and higher status. The work of sincere scholars, unreferenced by the career-strategic scholars now leading their professions, drifts into the internet age’s vast sea of ignored information.

A Parental Victory on Free Speech

Wall Street Journal:

Parents continue to fight for a say in their children’s education, often against hostile administrators. Three cheers, then, for Ohio mother Ashley Ryder for successfully challenging a policy that limited what parents could say at school board meetings.

Ms. Ryder sued the Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education in an Ohio federal court in March. She said it had violated the First Amendment with a policy that allows the presiding officer at school board meetings to “interrupt, warn, or terminate” any public statements he deems “abusive,” “personally directed” or “antagonistic.” In late April the board settled with Ms. Ryder and agreed to end its restrictions on speech.

Covid-19 lockdowns: Costs outweighed benefits

Nevil Gibson:

The most profound will be the overall drop in per capita GDP, reinforced by likely lowered life expectancy, inadequate treatment of screening and other diseases, delayed or abandoned vaccinations for polio, measles and diphtheria, mental health problems and self-harm, and adverse effects on educational outcomes.

All are what an economist would call the opportunity cost of closing much of the economy and building a government debt mountain for future generations that has ballooned from $57 billion in 2019 to an estimated $200b in 2023. (This  has since been revised downward to a debt of $170b or 40% of GDP.) 

Behavioural economics explains the failure to incorporate human response factors into the epidemiological models on which the lockdowns were based. Humans tend to focus on losses that are immediately in front of them rather than those that are more diffuse and dispersed in the background, even when they are larger.

K-12 Governance: Administrative State vs Elected Oversight

Cass Sunstein:

The administrative state has been with us since the founding. But much of modern government can be traced to the 1930s, when in response to the Great Depression Franklin Roosevelt created a host of new agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Social Security Administration. These agencies exercise a great deal of discretion, and they affect the lives of millions of Americans every day. (They also have international influence.) They were born in a period of enthusiasm for technical expertise: Roosevelt and his New Dealers believed in the rule of law, but they did not believe in the rule of courts; they wanted to give authority to specialists.

Harvard. Reading List and Final Exam for Games and Strategy.

Irwin Collier:

ANSWER ALL FIVE QUESTIONS: The first two questions should take no more than ten or twenty minutes each, allowing at least forty-five minutes each for the last three.

  1. The following entry was submitted to the PUNCH “Toby competition” calling for an “unpleasing codicil to a will,” and received a runner-up award in the issue of July 6, 1960:

To my daughter, Judith Georgina Margaret, I leave my house, land and all my worldly possessions therein on the condition that it should be run as either an hotel, a college for gardeners or a rest-house for disappointed Beatniks.

My cash and capital are to be put into a trust. My widow, three daughters and nine grandchildren will each have an equal share in the trust. No income or capital can be drawn from the trust until the will is contested by a legatee. If this happens, the contesting legatee will lose his share to the others. If the others pay compensation for this loss, all capital will go untied to a charity.

Describe and discuss in game-theoretical terms the arrangement described in the second paragraph. Draw a matrix to represent it. (For purposes of the matrix, you may reduce the number of legatees to two.) Include, with respect to the two-person matrix, any pertinent references to a “solution,” “equilibrium point,” dominant or dominated strategies, or “efficiency” of outcome.

Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

Paul Hill & Kate Destler:

The solutions will require new modes of spending, performance measurement, and school oversight, as well as much greater flexibility in teacher hiring, training, and work. Superintendents and school-board leaders can’t make these changes all by themselves. They’ll need serious help and new thinking from governors, state legislators, the federal government, and philanthropy.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Leveling up

Alan Borsuk:

Amidzich and Maggy Olson, director of equity and instruction for the district, said that they told all involved that, in fact, the material being taught would have more depth and that a wider range of students would bring additional and good ideas to classrooms. They said they were raising the floor, but they were also raising the ceiling.

The results so far? Kim Amidzich, superintendent of the district in the southern suburbs, said the number of students succeeding in getting honors marks on their transcripts is up. And all students are getting challenging academic work that research has shown prepares them better for college or other opportunities beyond high school.

Notes on Texas School Board Elections

Brian Lopez:

But more GOP involvement in local politics may not be the only effect of Saturday’s elections. Experts believe campaigning on culture wars is a winning strategy for the GOP. And, they say, it will embolden Republicans to continue passing laws based on political wedge issues during next year’s legislative session.

“The state party wants to continue to ride this wave,” said Rebecca Deen, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Teachers and public education experts have repeatedly pointed out that critical race theory — a university-level concept that examines how racism shapes laws and policies — is not taught in K-12 public schools. And many of the books targeted for removal from school libraries in recent months tell the stories of LGBTQ characters and people of color.

But Texas Republicans are following a national playbook of feeding off conservative parents’ fears that “critical race theory” is being taught in public schools and children are being exposed to obscene sexual content.

Conservative school board candidates saw victories across the state, but most notably, they won big in Tarrant County, which has been moving away from its perch as one of America’s reddest urban counties. The county had 10 candidates win their races with the backing of the conservative Patriot Mobile Action PAC, which poured half a million dollars into the races.

Civics: The multi-billionaire says one thing, and funds another

Toby Green:

Translation: taxpayers invest in developing products through government agencies, and private companies and their shareholders reap the profits. How does this work in practice? Gates does not give what we might call full disclosure. He offers the example of the antiviral Molnupiravir which “Merck and its partners developed”. It was authorised to great fanfare as a Covid treatment inNovember 2021.

Yet Merck did not develop this drug. It was initially developed as a veterinary drug for horses at Emory University, with a US$19 million grant from Fauci’s NIAID and funding from other sectors of the US government. Molnupiravir costs US$17.74 per dose to manufacture, according to an estimate from researchers at Harvard and King’s College London, but is being retailed to the US government for US$712 per course — a profit of 4,000%.

Another example of Gates’s eye for detail is his discussion of Remdesivir, which was approved as “Standard of Care” for Covid in the US by the Federal Drug Agency. Again, like Molnupiravir, much of the funding and institutional support for the drug originally came from the US government. Remdesivir was the baby of the drug company Gilead.

Gates describes how one study showed that “it may have a major impact in patients who aren’t yet sick enough to be in the hospital”. But other details are ignored. He doesn’t tell us that in an earlier, peer-reviewed study from China, published in the Lancet in May 2020, “Remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits”, and that the trial was “stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early”. All the same, the profits were good: while the drug cost Gilead just US$10per dose to manufacture, it was being retailed to US taxpayers at US$3,120.

Maybe Gates knows nothing about the Lancet study. Perhaps he doesn’t know that in both of these cases, public investment has funded enormous private profits — and that in the case of one of the drugs, there’s little evidence that this was to any benefit. He’s just a software engineer after all. 

For Gates, technology really does provide all the answers, as it certainly has in his own life. He believes humanity belongs online: “once people learn the digital approach, they generally stick to it”. Post-Covid, he envisages a world of flexible working, in which regular guys like him with large mansions and decent living space can languidly choose between going into the office on Wednesdays or Thursdays. The problem with Gates’s digital utopia — full of virtual spaces where 3D avatars attend business meetings — is that I suspect many of us will not want to live in it.

Civics: ‘I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them, and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.’

Josh Gerstein:

Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving sitting member of the Supreme Court, declared Friday that the publication of a draft majority opinion on abortion has permanently damaged trust within the nation’s highest court and is a symptom of a broader decline in America’s institutions.

When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder,” Thomas said. “It’s kind of like infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it.”

“If someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone … you would say: ‘That’s impossible. No one would ever do that,’” the justice said. “That was verboten. It was beyond anyone’s understanding or at least anyone’s imagination.”

Speaking at the Old Parkland Conference, Thomas did not criticize any of his colleagues by name, but he indicated that the atmosphere on the court now is different than it was a few years ago.

“This is not the court of that era,” said Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991. “I sat with Ruth Ginsburg for almost 30 years and she was actually an easy colleague to deal with. … We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family.”

At times, Thomas seemed to suggest that a fellow justice or law clerk might be responsible for the disclosure.

“Anybody who would, for example, have an attitude to leak documents, that is your general attitude, that is your future on the bench,” he said.

On Dynamism

Ross Douthat:

For many people, dynamism is contingent — on how invested you are in the world as it is, whether you stand to lose or benefit from innovations, and where your moral intuitions lie. (I am personally a dynamist about Musk’s Mars colony but not Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse; flying cars, yes, sex robots, not so much.) Even in the tech world, your appetite for dynamism depends on where you stand: If you’re lucky enough to work for one of Silicon Valley’s near monopolies, the new powers of the age, you may not be that interested in further churn or change.

Musk himself may yet evolve into that kind of comfortable monopolist, but for now, pending the I.P.O. for MarsCorp in 2047, he remains a dynamist in full. And seen in this light, his recent transformation from Obama Democrat to progressive foil makes perfect sense in light of the transformations that liberalism itself has undergone of late.

Liberalism in the Obama era was an essentially dynamist enterprise not because liberals were absolutely committed to capital-S Science but because those years encouraged a confidence that the major technological changes of the 21st century were making the world a more liberal place. Whether it was social media shaking Middle Eastern autocrats, the Obama campaign running circles around its Republican opponents with online organizing or just the general drift leftward on social issues that seemed to accompany the internet revolution, progressives around 2010 felt a general confidence that technological and political progress were conjoined.

“We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner,”

Johannes Schmidt:

new study has found that although “high-poverty schools” suffered large losses in achievement by switching to remote learning during the coronavirus lockdowns, districts that remained largely in-person lost relatively little ground.

The report, titled “The consequences of remote and hybrid instruction during the pandemic,” was published by a team of researchers from the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the American Institutes for Research, and NWEA, a nonprofit research and educational services provider.

According to Harvard professor and education economist Thomas Kane, “Where schools remained in-person, gaps did not widen. Where schools shifted to remote learning, gaps widened sharply. Shifting to remote instruction was like turning a switch on a critical piece of our social infrastructure that we had taken for granted.”

In states like Florida and Texas, this is vindicating news after critics blasted the states’ Republican leadership for dismissing federal pandemic guidelines and returning to in-person learning much earlier than Democratic-led states.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Shorewood School District fires administrators over “deficit based” language

Alec Johnson:

The Shorewood School Board decided unanimously Wednesday to fire the district’s director of instructional technology after a hearing over how he handled what he said were messages with “deficit-based and racist language” found on a district laptop.

“Deficit-based language” is language that reinforces negative stereotypes.

Board members voted, 5-0, to end Michael Chavannes’ employment after an almost 3½-hour meeting, which was mostly held in open session at Chavannes’ request.

The Education Department chooses teachers unions over poor kids.

Jonathan Chait:

Over the last decade, evidence has grown increasingly strong that public charter schools create better educational outcomes, especially for low-income, minority students in cities. The question hovering over the Biden administration has been whether it will encourage and work to improve charter schools, as the Obama administration did, or instead try to smother them, as teachers unions and some left-wing activists have urged.

This spring, the administration released new guidelines restricting the $440 million in annual federal funding for charter schools. The effect of these guidelines, and almost certainly its objective as well, is to choke off the growth of public charters.

The administration’s proposed rules, which impose a blizzard of new conditions for accessing funds for charter schools, have three major flaws. First, they impose unnecessarily onerous application requirements that will make it hard for small charter schools to comply.

Second, the rules require, or at least strongly encourage, charters to collaborate with the districts that operate schools in their area. Of course, since the purpose of charter schools is to provide competition and an alternative to schools that are failing, this effectively gives districts a veto to block competition. The requirements are the equivalent of “letting Starbucks decide if anyone else can run a  coffee shop in various communities,” as Andy Rotherham puts it.

Third, the rules push prospective new charter schools to demonstrate that existing public schools in the area do not have enough seats to meet existing demand. This completely misses the reason parents want charter schools, which is not because they lack access to a school, but because they lack access to a good school. Affluent parents who don’t have a high-quality public-school option can go to a private school or move to a more affluent neighborhood. Charters give the chance at a decent education to parents who can’t afford to do those things.

And while the Biden administration is treating charters as a threat to the quality of existing traditional public schools, the evidence shows the opposite. One recent study finds that adding charter schools increases performance for students in all schools across the district. Another study finds that adding charters leads to higher performance in math and science for Black and Latino students across the metropolitan area, as well as a narrowing of the racial-achievement gap.

The most revealing aspect of the administration’s rules is its defense of them — or rather, its lack thereof. When Chalkbeat asked the Education Department for an interview about the charter-school regulations, it declined. Instead, a spokesperson “recommended that Chalkbeat speak to supporters of the proposal, including Carol Burris, executive director for the Network for Public Education.”

“An emphasis on adult employment”

The CRT-Industrial Complex

C Bradley Thompson

The corollary principles of CRT include:

First, the rejection of concepts such as “objectivity” and “truth” as white constructs. According to two leading CRT proponents, Gloria Ladson-Billings and William F. Tate, all “knowledge” and “truth” is relative: “truths only exist for this person in this predicament at this time.”[2] This is how many schools around the country are trying to apply CRT principles to subjects such as math and the sciences, which they believe have hitherto been grounded in racism. The fact that there are performance disparities between races in subjects such as math and the various sciences is all the proof necessary to declare that truth-bearing and reality-oriented subjects such as math and science must be racist and therefore in need of curricular reconstruction.

Second, the repudiation of all the core values, principles, virtues, and institutions associated with the West, such as equality, liberty, individual rights, private property, merit, work, personal responsibility, equal protection under the law, neutrality, due process, federalism, freedom of speech color blindness, constitutionalism, separation of powers, and, most of all, capitalism because white people identify with them. According to the Seattle educators, racist values include “emphasizing individualism” as opposed to collectivism and having “a future time orientation.”[3] In other words, you are a racist if you like to plan ahead.

Third, the assumption that virtually everything good or great produced by Anglo-European culture and its American offshoots is inherently racist and built on the slave labor of others, and therefore must be deconstructed, dismissed, or destroyed. Racism is everywhere, and it has infected everything. It’s in western painting, music, architecture, literature, philosophy, etc., which means that Michelangelo, Beethoven, Christopher Wren, Jane Austen, and Aristotle must be abandoned or forgotten. CRT rejects all that is good and great in Western Civilization.

Fourth, the demand that “critical” education be used to delegitimize, subvert, and overturn American society. Critical Race Theory is concerned first and foremost with turning students into advocates, activists, and change agents pushing a political agenda defined by radical egalitarianism. This means that CRT is not concerned with having students learn the great body of knowledge developed in the West over the course of several thousand years; it’s goal is to destroy all knowledge generated by white, cis-gendered, heterosexual men and replace it with a kind of politicized learning that seeks to transform society. According to education activist Christine Sleeter: “Working for social justice—redistribution of the world’s resources—is at the heart of what multicultural education should be about.”[4]

How did Critical Race Theory go from being a crazy theory taught in America’s law schools to being the hegemonic curricular framework for America’s government schools? More to the point, how was CRT smuggled into America’s government school system? What are the institutions that are delivering CRT to America’s children?

Civics: ICE Domestic Surveillance

Center on Privacy & Technology:

In its efforts to arrest and deport, ICE has – without any judicial, legislative or public oversight – reached into datasets containing personal information about the vast majority of people living in the U.S., whose records can end up in the hands of immigration enforcement simply because they apply for driver’s licenses; drive on the roads; or sign up with their local utilities to get access to heat, water and electricity. 

ICE has built its dragnet surveillance system by crossing legal and ethical lines, leveraging the trust that people place in state agencies and essential service providers, and exploiting the vulnerability of people who volunteer their information to reunite with their families. Despite the incredible scope and evident civil rights implications of ICE’s surveillance practices, the agency has managed to shroud those practices in near-total secrecy, evading enforcement of even the handful of laws and policies that could be invoked to impose limitations. Federal and state lawmakers, for the most part, have yet to confront this reality. 

This report synthesizes what is already known about ICE surveillance with new information from thousands of previously unseen and unanalyzed records, illustrating the on-the-ground impact of ICE surveillance through three case studies – ICE access to driver data, utility customer data and data collected about the families of unaccompanied children. The report builds on, and would not have been possible without, the powerful research, organizing and advocacy of immigrant rights organizations like CASA, the Immigrant Defense Project, Just Futures Law, Mijente, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Project South and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California (among many others), which have been leading the effort to expose and dissever ICE’s American dragnet.

Add 30 Days to the MPS School Year

Dan Shafer:

The crisis in Milwaukee K-12 education is huge. This cannot be overstated. Yet, the trend seems to be toward getting smaller and smaller.

For example, Milwaukee Public Schools just released its annual budget proposal noting it expects to lose 1,000 students between now and the start of the 2022-2023 school year, reducing enrollment to about 67,500 students. MPS has been shrinking for the better part of three decades for many reasons—some political, some demographic. Either way, the trend is shrinkage.

Some want to accelerate that. A bill passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature this year, sponsored by State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), would have split MPS into between four and eight smaller districts. This bill was vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers.

There is another law actually on the books that, if triggered by MPS’s status on state report cards, would force the district to hand over control of a handful of schools—called the “Opportunity Schools District”—to the Milwaukee County Executive. And for decades now, the legislature has been expanding the city’s non-MPS schooling options, from the Milwaukee Parental Choice (voucher) program to schools chartered by UW-Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee.

These other “districts” are all pretty small compared to MPS—the LUMIN Lutheran schools in the voucher program enroll about 1,800 students; the Messmer schools, 725; the Seton Catholic schools, 2,500. Plus lots of other individual schools and even small “districts” are affiliated with MPS. On the whole, some small “districts” outperform MPS somewhat; others, not so much.

Notes on self doubt

The Signers:

To the extent that these notions are falling out of favor, it is the responsibility of those who love America to revivify them.

Even some on the right have become disenchanted with the American project and are prepared to quit on it on grounds that it is already lost or hopelessly corrupted.

There is no doubt that the country faces severe challenges, many the result of shortsightedness and wishful thinking, but we still have an enormous capacity for renewal. It is because our ancestor patriots rejected despair and kept faith with America that we are here to fight another day.

The ultimate answer to the illiberalism ascendant on college campuses and elsewhere and to the rampaging anti-Americanism of our elite culture will have to be found in the common sense and decency of the American people. The rule of law, federalism, and the protections of the U.S. Constitution continue to be bulwarks against the most ambitious designs of ideological fanatics. Families, churches and synagogues, neighborhoods, and voluntary associations — all under pressure — remain the foundations of society, more relevant to the lives of individuals and communities than social media or edicts from Washington.

“Incorrect pronouns” in the Kiel School District

WILL:


The Quote:
 WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, said, “School administrators can’t force minor students to comply with their preferred mode of speaking. And they certainly shouldn’t be slapping eighth graders with Title IX investigations for what amounts to protected speech. This is a terrible precedent to set, with enormous ramifications.”

Background: Three eighth grade students in the Kiel Area School District were notified of a Title IX complaint and investigation for sexual harassment for using a biologically correct pronoun when referring to a classmate, instead of the student’s preferred pronoun of “they/them.” The District’s position appears to be that once a student informs others of alternate, preferred pronouns, any subsequent “mispronouning” automatically constitutes punishable sexual harassment under Title IX.

The pandemic is speeding up the mass disappearance of men from college

Jon Marcus:

Women now comprise nearly 60 percent of enrollment in universities and colleges and men just over 40 percent, the research center reports. Fifty years ago, the gender proportions were reversed.

“We were already not doing so hot,” Ponjuan said. “This pandemic exacerbates what’s happening.”

“How do you go away to college and leave your family struggling when you know that if you just worked right now, you could help them right now with those everyday needs?” 

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Lynnel Reed, head guidance counselor, University Park Campus School

It’s also opened jobs for young men from Worcester high schools at grocery stores and at Amazon, FedEx and other delivery companies, said Lynnel Reed, head guidance counselor at University Park, nearly two-thirds of whose students are considered economically disadvantaged. The school is in a neighborhood of fast-food restaurants, liquor stores, used-car lots, dollar stores and triple-deckers — homes usually shared by three families, one on each level, that are a staple of urban New England.

“How do you go away to college and leave your family struggling when you know that if you just worked right now, you could help them right now with those everyday needs?” Reed said.

Three major universities quit international rankings

Yojana Sharma

After years of receiving extra government funding to push selected top universities up international university rankings, three major Chinese universities will no longer participate in overseas rankings – a move which academics say could make the rankings landscape less globally representative as Chinese universities pursue a different path. 

The three prestigious universities, Renmin University of China, Nanjing University and Lanzhou University have withdrawn from “all international university rankings” according to Chinese official media this week, with official sources pointing to a focus on “educational autonomy” and “education with Chinese characteristics”.

Renmin University, one of China’s top 10 universities, was the first to announce it would not participate in overseas rankings, as reported by China National Radio (CNR) and China Daily earlier this week. 

“The university’s administrators have reached a consensus and made the decision to withdraw the university from overseas rankings, which conforms with the overall direction of China’s education development and will become a trend,” the CNR report said, pointing to the likelihood of further Chinese university withdrawals ahead. 

Nanjing University had already said in its 2021-25 plan that improving in international rankings was not an important development goal, according to a recent release from the website of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission.

In its 2022 World University Rankings, QS ranked Nanjing at number seven within China and 131 globally, Renmin at 38 within China and in the 600-650 bracket internationally, while Lanzhou is at 44 in China and in the 750-800 range internationally. Times Higher Education(THE) World University Rankings also ranked Nanjing highest of the three, at 111 globally. 

“They may be asking themselves what do we gain?” said Gerard Postiglione, emeritus professor at Hong Kong University.

Minnesota Wants to Ban Under-18s From User-Generated Content Services

Eric Goldman:

As part of an omnibus bill, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a troubling bill restricting how under-18 users engage with user-generated content (UGC) services. [At the bottom of this post, I’ve included the text as passed by the Minnesota House] The bill fits the “protect-the-kids” narrative that politicians champion during election years, but it’s counterproductive towards that purported goal. If regulated services can determine who is under-18 (spoiler: they cannot), the bill would likely result in Minnesota minors being excluded entirely from UGC websites–depriving them of the opportunity to build communities and access content they need to grow, learn, and flourish. By freezing under-18 out of large swathes of the Internet, the bill would create a generation of digitally naïve adults–the exact opposite of the skills they, and our society, need to thrive in the 21st century. Furthermore, the age authentication process would expose both under-18s and adults to extra privacy and security risks. So instead of “protecting the kids,” the bill would harm Minnesotans of all ages in countless ways.

Minneapolis Teacher Strike Lasted 3 Weeks. The Fallout Will Be Felt for Years

Beth Hawkins:

As four-fifths of the district’s federal COVID recovery funds are taken up by the new teacher contract and to keep educators on the payroll despite dramatic enrollment losses, Graff’s successor will have to find a bare-bones solution to dire learning losses. 

In some populations, more than 90% of children are now behind, but there’s very little money to pay for the long-term changes the district has long said it needs to close the achievement gap. 

The new leader will likely have to take charge of the painful and long-postponed process of closing perhaps a dozen low-attendance schools.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

My experience at community college

Sporks

I have to admit that I was at risk of being a failson – useless and surviving on the goodwill of your family. (It’s a precarious situation.) Wasting away with potential is an awful fate. That’s why I decided to get some paper from a respectable institution. While I did have a decent amount of knowledge for computer stuff, it could easily have been useless trivia for irrelevant things. It’s hard to tell if it’s something useful in industry or as a base for academic research. That, and horror stories from friends about not having a degree hurt their career prospects pushed me to get some kind of higher education.

There’s plenty of options with higher education, but only a few are actually relevant. No way I’d be able to handle Ivy League, but a state/provincial university would basically be as good, and hopefully cheaper. In my case, I actually had one right next door to me, so moving for school wouldn’t have to become a problem.

But as a “lower middle class” (read: poor with a house) person, I didn’t have too many resources, other than some kind of scholarship money that was limited (a few thousand). With that, the only really plausible option was community college, unless I wanted to push myself deep into debt. (But that issue is a discussion for another day…) While there’s some programs and pushes for better affordability of higher education, they unfortunately didn’t apply for me, or weren’t enough to make it affordable for me.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Deplatforming as a Moderation Strategy on Twitter

Shagun Jhaver, Christian Boylston, Diyi Yang and Amy Bruckman:

Deplatforming refers to the permanent ban of controversial public figures with large followings on social media sites. In recent years, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have deplatformed many influencers to curb the spread of offensive speech. We present a case study of three high-profile influencers who were deplatformed on Twitter—Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Owen Benjamin. Working with over 49M tweets, we found that deplatforming significantly reduced the number of conversations about all three individuals on Twitter. Further, analyzing the Twitter-wide activity of these influencers’ supporters, we show that the overall activity and toxicity levels of supporters declined after deplatforming. We contribute a methodological framework to systematically examine the effectiveness of moderation interventions and discuss broader implications of using deplatforming as a moderation strategy.

After the pandemic, Americans should never let public-health authorities deprive them of their liberties

John Tierney:

More than a century ago, Mark Twain identified two fundamental problems that would prove relevant to the Covid pandemic. “How easy it is to make people believe a lie,” he wrote, “and how hard it is to undo that work again!” No convincing evidence existed at the start of the pandemic that lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates would protect people against the virus, but it was remarkably easy to make the public believe that these policies were “the science.” Today, thanks to two years of actual scientific evidence, it’s clearer than ever that these were terrible mistakes; yet most people still believe that the measures were worthwhile—and many are eager to maintain some mandates even longer.

Undoing this deception is essential to avoid further hardship and future fiascos, but it will be exceptionally hard to do. The problem is that so many people want to keep believing the falsehood—and it’s not just the politicians, bureaucrats, researchers, and journalists who don’t want to admit that they promoted disastrous policies. Ordinary citizens have an incentive, too. Adults meekly surrendered their most basic liberties, cheered on leaders who devastated the economy, and imposed two years of cruel and unnecessary deprivations on their children. They don’t want to admit that these sacrifices were in vain.

They’re engaging in “effort justification,” a phenomenon famously demonstrated in 1959 with an experiment involving a tame version of a hazing ritual. Social psychologists Elliot Aronson and Judson Mills offered female undergraduate students a chance to join a discussion group on the psychology of sex, but first some of them had to pass an “embarrassment test.” In the mild version of the test, some students read aloud words like “prostitute” and “petting.” Others had to pass a more severe version by reading aloud from novels with explicit sex scenes and lots of anatomical obscenities (much more embarrassing for a young woman in the 1950s than for students today). Afterward, all the students, including some who hadn’t been required to pass any test, listened in on a session of the discussion group, which the researchers had staged to be a “dull and banal” conversation about the secondary sexual behavior of lower-order animals. The participants spoke haltingly, hemmed and hawed, didn’t finish their sentences, mumbled non sequiturs, and “in general conducted one of the most worthless and uninteresting discussions imaginable.”

K-12 Tax & Spending Clinate: ‘That Doesn’t Feel Like $150 Worth of Groceries’

Samuel Gregg:

That, in turn, points to a broader problem with the way the federal government treats inflation. Not only is it downplaying the real inflation rate, it is camouflaging its own misdeeds. It is actions taken by the federal government—including the Biden administration, the Trump administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve—that have landed us in our present inflationary mess. Over the past several years, a bipartisan array of government officials, elected and unelected, have coalesced around a series of half-truths to paper over this fact.

The primary reason for the reduction in our purchasing power is not the supply-chain disruptions occasioned by government responses to the COVID pandemic, let alone Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

For one thing, supply-chain disruptions only affect certain prices. A shortage of circuits needed to build computers, for example, can’t explain the rise of the price of dining-room tables. A decline in the supply of wood can’t explain why laptops are ticking up. Fed officials know this.

65,000+ Fake Students Enrolled In The California Junior College System

Adam Andrzejewski

But Rich says that’s a truly conservative estimate — most rosters she reviewed have more than 10 percent fake students. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office said in August 2021 that about 20 percent of the traffic for the system-wide student application system, CCCApply, is “malicious and bot-related.”

“Even if it’s creating an .edu email account to get Apple discounts, which people do, that’s fraud,” Rich said, also speculating that some email scammers were committing  financial aid fraud as well.

While she keeps an eye on this in LACCD, recording the new fake accounts as they pop up, the problem has spread like wildfire throughout California’s community college system.

‘The Vindication of The Great Barrington Three’ Panel Transcript: LLS London Meeting Feb 2022

Link:

But what else can you achieve with a lockdown? The supposition of the non-Zero COVID crowd was that you could suppress infection. You can’t: there’s only a few things you can do with any kind of intervention. You can either get rid of the pathogen – unrealistic – or you can try and suppress it. But if you suppress it for a particular period of time, it’s going to come back again. Can you suppress it until you get a vaccine? Do you know when a vaccine might be available? There was a lack of strategy, lack of clear thinking, and a lot of uncertainty regarding their purpose and, more importantly, their effectivity. Would a plan like zero COVID be realizable? There was a big question mark surrounding that in October 2020. 

By contrast, we had a fairly high level of certainty about how the virus would play out and other properties of the virus because SARS COV-2 is very firmly and clearly a member of the coronavirus family. It’s a beta coronavirus. There are four coronaviruses circulating, two of them are beta coronaviruses, OC43 and HKU1. These are viruses that we live with. We know exactly how they work. We know they elicit immunity, which lasts permanently or for a long time against severe disease itself but is not durable when it comes to infection. So, we knew that this virus was likely to do the same thing. Infection blocking immunity would be for a short duration: But the first infection would give you good protection against severe disease and death for those who are vulnerable.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

An attempt to displace the Ivy League

Arnold Kling:

The Moonshot Goal

This white paper depicts an alternative form of higher education that will rely heavily on people who participate in and support the world of profit-seeking businesses. The goal is to displace the Ivy League. Success will mean that

  • In five years, a survey will find that a majority of middle-class high school seniors and their parents will say that they are “seriously considering” an alternative to attending a four-year college
  • In seven years, applications for admission to Ivy League colleges will be down 75 percent from what they are today

Background

The Ivy League exerts enormous leverage on our society. Its culture permeates government and corporations, as well as the rest of higher education, including colleges that train K-12 teachers. This culture’s ever-increasing hostility toward markets and free expression has become toxic.

It will not be easy to displace the Ivy League. It clearly passes the market test. This can be seen quantitatively in the high ratio of applications to acceptances. It can be seen qualitatively in the stress that parents and high school students feel about the need to gain admission.

The Ivy League’s strong market position is self-sustaining. The Ivy League is guaranteed to graduate capable, ambitious students, because capable and ambitious students comprise the applicant pool. And because it graduates capable, ambitious students, Ivy League graduates are sought by post-graduate programs, corporations, non-profit organizations, and governments. Because graduates are sought after, high school seniors and their parents value admission to the Ivy League. Note that this equilibrium can prevail even though the capabilities of students who attend may not be enhanced by their experience, and indeed may even be adversely affected.

The Ivy League’s standing in higher education is like Facebook’s standing in social networking. Just as Facebook need not provide an optimal experience to remain dominant in social networking, the Ivy League need not provide an optimal experience to remain dominant in higher education.

1. Ivy League payments and entitlements cost taxpayers $41.59 billion over a six-year period (FY2010-FY2015). This is equivalent to $120,000 in government monies, subsidies, & special tax treatment per undergraduate student, or $6.93 billion per year.

“Secret” open records discussions at the Wauwatosa School Board

Amanda St. Hilaire:

A Wauwatosa School Board member says the board president punished him after he revealed a secret conversation about a FOX6 public records request.

Board member Mike Meier’s attorney sent the school board a letter this week, warning the matter could go to litigation. FOX6 shared documents related to the case with additional open government attorneys, who say the school board’s actions are questionable, and potentially a violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law.

Meier says he’s concerned these actions will discourage public leaders from turning over public records and speaking up about potential violations of Wisconsin’s laws governing transparency.

The school board president, without addressing the legality of the board’s actions, claims Meier violated board policy and could expose the district to “negative financial impact.”

At these US colleges everyone works and there’s no tuition

Zaid Jilani:

“So we stay true to our mission since our founding in 1906. We still look after and provide an education to those who are worthy but without sufficient means,” College of the Ozarks Dean of Work Bryan Cizek said. 

According to Cizek, 90 percent of each class attending the school must demonstrate financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The school’s innovative approach is relevant at a time when as many as 43 million Americans hold some form of federal student debt. 

While there are ongoing discussions in Washington about forgiving some of that debt, there has been less of a focus on the underlying cost of a college education, which has gradually increased for decades.

Notes on Madison’s School Safety Committee

David Blaska

After reading the committee’s meeting summary, a liberal acquaintance tells the Werkes the committee does not intend to address student disruption. “Instead they are only embarking on one extended gab fest, seeking comments from a very carefully curated list of like-minded stakeholders in order ‘to collectively create a shared vision and shared values for students’ safety.’”

Examine the “safety and wellness” committee roster: Six of the 13 members are kids! Two more are or were school board members (Ananda Mirilli, who promotes CRT in her day job at WI DPI, and Maia Pearson), 2 are MMSD staff. One is Deputy Mayor Ruben Sanon. Another is the county “youth justice” manager. (“Disproportionate minority contact has been an issue that our society has been struggling with for many decades,” his website bleats.) The 13th is the president of the incredibly Woke teachers union.

Anthony Anderson celebrates graduating from Howard University at 51

Lindsay Lowe:

The “Black-ish” star, 51, just earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, and he celebrated his achievement on Instagram.

“To quote Biggie, ‘IT WAS ALL A DREAM!’ Words can’t begin to describe the emotional roller coaster I’m on right now. It’s literally been 30 years in the making,” Anderson captioned a recent post about his graduation. “This spring I was finally able to complete the work to graduate from Howard University with a BFA degree from the Chadwick A Boseman College of Fine Arts!”

Hundreds of Suicidal Teens Sleep in Emergency Rooms. Every Night.

Matt Richtel:

On a rainy Thursday evening last spring, a 15-year-old girl was rushed by her parents to the emergency department at Boston Children’s Hospital. She had marks on both wrists from self-harm and a recent suicide attempt, and earlier that day she confided to her pediatrician that she planned to try again.

At the E.R., a doctor examined her and explained to her parents that she was not safe to go home.

“But I need to be honest with you about what’s likely to unfold,” the doctor added. The best place for adolescents in distress was not a hospital but an inpatient treatment center, where individual and group therapy would be provided in a calmer, communal setting, to stabilize the teens and ease them back to real life. But there were no openings in any of the treatment centers in the region, the doctor said.

Indeed, 15 other adolescents — all in precarious mental condition — were already housed in the hospital’s emergency department, sleeping in exam rooms night after night, waiting for an opening. The average wait for a spot in a treatment program was 10 days.

Biden officials prepare to blow up Trump’s rules on sexual misconduct in schools

Bianca Quilantan:

While Banks is highly unlikely to get the 218 signers he needs to force a floor vote on the bill, which attempts to define sex in Title IX as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth,” his move demonstrates a conservative appetite to keep the issue in front of voters in an election year.

The midterm election could also play a role in the Title IX rule’s viability. The longer it takes the agency to implement Cardona’s Title IX rule, the more likely a future GOP majority in Congress could use the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to overturn major rules issued by federal agencies.

Howard Fuller on the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce k-12 diversity

Dr Howard Fuller:

Let me cite some of the specific concerns I have:

First, the proposed rule to demand that charter schools partner with a local district is obviously aimed at ending their independence and forcing them under the control of the traditional public school system. Charters should be free to determine whether partnering with a school district is in the best interests of the students and families they serve. Historically, charter schools have thrived when they are independent of their local district — particularly where, as is the case in so many places, the local districts have been hostile to the charter school efforts in their locale. This rule would put an end to that freedom.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The One Parenting Decision That Really Matters

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz:

What the scientists found was that the family a kid was raised in had surprisingly little impact on how that kid ended up. Unrelated children adopted into the same home ended up only a little more similar than unrelated children who were raised separately. The effects of nature on a child’s future income were some 2.5 times larger than the effects of nurture.

Read: Parents are sacrificing their social lives on the altar of intensive parenting

Other researchers have done further studies of adoptees and twins, with similar results. As Bryan Caplan notes in his 2011 book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, parents have only small effects on their children’s health, life expectancy, education, and religiosity (though studies have found that they have moderate effects on drug and alcohol use and sexual behavior, particularly during the teenage years, as well as how kids feel about their parents).

There are, of course, examples of parents who have had an enormous impact. Consider Jared Kushner. His father pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, which accepted Jared despite what were reportedly fairly low GPA and SAT scores. Jared then received a stake in his dad’s real-estate business. At the risk of being presumptuous, I think it is clear that his estimated $800 million net worth is many times higher than it would have been had he not inherited a real-estate empire. But the data suggest that the average parent—the one deciding, say, how much to read to their kids, rather than how many millions to give to Harvard—has limited effects on a kid’s education and income.

If the overall effects of parenting are this limited, the effects of individual parenting decisions are likely to be small. And indeed, if you stop reading the headlines from the parenting-industrial complex, and instead look at high-quality studies, you’ll find that’s the case for even the most debated techniques.

Why is this decision so powerful? Chetty’s team has a possible answer for that. Three of the biggest predictors that a neighborhood will increase a child’s success are the percent of households in which there are two parents, the percent of residents who are college graduates, and the percent of residents who return their census forms. These are neighborhoods, in other words, with many role models: adults who are smart, accomplished, engaged in their community, and committed to stable family lives

There is more evidence for just how powerful role models can be. A different study that Chetty co-authored found that girls who move to areas with lots of female patent holders in a specific field are far more likely to grow up to earn patents in that same field. And another studyfound that Black boys who grow up on blocks with many Black fathers around, even if that doesn’t include their own father, end up with much better life outcomes.

Data can be liberating. It can’t make decisions for us, but it can tell us which decisions really matter. When it comes to parenting, the data tells us, moms and dads should put more thought into the neighbors they surround their children with—and lighten up about everything else.

Civics: D.C. Police Department Allegedly Has Policy of Delaying/Denying FOIA Requests That May Lead to Criticism

Eugene Volokh:

This suit alleges that the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department plays favorites in how it responds to requests for information under the local Freedom of Information Act. Plaintiff Amy Phillips, a public defender, contends that the District unlawfully flags FOIA requests from people critical of MPD, which leads to response delays and denials and constitutes a violation of her First Amendment rights….

Taking the facts as laid out by Plaintiff to be true, which the Court must do at this stage, the genesis of the controversy lies in an Adverse Action Hearing held by MPD’s Disciplinary Review Division in March 2019 to adjudicate alleged misconduct by a former officer. Phillips, who is a criminal-defense attorney in the District and an “outspoken critic of MPD,” attended the March 2019 hearings and soon after submitted a FOIA request to MPD for tapes and transcripts of the proceedings [as she had done before on other occasions]…. The request was denied in full less than ninety minutes after it was submitted…. After an appeal to the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel and a suit in D.C. Superior Court that was covered in the local news, MPD began producing documents responsive to Phillips’s requests in September 2019, albeit with redactions Plaintiff believes are unwarranted.

Taxpayer supported Government disinformation versus parents

William Jacobson:

The federal bureaucracy is being weaponized against parent concerned about the racialization and sexualization of K-12 education, particularly in the younger grades.

Merrick Garland, dancing to the tune of the National School Board Association, portrayed parents protesting as domestic threats, and organized law enforcement at every level to coordinate strategies against them. I wrote at the time, Thank You Mitch McConnell For Keeping Merrick Garland Off The Supreme Court.

The threat of the feds kickingdown doors didn’t scare off the parents movement, so the next step predictably will be to silence the movement on social media and elsewhere. But how to do that? The same way they silenced coverage of the Biden family foreign corruption, label it “disinformation”.

That’s where things are heading, via the creepy, bizarre, caricature of the deep state, Nina Jankowicz, the head of DHS’ planned Disinformation Governance Board.

2005: Unfortunately, that is not the achievement gap that the board aimed to close.

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”

Notes on bullying vs civic engagement

Andrew Sullivan:

The premise here is that all women support abortion rights. But there is no serious gender gap on this question. In fact, a majority of “pro-lifers” are women, not men. So Harris is effectively saying: how dare women be allowed a voice in this debate?

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Within minutes of the SCOTUS leak, moreover, we were told it means that before long, interracial marriages will be banned … in a country where 94 percent support them! Imagine Clarence Thomas divorcing himself by jurisprudence. Here’s Traister again: “Voting rights were gutted in 2013. Marriage equality. Griswold. Loving. Don’t ever listen to anyone who tells you such fears are silly or overblown.” Actually, listen to them — if you can hear them over Traister’s permanent rage-tantrum.

What strikes me about all of this is not the emotive hyperbole — that’s par for the course in a country where every discourse is now dialed to eleven. What strikes me most in these takes is the underlying contempt for and suspicion of the democratic process — from many of the same people who insist they want to save it. How dare voters have a say on abortion rights! The issue — which divides the country today as much as it has for decades — is one that apparently cannot ever be put up for a vote. On this question, Democrats really do seem to believe that seven men alone should make that decision — once, in 1973. Women today, including one on SCOTUS? Not so much.

Is this the case in any other Western country? No. Even the most progressive countries regulate abortion through the democratic process. In Germany, it’s illegal after 12 weeks of pregnancy — more restrictive than the case before the US Supreme Court that bars abortion after 15 weeks. European countries where the legal cutoff is even more restrictive: Austria, Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland. Abortion enshrined as a constitutional right? Not even in super-progressive Canada.

Civics: Federal Statute Bans Picketing Judges’ Residences “With The Intent of Influencing [the] Judge”

Eugene Volokh

There’s been talk of protests outside Supreme Court Justices’ homes; but it appears likely that such protests are illegal, under 18 U.S.C. § 1507 (subsection numbers added),

Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or
with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty,
pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or
in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or
with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
A similar provision focused just on picketing outside courts (equivalent to subsection 3 above) was upheld in Cox v. Louisiana (1965); and the logic of that decision would apply equally to residential picketing (subsection 4 above). [UPDATE: Note that U.S. v. Grace (1983), struck down a total ban on demonstrations near the Supreme Court; but the law there was “not limited to expressive activities that are intended to interfere with, obstruct, or impede the administration of justice,” as Justice Marshall’s separate opinion noted.] Here is Cox’s logic, which was set forth in a protest of an impending trial, but which I think would apply to protests of an impending appellate decision as well:

A note on high expectations

Admiral Cloudberg:

On the 23rd of February 2019, a Boeing 767 transporting cargo for Amazon suddenly dived into Trinity Bay while on approach to Houston, Texas, killing all three people on board. From the putrid estuary, investigators pulled the jet’s two black boxes, which together revealed the perplexing story of the last moments of Atlas Air flight 3591. It all began with a bumped switch, a tiny action that ultimately led to catastrophe when the disoriented first officer panicked and flew his plane into the ground. The sequence of events in the cockpit defied comprehension. How could a trained pilot make such a fundamental error? It was in their attempts to answer this question that investigators found the real cause of the accident. Beneath the surface of the first officer’s training record, they found a long history of failed examinations, terrible airmanship, and difficulties performing basic procedures. One instructor said that he was one of the worst pilots he had ever trained. And after all of this, he was hired anyway — due to inadequate hiring practices, a deliberate act of deception, and an FAA program that wasn’t implemented in time to stop it.

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”

“FDR told us that Pearl Harbor was “a day of infamy,” not an episode in which the US Navy was caught with its pants down”

Antonio:

Perspectives on reality of course vary according to the ideals and institutions involved.  It doesn’t matter to the French what the Anglo-Saxons think of Napoleon.  The events of the Napoleonic era have been conformed to the ideals and institutions of French republicanism in a way that frankly seems strange to me (as an honorary Anglo-Saxon) but works for them.

The stories are not necessarily false and not necessarily propaganda, but they are partial and perspectival – and they can be picked apart. That is true of every explanation, including those provided by scientists. Human knowledge is much more limited than we like to admit. To shape the flux of events into a story that will persuade the public, therefore, the elites must control the means of communication. When that control slips, the elite class lapses into a state of crisis. Every major transformation in information technology has brought in train widespread chaos and disruption, often accompanied by bloodshed, as the old elites – wedded to obsolete forms of communication – were chased up their castle towers and heaved out the window. The most disruptive innovation of this nature was surely the printing press. It inspired revolutions in religion, politics, and science.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House

Vinay Prasad

Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself.

In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 6mo-4 years. These were publicly flirted with, but eventually abandoned. The administration has pushed medical products through, without the traditional advisory boards (as in the case of the 4th dose for Americans over 50).  We have witnessed absurd contradictions– that Kyrie Irving can watch the basketball game from the first row, but not play on the court–, and worse, that this rule only applies in New York city. Finally, the prospect that mask mandates may return in the fall looms over us, even as our rules become more absurd, with restaurant servers and preschoolers acting as the last, powerless people tasked with masking for all.  Public health, the institution, must own these absurdities and contradictions because the CDC has the scope and authority to correct them with clear guidance.  Just as we need trust, public health seems poised to destroy it .   Let’s consider these cases:

In early October 2021 Ashish Jha, the newly selected Biden COVID Czar, suggested a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel, a view he reiterated in late January 2022. On Dec 27th, Anthony Fauci emphasized the idea of a vaccine passport for domestic air travel. Politico reports that Dr. Jha has long advised the administration on health policy, and Dr. Jha has confirmed he received “updates and announcements” from the administration prior to his appointment. Then silently, the proposal was abandoned with no action taken. As a close observer, I was confused as to what happened.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

50 years on, the lessons of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study still reverberate

Jennifer Oullette:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The New York Times’ exposé of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, thanks to a frustrated social worker who tipped off the press. By the time it broke in 1972, experiments had been conducted on unsuspecting Black men in the area surrounding Tuskegee, Alabama, for 40 years. All 400 or so of the male subjects had contracted syphilis, and all had been told they were receiving treatment for the disease—except they were not.

The researchers in charge of the study instead deliberately withheld treatment in order to monitor the progression of the disease as it advanced unchecked. The study’s exposure led to a public outcry and heated debate over informed consent, ultimately giving rise to a number of regulations to prevent such an ethical lapse in the future. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study has since become a vital case study in bioethics, but public awareness of its existence is spotty at best. A new paperpublished in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine seeks to remedy that, and it argues that federal regulation is not enough to prevent similar unethical research.

“The fact that everybody else is doing something different, I think that’s OK,” Wald said. “It doesn’t trouble me so much. I think we’re doing the right thing.”

Scott Girard:

Districts have varied in their approach to pandemic health and safety measures, with some making decisions at the School Board level and others leaving it to administrators. With a few exceptions, the Madison School Board has mostly left it to administrators, including on the mask mandate.

Christina Gomez Schmidt, the School Board member assigned to attend the weekly metrics meetings, expressed exasperation at the April 12 meeting that the district hadn’t moved to mask-optional when numbers were lower in March.

The weeks of Feb. 28, March 7 and March 14 — all just after the PHMDC mandate expired — saw total case numbers among students and staff in the low 40s.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Commentary on the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidates, K-12 Education and prospects

Libby Sobic:

Gov. Tony Evers’s recent vetoes put him at a historic rate of total vetoes compared to previous governors. Of the more than 100 vetoes he executed a week ago Friday, about a quarter were related to education. In many veto messages, the governor cited his previous role as state schools superintendent. Yet his vetoes demonstrate a bias towards the public school establishment and how out of touch the current administration is with Wisconsin parents.

The pandemic created a great awakening for parents across the country. Many families, who were happy with their local public school, were thrown into a difficult dynamic when their district placed the interests of adults over their students in returning to the classroom. In Wisconsin, families fled their local districts and enrolled their children in alternative options. But some parents became determined to hold their local district accountable for their decisions and are trying to change the public school status quo.

In our latest cover story, Cap Times reporters Scott Girard and Jack Kelly describe the GOP’s focus on K-12 education issues as the core Republican strategy against Evers.

They reported: “The party’s two top candidates for governor, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and businessman Kevin Nicholson, both list education as their No. 1 issue on their campaign websites.

“State Rep. Timothy Ramthun, who is also running for governor, says he wants to give ‘power to the parents.’ Construction magnate Tim Michels, a late addition to the Republican gubernatorial primary …. has also made education a top issue, saying Wisconsin needs ‘to get back to teaching more ABCs and less CRT (critical race theory).’ ”

Evers vetoed 21 education-related GOP bills over the past two years. The governor told Cap Times reporters that the Republican ideas, which included the topics of teaching about race, mask policy and school choice, among others, would have “obliterated” K-12 education in the state.

“The Republican bills were going to make life in our public schools very, very difficult,” he said. “They were going to essentially replace what happens now with a radical agenda that, frankly, no one in the school world wants.”

The governor also said the GOP is being hypocritical about wanting local control.

“Local control for the Republicans is only if it advances their agenda,” Evers said. “Time and time again, in and outside of the school world, they’ve been (working) against local control.”

Evers added: “Division hurts kids. Honest to God, we don’t need to spend our time dividing our schools and hurting your kids with radical, intrusive, micromanaging of our schools. … I stand with those kids — (Republicans) apparently are standing against them.”

Yet:

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Race-Preferential Admissions Policies?

Gail L. Heriot and Alexander M. Heideman:

Some commentators have argued that in deciding Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Supreme Court (and Justice O’Connor in particular) was influenced by the “broad societal consensus” in favor of race-preferential admissions policies, there was no such consensus in 2003. Indeed, the consensus of opinion went—and remains—in the opposite direction. Thus, if Justice O’Connor was so influenced, she was mistaken.

II. Even if there had been such a “broad societal consensus,” it should not have excused the Court from its obligation to strictly scrutinize the University of Michigan’s racially discriminatory admissions policy. Unfortunately, by purporting to “defer” to the university’s judgment on whether the need for racial diversity in education is “compelling,” Justice O’Connor essentially admitted that the Court was not scrutinizing the policy with the level of care that had become customary in racial discrimination cases up to that point.

III. With the overwhelming rejection of California’s Proposition 16 in the November 2020 elections, it has become all the more clear that a societal consensus really does exist on race-preferential admissions policies, but it’s a broad agreement against such policies, not a broad agreement in favor. Certainly, therefore, if Justice O’Connor based her opinion in part on the belief that Americans were somehow favorably disposed toward race-preferential admissions (at least for the short term), that reasoning can be safely dismissed now. With Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University likely to come before the Court in the near future, the lesson of Proposition 16’s defeat should be (and likely will be) drawn to the Court’s attention.

Notes on “the war on tests”

Wenyuan Wu:

The Test-Free Movement in a Historical Context

Forces within, from slavery to school segregations under Jim Crow laws to race-based admissions, have tried to corrupt the grand proposal of equality and merit. Like previous illiberal bargains to categorize students by race, the central focus of test-free admissions is also preoccupied with immutable features of the individual, under the fashionable banner of social identities, rather than observable academic performance. But unlike historical race-based practices that were rooted in bigotry and racism, arbiters of “equitable” college admissions in the modern era claim they are waging battles against the evil spirits of white supremacy, systemic inequities, and structural racism.

The movement away from merit-based considerations started with the holistic evaluation model, in which academic, nonacademic, and environmental factors are compounded to build a full profile of the applicant. Harvard invented the model nearly a century ago to limit Jewish enrollment. But even with capturing unmeasurable factors for holistic evaluations, the racial composition of student bodies at selective U.S. colleges and universities was still not squarely reflective of America’s general demographics.

Many thus have turned to race-based affirmative action to artificially drum up the admission numbers of the so-called underrepresented minority students (URMs). Applicants with statistically significant academic gaps are lumped into the same freshman classes. Yet again, this soft experiment of race-conscious admissions fell short of achieving the goal of racial diversity. In spite of the broad-spectrum implementation of race-based affirmation action, the share of URMs at elite institutions has decreased since 1980.

Getting Rid of the Tests in the Name of Equity

Book bans and school board elections

Michael Hardy:

Seventh-grader Jordan Banks loves playing video games and drawing cartoons. He dreams of going to art school, but instead his parents enroll him at preppy Riverdale Academy, where the most popular sport is lacrosse and everyone wears Vineyard Vines. At first, Jordan has trouble fitting in—he’s one of the few Black students at Riverdale, and teachers keep confusing him with other students of color—but he makes friends quickly. By the end of the year, he even has a girlfriend.

Banks is the protagonist of New Kid, a Newbery Medal–winning graphic novel by children’s author Jerry Craft that recently became an unlikely cynosure of controversy in the Katy Independent School District, which serves 90,000 students at 74 campuses in the suburbs west of Houston. This past fall, New Kid was removed from KISD libraries after a petition signed by around four hundred parents criticized it for “teaching children that their white privilege inherently comes with microaggressions which must be kept in check.” The district, regularly ranked among the best in the Houston area, also canceled a virtual speaking appearance by Craft, whom the petition accused of pushing critical race theory—an academic framework for studying persistent discrimination that is typically taught only in colleges and graduate schools. 

The petition was written by Bonnie Anderson, a mother of three KISD students who is running for an unpaid position on the district’s board of trustees in the nonpartisan May 7 election. In a recent interview with Texas Monthly, Anderson said that district libraries were rife with books pushing the “unscientific notion that people who are white are born with privilege because of the way, you know, society has been constructed.” Anderson also wants to ban many books that address LGBTQ issues, which she labels “pornography,” and eliminate the district’s few remaining pandemic-related health measures, which she has compared to Jim Crow–era segregation.

The Rich Basketball History of Madison La Follette High School

Josepha Da Costa, age 16

The rich history of La Follette Basketball began in 1977. They finished 4th in the Big Eight conference that year. While the team finished the regular season with an overall record of 17 wins and 8 losses, they managed only 10 wins against 8 losses during the conference season. 

Nonetheless, the Lancers made an electrifying for a run for a state title. Coached by Pete Olsen, they advanced to the finals by beating Milwaukee Tech 55-48 and Neenah 46-43. The state championship game was played against a team that had been to the finals 15 times since the last time a Madison high school made a trip to state. 

Eau Claire Memorial came into the game with a record of 23 wins and 2 losses. A lot of pressure. But the Lancers stayed calm and collected, sinking 63.6% of their shots. In the end, La Follette took home the trophy, beating the tough competition 65-48.

In 1982, the Lancers took home another state championship trophy. With one of the best players in the state at the time, Rick Olsen, the team beat Stoughton in a close regional game, 64-62. Then, behind throughout most of the game, the Lancers suddenly rallied to beat Madison West, sending the Lancers to sectionals. There they beat conference foe Sun Prairie to advance to state.

“At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?

Emily Hanford & Christopher Peak:

The fact that students who participated in Reading Recovery did worse in later grades than similar students who did not get the program surprised May. [study]

“Was Reading Recovery harmful? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that,” he said. “But what we do know is that the kids that got it for some reason ended up losing their gains and then falling behind.”

In a written response to the study, the Reading Recovery Council of North America, the organization that advocates for the program in the United States, disputed some of the research methodology and maintained that their program is effective. It also said: “Reading Recovery has and will continue to change in response to evidence gathered from a wide range of studies of both students having difficulties with early reading and writing and their teachers.”

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

College students expect to make $103,880 after graduation – almost twice the reality

Wyatte Grantham-Phillips:

College students expect to make about $103,880 in their first job after graduation, a new survey suggests.

But statistics show that the average starting salary for college graduates is $55,260. Overestimates also persist in undergrads’ outlook for mid-career earnings – while both race and gender pay gaps grow.

Today’s college students expect to make about $103,880 in their first post-graduation job, a survey suggests. But the reality is much lower – as the average starting salary is actually about half that at $55,260, statistics show.

The survey, conducted by Real Estate Witch, found that, across all majors and institutions, undergraduate students overestimate their starting salaries by 88%. And 1 in 3 worry that they won’t make enough money to live comfortably after graduation.

Job prospects for the class of 2022 are higher than in recent years. A report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers plan to hire 31.6% more new graduates from the class of 2022 than they hired from the class of 2021.