What would you recommend a 16 year old to pursue career wise?


Either a horticulturalist/permaculturist or an industrial electrician.

Both are and will be required skills for the foreseeable future (next 200 years or so).

Knowing how to grow food and maintain a healthy environment is becoming a lost skill. “Grounding” has science now saying it’s a good thing for your blood, heart and brain (don’t have link on hand but when connected to ground scientists have found blood physically changes and can be seen in microscope).

Electricians are usually a licensed trade. This makes it more protected but also makes you more useful.

You can branch into engineering later if you wish, and you usually make for a better engineer cause you know a 630mm^2 cable doesn’t fit in a 20mm gland.

Substation automation based on IEC61850 is everywhere and more common. It consists of servers, gateways, IEDs (which also need programming), Ethernet, VLANS, switches etc. so you get a technology knowledge base you can relate to other areas of yours, or your friends and families life.

“Tennessee Higher Education Freedom of Expression and Transparency Act,”

Do No Harm Medicine

The bill’s findings clearly state that “public medical institutions of higher education best serve the state when providing meritorious education and training that positions future healthcare professionals to serve all patients adequately and to the best of their ability.” Do No Harm could not agree more.

To ensure that happens, the bill includes several key provisions:

  • No DEI Statements: Applicants for employment and admission cannot be required to submit DEI Statements, which medical schools increasingly use to weed out candidates who don’t toe the woke party line. This helps ensure that students and faculty are chosen by merit, not politics. And getting rid of these statements will create a more intellectually diverse campus environment where students and their teachers are open to exploring new research ideas.
  • No DEI Spending: Medical schools are prohibited from using state funds for fees, dues, subscriptions, or travel relating to an organization that requires an individual to endorse or promote a divisive concept – i.e., that a certain race or sex is inherently superior to another or that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist. This ban covers essentially every medical association. This puts pressure on groups like the AMA and AAMC to drop their increasingly discriminatory demands. Most taxpayers don’t realize their hard-earned dollars fund woke national organizations that focus on progressive activism over patient outcomes.

There are even more victories in the bill, including welcoming campus speakers with differing views, banning discrimination against student groups based on their ideologies, requiring DEI officers to focus on workforce training and promote intellectual diversity, and notifying students and teachers of their rights, among others.

Revisionist history on Covid Policies

Vinay Prasad:

Fauci’s next claim is that he always wanted school reopened. This is contradicted by a detailed timeline of his position on schools, which was consistently to fearmonger about kids and keep them closed.

In the summer of 2020, Fauci was still opposed to schools.

In spring 2020, when DeSantis reopened Fauci went on multiple news outlets to sabotage those efforts

As for Randi, the most accurate comment was in this clip from a distressed parent, pls click link below to watch it (substack not embedding it well).

Ideology now dominates research in the U.S. more pervasively than it did at the Soviet Union’s height

Jerry A. Coyne and Anna I. Krylov:

Until a few months ago, we’d never heard of the Journal of Controversial Ideas, a peer-reviewed publication whose aim is to promote “free inquiry on controversial topics.” Our research typically didn’t fit that description. We finally learned of the journal’s existence, however, when we tried to publish a commentary about how modern science is being compromised by a de-emphasis on merit. Apparently, what was once anodyne and unobjectionable is now contentious and outré, even in the hard sciences.

Merit isn’t much in vogue anywhere these days. We’ve seen this in the trend among scientists to judge scientific research by its adherence to dominant progressive orthodoxies and in the growing reluctance of our institutions to hire and fund scientists based on their ability to propose and conduct exciting projects. Our intent was to defend established and effective practices of judging science based on its merit alone.

Notes on “Faucism”


Fauci, as usual, showed himself a master of illusion. Take his assertion that “only 68 percent of the country is vaccinated. If you rank us among both developed and developing countries, we do really poorly.” Really? Well that depends on what you mean by “vaccinated”. If that means you got the first shot — the only one that actually provided transmission protection — then the US actually did quite well, with 80 percent receiving at least one dose. Germany, Luxembourg and Austria are at 78 percent, and progressives’ favorite Scandinavian country, Sweden, sits at 76 percent. Even if you assume he meant “fully vaccinated” with the latest jab, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Baltic states are all pretty darn close to the US’s 68 percent.

He plays the same game with the lab leak theory. Asked about the “lab leak versus natural origin” debate, Fauci said, “until you have a definitive proof of one or the other, it is essential to have an open mind. And I have been this way from the very beginning, David, notwithstanding the criticisms to the contrary.” Is that so? Cockburn certainly does not remember that, and neither, apparently, does Doctor Robert Redfield, the CDC director at the time, who claims that Fauci slammed the door shut on the lab leak hypothesis pretty early on. 

And that’s not all! Fauci, in response to an inquiry about gain of function funding, claimed:


“Well, I sleep fine, I sleep fine”, he added, before defending the research as “not conceived by me as I was having my omelet in the morning. It is a grant that was put before peer review of independent scientists whose main role is to try to get data to protect the health and safety of the American public and the world.” Whatever the facts are in this case, the response is a microcosm of the broader problem: Fauci cannot seem to accept any culpability, it is always someone else’s fault — the politicians, the Republicans who “don’t like to be told what to do,” or the “independent scientists” — and rarely his own. 

Cockburn, more than anything else, would just like to see Fauci show — even if it’s feigned — some understanding of the concerns his critics bring to the table, some recognition of his own faults. That would require introspection, though, and despite all of his skills, that one is conspicuously lacking.

The College Board’s Secret Apology

Wall Street Journal:

Gov. Ron De­San­tis is cred­ited with forc­ing a re­write of a new high-school AP class in African-Amer­i­can Stud­ies, af­ter Flor­ida balked at such les­son top­ics as “Black Queer Stud­ies.” Deny­ing pres­sure, the Col­lege Board said the re­vi­sions were ped­a­gog­i­cal: “This course has been shaped only by the in­put of ex­perts and long-stand­ing AP prin­ci­ples and prac­tices.”

Yet its own fac­ulty ad­vis­ers pri­vately cas­ti­gated this as dis­hon­est spin, ac­cord­ing to emails we ob­tained via open-records laws. “I have pa­tiently and qui­etly watched the ubiq­ui­tous in­ter­views and me­dia as­ser­tions that AP would not make changes at the be­hest of any group be­yond pro­fes­sors, teach­ers, and stu­dents,” wrote Nis­hani Fra­zier, a Uni­ver­sity of Kan­sas pro­fes­sor who sits on the AP course’s de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee. “If this is so, which stu­dent, pro­fes­sor, or teacher sug­gested adding black con­ser­v­a­tives to the course over Com­ba­hee River Col­lec­tive?”

K-12 tax & spending climate: Supreme Court property tax case

Mark Sherman:

The Supreme Courtseemed likely Wednesday to give a 94-year-old Minneapolis woman another day in court to try to recoup some money after the county kept the entire $40,000 when it sold her condominium over a small unpaid tax bill.

The justices seemed in broad agreement with arguments by the lawyer for Geraldine Tyler that Hennepin County, Minnesota, violated the Constitution’s prohibition on the taking of private property without “just compensation.”

“At bottom, she’s saying the county took her property and made a profit on her surplus equity. It belongs to her,” Justice Clarence Thomas said.

Tyler, who now lives in an apartment building for older people, owed $2,300 in unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties, when the county took title to the one-bedroom apartment in 2015. The county said she did nothing to hold onto her one-time residence. The apartment sold the next year.

Justices Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch said the county’s position appeared to be that it could seize million-dollar properties over tiny tax bills. “So a $5 property tax, a million dollar property, good to go?” Gorsuch asked Neal Katyal, representing the county.

The American Federation of Teachers chief has a double standard on locating charter schools.

Wall Street Journal:

It’s no secret that Randi Weingarten opposes co-locating charter schools in buildings that have a district public school. But the president of the American Federation of Teachers sits on the board of University Prep Charter Schools—a charter run by the local teachers union. On Wednesday New York’s Department of Education approved University Prep Charter’s bid for a permanent co-location for its middle school with a district school and another charter school.

The backdrop points to the stunning hypocrisy. Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York approved dozens of co-locations for the simple reason that this is usually the speediest way to get these charters up and running. The unions understand that too, which is why they fight it.

This year the unions have succeeded in pressuring Mayor Eric Adams to cancel three co-location proposals for Success Academy charter schools by ginning up opposition. Success Academy is one of the city’s best-performing charter networks. Now the unions have brought a lawsuit to void two other Success Academy co-locations that were already approved. Well over a third of the city’s 275 charters are co-located because that is where the unused space is.

“but he couldn’t have surveilled his employees, much less his customers, like Google or Meta”

Joel Catkin:

But the Valley has slowly left the industrial battlefield — it has lost over 160,000 manufacturing positions over the past two decades. It bought into the idea that the unique genius of its financial and corporate culture would be enough for it to thrive and profit as production headed first to Japan, then China and, more recently, to other parts of North America.

This is a familiar story. Consider, for example, how British industry lost its edge: the Industrial Revolution created a new class of tycoons; then the tycoons’ sons sought a return to the aristocratic past, eschewing dirty factories for elegant postings in the City or a relaxed life in their country estates. More recently, Detroit’s world-beating automotive industry squandered its technological and manufacturing advantages in a rush, pushed by Wall Street and its own financial managers, to earn easy profits from inferior products.

To be clear, the Valley is not done as a major tech center. It still boasts a venture capital community, a remarkable concentration of engineering and other management talent, powerful universities and the headquarters of some of the biggest companies in the world. And it remains home to many of the tech giants that now exploit their monopolistic advantages. But that is not the same thing as being the place where the world looks for a vision of the future, as it once was. Even if the Valley still matters, it may no longer dominate the future as its denizens once assumed it would. Instead, it will face fierce competition for tech supremacy — from other countries, and other parts of this one.

This reflects two different phenomena: rising competition from other regions — and an internal rot that has infected the Valley. In its first few remarkable decades, the Valley was defined by its openness, its culture of competition and connection to the general economy. The people who built it, such as David Packard and Bill Hewlett, Fairchild Semiconductor co-founder Robert Noyce, and Apple’s Steve Jobs were, foremost, industrialists. They had a vision of how to use new technology to enhance productivity and make money.

Academic Ranks Explained Or What On Earth Is an Adjunct?

Bret Devereaux:

This week we’re going to take a detour into understanding the structure of academia, in particular the different kinds of ‘professors’ and their academic ranks in the American system, with a particular focus on ‘non-tenure track’ faculty (which is to say, as we’ll see, ‘most teaching faculty.’) This is intended as the first in a series of posts mixed into the normal diet over the next few months looking at the structure of the modern American university from the inside. The fact is that while quite a lot of people go to college, few students acquire much of any sense of how their college or university is structured, and so there is a tendency for a lot of folks to believe they know how academia works who don’t, in the same way that most people who eat at fast food restaurants cannot, in fact, operate their kitchens.

My own experience of course has been as a student, then a graduate student (worker), then as adjunct faculty at three different Big State Universities. Less so in this post, but more so in later posts I’ll also be drawing on the experiences of my better half a bit, as she’s been an administrative staff member for several academic departments and one research program across two Big State Universities and so has a lot of visibility into the bureaucratic structures involved. As you might guess with that background, I am going to be particularly focused on Big State Universities, but I actually think that is good – compared to the Ivies or Small Liberal Arts Colleges, Big State Universities make up the largest single chunk of 4-year-degree institutions and indeed grant a simple majority of 4-year degrees, so the Big State University is by raw dint of numbers both the median and modal higher education experience for folks who achieve a four year degree.

We are in particular going to focus on non-tenure track (NTT) faculty for two reasons. First, because while NTT make up the simple majority of student-facing teaching faculty, universities go to considerable length to obscure this fact leaving many students incorrectly assuming their professors are largely tenure-track when at many institutions they may not be. And second because I’m a NTT faculty member (who, like most NTT, would like to be on the tenure track for reasons which will become obvious below) and I wanted to explain all of this in one permanent place in part so I can point back to it, in particular because while NTT faculty members are the most common they are also the least understood by the public.But we’ll still talk a little bit about the tenured ranks too.

Taxpayer supported social media ‘censorship’ coordination

Gabe Kaminsky:

CISA, an agency under the Department of Homeland Security that “works with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborate to build a more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future,” has also come under fire for its efforts to fight purported disinformation. CISA teamed up from a research standpoint with the Election Integrity Partnership at Stanford University in 2021 on a report finding that the government flagged roughly 4,800 posts to social media companies around the 2020 presidential election, with 35% being labeled, blocked, or removed in some way, the Intercept reported in October 2022. 

In addition, Republicans have raised concerns over how CISA’s advisory committee in June 2022 drafted a report calling on the agency to review “social media platforms of all sizes, mainstream media, cable news, hyper-partisan media, talk radio, and other online resources” while shaping the “information ecosystem.” CISA announced in a 2021 press release that its 23 committee members included Gadde, University of Washington professor Kate Starbird, and JPMorgan’s Chief Information Officer Lori Beer.

Dominion vs. ‘Russian Collusion’ and ‘Disinformation’

Victor Davis Hanson:

All that was demonstrably untrue.

No one on these news shows ever produced any information validating the dossier, much less offered apologies to those whose lives they ruined, as in the case of Lt. General Michael Flynn and Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

The steady two-year drumbeat of media and DNC-fabricated untruths neutered the first two years of the Trump Administration.

Robert Mueller’s $40 million, 22-month special counsel “investigation” leaked wild and lurid rumors of Trump indictments to come, and yet ultimately found no proof of collusion.

No matter. The agendas of the Democratic Party’s collaboration with the media were fulfilled. The Trump Administration was wounded, forced on defense to reply to countless new fabrications, and smeared to the point of caricature.

The incumbent president went into the 2020 election crippled by years of media-voiced lies about collusion. Given all that, did these miscreants learn anything the second time around?

No. They redoubled their efforts. This time, the new farce was “Russian disinformation,” even as the playbook of smearing remained the same.

China’s Search Engines Have More Than 66,000 Rules Controlling Content

Steven Lee Meyers:

China’s internet censorship is well known, but a report has quantified the extent of it, uncovering more than 66,000 rules controlling the content that is available to people using search engines.

The most diligent censor, by at least one measure, is Microsoft’s search engine Bing, the only foreign search engine operating in the country, according to the report, which was released on Wednesday by the Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research group at the University of Toronto.

The findings suggested that China’s censorship apparatus had become not only more pervasive, but also more subtle. The search engines, including Bing, have created algorithms to “hard censor” searches deemed to be politically sensitive by providing no results or by limiting the results to selected sources, which are usually government agencies or state news organizations that follow the Communist Party’s line.

We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to measure ad campaign effectiveness, target ads and analyze site traffic. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them, view our Cookie Policy.Starting on July 20, 2020 we will show you ads we think are relevant to your interests, based on the kinds of content you access in our Services. You can object. For more info, see our privacy policy.By tapping ‘accept,’ you consent to the use of these methods by us and third parties. You can always change your tracker preferences by visiting our Cookie Policy.

Why the Giannis Antetokounmpo ‘Failure’ Speech Is a Viral Phenomenon

Jason Gay:

Specifically, they’re talking about the Milwaukee superstar’s lengthy answer when asked after the game if he considered this Bucks season to be a “failure.”

Watch it if you can, it’s hard to do the full moment justice in print.

“Do you get a promotion every year, in your job?” Antetokounmpo answered, after a long pause in which he placed his head in his hands. “No, right? So every year you work is a failure? Yes or no. No? Every year you work, you work towards something, towards a goal, which is to get a promotion, to be able to take care of your family, provide a house for them, or take care of your parents. You work towards a goal – it’s not a failure. It’s steps to success.”

“There’s always steps to it,” Antetokounmpo continued. “Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years [were] a failure? That’s what you’re telling me…why do you ask me that question? It’s the wrong question.”

“There’s no failure in sports. There’s good days, bad days. Some days you are able to be successful, some days you’re not. Some days it’s your turn, some days it’s not your turn. And that’s what sports is about. You don’t always win. Some other people are going to win. And this year, somebody else is going to win. We’re going to come back next year and try to be better.”

Do Looks Matter for an Academic Career in Economics?

Galina Hale, Tali Regev and Yona Rubinstein

We document appearance effects in the economics profession. Using unique data on PhD graduates from ten of the top economics departments in the United States we test whether more attractive individuals are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that appearance has predictive power for job outcomes and research productivity. Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher ranked PhD institutions and are more likely to be placed at higher-ranking academic institutions not only for their first job, but also for jobs as many as 15 years after their graduation, even when we control for the ranking of PhD institution and first job. Appearance also predicts the success of research output: while it does not predict the number of papers an individual writes, it predicts the number of citations for a given number of papers, again even when we control for the ranking of the PhD institution and first job. All these effects are robust, statistically significant, and substantial in magnitude.

Whitnall School Board Governance Shenanigans


The board consists of four conservative members and three liberals, yet Rodriguez read the results as four votes for liberal candidate Kevin Stachowiak and three for conservative Jason Craig. Conservative member Karen Mikolainis immediately challenged Rodriguez’s counting of the votes, noting that she had more ballots in her hand than members of the board.

“Those extra ones are in case of a tie,” Rodriguez responded.

Mikolainis demanded a voice vote, but liberal board member Quin Brunette rejected this and insisted on a second round of secret balloting. Rodriguez handed out seven more ballots and members again voted. Again, however, Rodriguez read the results as four votes for Stachowiak and three for Craig.

Later in the meeting, conservative members Mikolainis, Cassie Reiner, and Rachel Scherrer confirmed that they had in fact voted for Craig, and Craig confirmed afterwards that he voted for himself.

Notes on the “culture war”

Jim Geraghty:

This month, 50 percent of Americans said, “promoting greater respect for traditional social and moral values” is more important, and 42 percent said, “encouraging greater tolerance of people with different lifestyles and backgrounds” is more important. Those numbers are barely changed from 2013, smack in the middle of the Obama years.

Wait, there’s more. When you break down the respondents by race, “traditional values” was picked by 51 percent of whites, 48 percent of blacks, and 51 percent of Hispanics. “Tolerance for different lifestyles” was selected by 40 percent of whites, 47 percent of blacks, and 44 percent of Hispanics. Whatever racial divisions America has, those three demographics see this choice roughly the same way.

You would think a poll result like this would encourage conservatives. But I suspect this poll result will be largely ignored because it doesn’t fit the narrative either for progressives who want to hear about culture-war triumphs, or folks on the right who on some level actually enjoy hearing about how decadent and depraved American society has become. Year by year, the loudest voices on the right have adopted a dystopian “this country is going to hell in a handbasket” vision; hearing that half the country wants to promote greater respect for traditional social and moral values might actually stir hope, confidence, optimism, and even unity, and lordy, we can’t have that, now can we?

As you would probably suspect, 74 percent of self-identified Republicans said “promoting greater respect for traditional social and moral values” is more important, while 67 percent of self-identified Democrats said “encouraging greater tolerance of people with different lifestyles and backgrounds” is more important. Independents split, with 49 percent picking traditional values and 41 percent siding with greater tolerance. (I wonder how many cultural traditionalists stopped defining themselves as Republicans during the Trump era.)

“We know best”: inflation and living standards edition

Tom Rees:

“Somehow in the UK, someone needs to accept that they’re worse off and stop trying to maintain their real spending power by bidding up prices, whether higher wages or passing the energy costs through onto customers,” Pill said in an interview streamed Tuesday on the “Beyond Unprecedented” podcast.

iOS converts units

Hacker news:

What a great but deeply buried feature.

Select text like “450g” and scroll right on the cut/copy/paste popup, and enjoy the conversions!

WIAA passes competitive balance plan for 2024-25 school year

Michael Whitlow:

The points system would be applied as follows: four points for winning a state title, three points for advancing to the championship game, two points for advancing to the state semifinals and one point for advancing to the state quarterfinal or sectional final. Teams also would receive one point for reaching Level 3 of 11-player football or Level 2 of 8-player football.

Programs that accumulate six or more points in the previous three seasons would be placed up a single division from their previous categorization. No program would be moved up more than one division per year.

Eleven Minutes of Media Falsehoods, Just On One Subject, Just On One Station

Matt Orfalea and Matt Taibbi:

In a few cases, news organizations have already added editor’s notes as threads were released — we should commend Mother Jones for addingsuch updates to many of their articles which referenced Hamilton — which gave cause for optimism. Maybe we could convince other reporters and editors to make the corrections ahead of time. How big of a job could that be?

Too big, as it turned out. Once humorously obsessive Matt Orfalea got going on the project, he quickly fell into a funk. He started just by looking just for video clips of broadcast or cable outlets referencing Hamilton 68, and immediately started racking up ridiculous numbers. 

The first time he mentioned he was having a fit/time problem with the video, I was skeptical. Orf wasn’t counting print stories at first, and didn’t venture initially into other incidents beyond Ham68. It didn’t seem possible there could there be too many instances to compile on video. But there were. A large part of his logistical problem involved MSNBC, whose extravagant on-air warnings of Russian bots were fattening his compilation. “I thought, ‘If I could only do this without MSNBC, I could get this down to a manageable size,’” he said. 

That led to an idea of making a separate video that only chronicled MSNBC making Hamilton-inspired references to Russian bots. “I was relieved,” he said. “I thought, ‘This way, I might be able to make a video about everyone else.’”

The University of Granada researcher talks about the limitations of studies showing beneficial effects of sports and other physical activities on brain function

Daniel Mediavilla:

Exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills, says neurologist Scott McGinnis in a press release published by Harvard Medical School, where he works. David Jacobs, a professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, agrees: “For generally healthy people, exercising regularly can enhance brain function over a lifetime — not just after a workout,” he writes in an article published by Scientific American. The list of researchers and health advocates who take the cognitive benefits of physical exercise for granted is long, and numerous studies appear to support this widely held belief.

But a few days ago, Dr. Daniel Sanabria Lucena (Bordeaux, France, 46 years old), a professor at the University of Granada and a researcher with the Mind, Brain and Behavior Center, published a review in the journal Nature Human Behaviorthat calls this belief into question. Sanabria’s team analyzed 109 studies, involving over 11,000 participants, that found exercise to have a positive effect on cognitive ability. The team discovered various problems with the studies’ methodologies, leading them to conclude that there is no difinitive evidence to support the claim that physical activity has a positive effect on brain performance.

Narrowing permitted ideas on both left and right, one unsuitable voice at a time

Matt Taibbi:

That interview says it all, doesn’t it? 

Not long ago I was writing in defense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When she first entered Congress as an inner-city kid who’d knocked off longtime insider Joe Crowley with a Sandersian policy profile, her own party’s establishment ridiculed her as a lefty Trump. Nancy Pelosi scoffed that her win just meant voters “made a choice in one district,” so “let’s not get carried away.” Ben Ritz, director of the Progressive Policy Institute, an offshoot of the old Democratic Leadership Council, groused, “Oh, please, she just promised everyone a bunch of free stuff.” 

This was before AOC decided to be the next Pelosi, instead of the next Sanders. The above sit-down on MSNBC shows the transformation. Having shed the mantle of an outsider who shook the old guard with online savvy, she appeared in soft light for a softball “interview,” by a literal Biden official (Inside With Jen Psaki is as close as you can get to a formal dissolution of the line between White House and media). In it, she seemed to argue for the outlaw of Fox News. “We have very real issues with what is permissible on air,” she said, adding people like Tucker Carlson are “very clearly” guilty of “incitement to violence,” a problem in light of “federal regulation in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.”

I was attracted to liberalism as a young person precisely because it didn’t want to ban things. Every liberal morality play in the seventies, eighties and nineties featured a finger-wagging moralist who couldn’t stomach an obscene joke (Jerry Falwell, over a Hustler parody), “obscene” art (Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, over Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos), “objectionable” music (Tipper Gore, in the now-seems-tame record-labeling furor), or unpredictable humor (NBC, in its attempts to put Richard Pryor on tape delay for Saturday Night Live). Pryor’s favored writer Paul Mooney objected so much to all the hoops they had to jump through to be allowed on air, he ended up writing a parody “job interview” skit that sent SNL’s ratings soaring, though ironically it would probably never air today:

“The board discussed the subject (13.1% healthcare cost increase) in closed session on April 17, but there was no public indication of the change until the Friday letter”

Scott Girard:

After the district’s insurance consultant, M3, received word from GHC in February about its premium increase, district officials and M3 worked with Quartz to see if there was a better solution. They were left with two options, according to the letter, neither of which raises the amount staff will pay for premiums this year:

• Continue to provide employees with GHC-SCW health insurance, with no rate increase for employees in the 2023-2024 school year, but a 16.2% increase to the district, effective July 1, 2023, for an extra $5.6 million in the budget

• Change insurance carriers to Quartz, effective July 1, 2023, with no rate increase for employees in the 2023-2024 school year, but a 13.1% increase to the district, effective July 1, 2023, for an extra $4.1 million in the budget

A look at the taxpayer referendum at Madison West High School

Scott Girard:

The one that stands out to Findorff Senior Project Manager Peter Saindon, who is overseeing the project, was a pack of cigarettes stuck in concrete from the original construction.

“I don’t know if the cigarettes (are) in it or not but just we’re looking at it like, ‘That had to have been 100 years old,’” Saindon said.

Another project leader noted how cool it is to see the different methodologies of construction through the years in one building.

The renovation team also found a box of handwritten high school transcripts from 80 years ago, which one of the assistant principals made sure was preserved, they said.

Notes on the censorship industrial complex

Notes on the censorship industrial complex

Schools Are Ditching Homework, Deadlines in Favor of ‘Equitable Grading

Sara Randazzo:

Las Vegas high-school English teacher Laura Jeanne Penrod initially thought the grading changes at her school district made sense. Under the overhaul, students are given more chances to prove they have mastered a subject without being held to arbitrary deadlines, in recognition of challenges some children have outside school

Soon after the system was introduced, however, Ms. Penrod said her 11th-grade honors students realized the new rules minimized the importance of homework to their final grades, leading many to forgo the brainstorming and rough drafts required ahead of writing a persuasive essay. Some didn’t turn in the essay at all, knowing they could redo it later.

Whitworth University’s Censorship

Jonathan Turley:

Students who came to the university with that assurance are now being told that some views are simply too harmful to be heard.

It may be a familiar moment for Van Fleet from her own experience in the Cultural Revolution. In February 1957, Mao issued a surprising speech titled “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” in which he encouraged intellectual debate and criticism.

Intellectuals were leery and did not come forward, prompting Mao to take measures to induce their speech. When some then criticized party orthodoxy or corruption, Mao had the speech retroactively changed and cracked down on dissenters as spreading harmful thoughts.

Mao rounded up the intellectuals and told citizens that the government would only allow the ‘fragrant flowers’ of healthy debate while pulling out the ‘poisonous weeds’ of noxious capitalism. What is noteworthy is how close the rhetoric of Mao is to that of many anti-free speech advocates today on our campuses.

Mao declared “words and actions should help to unite, not divide, the people of our various nationalities; They should be beneficial, not harmful, to socialist construction; They should help to consolidate, not weaken, the people’s democratic dictatorship; They should help to consolidate, not weaken, democratic centralism.”

United Nations, Harvard, And Facebook-Google Launch Push For Censorship Worldwide

Michael Shellenberger

The United Nations is training people worldwide to demand censorship by social media platforms of their fellow citizens for “potentially harmful content.” At least one U.S.-government funded group, The Atlantic Council, is involved.

Our discovery of this shocking news comes on the same day that Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center announced its hiring of former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden to oversee its advocacy of censorship at a global level. 

Arden and her allies have used the 2019 Christchurch mosque killing of 51 people to demand greater censorship by social media platforms of disfavored speech. 

“Ardern is known globally as a dedicated and effective leader in pursuing greater online platform accountability and content moderation standards through the Christchurch Call,” wrote Harvard, “a community of over 120 governments, online service providers, and civil society organizations…” (emphasis added).

Back at the U.N., its program is called “Social Media 4 Peace.” It is a pilot program for pro-censorship activists based in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Colombia, Indonesia, and Kenya. It is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It held its first online meetings for censorship workers in Kenya and Colombia this week and last.

The U.N. effort emphasizes research and “monitoring.” But, as in the U.S., the explicit goal is to pressure social media platforms to censor disfavored voices.

And the U.N. censors are going further than U.S. censors did. Some even demand censorship of “negative comments about public figures’ appearances.” Others require the power to censor “slang” that social media platforms might miss.

Notes on Standardized Testing in Texas

Bekah McNeel:

I took my first standardized test thirty years ago. I was in third grade at Seele Elementary in New Braunfels, and it was the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, or TAAS, test. Our teacher, Bunny Hollis—she and her cardigans were straight out of a heartwarming midcentury children’s novel—called for our attention one afternoon and briefed us on the upcoming exam with not a hair of her perfectly stationary coiffure askew. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I do remember the nonchalance. It was something to this effect: “There’s going to be a test tomorrow. Don’t worry about it; I’m your teacher, and I’m confident you know far more than you’ll need to know to pass. Please eat a big breakfast and don’t be late.”

And then we took the test, with no more novelty than the smell of new pencils. Standardized testing was nothing new—Texas started testing third, fifth, and ninth graders in 1980, and by 1993 we were on the third iteration of the exam. We’d had TABS, TEAMS, and now TAAS, and no one cared all that much about any of them or felt they were the truest measure of our nine-year-old academic capacity. Public confidence in the usefulness of the tests is still shaky—the Charles Butt Foundation surveyed parents and teachers in 2023 and found that 45 percent of public school parents and 81 percent of current and former public school teachers polled are not confident in the current test’s ability to measure student learning.

You’d never guess that if you visited a Texas elementary school at any point in the last two weeks.

I’ve been reporting on education in Texas since 2013, the second year of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test (which replaced the TAKS test, which replaced the TAAS test). On one of my first campus visits I saw fourth graders in T-shirts with a Star Wars–themed play on the STAAR acronym. I thought it was a little overkill. In San Antonio, testing coincides with Fiesta season, so I assumed that some of the STAAR-themed decorations were unique to our papel picado–clad city. It turns out they are not unique, nor are they the most ebullient celebration of the standardized tests. Scrolling through social media this week, I saw posts from across the state. Marching bands and celebrity guests at pep rallies, reality TV–themed contests, special dress days, and more, all dedicated to the STAAR test.

Why do ships use “port” and “starboard” instead of “left” and “right?”


Since port and starboard never change, they are unambiguous references that are independent of a mariner’s orientation, and, thus, mariners use these nautical terms instead of left and right to avoid confusion. When looking forward, toward the bow of a ship, port and starboard refer to the left and right sides, respectively. 

In the early days of boating, before ships had rudders on their centerlines, boats were controlled using a steering oar. Most sailors were right handed, so the steering oar was placed over or through the right side of the stern. Sailors began calling the right side the steering side, which soon became “starboard” by combining two Old English words: stéor(meaning “steer”) and bord (meaning “the side of a boat”).

As the size of boats grew, so did the steering oar, making it much easier to tie a boat up to a dock on the side opposite the oar. This side became known as larboard, or “the loading side.” Over time, larboard—too easily confused with starboard—was replaced with port. After all, this was the side that faced the port, allowing supplies to be ported aboard by porters.

In 2014, the city of San Francisco decided to try to improve equity in math education by barring kids from taking algebra in 8th grade.

Noah Smith:

The results were highly disappointing — Black and Latino kids’ math skills did not improve, and the achievement gap widened, thanks to richer White and Asian families hiring private tutors to teach their kids algebra.

This incident — whose results are sad but entirely predictable — highlights how some Americans think we can increase equity in math education by simply teaching less math. But this doesn’t make the world more equal — rich kids have the private resources to learn on their own, while poor kids need the state to teach them. Paring back the role of the state is rarely a recipe for equity. 

But there’s probably a wider consequence of this type of shenanigan as well. At a time when America is desperately trying to re-shore strategic industries like semiconductors, we need a broad workforce with basic numeracyeven more than usual. The more we refuse to teach our kids math — not the well-prepared upper crust, but the broad middle of the distribution — the more we’ll be dependent on immigration to run the fabs. And while immigration is great, I don’t have infinite confidence in our government’s willingness to open the gates. We need to train our own people too.

Which means we need to get more serious about broad-based math education. A couple years ago, I wrote a post about why the fights over meritocracy vs. equity ignore the larger imperative of broad-based numeracy and technical competence. Here is that post, which I think is more relevant than ever.

Civics: A Survey of Worldwide Censorship Techniques


This document describes technical mechanisms employed in network censorship that regimes around the world use for blocking or impairing Internet traffic. It aims to make designers, implementers, and users of Internet protocols aware of the properties exploited and mechanisms used for censoring end-user access to information. This document makes no suggestions on individual protocol considerations, and is purely informational, intended as a reference. This document is a product of the Privacy Enhancement and Assessment Research Group (PEARG) in the IRTF.

Google contractors vote to unionize in historic landslide election

Stephen Council;

A group of contracted YouTube workers based in Austin, Texas, voted to ratify a bargaining unit Wednesday afternoon, in an election historic for creating a union to bargain with a tech company and its contractor together as joint employers. 

The unionization vote passed 41-0. The National Labor Relations Board representative counting the ballots said 49 workers were eligible to vote.

The employees work for the subcontractor Cognizant on content operations for Google’s YouTube Music, resolving bugs and completing other tasks to ensure the streaming service runs smoothly. Google continues to argue that Cognizant is the workers’ sole employer and says the Mountain View-based tech giant should not be forced to negotiate with the workers.

Held via mail-in ballot, the election creates a bargaining unit with the Alphabet Workers Union— an organization affiliated with the Communications Workers of America that, until now, has represented only one office of unionized Google workers, a contracted Fiber retail shop in Missouri. Those workers opted to drop Google from their petition.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 district use Google (YouTube) services, including Madison.

The Censorship Industrial Complex wants to censor “problematic content” on WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and other encrypted text messaging apps

Michael Shellenberger

Ever since journalist Matt Taibbi and I testified before Congress on April 10, critics of the Twitter Files have claimed that we were making a big deal about nothing. We were being paranoid, they said, to imagine that the U.S. government was involved in spying on ordinary Americans and demanding censorship. The various groups involved in what we called the Censorship Industrial Complex were merely “flagging” problematic posts for social media companies, said our critics. The platforms were by no means required to act on it. 

Yet act on it, they did. As I noted in our video about CIA Fellow Renee DiResta, who oversaw the Censorship Industrial Complex’s effort to censor disfavored speech and disfavored users in 2020 and 2021, the social media companies responded to 75% of flagged posts and acted on one-third of them. 

And now, new information has come to light that the censorship activists are trying to spy on and censor even supposedly encrypted text messages through apps like What’s App, Signal, and Telegram.

“There is currently no easy way to discover potentially problematic content on WhatsApp and other end-to-end encrypted platforms at scale,” lamented censorship advocates in a January 2022 Omidyar Foundation report. “One potential solution is to make use of misinformation ‘tiplines’ to identify potentially misleading or otherwise problematic content… On WhatsApp, a tipline would be a phone number to which WhatsApp users can forward potential misinformation they see to have it fact-checked.”

Geofence Warrant found unconstitutional

Jennifer Lynch:

The California Court of Appeal has held that a geofence warrant seeking information on all devices located within several densely-populated areas in Los Angeles violated the Fourth Amendment. This is the first time an appellate court in the United States has reviewed a geofence warrant. The case is People v. Meza, and EFF filed an amicus brief and jointly argued the case before the court.

Geofence warrants, which we have written aboutextensively before, are unlike typical warrants for electronic information because they don’t name a suspect and are not even targeted to specific individuals or accounts. Instead, they require a provider—almost always Google—to search its entire reserve of user location data to identify allusers or devices located in a geographic area during a time period specified by law enforcement. 

In the Meza case, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies were investigating a homicide and had video footage suggesting the suspects followed the victim from one location to another before committing the crime. To try to identify the unknown suspects, they sought a warrant that would force Google to turn over identifying information for every device with a Google account that was within any of six locations over a five hour window. The warrant covered time periods where people were likely to be in sensitive places, like their homes, or driving along busy streets. In total, police requested data for geographic area equivalent to about 24 football fields (five to six city blocks), which included large apartment buildings, churches, barber shops, nail salons, medical centers, restaurants, a public library, and a union headquarters.

AFT, Randi Weingarten and student outcomes

Ari Kauffman:

In the 23 City Schools of Baltimore, zero students are proficient in grade-level math. The Baltimore Teachers Union, unsurprisingly, is among the nation’s most influential and a top AFT ally. They partner in hurting children.

Weingarten and her totalitarians love to talk about supposed “racism,”; but if her union cared about black Americans’ lives — instead of collecting massive salariesand funding Democrats — rather than political grandstanding, they would do something since the district is majority black.

They also might do something about the fact that 40 miles down the road in the Washington D.C. public school system, only 9% of black 3rd-12th graders counted as proficient in math last year.

Why doesn’t the Washington Post or NPR care that despite the massive amount of money the nation’s capital’s residents spend per pupil, their public school teachers cannot get 1 of 10 black students proficient in math? That’s not “economic inequality”; that’s a true scandal.

It’s not much better for other groups.

Only 17% of D.C.’s Hispanic students are proficient in math. And in English, only 20% of black students and about a third of Hispanic students count as proficient.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

“Teaching kids to read via chatbots”

Tom Huddleston:

Soon, artificial intelligence could help teach your kids and improve their grades.

That’s according to billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who says AI chatbots are on track to help children learn to read and hone their writing skills in 18 months time.

“The AI’s will get to that ability, to be as good a tutor as any human ever could,” Gates said in a keynote talk on Tuesday at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego.

AI chatbots, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, have developed rapidly over the past several months, and can now compete with human-level intelligence on certain standardized tests. That growth has sparked both excitement over the technology’s potential and debate over the possible negative consequences.

Students sue after Michigan school district forces them to remove ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ sweatshirts


Today, two students represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression sued their Michigan school district for viewpoint discrimination after they were forbidden from wearing apparel critical of President Joe Biden.

“Criticism of the president is core political speech protected by the First Amendment,” said FIRE attorney Conor Fitzpatrick. “Whether it’s a Biden sticker, ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ sweatshirt, or gay pride T-shirt, schools can’t pick and choose which political beliefs students can express.”

In Feb. 2022, two Tri County Middle School students wore sweatshirts to school with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” a political slogan critical of President Biden with origins in a more profane chant. Even though the political slogan is widely used — multiple members of Congress used it during floor speeches — an assistant principal and a teacher ordered the boys to remove the sweatshirts. However, administrators allowed students to wear apparel with other political messages, including gay-pride-themed hoodies.

The incident is part of a pattern of political favoritism by the school district. When the school district relaxed the dress code for field day, a school administrator ordered a student to stop wearing a Trump flag as a cape, but permitted other students to wear gay pride flags in the same manner.

‘Participation Trophies’ Are a Fake Crisis. Here’s the Real Problem for Youth Sports.

Jason Gay:

Is there a debate sillier than the one over “participation trophies”? Like an out-of-shape benchwarmer, our intermittent national bicker over the appropriate reasons to award hardware to young athletes has wheezed its way back onto the playing field.

This time the arena is North Carolina, where a trio of state politicians have introduced legislation to enact a statewide ban on youth sports awards “based solely on participation.”

Public time and money well spent, that’s for sure. If there’s one thing that constituents want from their elected officials, it’s a heavy regulatory hand in the youth sports trophy industry.

Should this North Carolina bill become law, I would urge its three sponsors to spend the coming months traversing the Tar Heel state in a minivan full of sweat socks and fast food wrappers, popping in unannounced on Little League games, lacrosse contests and 7-on-7 flag football, making sure no child is awarded a shimmering figurine for anything less than a stellar athletic achievement.

Oregon botches the decriminalisation of drugs

The Economist:

AMERICA’s WAR on drugs has been a disaster. More than a million Americans have died of overdoses since the government started counting in 1999. No wonder a growing number of states are interested in trying something different. Nine of them are contemplating decriminalising the possession of a small amount of drugs. This newspaper has long championed more liberal laws, but before rushing ahead, reform-minded states—in America and beyond—would do well to consider the experience of Oregon, the only American state so far to enact decriminalisation. It has had a rocky start.

Removing criminal penalties for possessing some drugs makes sense. It can reduce prison numbers and the perils of addiction. Portugal decriminalised the possession of drugs for personal use in 2001. In subsequent years overdose deaths and HIV rates fell, and public drug markets disappeared.

“Color revolutions have finally come to the United States, courtesy of our leaders”

Peachy Keenan:

What should have been a conversation about why Jacob Blake was not in jail and why rioters were allowed to burn down half of the city became, instead, incredibly, a story about a racist white kid who terrorized the noble protestors with his AR-15.

Pride Cometh

In response to the horrific shooting in nearby Nashville, what did the Franklin, Tennessee city council decide to vote on last week?

Hosting a new Pride parade through the center of town! Franklin is a quiet, idyllic little town just south of where the Covenant school shooting took place, and according to friends who fled California for new, more peaceful lives there, no one wants or needs more Pride in town.

But the mayor surrendered, naturally, and bent the knee to the trans activists, perhaps in fear they would wreak even more vengeance against a local school. He voted to break the tie and allow the upcoming parade. 

A friend in Franklin sent me this: “​​What isn’t being reported is that businesses and companies spoke out against the parade. There has been a small gay festival outside town the last two years, and it was not well attended, and very small. This is just an outside activist push. The majority of the city is pretty upset. They were upset last year when there were drag performances in town. The city is being targeted, but there is no desire among the populace for this. [The Pride parade people] wanted the whole downtown this year.” 

And that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

Audrey Hale, you did not die in vain!

An update on Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results: 2023 state budget plans

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes and Commentary on taxpayer supported Madison K-12 tax & spending plans amidst declining enrollment

Olivia Herken:

The district is also forecasting the loss of 219 students in its three-year rolling average, which is used to calculate the revenue limit, and it expects a loss of about 531 students in its third-Friday enrollment count in the fall.

And like many school districts across the state, Madison is turning to federal, one-time COVID-19 relief funds to pad its budget.

The district plans to use $42.3 million in ESSER III funds for next year’s spending. Just over 110 full-time equivalent positions will be funded with one-time dollars next year because of funding shortages, which will add to the continued shortfalls in future budgets.

Where did woke ideas start to spread?

The Economist:

The term refers to a loose constellation of ideas that have changed how educated, left-leaning folk view the world. It says all disparities between racial groups are proof of structural racism; that norms of free speech, individualism and universalism are camouflage for discrimination; and that injustice will persist until systems of privilege are dismantled. The conventional wisdom says that woke ideas began in the social-science departments of American universities, migrated to the country’s newspapers and spread elsewhere.

This was always a partial story. The godfathers of woke ideas, including Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, philosophers who argued all social relations were really about power, were based largely in France. Mr Rozado’s new paper takes things further. He analyses 98m news articles, tracking words such as “transphobic”, “racist” and “sexist”. The phenomenon, it seems, did not begin in America (see chart). Countries such as Australia, Canada and Sweden in fact led the charge.

Notes on Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results – Kenosha Edition

Reading proficiency of Wisconsin students has been generally stagnant for more than two decades, with some declines in the last several years, associated by many people with the effects of the pandemic on education. Achievement of low-income students and Black and Hispanic students has been especially weak; in the case of Black students, it is among the weakest in the nation. 

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Chinese Censorship Is Quietly Rewriting the Covid-19 Story

Mara Hvistendahl and Benjamin Mueller:

What is now clear is that the study was not removed because of faulty research. Instead, it was withdrawn at the direction of Chinese health officials amid a crackdown on science. That effort kicked up a cloud of dust around the dates of early Covid cases, like those reported in the study.

“It was so hard to get any information out of China,” said one of the authors, Ira Longini, of the University of Florida, who described the back story of the removal publicly for the first time in a recent interview. “There was so much covered up, and so much hidden.”

That the Chinese government muzzled scientists, hindered international investigations and censored online discussion of the pandemic is well documented. But Beijing’s stranglehold on information goes far deeper than even many pandemic researchers are aware of. Its censorship campaign has targeted international journals and scientific databases, shaking the foundations of shared scientific knowledge, a New York Times investigation found.

Under pressure from their government, Chinese scientists have withheld data, withdrawn genetic sequences from public databases and altered crucial details in journal submissions. Western journal editors enabled those efforts by agreeing to those edits or withdrawing papers for murky reasons, a review by The Times of over a dozen retracted papers found.

Groups including the World Health Organization have given credence to muddled data and inaccurate timelines.

The Surprising Surge of Faith Among Young People

Clare Asbury:

For many young people, the pandemic was the first crisis they faced. It affected everyone to some degree, from the loss of family and friends to uncertainty about jobs and daily life. In many ways, it aged young Americans and they are now turning to the same comfort previous generations have turned to during tragedies for healing and comfort.

Believing in God “gives you a reason for living and some hope,” says Becca Bell, an 18-year-old college student from Peosta, Iowa.

Ms. Bell, like many in her age group, doesn’t attend Mass regularly as she did as a child because of studies and work. But she explores her faith by following certain people on social media, including one young woman who talks openly about her own life and belief, which Ms. Bell, who was raised Catholic, says she finds more meaningful and relevant.

The Springtide survey uses the term “higher power,” which can include God but isn’t limited to a Christian concept or specific religion, to capture the spectrum of believers. Many young adults say they don’t necessarily believe in a God depicted in images they remember from childhood or described in biblical passages, but do believe there is a higher benevolent deity.

Other polls, including Gallup, ask specifically about believing in God and show a decline in young adults who believe in God.

End of invincibility

The Rev. Darryl Roberts, pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., says the pandemic, racial unrest, fears of job loss and other economic worries, stripped away the protective layers that many young people felt surrounded them. No longer feeling invincible, he says, some are turning to God for protection.

Civics: FBI tactics and the law

Don Surber:

AP reported, “Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is on trial in federal court on charges of corruption and lying to the FBI, facing a potentially long prison sentence if convicted of multiple wire fraud counts and conspiracy.”

Paragraph 4 said, “Prosecutors also say Gillum lied about his interactions with undercover FBI agents posing as developers who paid for a 2016 trip he and his brother took to New York, which included a ticket to the hit Broadway show Hamilton. Gillum is accused of falsely telling the FBI later that he never received anything from these undercover ‘developers’ and that his brother provided the Broadway ticket.


The FBI created a sting on a politician and held off prosecution for 7 years. Not only that but the FBI lied to him and then charged him with lying to the FBI. What a piece of blackmail the FBI would have held over a governor — if Gillum had been elected.

In this case, the FBI had evidence of what it now calls a crime in 2018 when Gillum almost became governor. No bust was made. The FBI — which has the ability to leak like a colander — said nothing to the press.

Imagine what power the bureau would have had in Florida if it could hold this over the head of a governor. Maybe it does. Who knows what dirt the FBI has in its files? The FBI tried to get Martin Luther King to kill himself once the bureau learned of his illicit affairs.

How Academic Freedom Died at Princeton

Abigail Anthony

“Thirty-one academic departments have DEI committees.”

Princeton’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are misnamed: They divide, exclude, and ostracize students of all political affiliations by rendering it socially dangerous to express any criticism of progressive mantras. Thirty-one academic departments have DEI committees, which could explain the land acknowledgementsin syllabi and the deluge of departmental anti-racism statements that inform students what can and can’t be said in class. The university’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning offers recommendations for “inclusive teaching” and encourages instructors to “address blatantly offensive and discriminatory comments and hold students accountable for their behavior,” which seems to contravene the university’s adoption of the University of Chicago’s Free Speech Principles. Princeton’s Office of the Provost encourages departments to “develop a departmental procedure for the regular examination of syllabi to ensure the representation of a diverse array of scholars in the field” and to “redesign the curriculum to address inequities in access and retention.”

In the name of diversity, some requirements have been dropped and others have been added. In 2021, the Princeton classics department began “removing barriers to entry” and stopped requiring study of Greek or Latin, while the politics department introduced a Race and Identity track. The Provost recommendsboosting the number of “underrepresented discipline-specific scholars and researchers to participate in departmental events.”

To ensure that faculty hiring results in a diverse work force, academic departments (possibly illegally) appoint a search officer who is the “only individual who can see the confidential individual, self-identified demographic data, including data about gender, race, and ethnicity,” and the officer should “monitor the recruitment and selection processes for tenure-track and tenured faculty positions.” The guidance states that “before the short list is sent to the associate dean for academic affairs or the deputy dean, the search officer must review it for gender and racial/ethnic representation.”

The search officer indicates to the search committee whether the applicant pool is diverse enough and recommends specific individuals without explicitly stating why, thereby circumventing federal and state laws prohibiting race-based hiring. Unsurprisingly, the university has documented a rise in Asian and black tenure and tenure-track faculty since fall 2018, while the white tenure and tenure-track faculty fell by 4.4 percent. Although Princeton doesn’t require diversity statements for hiring, the university has developed guidelines for departments that do wish to ask for such affirmations.

How the Human Genome Project revolutionised biology

The Economist:

Big is beautiful. That was the message of post-second-world-war science. The model was the Manhattan Project to build the first atom bombs. When hostilities ended, it continued with larger and larger particle accelerators, to probe matter at smaller and smaller scales—and bigger telescopes to do that probing at the largest scales imaginable. And, of course, there was the space race, which at its height in the mid-1960s absorbed more than 4% of America’s federal budget. After the Apollo Moon landings it went on to spawn the space shuttle and the International Space Station, as well as a programme of uncrewed missions to explore the nether reaches of the solar system.

Nice for scientists, then. But so 20th century. For all of these projects were essentially about physics. By the late 1980s biologists were gaining confidence that the next century would belong to them. Biotechnology—the ability to tweak DNA itself to make useful products—was taking wing. The number of biologists in training was booming. Some in the field were looking enviously at the physicists and asking themselves where they might queue up to dip their bread in the gravy.

The answer, after the usual political haggling, was the Human Genome Project (HGP), an American initiative globalised through the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium of 20 laboratories, eight of which were outside the United States. Though cheap by the standards of big physics (its projected cost of $3bn would barely have bought a couple of shuttle launches to the space station), it gave biology a taste of the big time.

Easthampton, Massachusetts Superintendent Search Rhetoric

Rick Tobey:

After the top pick for Easthampton’s superintendent lost his job offer when he used the term “ladies” in an email, the second choice for the district has withdrawn herself from running the school system amid students reporting her past Facebook posts.

The Easthampton School Committee is back to the drawing board following this latest chapter in the chaotic search for a new leader of the school district.

Erica Faginski-Stark, the director of Curriculum and Instruction at Ludlow Public Schools, is no longer in line to take over as superintendent.

Forcing maths on teenagers is cruel and counterproductive: Rishi Sunak would be better focusing on primary schools than making students study the subject to age 18Forcing maths on teenagers is cruel and counterproductive:

Lucy Kellaway:

Some years ago, shortly before I left the Financial Times, I gave a talk at a literary event in Oxford. Put up your hand, I said to the audience, if you are useless at maths — whereupon the arms of around a third of them shot into the air. At the time, I wrote a column saying something had gone badly wrong when so many people in one of the most intellectually rarefied towns on the planet were not only dunces at maths but wore their inadequacy as if it were a charming quirk.

This week, the prime minister made the same point when he railed against the country’s “anti-maths mindset”. Rishi Sunak’s solution is to force all teenagers to study the subject until they are 18; mine was to roll my sleeves up and become a maths teacher myself.

The difference between our approaches is that mine did no harm. I tried my hardest to get teenagers to learn probability and algebra but after a year, with the relief that comes from deciding to do what you love, I switched to teaching economics and business instead. Sunak’s scheme may be equally well intentioned, but coercing students to go on doing what they hate will be ruinously expensive, counterproductive and borderline cruel.

Sunak, whose formative experience of maths was from his own school days at Winchester, would have done well to visit me as I entirely failed to teach standard-form maths to a Year 10 bottom set in an inner London comp. He would have witnessed a struggling student asking the million-dollar question: “Miss, why are we doing this?” There was no earthly reason. None of them would ever need standard form again. Surely Sunak would have seen that his first task was to do something about the 30 per cent of students nationally who fail to get the lowest pass at maths GCSE.

These teenagers are now required to retake the exam over and over until they pass or turn 18 — with the result that 100,000 students each year will have spent two years notching up successive failures, leaving most of them at 18 feeling they are not only failures at maths, but at life.


Remedial math at the University of Wisconsin.

“used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Much more on the successful citizen lawsuit overturning the Seattle School District’s use of Discovery Math, here.


Discovery Math

Connected math.

Singapore Math

Local links: Math Task Force, Math Forum Audio/Video and West High School Math Teachers letter to Isthmus.

Wisconsin DPI Superintendent’s priorities: Waukesha School District Letter


In her letter, Underly stated, “Whether you realize it or not, you are, under the guise of protection, causing undue harm to students and staff. However, this damage is reversible. It is paramount that you change course now.”

Underly requested that the administration reverse the policy to “foster inclusive environments,” saying the controversial issues policy is “eliminating conversation on topics that you have in the past deemed controversial.”

Reversing the policy “will send a clear message to the residents of Waukesha and all of Wisconsin about the high priority you place on ensuring a well-rounded education for your students that reflect the pluralistic nature of our society,” Underly wrote.

Last week, the administration placed first-grade dual-language teacher Melissa Tempel on administrative leave after she spoke out about the district’s decision to ban “Rainbowland.”

Underly addressed Tempel’s leave in her letter by citing the text from the controversial issue policy. She said the district needs to re-evaluate its decision to place Tempel on leave and should recognize that “‘acknowledging the rights of (the district’s) professional staff members as citizens in a democratic society’ is, in fact, in the best interests of the School District of Waukesha.”

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

James Madison Debate Team Comes Out Against Debate

Emma Camp:

This week, the James Madison University debate team made a surprising announcement for, well, a debate team.

The group condemned an upcoming speech on “transgenderism” by conservative commentator Liz Wheeler, arguing that she is “attempting to antagonize and harass highly at-risk groups like transgender students” and calling on the student group sponsoring the event to revoke their support. While there is a lot to criticize about Wheeler’s position on transgender people, it’s nonetheless troubling that a student group devoted to debate and “free speech” would so fiercely call for the cancellation of an event based purely on a speaker’s political beliefs.

Wheeler’s event, hosted by JMU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), is set to take place on April 26. The lecture, which has already had to move location due to security concerns, will focus on “the ideology of transgenderism,” according to the chapter’s social media posts. Soon after the event was announced, many took to social media to express their disapproval and get the university administration to cancel the event.

“the pronatalist movement”

Io Dodds:

The problem, he concedes, is that falling birth rates are also a common preoccupation of neo-Nazis and other ethno-nationalists, who believe they are being outbred and ‘replaced’ by other races. ‘A lot of alleged concerns about fertility decline are really poorly masked racist ideas about what kinds of people they want on the planet,’ says demographer Bernice Kuang of the UK’s Centre for Population Change.

The Collinses strongly disavow racism and reject the idea that any country’s population should be homogenous. Still, Babu finds that many in the rationalist and EA community, which skews pale and male, are wary of exploring pronatalism – lest they be ‘tarred with the brush of another white man who just wants an Aryan trad-wife’.

Another issue is what you might call the Handmaid’s Tale problem. From Nazi Germany’s motherhood medals to the sprawling brood of infamous, Kansas-based ‘God hates fags’ preacher Fred Phelps, a zeal for large families has often been accompanied by patriarchal gender politics. For liberal Westerners, the idea that we need to have more babies – ‘we’ being a loaded pronoun when not all of us would actually bear them – may conjure images of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead.

Sun Prairie School District disputes report alleging trans woman showered with girls at high school

Chris Rickert:

The email did not say what parts of the story were inaccurate or address the allegations in WILL’s letter.

WILL spokesperson Erin Voelkel said the firm is declining to release the names of the freshmen “at this time” but provided a screen shot of an email from Sun Prairie East Principal Renee Coleman that appears to reference the incident and reportedly included a district policy on the use of bathrooms and locker rooms by transgender students.

“Let me reiterate that the situation your daughter was in should not have happened, and we will continue to work to ensure no one has a similar experience,” she said.

WILL has filed a public records request with the district seeking email and other communication related to the incident.

Details, here



Wall Street Journal:

They tend to say be­lief in God is im­por­tant. Two-thirds de­scribe them­selves as very or mod­er­ately re­li­gious, com­pared with less than half of adults over­all.

K-12 tax & spending climate: ongoing pay cuts amidst inflation

EJ Antoni:

He also noted the average American family has lost the equivalent of more than $7,000 in annual income.

There is a direct link between spending, borrowing and printing trillions of dollars, and these disastrous results for Americans.

President Biden has spent trillions of dollars the nation didn’t have.

These unchecked costs drove the deficit to record highs and pushed the debt over $31 trillion. 

Physical Restraint and teacher climate

Freddie deBoer:

I also saw students go from quietly doing work to lifting a heavy desk off of the ground to bash one of their peers within a matter of seconds. There too I had to physically intervene, or else another kid would have been badly injured. In that year I think I probably had to physically restrain a kid less than a half-dozen times, but it did happen. Nobody liked it. Everyone would have rather done anything else. But sometimes there was just no choice; the idea of verbally de-escalating a kid who’s genuinely trying to kill another kid is not a serious response to an immediate problem. But there’s been a number of arguments in the media that insist that physical restraint is 100% unacceptable at all times. I wrote about this frustrating tendency here.

I got an opportunity to hash this out with a critic of physical restraint late in my grad school experience. There was a symposium or conference or whatever that I attended about special ed, and there was a panel about physical restraint. One of the people on the panel was a crusading type who insisted that there was never a moment when educators had to physically intervene to stop a child from hurting themselves or others. I brought my personal experience to bear, asking her what she would have done when one of my students was already engaged in violence. She said that she would have verbally de-escalated them. I told her that these were moments where harm was already being done, by children with serious documented behavioral issues who were often so exercised that they were incapable of listening at all. She said that she would have verbally de-escalated them. I said that there were legitimately situations where the choice was between physically intervening or allowing a child to endure major injury. She simply said, once again, that she would verbally de-escalate any child.

Serious Violation of Girls’ Privacy Rights in Sun Prairie East Locker Room


Dear Members of the Board of Education:

Our attorneys at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) recently became aware of an alarming incident involving a violation of freshman girls’ privacy while in a Sun Prairie East High School (EHS) locker room. Although the parent who reached out to WILL attempted to resolve this issue with Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD or “District”) administrators, the response by the District to date has been completely inadequate. We are calling on you to address this immediately and put policies in place that will protect the safety and privacy of all students (and provide public notice of what those policies are).

In the interests of privacy, we will not share student or parent names in this letter, but your employees at EHS are well-aware of all persons involved and your District’s refusal to act.

March 3 Incident
On Friday, March 3, 2023, four freshman girls at EHS participated in a swim unit as part of their first-hour physical-education class. After the class, the girls entered the girls’ athletic locker room to shower and change for class. Upon entering, they noticed a senior male student in the area containing lockers and benches. It is our understanding this male was 18 years old at the time of the incident. According to the girls, this student was not in the first-hour PE class they were participating in. While the girls were surprised to see him in the locker room, they had a general idea that this student identifies as transgender and has used girls’ bathrooms before. While they were uncomfortable, they proceeded to the shower area without interacting with the student.

Commentary on the taxpayer funded Madison school district’s non open records practices

Dave Zweifel:

Although you might never know it by last week’s meeting of the Madison School Board, school districts are very much included in the law that requires government — which belongs to and is paid for by the public after all — needs to be transparent in all that it does. There is no room for secrets unless specifically exempted under the law.

To me, the meeting to discuss the embarrassing failure of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s response to open records requests was an embarrassment itself. Administrators tried to explain why the district has become a laggard in fulfilling openness requests, often simply denying access or stonewalling for months to release records that “shall be honored as soon as practicable and without delay.”

They revealed that the job that long ago was designated as the records custodian, the person responsible for releasing requested public records, no longer exists. Instead, the district’s legal department has been taxed with the job and apparently is overwhelmed by other tasks.

That’s patently unacceptable, and I’m surprised School Board members didn’t demand an accounting. No governmental body can just ignore the law because it refuses to assign adequate staff to comply with it.


But one of the lawsuits was actually filed by the district’s own spokesman, Tim LeMonds. After the district determined it had to release a complaint against LeMonds by his staff, the tight-lipped LeMonds — whose job is supposed to be communicating with the public — sued his employer to stop disclosure.

You can’t make this stuff up — or justify it.

More, here.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The Review: The end of the English major — or is it?

Len Gutkin:

Sharp declines in the English major (as well as in other majors across the humanities) have occasioned a great deal of coverage in recent years; Nathan Heller’s widely read New Yorkeressay, “The End of the English Major,” published in February, read like a monumental epitaph to the discipline. The big picture is undeniably bleak: “During the past decade,” Heller writes, “the study of English and history at the collegiate level has fallen by a full third.” But American higher education is vast, and sectorwide statistics might mask local successes. That was one of the points of Sarah Blackwood’s essay in

The Review: The end of the English major — or is it?

Len Gutkin:

Sharp declines in the English major (as well as in other majors across the humanities) have occasioned a great deal of coverage in recent years; Nathan Heller’s widely read New Yorkeressay, “The End of the English Major,” published in February, read like a monumental epitaph to the discipline. The big picture is undeniably bleak: “During the past decade,” Heller writes, “the study of English and history at the collegiate level has fallen by a full third.” But American higher education is vast, and sectorwide statistics might mask local successes. That was one of the points of Sarah Blackwood’s essay in

The role of bacteria and viruses in world history

The Economist:

According to Jonathan Kennedy, the author of “Pathogenesis”, there is a better explanation for why H. sapiens prevailed: their immune systems were superior. As their populations boomed, genetic diversity increased and, since they lived in Africa, much closer to the equator than other humans, H. sapiens would have been exposed to a greater array of animals carrying a variety of microbes. Some of those microbes would have been pathogenic. (Indeed, the majority of bugs that infect humans are zoonotic—ie, they jump the species barrier from other animals.)

As H. sapiens moved across the world, they would have been protected against the diseases carried by the other humans they met. The converse was not true, however, meaning Neanderthals and other humans were less resistant to the diseases carried by H. sapiens.

Civics: The Press is Now Also the Police

Matt Taibbi:

Back from vacation I made the mistake of scanning the news and was shocked by the media’s ongoing orgy of self-congratulation and Two-Minutes-Hating, in response to the capture of “Pentagon Leaker” Jack Teixeira. Glenn Greenwald has already covered a lot of this on System Update, but this represents a major new progression in the ongoing mutation of news media, from public advocate to cop.

The New York Times and Washington Posttrumpeted roles in helping identify Air National Guardsman Teixiera for the FBI. “We’re delivering him to you with his head on a platter,” is how Glenn put it. 

It’s an awful look for the press. This isn’t tracking down a serial killer or exposing Enron’s fraud. The alleged “crime” here is releasing true information, information that belongs to the American public and is secret only by official designation. At most, a newspaper might decide not to publish such information, but to help jail the leaker? It’s nuts. Reporters are supposed to be interested in everything and listen to information without judgment, like doctors, yet the whole industry is working itself into a moral frenzy because a bunch of overgrown Minecraft enthusiasts were privately passing around a few truths like a joint.

Your Property Tax Bill Is Higher Because Of TIF Districts, Legislative Council Confirms


The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Council confirmed something about tax increment financing (TIF) that the MacIver Institute has been warning taxpayers about for years: tax increment financing directly results in higher property tax bills for all taxpayers in that community. This contradicts what local and state government officials have claimed for years, that TIF is a win-win for taxpayers.

Legislative Council released the memo that explains everything on Nov. 29, 2022, which the MacIver Institute obtained through a records request. It explains that anytime there’s construction within a TIF district (TID), the mill rate goes up for the entire community. Essentially, local governments use the net new construction (NNC) that occurs within TIF districts to justify higher tax levies, but then exclude that new property value in the TIDs when calculating the new mill rate.

As the Legislative Council’s memo explains, “When a TID exists, and all NNC occurs within the TID, the mill rate will increase from the prior year, because the mill rate’s numerator increases while the denominator stays the same.”

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: exploding Chicago pension costs

Jordan McGillis:

Chicago’s pension spending has nearly tripled in the past ten fiscal years, from around $15,700 per full-time employee to more than $45,000. Pension expenditures now total more than $1.5 billion—over 12 percent of the city’s total revenue. For every person Chicago employs, in other words, it is effectively paying $45,000 to a city employee who has already retired. And the problem will worsen in the years to come, with the city’s pension debts exceeding those of 45 states and the recent market downturn intensifying its funding shortfalls. As these costs rise, they limit the revenue available for needed services.

Who is running Stanford?

Greg Jacobs:

I was disappointed in 2021 to read that Stanford had been sued by a number of its athletes when the school, without warning, told them it had decided to drop 11 varsity sports teams. Those sports included men’s volleyball, wrestling and rowing. Women were to lose sports like synchronized swimming, rowing and fencing. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Athletic Director Bernard Muir said the cut was a budget necessity, and was needed to keep Stanford “competitive” with other schools. That turned out not to be true. In fact, the school rejected alumni financing of the sports. I was further angered when I read that Tessier-Lavigne may have co-authored a number of scientific papers with “manipulated images.” I was then saddened to read about Stanford soccer player Katie Meyer, who had committed suicide last March after a badly botched disciplinary action Stanford attempted to take against her. Her parents filed a lawsuit against Stanford in October.  

These are some of the more serious scandals involving the school in the last three years. There have been less severe missteps taken by those who are supposedly in the business of running an elite, world renowned university, but even these smaller mistakes seem to indicate a larger problem. One of my classmates (I graduated in 1970) complains that the administration is of late “rudderless,” stumbling from one crisis to another. He may not make his annual donation to the school as a result. I think it is time to ask: exactly who manages Stanford? And how are they making decisions? Is it the President? The Board of Trustees? Or a small group of individuals known only to a few?

Civics: Politics and the Chicago Teachers Union

Jeffrey Carter:

As the Democrats worked to exert power, they used the government as a cudgel over the head of the citizens. Get out of line, your garbage didn’t get picked up. Get out of line, a city inspector would visit your business and let you know it would be a shame for something to happen to your business. 

They also stole lots of elections. As John Kass has expertly pointed out, who gets what office in Chicago isn’t competitive. It’s moving pieces around a chessboard. There are no surprises in the Chicago elections. The only drama is a faux drama created by the media and press. Today’s press in Chicago is merely a rubber stamp, a tool of the woke left. There are no true journalists in Chicago employed by the mainstream media. Not one. 

They are either willing Marxists or bought.

As time moved along, the Democratic Machine saw it fortuitous to tie social issues to their power in order to promote guilt. By any means necessary right? The Bill Ayers/ Bernadine Dohrn wing of the Democratic Party took over the intellectual elite. They were readily accepted at the nice parties in Chicago and were accepted by the left-wing academics. The terrorists became respected. They played the long game and nationwide have fundamentally changed public school education in the entire United States.

Democrats in the city harnessed the Chicago street gangs to get out the vote. As long as the gangs got the vote out, the city brass would look the other way. By any means necessary.

One Cheer for Free Speech on Campus: A professor wants to protect speech, but also to keep students from being “harmed.”

George Leef:

Not so long ago, free speech on college campuses was not a matter of controversy. Of course, there were heated disputes over what people said, but everyone accepted that people were entitled to speak their minds—and then face criticism as those who disagreed spoke theirs. Sadly, that has changed dramatically.

The first prominent dissent as to the value of free speech came from Professor Herbert Marcuse, who argued in 1969 that campuses (and society) should not tolerate some speech. In particular, Marcuse, a Marxist, said that speech that supported existing socioeconomic arrangements should be suppressed so that dissident voices could be heard.

Today, we find many academics echoing Marcuse and calling for severe restrictions on “hate speech,” which could mean any communication they find disagreeable. And we still find many who advocate unrestricted freedom of speech, agreeing with Justice Louis Brandeis that the remedy for bad speech is more speech.

Rishi Sunak sets up review to tackle ‘anti-maths mindset’


A group of advisers, including mathematicians and business representatives, will examine the “core maths content” taught in schools.

It will also consider whether a new maths qualification is necessary.

But opposition parties attacked the government’s record of recruiting maths teachers. 

Outlining the review in a speech, the prime minister admitted more maths teachers were needed, and this was “not going to happen overnight”.

He wants all school pupils in England to study some maths until 18 – although it will not be compulsory to study the subject at A-level.

Litigation, Religious Freedom and the Providence Schools

Robert Zimmerman

This is a followup on a March 2023 blacklist column. Though the school district had previously welcomed the Good News Clubs, a Christian afterschool program run by the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), to use school facilities for meetings, in 2021 school district officials blacklisted it without explanation, and then stonewalled CEF officials as well as the school’s principal (who wanted the club in his school) for almost two years. Meanwhile, the district was allowing many other clubs, some very leftwing, access to facilities.

In March CEF enlisted the legal non-profit Liberty Counsel and filed a lawsuit [pdf] against the school district as well as its superintendent, Dr. Javier Montanez.

The lawsuit had demanded that CEF be given immediate access to district facilities “equal to access provide to similarly situation nonreligious organizations,” payment of “actual damages in accordance with the evidence at trial,” nominal damages of $100, and payment of any legal costs.

Press Freedom and the Minnesota Democrat Farm Labor

J Patrick Coolican:

Walker recounts in the letter how after the news conference, House DFL spokesman Matt Roznowski “approached Mr. Callaghan and, in front of his colleagues from other news organizations, upbraided him for his comment and threatened to call his editor. Mr. Callaghan perceived Mr. Roznowski to be visibly angry and physically aggressive and responded with a profanity.” 

House DFL responded by removing Callaghan from its press release email list, which left him in the dark as to the goings-on in the House. The move was later rescinded. 

On February 17, a House DFL official and the House director of human resources accused Callaghan of discrimination and harassment based on his objection to the end of the press conference. (Callaghan’s objection to ending the news conference, Walker writes, was both race and gender neutral.) In support of their accusation, the House officials cited a policy that applies to House members and employees, not independent media.

House leadership then sent a letter to MinnPost, asserting Callaghan’s comment during the news conference raised “serious concerns” under the House policy on discrimination and harassment. “House counsel, the House Sergeant at Arms, and Capitol Security were notified,” the letter reads.

The closing of a small college

Kelly Meyerhofer and Drake Bentley:

Cardinal Stritch University, which has been serving students since 1937, is closing its doors at the end of the spring semester, the college president announced Monday.

“We’re all devastated by this development, but after examining all options this decision was necessary,” President Dan Scholz said in a video announcement. “I wish there was a different path we could pursue. However, the fiscal realities, downward enrollment trends, the pandemic, the need for more resources and the mounting operational and facility challenges presented a no-win situation.”

The university Board of Trustees recommended the closure to the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi after determining the Fox Point school “could no longer provide high-quality educational experiences our students deserve,” he said. The Sisters accepted the recommendation and set the closing in motion, Scholz said.

The announcement came as a shock to the close-knit campus, and to its broader community.

Fun strikes back at Stanford

Caroline Chen:

Thousands of campaign flyers, dozens of Fizz posts and one executive debate later, preliminary results of the 2023 Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) election were announced via email and linked on the ASSU website on Sunday.

Candidates elected in the 2023 election will serve their positions for the 2023-2024 academic year.

While the voter turnout of this year’s general election, at 24.72%, was significantly higher than the previous two years’ turnout of around 17%, turnout has yet to return to 2020 levels when total voter turnout was at 36.64%. This year, 39.44% of undergraduate students and 12.83% of graduate students cast ballots. In 2020, 53.76% of undergraduates and 23.02% of graduates cast ballots.

“We saw an increase in turnout this year from last year, which was one of my big goals, and I think reflective of a lot of engagement on the part of the candidates running — we had more candidates for both UGS and GSC than last year, which certainly helped,” ASSU Election Commissioner Whit Froehlich J.D. ’24 wrote in a statement to The Daily. “There’s still room for improvement, though, particularly among graduate students, many of whom still either don’t know they can vote or just aren’t as aware of ASSU and what it does.”

The Toxic Reality of a Post-Familial Society

Aaron Renn:

South Korea is a particularly interesting case study. It has the world’s lowest fertility rate, with a total fertility rate or TFR of 0.78 (2.1 is needed just to keep population constant). It has also developed particularly unhealthy gender relations, elements of which we see echoed in our own country. As here, these have even started to carry over into politics. 

What we see in South Korea is that post-familialism can produce unhappiness and dysfunctional social and political dynamics. Things are not necessarily fated to play out the same way elsewhere, of course. But the case of South Korean shows that we shouldn’t be blasé about embracing a post-familial future for the United States.

Civics: Taxpayer funded “disinformation” management

William Briggs

We told you this was happening when it was happening. Not everybody believed it; indeed, most (and here I exclude regular readers) did not. And, worse, most still do not, and never will, such is the power of propaganda. This:

Twitter Files #18 and #19 focus on the Virality Project, an “anti-vaccine misinformation” effort led by Stanford and bringing together elite academia, NGOs, government, and experts in AI and social media monitoring, with six of the biggest social media companies on the planet. They went far beyond their “misinformation” remit. Twitter Files show the Virality Project pushed platforms to censor “stories of true vaccine side effects”.


“Reporting side effects of the now-pulled Johnson & Johnson vaccine would have been labelled ‘misinformation’ under Virality Project decrees.” And was. I tried showing deleterious vex effects using the CDC’s own data all through 2021, with this being one of the most interesting posts. Of course, these efforts were whacked on social media, and the post(s) died quiet deaths. Just like…but never mind.

Notes on Taxpayer Funded Ideology and the grant industrial complex

Belmont Abbey

Without the ability to remain financially independent and secure, we place our faith-based practices at risk from a federal government both increasingly intrusive to private institutions and increasingly hostile to faith.

The mission of Belmont Abbey College is rooted in a desire to fill society with graduates prepared to restore the culture for the greater glory of God and create a world where charity and goodness thrive.

Ideology and higher education commentary

Leelila Strogov:

There’s a growing aversion to attending college in politically conservative states. What the Chronicle of Higher Education calls the “red-state disadvantage” in higher education is affecting the decisions of both potential students and staff alike.

Anecdotally, I can attest that this is real. In my work coaching college applicants, I have noticed an increased likelihood that applicants in states that vote Democratic in elections won’t apply to universities in states that vote Republican.

One reason is certainly the perceived prestige gap between colleges in blue and red states. A majority of the most highly selective colleges are located in blue states, including Ivy League schools, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and so on.

Another possible reason is that students may prefer colleges where they believe they will feel more “comfortable,” and moving to a red state can entail more than just being around people with different opinions.

In the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, some students may think that going to school in a red state will limit their reproductive freedom. Similarly, queer and trans students may be concerned about their rights in places where laws may offer them fewer protections.

It’s an understandable concern, and all students should seek and apply to schools where they believe they can thrive and feel secure. Still, I strongly urge students from blue states to think seriously about applying to colleges in red states because it boosts their chances of getting into a good school and enjoying long-term career success — and also increases the odds of something else: helping to combat one of the defining social issues of our time, political polarization.

Who owns history? How remarkable historical footage is hidden and monetised


High-quality video is an invaluable way of transporting viewers to the past and helping to put the world in context. From the late 19th century to today, cameras have been there to capture some of history’s most important moments, from pivotal battles, to civil rights marches, and even moonwalks. However, as A History of the World According to Getty Images details, some of the most extraordinary footage ever shot is locked away behind paywalls by a few companies that charge exorbitant fees for access and usage – even in cases where the material has entered the public domain, or was never even owned by anyone at all. In his riveting video essay, the UK filmmaker Richard Misek sets out to release these images from ‘captivity’. Starting with a montage of dramatic historical footage followed by a roundup of the high price-tag they command, Misek then dives into a series of clips one at a time to detail their history, including how visual media companies have exploited them. Ultimately, he makes a compelling argument that this murky practice has major public interest implications that extend far beyond the high price-tag for filmmakers.

Advocating censorship at Yale

Hyerim Bianca Nam:

This faith is shared, it seems, by both ends of the ideological spectrum. One of the angriest moments I’ve had at Yale was last year’s Bulldog Days, when I saw a table on cross campus that was manned by members of a pro-life club. Grouped around the table, which was spread with sonograms and fetal diagrams, the students were inviting passersby to engage in logical debates about fetal personhood and abortion ethics. They were polite. They held their voices low and spoke slowly and calmly. They had relaxed, open smiles.

“Would you like to discuss this? Let’s talk about it respectfully,” they insisted. “We can debate about this.” Their smug civility was infuriating; their invitations for debate, inflammatory. I could barely seethe out my opinion about the misogyny of holding such a debate at all; simpering, the male students gestured to the only female student with them. Their wide, innocent eyes asked the unspoken question: how could they possibly be misogynist when one of their club members was a woman? 

I think that interaction, which took place a bare week before the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked in May, took a few years off my life — and really, it’s my fault for biting the bait. I regret talking with them. I should not have entered such a space and entertained such discourse; to bring the legality of abortion into question, then frame the debate around whether and when a fetus became a person was a red herring, a false path meant to distract someone from the true issue and its massive repercussions for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. The discussion never should have been entertained, because simply opening space for this “logical, respectful” debate itself is a threat to human rights that should never be up for debate.

Commentary on IQ Scores

Tim Newcomb:

Americans’ IQ scores are trending in a downward direction. In fact, they’ve been falling for over a decade.

According to a press release, in studying intelligence testing data from 2006 to 2018, Northwestern University researchers noticed that test scores in three out of four “cognitive domains” were going down. This is the first time we’ve seen a consistent negative slope for these testing categories, providing tangible evidence of what is known as the “Reverse Flynn Effect.”

In a 1984 study, James Flynn noticed that intelligence test scores had steadily increased since the early 1930s. We call that steady rise the Flynn Effect. Considering that overall intelligence seemed to be increasing faster than could be explained by evolution, the reason increase became a source of debate, with many attributing the change to various environmental factors.

‘Kids Can’t Read’: The Revolt That Is Taking On the Education Establishment

Sarah Mervosh:

About one in three children in the United States cannot read at a basic level of comprehension, according to a key national exam. The outcomes are particularly troubling for Black and Native American children, nearly half of whom score “below basic” by eighth grade.

“The kids can’t read — nobody wants to just say that,” said Kareem Weaver, an activist with the N.A.A.C.P. in Oakland, Calif., who has framed literacy as a civil rights issue and stars in a new documentary, “The Right to Read.”

Science of reading advocates say the reason is simple: Many children are not being correctly taught.

A popular method of teaching, known as “balanced literacy,” has focused less on phonics and more on developing a love of books and ensuring students understand the meaning of stories. At times, it has included dubious strategies, like guiding children to guess words from pictures.

The push for reform picked up in 2019, when national reading scores showed significant improvement in just two places: Mississippi and Washington, D.C. Both had required more phonics.

But what might have remained a niche education issue was supercharged by a storm of events: a pandemic that mobilized parents; Covid relief money that gave school districts flexibility to change; a fresh spotlight on racial disparities after the murder of George Floyd; and a hit education podcast with a passionate following.

“There is this urgency around the story, this unbelievable grief,” said Emily Hanford, a journalist at American Public Media. Her podcast, “Sold a Story,” detailed how stars of the literacy world and their publisher diverged from scientific research. It racked up nearly 5 million downloads.

The movement has not been universally popular. School districts in Connecticut and teachers’ unions in Ohio, for example, pushed back against what they see as heavy-handed interference in their classrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Madison School District Superintendent Jenkins a finalist for Tennessee district superintendent job

Scott Girard:

Two months after announcing his retirement, outgoing Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins has been named a finalist for the top job in a Tennessee school district.

Chalkbeat Tennessee, an education news website, reported Saturday that Jenkins is among three finalists to be the next Memphis-Shelby County Schools superintendent. The School Board there, however, was not happy with the list of three finalists selected by a search firm, including Jenkins.

“After a public meeting that at times turned tense, the board announced it would pause plans to interview finalists for the position until it receives the names of all 34 applicants,” Chalkbeat reported, adding that board members questioned the process rather than the credentials of any specific candidates during their Saturday meeting.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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