All posts by Jim Zellmer

A principal, racial attacks and calls for firing

Elizabeth Campbell:

The principal at Colleyville Heritage High School posted on social media that he is breaking his silence about racial attacks against him after he was publicly accused at a recent school board meeting of teaching critical race theory by a former school board candidate who called for his firing. 

James Whitfield, who was named Colleyville Heritage High School’s first African-American principal in 2020, posted that during the July 26 board meeting, he was publicly named and accused of teaching critical race theory by a member of the public. He said he does not teach critical race theory and that being publicly named at a board meeting goes against district rules. 

Whitfield said in an interview Tuesday night that he decided to write his Facebook post after the board meeting when Stetson Clark, a former school board candidate who spoke at the meeting, referred to him by name, which is against district rules.
Read more here: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/education/article253232263.html#storylink=cpy

Germany’s largest newspaper BILD apologizes for harming society over its coverage of the covid-19 pandemic during the past 18 months

Daniel Levi:

In a 5-minute YouTube video, BILD editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt said:
“Millions of children in this country, for whom we are all responsible as a society, I would like to say what our Federal Government and our Chancellor have not dare to say so far: We ask your forgiveness. We ask your forgiveness for a year and a half of politics, who sacrificed you.”
To victims of violence, neglect, isolation, emotional loneliness. For politics and media reporting that to this day, like poison, gives you the feeling that you are a mortal danger to our society.” You’re not, don’t let that persuade you. We have to protect you, not you us, “admits BILD editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Wisconsin act 10 and competitive teacher compensation

Ameillia Wedward and Will Flanders:

As Act 10 reaches its second decade, the 2011 collective bargaining reforms continue to prove their value to K-12 education in Wisconsin. But this does not mean that the reforms are no longer controversial, or that opponents of the law have given hope of a repeal. In such an environment, it is important to continue to highlight the ways in which public sector union reform has mattered for Wisconsin.

New research out this month conducted by Barbara Biasi, professor at the Yale School of Management, does just that. She examines whether rewarding high-quality teachers with higher pay correlates to teacher proficiency thus, increasing student achievement rates in the long run. The results are convincing.

Prior to Act 10 in Wisconsin, collective bargaining kept public school teachers confined to strict pay schemes—favoring seniority instead of work ethic or student outcomes. Using data on Wisconsin teacher workforce both before and after the passage of Act 10 (2007-2015), Biasi found that some districts took advantage to implement pay schemes that reward teacher quality over the number of years they’d worked in the district in the wake of the law. Others did not, and were content to stick with the way pay had worked for generations. Biasi found that effective teachers gravitated toward districts where they could be rewarded. And in turn, using value-added measures of student outcomes, she saw that these districts experienced higher rates of student growth than districts that stuck with outmoded systems of pay.

Law schools, student debt and opportunities

Wall Street Journal:

Law school was once considered a surefire ticket to a comfortable life. Years of tuition increases have made it a fast way to get buried in debt.

Recent graduates of the University of Miami School of Law who used federal loans borrowed a median of $163,000. Two years later, half were earning $59,000 or less. That’s the biggest gap between debt and earnings among the top 100 law schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data found.

Graduates from a host of other well-regarded law schools routinely leave with six-figure student loans, then fail to find high-paying jobs as lawyers, according to the Journal’s analysis of the latest federal data on earnings, for students who graduated in 2015 and 2016.

When Miami students asked for financial assistance, some graduates told the Journal, school officials often offered this solution: Take more loans.

“I had no work experience, life experience, anything like that before I signed on to this quarter-million-dollar loan,” said Dylan Boigris, a 2016 Miami Law graduate, who began his career making about $45,000 as a public defender. “I thought I would come out making much more than I did.”

Colorado homeschool student growth

Kevin Torres:

“Colorado is representative of what we’re seeing across the country – which is families had to make a lot of hard decisions last year and some of them chose to homeschool. Either for family flexibility or disenchantment with how remote school was going or they didn’t like the hybrid model — there are a lot of reasons where homeschooling may have been a better fit during the pandemic,” said Emily Levitt, Vice President of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center in Denver.

When it comes to students who registered in online educational programs in our state, that figure jumped up by 43% over the last year to a whopping 32,000 students.

Teachers & Vaccine notes & Commentary

Jonathan Chait:

Last week, two new reports confirmed the catastrophic damage caused by a year of remote schooling. Not only did American schoolchildren fall dramatically behind in the school year, the damage was substantially greater for low-income and minority schoolchildren, whose families tended to lack the resources to navigate the perils of turning their home into a virtual classroom.

My Week In New York

A week-in-review newsletter from the people who make New York Magazine.

Also last week, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten slipped a rather ominous comment into an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “We’re going to keep kids safe, we’re going to keep our members safe, we’re going to try to open up schools,” she said. That “try” was a notable retreat from her concession two months ago that, after more than a year of throwing up impediments to in-person instruction, “we can and we must reopen schools in the fall.”

The mere possibility that some schools may be forced to haggle once again with their unions to reopen school in the face of incontrovertible evidence of the need to do so is maddening enough. But the cherry on top of this sundae of public dysfunction is the fact that the national teachers unions have refused to support a vaccine mandate for teachers. “Vaccinations must be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced,” says Weingarten. The National Education Association supports allowing an option for weekly testing for teachers instead of requiring a vaccine. New York’s state United Teachers union likewise opposes a vaccine mandate.

Fairfield University professor sues student, administration over failing grade

Daniel Tepfer:

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, seeks an order prohibiting school officials from altering the grade she gave the student and unspecified money damages.

McEvoy’s lawyer, Daniel Kryzanski, of Stratford, said neither he nor his client had any comment on the lawsuit.

McEvoy is a tenured professor and has been teaching at Fairfield University since 1986, according to the suit.

The lawsuit states that in the Spring of 2020, Joseph Moran, of New Jersey, was enrolled in McEvoy’s legal environment of business class. Because of the pandemic the final exam for the class, which accounted for 100 percent of the students’ grade in the class, was done remotely, the suit states. In McEvoy’s instructions for taking the exam, she specifically required that the exam had to be mailed by USPS. McEvoy provided the prepaid envelope and paid for tracking, the suit states.

The exam package was sent to all of the students on May 28, 2020, the suit states. The instructions required that the exam be mailed to McEvoy’s home address to arrive no later than June 12, 2020.

The instructions stated in part; “No late papers will be accepted. If it is not received on or before the above date, you will receive a zero for the exam.”

The lawsuit continues that Moran mailed his exam to McEvoy on June 8, 2020 but failed to track delivery of the exam. McEvoy did not receive the exam until June 16 and she gave Moran a failing grade.

Commentary on the benefits of Wisconsin Act 10

Rick Eisenberg & Will Flanders

However, the left is still working to say otherwise, so two prevalent myths deserve to be dispelled. The passage of Act 10 and “right-to-work” legislation — which gave employees in Wisconsin the same freedom to choose whether to be in the union as is enjoyed in 26 other states — did not increase income inequality or harm education in Wisconsin. In fact, close to the opposite is true.

Let’s consider income inequality first by looking at a common measure of the gap between the rich and the poor — the Gini coefficient. It attempts to represent, with a single number, the difference between the poorest and wealthiest individuals in a particular area. State-level Gini coefficient data collected by a Sam Houston State Economics professor shows that Wisconsin’s hasn’t changed much in terms of income inequality before or after Act 10. Indeed, the state has remained more equal than the average across the United States. In other words, the claim that labor union reforms have increased inequality is patently absurd based on the data.

Contrary to popular understanding, Act 10 did not restrict the rights of unions to advocate for their members. It did, however, restrict their ability to insist upon collective bargaining — a system in which the government is obliged to negotiate with its employees. While this may sound innocuous, in practice it allows unions to influence government decision-making in a way that citizens with competing interests — say, taxpayers — may not. Under collective bargaining, public employee unions exercise outsized power on public decision making. For example, while parents across the country became more interested in opening schools following the growing consensus that it was safe to do so, teacher unions fought to prevent it. Research from our organization and others found that COVID-19 played little role in school reopening decisions — what mattered was whether there was a strong union in the area.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Commentary on Government K-12 mask requirements

Scott Girard:

“Simply put, these are not your children,” the letter states. “They are ours and they too, are Americans with rights. They are our responsibility and our most beloved. They are not yours.”

A media contact for the group connected the Cap Times with a member of the Dane County chapter via email. After a reporter sent questions to the parent regarding the statement, the Cap Times instead received an email from Kettle Moraine School District parent Amy Richards, who is a supporter of one of the groups that signed the letter.

“We will not be ‘proving’ why we can or will be rejecting further mask mandates for our children or explaining why we will not comply with restrictions on their movement in any more detail than we would feel the need to validate why we woke up in the middle of the night to a crying child and gave them Children’s Tylenol for an earache,” Richards wrote. “Parents across the state have explained consistently over the last year why they oppose mask mandates for children.”

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

New Orleans Did Away with its Troubled Public Schools, Can Milwaukee do the Same?

Free exchange

We talk to a Milwaukee native who helped lead school reform in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now back home, Colleston Morgan Jr. tells us whether Milwaukee can follow the same path in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

3 Reasons Kids Are Misbehaving More—and What Parents Can Do About It

Independent Play:

The results of her research are compiled in a book titled The Good News About Bad Behavior. Lewis asserts that parents and teachers have been exerting too much control over children, and as a result, they haven’t learned self-discipline. Children misbehave not because they want to, but because no one has taught them the skills they need to control themselves in the first place. 

Lewis gives three reasons for this crisis: 

1) A Decline in Independent Play

Playtime looks a lot different now than it used to. As education reporter Cory Turner observes:

Children and reasoning

Isabelle Brocas and Juan Carrillo:

Adolescents are particularly exposed to situations in which strategic sophistication is crucial to avoid wrong decisions. Examples include engaging in risky activities, such as accepting drugs from peers or engaging in unprotected sex. Also, with the development of the internet, naive users are often preyed upon, asked to provide personal information, or tricked into making harmful decisions. Information deliberately intended to deceive young minds also circulates through social media. Making correct decisions in such environments requires understanding the intentions of others and anticipating the consequences of following their advice or opinions. More generally, children and adolescents are gradually discovering the dangers hiding behind social interactions and need to come equipped to detect them, assess them, and navigate around them. We conjecture that failures in these abilities are closely related to underdeveloped logical abilities, and we predict that the level of sophistication of an individual detected through a simple task matches their behavior in social settings.

Civics: Did the New York Times stifle lab leak debate?

Ashley Rindsberg:

To a great extent, I believe the answer lies with the world’s most powerful news outlet, the New York Times. At the start of the pandemic, the Times set the news and policy agenda on the lab leak hypothesis, discrediting it and anyone who explored it. The Timesdid so while taking money from Chinese state-owned propaganda outlets, such as China Daily, and while pursuing long-term investments in China that may have made the paper susceptible to the CCP’s strong-arm propaganda tactics in the first months of the pandemic.

As someone who has spent years researching the history of the Times, I was struck by the paper’s markedly pro-China bent at the start of the pandemic. It opposed Trump’s travel ban to and from China as “isolationist”. It all but ignored the unparalleled success of China’s arch-enemy, Taiwan, in containing the virus. It downplayed China’s economic war against Australia, whose prime minister early on questioned the CCP story on the pandemic’s origins. And it celebratedChina’s success in battling Covid-19, taking the CCP’s absurd mortality numbers at face value, reporting in August 2020 that 4,634 Chinese people died from the virus and, six months later, that there were 4,636 total deaths. That in a country of 1.4 billion people only twopeople died of Covid-19 in the half a year defies logic and common sense. Still, the Times legitimised the CCP numbers by printing them as hard fact.

Of course, over the past year newspapers across the world have fallen for the CCP’s distorted Covid-19 narrative. And there is no evidence to suggest that the CCP did put pressure on the Times. But when it came to the lab leak debate, the Times was relentless. Starting in early 2020, when little was known about the virus — and nothing about its origins — the Times adopted a stridently anti-lab leak stance. In its first report on the topic, a February 17, 2020 article covering comments made by Sen. Tom Cotton, the Times stigmatised lab leak as a “fringe theory”. Once the story was published, its reporter took to Twitter to describe it as “the kind of conspiracy once reserved for the tinfoil hatters”.

Mission vs Organization: Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported K-12 Schools vs successful charters

Alan Borsuk:

So why does the education system — especially Milwaukee Public Schools — treat them the way it does? Each of these schools has a long and discouraging history of getting hassled (or worse) by the system.

You want to know what’s wrong with Milwaukee’s overall response to its education crisis? Start with looking at the situation of these schools. Start with what happened — and didn’t happen — at the Milwaukee School Board meeting Thursday night.

Since it opened in 2016 serving sixth graders in a building owned by MPS at 4950 N. 24th St., Excellence has lived up to its name. One year, it had the highest score on Wisconsin’s school report cards of any school in Milwaukee and one of the highest scores in the state. It has grown a grade a year and this year expects to serve 650 students in sixth through 11th grade.

And then the item was deleted from the board agenda on Wednesday.

Why? Thomas said he has not been told. A likely explanation is that the union objected to the “co-location” of having two schools share the same building. It has objected strongly to co-locations involving the Carmen charter schools in the past. The union is staunchly opposed to charter schools, whose teachers are not unionized.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Civics: First Big Tech censored speech. Now they want to shut deplorables out of the financial system.

David Sacks:

But now PayPal is turning its back on its original mission. It is now leading the charge to restrictparticipation by those it deems unworthy.

First, in January, PayPal blocked a Christian crowdfunding site that raised money to bring demonstrators to Washington on January 6. Then, in February, PayPal announced that it was working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to ban users from the platform. This week the company announced it is partnering with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to investigate and shut down accounts that the ADL considers too extreme. 

Why is this a problem? Isn’t it perfectly reasonable to make sure bad actors don’t fund hate through these platforms? 

I’m a Jewish American who has special appreciation for the ADL’s historical role as a watchdog against antisemitism. Whether it came from the Aryan Nation or the Nation of Islam, the ADL did admirable work in combatting it. But the ADL has changed. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization has broadened its portfolio from antisemitism (or racism in the SPLC’s case) to cover what it considers to be “hate” or “extremism” in general. 

The new ADL opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh because of his “hostility to reproductive freedom.” It partneredwith such beacons of philosemitism as Al Sharpton (you read that right) to boycott Facebook for allowing “hate speech on their platform.” It opposedTrump’s executive order banning Critical Race Theory in federal government training. And it calledfor Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson for his comments on immigration. 

Whether one agrees with any of these positions is beside the point. The point is that the ADL, like the SPLC, now weighs in on issues far beyond its original purview.

His offense: using the term “pregnant women.”

Katie Herzog:

“I said ‘when a woman is pregnant,’ which implies that only women can get pregnant and I most sincerely apologize to all of you.”

It wasn’t the first time Lauren had heard an instructor apologize for using language that, to most Americans, would seem utterly inoffensive. Words like “male” and “female.”

Why would medical school professors apologize for referring to a patient’s biological sex? Because, Lauren explains, in the context of her medical school “acknowledging biological sex can be considered transphobic.”

When sex is acknowledged by her instructors, it’s sometimes portrayed as a social construct, not a biological reality, she says. In a lecture on transgender health, an instructor declared: “Biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender are all constructs. These are all constructs that we have created.” 

In other words, some of the country’s top medical students are being taught that humans are not, like other mammals, a species comprising two sexes. The notion of sex, they are learning, is just a man-made creation. 

The idea that sex is a social construct may be interesting debate fodder in an anthropology class. But in medicine, the material reality of sex really matters, in part because the refusal to acknowledge sex can have devastating effects on patient outcomes. 

In 2019, the New England Journal of Medicine reported the case of a 32-year-old transgender man who went to an ER complaining of abdominal pain. While the patient disclosed he was transgender, his medical records did not. He was simply a man. The triage nurse determined that the patient, who was obese, was in pain because he’d stopped taking a medication meant to relieve hypertension. This was no emergency, she decided. She was wrong: The patient was, in fact, pregnant and in labor. By the time hospital staff realized that, it was too late. The baby was dead. And the patient, despite his own shock at being pregnant, was shattered.

Social-Media Manager, the Most Millennial Job, Comes of Age

Krithika Varagur:

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism launched a master’s degree in digital social media in 2018 in response to the growing number of jobs in the field, says Daniela Baroffio, who oversees the program. The school aimed to meet executives’ demand for social-media experts who have a handle both on hard skills, like data analytics, and storytelling, she says.

“These jobs are way beyond entry-level positions now,” she says. She also believes that social media’s maturation as a field has had social benefits: Online organizing and activism around movements like Stop Asian Hate are linked to the more sophisticated ways in which people use these platforms today. “That’s also a product of this new social-media talent,” she says.

Numbers And Salaries Are Down For Tenure-Track/Tenured Faculty, Way Up For Administrators; University Long-Term Debt Is Up 71%

AAUP:

And note the administrative bloat: “From fiscal year 2011–12 to fiscal year 2018–19, the numbers of staff classified as “management” increased 12 percent per FTE student, real average salaries increased 7 percent, and salary outlays per FTE student increased 19 percent, including an extraordinary 24 percent increase in real salary expenditures per FTE student in public colleges and universities.”

New Ways to Work Anywhere in the World

Krithika Varagur:

Matt Haynes anticipated a grand round-the-world itinerary when he decided to become a digital nomad in January 2020.

The 32-year-old marketing consultant from York, England, would work remotely, spending a few weeks each in Bali, Thailand, a few Eastern European cities and beyond. Instead, the world shut down while he was visiting a friend in Lisbon that March. He stayed in a hostel there for a week, which turned into a month, which turned into 7½ months, during which he bonded intensely with the 13 others staying and working there.

“It was one of the most surreal yet best times of my life thus far,” he says. Now he rents an apartment in a Lisbon suburb and has applied for a residency permit. “No plans yet to get over to Bali.”

Digital nomads have existed as long as laptops, working remotely while traveling or living abroad full-time, often in scenic locales. But Mr. Haynes’s story epitomizes the new kind of digital nomad emerging since the pandemic began: one who makes longer stays, takes fewer flights and maybe even puts down roots.

The world’s sudden embrace of all kinds of remote work has meant that a wider range of people, including salaried employees (not just freelancers or startup founders) and older workers (not just footloose young adults), can become digital nomads more easily. Plus, several countries introduced new longer-term visas and residence permits specifically for remote workers during the pandemic.

Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media
Study Overview and Conclusions

Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Joe Cheravitch, Alyssa Demus, Scott W. Harold, Jeffrey W. Hornung, Jenny Jun, Michael Schwille, Elina Treyger, Nathan Vest:

How are state adversaries using disinformation on social media to advance their interests? What does the Joint Force—and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in particular—need to be prepared to do in response? Drawing on a host of different primary and secondary sources and more than 150 original interviews from across the U.S. government, the joint force, industry, civil society, and subject-matter experts from nine countries around the world, researchers examined how China, Russia, and North Korea have used disinformation on social media and what the United States and its allies and partners are doing in response. The authors found that disinformation campaigns on social media may be more nuanced than they are commonly portrayed. Still, much of the response to disinformation remains ad hoc and uncoordinated. Disinformation campaigns on social media will likely increase over the coming decade, but it remains unclear who has the competitive edge in this race; disinformation techniques and countermeasures are evolving at the same time. This overview of a multi-volume series presents recommendations to better prepare for this new age of communications warfare.

Science Career Ads Are Disproportionately Seen by Men

Dina Fine Maron:

Women see fewer advertisements about entering into science and technology professions than men do. But it’s not because companies are preferentially targeting men—rather it appears to result from the economics of ad sales.

Surprisingly, when an advertiser pays for digital ads, including postings for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), it is more expensive to get female views than male ones. As a result, ad algorithms designed to get the most bang for one’s buck consequently go for the cheaper eyeballs—men’s. New work illustrating this gap is prompting questions about how that disparity may contribute to the gender gap in science jobs.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Catherine Tucker and London Business School marketing professor Anja Lambrecht conducted a real-world experiment by designing a gender-neutral STEM career ad that she paid to run on the social media Web sites Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as through Google’s network for distributing ads across different sites. In each case the platform’s ad algorithm optimized the advertisement so the most people would see it. As a result of that optimization, however, men saw the ad 20 percent more often than women did. The work is slated to be published in Management Science. Tucker also testified about her early findings before a congressional panel last fall.

Women are pricier to reach because they generally make more household purchasing decisions than men do. Marketing algorithms apparently recognize women’s substantial purchasing power and set higher prices for their views. “The problem we identify would apply to any category of advertising product or service—for example, housing, insurance, shoes, health care, jobs in banking. It affects STEM ads…but the economics driving the phenomenon are global—female eyeballs are more expensive and a cost-minimizing algorithm will choose not to show ads to them,” Tucker says.

“So the name critical race theory, now used as interchangeably for race scholarship as Kleenex is used for tissue , was basically made up, fused together to mark a possibility

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Progressive policy makers won’t learn that parasites should never kill their host.

Andy Kessler:

It is hard to sit by and watch your economy being strangled. Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How to Be an Antiracist” is all the rage now, but the Biden administration and its progressive hangers-on are providing a master class on “How to Be an Anticapitalist” and suck the air out of the economy.

Start by paying people to do nothing—1.8 million workers, according to a recent Morning Consult poll, have turned down jobs due to generous unemployment benefits, including an extra $300 a week from the federal government in some states. Meanwhile, Burger King is offering a $1,500 signing bonus.

Anticapitalists then shut pipelines (except Russian ones) and suspend drilling leases in parts of Alaska, helping send oil prices above $70. The government says it wants to limit carbon emissions, but then it squashes better energy options like nuclear. On June 30, months after New York state closed the Indian Point nuclear power plant, Mayor Bill de Blasio asked New Yorkers to cut back on energy usage during a heat wave. You can’t make this stuff up.

An anticapitalist would next restrict capital formation, so President Biden has proposed raising the top capital-gains rate from 23.8% to a punitive 43.4% and the top individual income-tax rate to 39.6%. Mr. Biden also wants to waive Covid vaccine patents—making pharma companies think twice before investing in new drugs—and is even pushing a series of antitrust bills that could reverse mergers, like Facebook’s 2012 purchase of Instagram, as if that would do anything good for the economy or consumers. Nothing is safe.

Add the Federal Trade Commission’s roadblocks to mergers. It worked hard to block early-cancer-detection pioneer Grail’s merger with genome-sequencing firm Illumina, now on hold as it lets the European Commission investigate. This is moronic. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with late-stage cancer in five years, the Biden administration could be to blame. Without meddling, Grail may have found it earlier, when it was still treatable.

A Deeper Look at Critical Race Theory

William Galston:

This metric is unacceptable, the editors say, because certain “conceptions of merit function not as a neutral basis for distributing resources and opportunity, but rather as a repository of hidden, race-specific preferences for those who have the power to determine the meaning and consequences of ‘merit.’ ” These critics don’t specify which conceptions of merit, if any, they would find acceptable.

For those who reject meritocracy and demand equal results, even race-conscious policies such as affirmative action are diversionary. “The aim of affirmative action,” the book’s editors insist, is to “create enough exceptions to white privilege to make the mythology of equal opportunity seem at least plausible.” Such policies are an inadequate response to the persistence of “white supremacy.”

Following Gramsci’s lead, critical race theory has used mainstream concepts such as equality and inclusion to wage a highly effective war of position against liberal ideology. Some liberals have been co-opted, and others silenced. But now the debate has moved to states and school districts around the country, and many parents don’t like what they are seeing. Presenting an honest view of American history in public schools is one thing, parents say, but focusing the curriculum on the “1619 Project” is quite another. Hiring practices and workplaces should be fair and welcoming to all, employees say, but mandatory diversity training premised on the ubiquity of “unconscious racism” and “white fragility” is coercive and insulting.

On lagging learning during 2020-2021

McKinsey:

Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year.”

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

On firing a tenured professor

George Leaf:

All it takes these days for a college to turn a venerable member of the faculty into an unperson is some allegation of racism. Seldom will the administration stand up for the accused. It’s so much easier and safer for them to appease the social-justice warriors who have decided that the professor must go.

A recent case at Berea College in Kentucky is illustrative. It involves Dave Porter, an Air Force veteran who began a second career at Berea after his retirement. In today’s Martin Center article, he writes about his unhappy, career-ending experience at the school.

Porter’s offense was to have done a survey of attitudes on campus. One student claimed that the survey was a retaliation against her for having filed a Title IX complaint. Writes Porter, “The campus was quickly polarized, and the administration saw a crisis looming. Apparently, the dean had received information from a former student that current students were fearful of attending my classes. There was no investigation and suggestions of mediation or compromise were squelched by the dean’s claim that I was ‘unrepentant and unapologetic.’”

Once Porter was in the school’s cross-hairs, he was subjected to a blatantly unfair procedures that were inconsistent with AAUP standards. But rather than defending Porter, the AAUP piled on against him. Only the National Association of Scholars, after examining the case, rose to defend Porter against Berea’s unjust actions.

Paid to Protest: Urban Triage Gets $1.7 Million Payday From Dane County

Maciver News:

There was no discussion on Thursday night, when the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to award Urban Triage a $12.4 million contract to administer the county’s ARPA rent assistance program.

The decision sailed through the approval process, first being introduced on June 25th and officially approved on July 22. There’s no indication from the board’s records that any other vendors were considered.

Urban Triage will get to keep $1.7 million of the award for administrative costs, which it hopes to minimize. It is currently trying to recruit volunteers to process the rental assistance applications for free using their own computers. Urban Triage is only planning to offer 12 hours a week for walk-in appointments, and additional 3 hours on Friday for virtual appointments.

It’s hard to believe that just one year ago, Urban Triage was leading the charge to terrorize downtown Madison for the cause of racial justice.

Urban Triage is a radical, political activist organization dedicated to race-struggle. The founder and CEO, Brandi Grayson, calls the USA the world’s first “white supremacy state.” She believes there’s no difference between capitalism and white supremacy.

Ultimately, Grayson says, “We have to dismantle any and all systems that are rooted in the military conquest that created what we know as America.”

The New Censorship

John Steele Gordon:

There is a growing tendency toward censorship in the United States, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. It must be opposed vigorously, as it is a slippery slope indeed. Once people have the power (and it is an awesome one) to decide what is truth and what is not, they will never willingly give it up. As that great political scientist, James Madison, explained, “Men love power.”

Over the last few years, the phrase “the science is settled” has become a euphemism for “shut up.” This year, the various social media platforms have been deleting what they declare to be Covid “misinformation.” The truth, as far as Facebook, Twitter, and others are concerned, is now whatever the government’s line is at the moment. Disgracefully, the Biden administration has been encouraging social media platforms to increase this censorship.

If the Centers for Disease Control has made a pronouncement regarding the pandemic, not even a highly credentialed epidemiologist is allowed to disagree, at least until the CDC changes its mind. Last year, to suggest that Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan virology lab was “misinformation.” Today, it is the leading theory.

Obviously, the powers that be on social media have no idea how science operates. Science, almost by definition, is never settled. Scientists argue in order to find the truth (unlike lawyers, who argue in order to win the argument). Indeed, disagreement is the very engine that drives scientific advancement. That’s why scientific conferences are often contentious, even raucous affairs.

Madison Country Day student and a national engineering competition

Scott Girard:

Kaebren was one of four Madison-area high schoolers who made it to the national competition, Madison365 reported, though the only one to receive a gold honor at nationals. The recognition came during an online broadcast of the awards ceremony, during which Kaebren recalled disappointment after not hearing his name for the bronze or silver awards in the engineering competition, assuming that meant he hadn’t received recognition.

A study of Oligopolies (consider taxpayer/government run school cost/effectiveness, among others)

Sharat Ganapati:

Industry-level estimates show that concentration increases are positively correlated to productivity and real output growth, uncorrelated with price changes and overall payroll, and negatively correlated with labor’s revenue share. I rationalize these results in a simple model of competition. Productive industries (with growing oligopolists) expand real output and hold down prices, raising consumer welfare, while maintaining or reducing their workforces, lowering labor’s share of output.

“The FBI even paid for room and foods to keep the planning going.”

Jonathan Turley:

Courts look to two elements in entrapment cases. While the government can encourage criminal conspirators, the courts ask whether the offense was induced by a government agent and whether “the defendant was disposed to commit the criminal act prior to first being approached by Government agents.”  In Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992), the Court ruled that a Nebraska man convicting of receiving child pornography through the mail was entrapped.

This was a strong case for entrapment but was still a close vote. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Bryon White ruled that

A Catholic official’s resignation shows the real-world consequences of practices by America’s data-harvesting industries.

Shira Ovide

“Data privacy” is one of those terms that feels stripped of all emotion. It’s like a flat soda. At least until America’s failures to build even basic data privacy protections carry flesh-and-blood repercussions.

This week, a top official in the Roman Catholic Church’s American hierarchy resigned after a news site said that it had data from his cellphone that appeared to show the administrator using the L.G.B.T.Q. dating app Grindr and regularly going to gay bars. Journalists had access to data on the movements and digital trails of his mobile phone for parts of three years and were able to retrace where he went.

I know that people will have complex feelings about this matter. Some of you may believe that it’s acceptable to use any means necessary to determine when a public figure is breaking his promises, including when it’s a priest who may have broken his vow of celibacy.

To me, though, this isn’t about one man. This is about a structural failure that allows real-time data on Americans’ movements to exist in the first place and to be used without our knowledge or true consent. This case shows the tangible consequences of practices by America’s vast and largely unregulated data-harvesting industries.

The reality in the United States is that there are few legal or other restrictions to prevent companies from compiling the precise locations of where we roam and selling that information to anyone. This data is in the hands of companies that we deal with daily, like Facebook and Google, and also with information-for-hire middlemen that we never directly interact with.

How Much Are Prices Up? Here’s One Family’s Day-to-Day Expenses.

Valerie Bauerlein and Stephanie Stamm:

Inflation played a role in their summer plans, too. Last year they bought a trampoline with their vacation money. This year they were thinking about resuming their tradition of a Gulf Coast beach holiday. That is, until they searched flight prices. Airfares were up 24.1% in May from a year before, while hotel and motel prices rose by 9% over the same period, according to the Labor Department.

The family opted instead to drive 10½ hours to Palm Springs, Calif., for a midweek stay at a family-friendly resort. With the higher price of gas, each fill-up hurt, Mr. Galbraith said, even though they were in the family’s hybrid Toyota Sienna minivan and not their Toyota Tacoma, a pickup truck that gets about 22 miles a gallon on the highway. “We try not to drive the truck anywhere right now,” he said.

They stocked up on swimsuits and sandals, items they didn’t use during the pandemic last year when they avoided the neighborhood pool and spent weekends hiking instead.

Ongoing substantial Wisconsin K-12 tax & spending growth

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

K-12 Health Governance: We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies.

Virat Agrawal:

As a way of slowing COVID-19 transmission, many countries and U.S. states implemented shelter-in-place (SIP) policies. However, the effects of SIP policies on public health are a priori ambiguous as they might have unintended adverse effects on health. The effect of SIP policies on COVID-19 transmission and physical mobility is mixed. To understand the net effects of SIP policies, we measure the change in excess deaths following the implementation of SIP policies in 43 countries and all U.S. states. We use an event study framework to quantify changes in the number of excess deaths after the implementation of a SIP policy. We find that following the implementation of SIP policies, excess mortality increases. The increase in excess mortality is statistically significant in the immediate weeks following SIP implementation for the international comparison only and occurs despite the fact that there was a decline in the number of excess deaths prior to the implementation of the policy. At the U.S. state-level, excess mortality increases in the immediate weeks following SIP introduction and then trends below zero following 20 weeks of SIP implementation. We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies. We also failed to observe differences in excess death trends before and after the implementation of SIP policies based on pre-SIP COVID-19 death rates.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

AFT – Mississippi Litigation

Sarah Ulmer:

The American Federation of Teachers-Mississippi chapter claims that the national AFT (affiliated with the AFL-CIO) helped cover up the questionable financial transactions of  funds by the Jackson Federation of Teachers (JFT) and JFT President Dr. Akemi Stout. They have taken their claims to court in a federal lawsuit.

According to an article written by Jackson Jambalaya, AFT-MS found that the JFT was having “cash-flow issues” in 2018 and 2019. Those years the state chapter said JFT did not make the required payments that come largely from member dues. The lawsuit also claims that Dr. Strout, head of JFT, attempted to move the headquarters to her home.

According to the complaint, when the state chapter attempted to investigate the situation they were denied access to JFT records and financial books. Subsequently, JFT refused to give any financial statements to the state chapter. Therefore, AFT-MS notified the national headquarters.

Commentary on K-12 Curricular Governance

Tennessee Conservative News:

Critical Race Theory was recently banned in Tennessee public schools.

However, it is left up to Tennessee’s Education Commissioner to enforce the ban. Some Tennessee teachers have even said they will teach CRT regardless of the law.

What should parents be watching for and doing to hold the teachers and leaders accountable to make sure this doesn’t get into our schools?

And CRT is not just in our schools, it has crept into the business community as well. What can be done?

These questions and more are answered in this exclusive interview with U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Schools and electric shock devices

Amanda Morris:

A Massachusetts school can continue to use electric shock devices to modify behavior by students with intellectual disabilities, a federal court said this month, overturning an attempt by the government to end the controversial practice, which has been described as “torture” by critics but defended by family members.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the judges ruled that a federal ban interfered with the ability of doctors working with the school, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, to practice medicine, which is regulated by the state. The Food and Drug Administration sought to prohibit the devices in March 2020, saying that delivering shocks to students presents “an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.”

civics: Antigovernment protests in Cuba, South Africa, Haiti and elsewhere are not random chaos.

Daniel Henninger:

For all the elevation American progressivism has received recently— Joe Biden’s leftward flop, the descent of America’s institutional elites into facile wokeism—I am beginning to think the most alert minds on the political left know that what looked like their historical moment is losing momentum.

The Democrats’ determination, driven by party progressives, to cram a generation’s worth of entitlements, taxes and welfare spending into a single reconciliation bill they will pass with a vice-presidential vote is properly seen as an act of desperation. They know it’s this year or never for making central government authority the virtually irreversible locus of power in the U.S. system. How else to explain the constant, totalist appeal that all this must be done to “save our democracy”? The clock is ticking.

But elevate your gaze beyond the Beltway, with its dainty debates about “our democracy,” and it looks like the ideology of command-and-control rule over entire populations is losing public support all over the world.

Cuba, South Africa, Haiti, Belarus and Myanmar all have seen recent explosions of significant antigovernment protests. In a world overwhelmed by dramatic events, one’s instinct is to let them wash through. But maybe we should consider the possibility that something other than random chaos is reflected in so many antigovernment protests. Wildfires can also erupt among nations.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Covid-19 pandemic compounds years of birth-rate decline, puts America’s demographic health at risk

Janet Adamy and Anthony DeBarros:

Some demographers cite an outside chance the population could shrink for the first time on record. Population growth is an important influence on the size of the labor market and a country’s fiscal and economic strength.

Yet after births peaked in 2007, they never rebounded from the nearly two-year recession that followed, even though Americans enjoyed a subsequent decade of economic growth.

With the birthrate already drifting down, the nudge from the pandemic could result in what amounts to a scar on population growth, researchers say, which could be deeper than those left by historic periods of economic turmoil, such as the Great Depression and the stagnation and inflation of the 1970s, because it is underpinned by a shift toward lower fertility.

“The economy of the developed world for the last two centuries now has been built on demographic expansion,” said Richard Jackson, president of the Global Aging Institute, a nonprofit research and education group. “We no longer have this long-term economic and geopolitical advantage.”

Choose life. WHO global abortion data.

The End of Merit and our educational deficit

Joel Kotkin:

Over time, our educational deficit with other countries, notably China, particularly in the acquisition of practical skills in mathematics, engineering medical technology, and management, has grown, threatening our economic and political pre-eminence. Our competitors, whatever their shortcomings, are focused on economic competition and technological supremacy. In math, the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment found the United States was outperformed by 36 countries, not only by China, but also Russia, Italy, France, Finland, Poland, and Canada.

Critical Race Theory and its growing chorus of implementers—from the highest reaches of academia down to the grade school level—have little use for such practical skills acquisition and brook little dissent from teachers and researchers who raise objections to the new curriculum of racial grievance. Woke educators, like San Francisco’s School board member Alison Collins, claim that “merit, meritocracy and especially meritocracy based on standardized testing” are essentially “racist systems.” Some among the new racial cadres even denounce habits such as punctuality, rationality, and hard work as reflective of “racism” and “white privilege”.

In a world where brainpower pushes the economy, the denigration of habits of mind can only further weaken our economic future and undermine republican institutions. Even though the vast majority of corporate executives perceive a growing skills gap, they have failed to stop educators from abandoning skills in favor of ever greater emphasis on ephemera of race and gender.

The 1991 Project is about understanding the history of economic liberalization in order to better chart the future

Shruti Rajagopalan:

Bicycles saw increasing demand as urban populations increased. Steel was government controlled and, given the heavy demand from the construction industry, only limited allotments were made to bicycle manufacturers. To increase their allotment of steel and meet the increasing demand for bicycles, they needed an expansion permit, which was rarely approved by the government given the shortage of steel.

The license and permit system for steel also created a shortage in bicycles, which was followed by the inevitable price controls. To ensure that demand was legitimate and all available bicycles were used, owning and riding a bicycle required a government-issued token in some parts of the country. Inspectors thrived on the bribes paid when they caught anyone riding without the requisite permit.

The middle class didn’t escape the problem, either. Through a collaboration with Vespa, Bajaj manufactured scooters in India, and they became popular with the middle-class. Denied permission to expand to meet the rising demand, the waitlist for a Bajaj scooter was ten years by the late 1970s.

Peer Review as an Evolving Response to Organizational Constraint: Evidence from Sociology Journals, 1952–2018

Ben Merriman:

Double-blind peer review is a central feature of the editorial model of most journals in sociology and neighboring social scientific fields, yet there is little history of how and when its main features developed. Drawing from nearly 70 years of annual reports of the editors of American Sociological Association journals, this article describes the historical emergence of major elements of editorial peer review. These reports and associated descriptive statistics are used to show that blind review, ad hoc review, the formal requirement of exclusive submission, routine use of the revise and resubmit decision, and common use of desk rejection developed separately over a period of decades. The article then argues that the ongoing evolution of the review model has not been driven by intellectual considerations. Rather, the evolution of peer review is best understood as the product of continuous efforts to steward editors’ scarce attention while preserving an open submission policy that favors authors’ interests.

Schools Are Turning Stimulus Funds Into Teacher Bonuses

Yorea Koh:

Dozens of school districts and states are spending big chunks of their historic federal stimulus cash on one-time bonuses to teachers and staff, over the objections of some parents and others who claim such payments violate the intent of the federal funding.

Districts in Tennessee, Texas, California and Colorado and states such as Georgia have approved four-figure “thank you” bonuses in what they say is an attempt to stave off teacher resignations and to boost staff morale after an unprecedented year that required adapting to virtual teaching, then swinging back to in-person instruction.

Georgia was the first state to act, signing off on $1,000 statewide bonuses to 230,000 school-level employees, covering nearly every teacher and staff member, including aides, custodians, bus drivers and cafeteria workers. The move cost $230.5 million, or about 35% of the state’s $660.6 million federal coronavirus stimulus money, and was one of the state’s biggest expenditures from its allotment of the stimulus funds.

Schools have until 2024 to spend stimulus dollars, which totaled about $190 billion, the largest-ever, one-year federal infusion of cash for public schools. While districts and states have started spending some of the $81 billion already dispersed to states from the most recent round of $122 billion in funding, many are deciding how to allocate the rest and under federal guidelines won’t receive those funds until their plans have been approved. Twelve state spending plans have been approved thus far.

Georgia’s state board of education approved the bonuses in March, around the time teachers typically sign contracts for the following year, to aid with recruitment and retention following a difficult time.

“We needed some sort of morale boost, and our answer was to provide that bonus,” said Matt Jones, chief of staff at Georgia’s state department of education. “I really think that triaged the situation and let us finish the school year on a strong note.”

Sharon Doe, a high-school physics teacher in the Richmond County School System in Augusta, Ga., said the money was a welcome token of appreciation.

Dallas Justice Now

An Open Letter to Wealthy White Liberals of HPISD from DJN

America’s “Friendscape” crisis

Mike Allen:

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we’re breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.

Here are two key findings, from May polling by the Survey Center on American Life, a project of the American Enterprise Institute: 

  • Our number of close friends has declined considerably from 30 years ago, when 33% of U.S. adults reported having 10 or more close friends, not counting relatives. Now, 13% say that. 
  • In 1990, 75% of us said we had a “best friend.” This year, 59% said that. 

AEI senior fellow Daniel Cox, who conducted the research, told me that as he’s discussed the findings on podcasts and online, people get it: “Everyone has their own anecdote.”

Lessons From the Parents Who Raised the World’s Top Soccer Sisters

Rachel Bachman:

“You find your­self tempted to widen your bound­aries as a par­ent in dis­ci­plin­ing, be­cause you don’t want them to be­come re­sent­ful to you or to soc­cer, and then they blame that, and then they want to quit,” Melissa said. “I was con­stantly bat­tling with, OK, how far can I stretch this but still be within rea­son? So my ad­vice is: Don’t stretch too far.”

The high price of play­ing on com­pet­i­tive squads is the chief crit­i­cism of youth soc­cer in the U.S., with costs in­clud­ing club and tour­na­ment fees and in­creas­ingly dis­tant travel. The Me­wises spent be­tween $10,000-$12,000 a year on the girls’ soc­cer start­ing in their mid-teens.

To af­ford that in­vest­ment, Bob sup­ple­mented the in­come from his full-time work for a firm that es­ti­mated costs for con­struc­tion projects. He took on week­end jobs build­ing, roof­ing or fram­ing houses, join­ing his ath­letic daugh­ters in sore­ness and fa­tigue.

“the only remedy of past discrimination is present discrimination.”

Wesley Yang:

Some of these measures almost certainly violate the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The courts brushed them back in certain cases and will likely continue to do so as challenges emerge. But that we enacted them is a victory for those seeking the drastic expansion of what they call “race-conscious policy” beyond the relatively constrained area in which affirmative action in college admissions, government contracting, and hiring has been allowed to operate. 

Among Biden’s first acts in office was to issue an executive order that has been taken as a warrant by those keen to extend this mandate further—into the provision of medical services by race and other areas to equalize outcomes wherever statistical disparities in outcome persist. Those disparities were henceforth to be understood as the product of a foundational, pervasive, trans-historical, and unyielding racism that can only be dislodged through the overt distribution of opportunity and reward by race in pursuit of “equity”, which has displaced mere equality as the aim of racial activism. 

The installation of these policies, and the sea-change in elite consensus that they enact, happened with little public deliberation or debate. Instead, we saw the policing of contrary views out of circulation, first by administrative authorities at universities, and later through broader campaigns to stigmatize the common moral intuitions of a supermajority of the American public. What were once held to be “colorblind ideals” of impartial treatment on the basis of individual attributes have been reclassified as a form of white supremacy on the “pyramid of white supremacy” presented as dogma in now pervasive diversity, equity, and inclusion training sessions. 

It took a decade or so for the theory of “colorblind racism” to move from academia to corporate America, and another half-decade for it to be explicitly endorsed by the federal government. It amounts to a quiet overturning of the post-1964 racial consensus. “Cancel culture”, which has created a situation in which 62 percent of the American public told pollsters that they afraid to share their political opinions, was always simply a means to an end—the noisy herald of a mandated adherence to new dogmas to come. The agenda is here today, in the process of being rolled out at scale across a range of institutions, including K-12 schools. The means must therefore be judged in relation to the ends they have secured. They have already begun to transform the schools and to exert influence over law enforcement in ways that are changing the character of education and city life.

When do vaccine incentives become coercive?

Laura Dodsworth:

The vaccine programs launched this year appear to offer a Happy Ending to the Horrible Story of the COVID-19 Pandemic. But I am cautious. Not because I am ‘antivax’, but because lasting ‘ever afters’ are never written in the language of emotional manipulation and coercive control.

Herd immunity, when enough people have either recovered from COVID or been vaccinated, will end the pandemic. The pressure to get there has given us a vaccination drive with an unprecedentedly strong behavioral psychology and emergency response approach.

A panoply of persuasions has been deployed to encourage the hesitant, the slow and the complacent. From dating app bonuses to donuts, lotteries to laminated vaccination cards — when do incentives become coercive? Tempting little lagniappes to reward vaccination include free popsicles, milkshakes and hot dogs; free Budweiser if 70 percent of Americans are vaccinated by the Fourth of July; free Krispy Kreme donuts every day for a year. But daily donuts seem incongruous when obesity is a comorbidity for COVID. And was the person who came up with the idea of offering free ‘joints for jabs’ actually high?

Some of the rewards are substantial. United Airlines is running the ‘Your Shot to Fly’ sweepstakes, giving away 30 pairs of free flights to vaccinated customers. The state of California’s ‘Vax for the Win’ $116.5m lottery is the most generous of multiple cash giveaways in the US. There are even scholarships to public universities. And this is where we hit problems.

Minerva accredited

Doug Lederman::

Ben Nelson is a charter member of the higher education disruption crowd. Its members, often ed-tech entrepreneurs, investors and others promoting alternatives to traditional colleges and universities, believe most institutions are too expensive or ineffective, operate on too small a scale, and fail to innovate and adapt to changes in student demands.
Nelson put his (and others’) money where his mouth was nearly a decade ago when he founded the Minerva Project, which strove to outperform the nation’s best-known and most selective institutions by creating a new institution from scratch that would enroll students who could apply to Harvard and Stanford Universities but give them a higher-touch, practical education in a blended format that sent them to multiple continents.

The Tyranny of Spreadsheets

Tim Harford:

Early last October my phone rang. On the line was a researcher calling from Today, the BBC’s agenda-setting morning radio programme. She told me that something strange had happened, and she hoped I might be able to explain it. Nearly 16,000 positive Covid cases had disappeared completely from the UK’s contact tracing system. These were 16,000 people who should have been warned they were infected and a danger to others, 16,000 cases contact tracers should have been running down to figure out where the infected went, who they met and who else might be at risk. None of which was happening. 

Why had the cases disappeared? Apparently, Microsoft Excel had run out of numbers. 

It was an astonishing story that would, in time, lead me to delve into the history of accountancy, epidemiology and vaccination, discuss file formatting with Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, and even trace the aftershocks of the collapse of Enron. But above all, it was a story that would teach me about the way we take numbers for granted. 

Now, as the UK tentatively reopens against a background of rapidly rising cases, we are hoping that vaccinations will keep us safe. The vaccines have — rightly — been trumpeted as a scientific triumph. Their development and rollout have taken place on a heroic scale. 

But back in September and October, when the UK was also reopening against a strikingly similar backdrop of rising cases, we had no vaccine to protect us. Instead, we were trying to defend ourselves with data. And we didn’t seem to be nearly as enamoured of data as we now are of vaccines. That is a shame, because when you’re relying on numbers to keep you safe, it’s important to put some effort into keeping your numbers straight.

How to Motivate Your Teen to Be a Safer Driver

Julie Jargon:

Drivers who were promised money at the end of the study for keeping their phone use comparatively low showed a 17% reduction in phone use, compared with a control group. The drivers whose earnings were meted out week by week did even better, reducing their phone use by 23%. “Showing people how much they were losing each week created regret,” said lead study author Kit Delgado, an emergency room physician and associate director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Jessica Simulation: Love and loss in the age of A.I.

Jason Fagone:

Jessica had died eight years earlier, at 23, from a rare liver disease. Joshua had never gotten over it, and this was always the hardest month, because her birthday was in September. She would have been turning 31.

On his laptop, he typed his email address. The window refreshed. “Welcome back, Professor Bohr,” read the screen. He had been here before. The page displayed a menu of options.

He selected “Experimental area.”

That month, Joshua had read about a new website that had something to do with artificial intelligence and “chatbots.” It was called Project December. There wasn’t much other information, and the site itself explained little, including its name, but he was intrigued enough to pay $5 for an account.

As it turned out, the site was vastly more sophisticated than it first appeared.

Designed by a Bay Area programmer, Project December was powered by one of the world’s most capable artificial intelligence systems, a piece of software known as GPT-3. It knows how to manipulate human language, generating fluent English text in response to a prompt. While digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa also appear to grasp and reproduce English on some level, GPT-3 is far more advanced, able to mimic pretty much any writing style at the flick of a switch.

California parent groups sue Gavin Newsom over COVID mask mandate for schools

Andrew Sheeler:

Two parent advocacy organizations announced Thursday afternoon that they are suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top health officials over the statewide mandate that children wear masks to school regardless of their vaccination status.

The lawsuit, filed by Let Them Breathe and Reopen California Schools in San Diego County Superior Court, names Newsom, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, Public Health Director Tomás Aragón of the Department of Public Health, and Dr. Naomi Bardach of Safe Schools for All as defendants.

“It’s clear that (the health the department) has chosen to ignore the overwhelming evidence that show children are at a very low risk from being infected with COVID-19, transmitting it to others, or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19,” Reopen California Schools founder Jonathan Zachreson of Roseville said in a statement. “A return to a normal school year is crucial to the mental and physical health recovery for students across California who have endured months of isolation and a majority of who spent last school year entirely in distance learning.”

The Pain of the Never-Ending Work Check-In

Rachel Feintzeig:

Brenda Fernandez has tried blocking off time on her calendar. She’s tried to keep conversations focused. She still can’t escape them.

“Everything becomes a meeting,” the 29-year-old Miami copywriter told me. Her overwhelming feeling? “This could have been an email.”

Then she excused herself to hop on a 7 p.m. call.

We are deep in the age of the never-ending check-in. Meetings have gotten shorter during the pandemic, according to researchers, with one paper finding the average length dropped 20% in spring 2020.

Civics: The lowest level the Biden administration could anticipate is 1.4 million apprehensions, which would qualify as the 7th worst fiscal year on record

Princeton Policy Advisors:

Given the track record of the Biden administration, border policy is likely to represent a pivotal issue in the 2022 election. Indeed, the administration will have to work hard to just avoid the title of ‘worst ever for illegal immigration.’

What are its prospects?

We forecast two alternatives, that the balance of the year will look about average compared to the last twelve years (the Obama and Trump administrations) or that it will be as good as the best observed year since 2009. In an average year, the July to December months attain 90-93% of the June level. By contrast, the very best case would anticipate 55% of June’s level for the balance of the fiscal year to September 30th; and 46% of June levels for the second half of the calendar year on average. These can be seen on the graph below.

Free for all? Freedom of expression in the digital age

Published by the Authority of the House of Lords:

The right to speak one’s mind is a hallmark of free societies. Many people across the world are still deprived of that right, but in the UK it has long been treasured. However, it is not an unfettered right. Civilised societies have legal safeguards to protect those who may be vulnerable. One person’s abuse of their right to freedom of expression can have a chilling effect on others, leaving them less able to express themselves freely.

The internet—and particularly social media—provides citizens with an unprecedented ability to share their views. We welcome this and seek to strengthen freedom of expression online. However, the digital public square has been monopolised by a small number of private companies, which are often based outside the UK and whose primary aim is to profit from their users’ data. They are free to ban or censor whoever and whatever they wish, as well as to design their platforms to encourage and amplify certain types of content over others. Too often they are guided by concern for their commercial and political interests rather than the rights and wellbeing of their users. The benefits of freedom of expression must not be curtailed by these companies, whether by their actions or their failures to act.

In recent years, the harms users can suffer online have received growing attention. We support the Government’s proposal that, through the draft Online Safety Bill, platforms should be obliged to remove illegal content. Ofcom should hold them to strict timeframes where content is clearly illegal. We also support the Government’s intention to protect children from harm, although the draft Bill is inadequate in this respect–particularly in relation to pornographic websites. nor are we convinced that the draft Bill sufficiently protects vulnerable adults. These duties should be complemented by an increase in resources for the police to allow them effectively to enforce the law, including on harassment, death threats, incitement, stirring up hatred, and extreme pornography. Platforms should contribute to this increase in resources.

The Government also proposes to introduce duties in relation to content which is legal but may be harmful to adults. This is not the right approach. If the Government believes that a type of content is sufficiently harmful, it should be criminalised. For example, we would expect this to include any of the vile racist abuse directed at members of the England football team which is not already illegal. It has no place in our society. The full force of the law must be brought down on the perpetrators urgently.

Content which is legal but some may find objectionable should instead be addressed through regulation of the design of platforms, digital citizenship education, and competition regulation. This approach would be more effective, as well as better protecting freedom of expression.

When Government Urges Private Entities to Restrict Others’ Speech

U.S. life expectancy drops 1.5 years in 2020 due to pandemic

Darryl Coote:

Life expectancy in the United States declined by a year and a half during 2020 due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in a new report, marking the steepest decline since the second world war.

According to the report, Americans as a whole saw their life expectancy from birth shorten from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020, the largest decline since 2.9 years were lost between 1942 and 1943.

“The decline of 1.5 years in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 was primarily due to increases in mortality due to COVID-19,” the report said, stating the pandemic contributed to 73.8% of the decline, followed by unintentional injuries at 11.2% and homicide at 3.1%.

The life expectancy for men dropped 1.8 years, from 76.3 years in 2019 to 74.5 years in 2020, while women went from 81.4 years in 2019 to 80.2 years in 2020 for a loss of 1.2 years. Between the sexes, the age divide widened to a gap of 5.7 years compared to 5.1 years a year prior.

House Democrats call for cutting federal funding for charter schools

Katie Lobosco:

A small provision tucked into a massive federal budget proposal put forth by the House Appropriations Committee would cut money for charter schools by $40 million and could potentially limit many charter schools from receiving federal funds altogether. 

The National Alliance for Public Charters Schools is calling the cut “particularly egregious” and said that the move would impact a majority of 3.3 million charter school students, who are overwhelmingly children of color and from low-income families. 

Charter schools, which are publicly funded but usually run independently from local school districts, had the support of the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. But some Democrats have targeted charter schools in recent years, arguing that they take away money from other public school students. On the campaign trail last year, now-President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren opposed federal funds going to “for-profit charter schools.”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity

Nambi Ndugga, Latoya Hill and Samantha Artiga:

Close to 70% (68.3%) of the adult population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While this progress represents a marked achievement in vaccinations that has led to steep declines in COVID-19 cases and deaths, vaccination coverage—and the protections provided by it—remains uneven across the country. With growing spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again rising, largely among unvaccinated people. Persistently lower vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic people compared to their White counterparts across most states leave them at increased risk, particularly as the variant spreads.

Reaching high vaccination rates across individuals and communities will be key for achieving broad protection through a vaccine, mitigating the disproportionate impacts of the virus for people of color, and preventing widening racial health disparities going forward. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that vaccine equity is an important goal and defined equity as preferential access and administration to those who have been most affected by COVID-19.

The CDC reports demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at the national level. As of July 19, 2021, CDC reported that race/ethnicity was known for 58% of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (59%), 9% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, 6% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while 8% reported multiple or other race. However, CDC data also show that recent vaccinations are reaching larger shares of Hispanic, Asian, and Black populations compared to overall vaccinations. Thirty percent of vaccines administered in the past 14 days have gone to Hispanic people, 6% to Asian people, and 14% to Black people (Figure 1). These recent patterns suggest a narrowing of racial gaps in vaccinations at the national level, particularly for Hispanic and Black people, who account for a larger share of recent vaccinations compared to their share of the total population (30% vs. 17% and 13% vs. 12%, respectively). While these data provide helpful insights at a national level, to date, CDC is not publicly reporting state-level data on the racial/ethnic composition of people vaccinated.

You Can’t Handle The Truth: The Effects Of The Post-9/11 Gi Bill On Higher Education And Earnings

Andrew Barr, Laura Kawano, Bruce Sacerdote, William Skimmyhorn & Michael Stevens:

The Post 9/11 GI Bill (PGIB) is among the largest and most generous college subsidies enacted thus far in the U.S. We examine the impact of the PGIB on veterans’ college-going, degree completion, federal education tax benefit utilization, and long run earnings. Among veterans potentially induced to enroll, the introduction of the PGIB raised college enrollment by 0.17 years and B.A. completion by 1.2 percentage points (on a base of 9 percent). But, the PGIB reduced average annual earnings nine years after separation from the Army by $900 (on a base of $32,000). Years enrolled effects are larger and earnings effects more negative for veterans with lower AFQT scores and those who were less occupationally skilled. Under a variety of conservative assumptions, veterans are unlikely to recoup these reduced earnings during their working careers. All veterans who were already enrolled in college at the time of bill passage increase their months of schooling, but only for those in public institutions did this translate into increases in bachelor’s degree attainment and longer-run earnings. For specific groups of students, large subsidies can modestly help degree completion but harm long run earnings due to lost labor market experience.

Commentary on mask requirements in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Elizabeth Beyer:

The DeForest, Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, Mount Horeb, Stoughton, Verona and Wisconsin Heights school districts have not yet made a decision regarding mask requirements in school buildings for the 2021-22 school year. Most of the Dane County districts that responded to requests for comment said they plan to finalize safety plans in August. Belleville administrator Nate Perry said the district will begin the school year with masks optional in classrooms but will follow Public Health Madison and Dane County guidelines should they change. The Waunakee Community School District will also make masking optional for students at the start of the year. District administration is exploring the possibility of providing mandatory masking in some classrooms for students under 12, spokesperson Anne Blackburn said.

Scott Girard:

Public Health Madison & Dane County, which had a mask mandate that applied to schools through June 2 this year, anticipates announcing its guidance next week, according to an email from PHMDC communications manager Sarah Mattes.

More:

That leaves decisions to local school boards or district administrators. Local officials are in a position to hear complaints no matter what decision they make, as evidenced by the mixed feedback from parents at a recent Waunakee Community School Board meeting.

Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), said during an afternoon press conference that wearing masks is not a “black and white” issue of vaccination status, but depends on factors like disease spread in a given area. She acknowledged that in elementary school settings, where most students are not vaccine-eligible, it might be easier for everyone to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

“In terms of how schools will enforce this, as we’ve talked about throughout the pandemic, schools are led by local school boards and local superintendents and we encourage them to think about the most protective way to ensure the safety of their students,” Van Dijk said. “But those decisions are decisions that will be made at a local level.”

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Hong Kong police arrest speech therapists over children’s books with China depicted as a wolf

DiDi Tang:

The gesture of defiance came after a crackdown on dissent and free speech in the territory under Beijing’s new security law. Hong Kong’s protest movement has been shut down by the threat of jail and independent media outlets have been hounded into closure.

The suspects, two men and three women aged between 25 and 28, were accused of “inciting hatred among the public, especially

‘I asked Musk why he thought Blue Origin had fallen behind. “Bezos is not great at engineering, to be frank,” Musk replied.’

Eric Berger:

SpaceX, by contrast, has ascended. Since December 2015, the company has successfully flown more than 100 orbital missions. It has developed and flown the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, and may soon debut its still more titanic Starship launch system. With the Starlink Internet constellation, SpaceX now operates more satellites than any nation or company in the world. And in 2020, thanks to SpaceX, NASA broke its dependency on Russia for human spaceflight. NASA astronauts now ride to space in style inside the sleek Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Blue Origin has also lost out when it comes to large government contracts worth billions of dollars, something Bezos craves as he seeks to find some return on his massive investment in Blue Origin. In 2020, the Department of Defense said it would only allow United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to bid on national security launch contracts in the mid-2020s. Blue Origin protested and lost. Then, in April, NASA chose SpaceX alone for a prestigious Human Landing System. This came after Bezos showily unveiled his company’s “Blue Moon” lander in 2019. Blue Origin protested this, too, and a decision is expected in early August. It would come as a surprise if Blue Origin succeeds.

In short, a once-promising space race has become something of a damp squib. In late 2019, while reporting for my book on the origins of SpaceX, Liftoff, I asked Musk why he thought Blue Origin had fallen behind. “Bezos is not great at engineering, to be frank,” Musk replied.

Liftoff by Eric Berger is well worth reading.

Stop Calling Professors ‘Professor

Tyler Cowen:

As woke culture has led to a reexamination of American language and life, from pronoun usage to calling slaves “the enslaved,” perhaps it is time to look at professional titles. Why for instance should I be called “Professor Cowen,” but few people would address the person fixing their toilet as “Plumber Jones”?

Aren’t we giving some professionals too much status automatically? Aren’t we relegating some individuals to lower-status jobs by a consensus they cannot fight? We mock the German honorific “Herr Professor Doktor,” but are American practices so much better?

Civics: A key product of ubiquitous surveillance is people who are comfortable with it

LM Sacasas:

Every now and then, due to some egregious blunder or blatant overreach on the part of government agencies or tech companies, concerns about surveillance and technology break out beyond the confines of academic specialists and into the public consciousness: the Snowden leaks about the NSA in 2013, the Facebook emotional manipulation study in 2014, the Cambridge Analytica scandal in the wake of the 2016 election. These moments seem to elicit a vague anxiety that ultimately dissipates as quickly as it materialized. Concerns about the NSA are now rarely heard, and while Facebook has experienced notable turbulence, it is not at all clear that meaningful regulation will follow or that a significant number of users will abandon the platform. Indeed, the chief effect of these fleeting moments of surveillance anxiety may be a gradual inoculation to them. In my experience, most people are not only untroubled by journalistic critiques of exploitative surveillance practices; they may even be prepared to defend them: There are trade-offs, yes, but privacy appears to be a reasonable price to pay for convenience or security.

This attitude is not new. In the late 1960s, researcher Alan Weston divided the population into three groups according to their attitudes toward privacy: fundamentalists, who are generally reluctant to share personal information; the unconcerned, who are untroubled and unreflective about privacy; and pragmatists, who report some concern about privacy but are also willing to weigh the benefits they might receive in exchange for disclosing personal information. He found then that the majority of Americans were privacy pragmatists, and subsequent studies have tended to confirm those findings. When Westin updated his research in 2000, he concluded that privacy pragmatists amounted to 55 percent of the population, while 25 percent were fundamentalists and 20 percent were unconcerned.

“Social Justice Math” & California

Joanne Jacobs:

California’s new Mathematics Curriculum Framework has become a political hot potato, reports Lawrence Richard on Yahoo News. The state education board will postpone a decision on implementation for 10 months in response to critics who charged it would “de-mathematize math” and prevent high achievers from taking advanced classes.

2007 Math Forum

Connected Math

Discovery Math

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Would-be teachers fail licensing tests

Joanne Jacobs:

Only 45 percent of would-be elementary teachers pass state licensing tests on the first try in states with strong testing systems concludes a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. Twenty-two percent of those who fail — 30 percent of test takers of color — never try again, reports Driven by Data: Using Licensure Tests to Build a Strong, Diverse Teacher Workforce.

Exam takers have the hardest time with tests of content knowledge, such as English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

Research shows that “teachers’ test performance predicts their classroom performance,” the report states.

NCTQ found huge variation in the first-time pass rates in different teacher education programs. In some cases, less-selective, more-diverse programs  outperformed programs with more advantaged students. Examples are Western Kentucky University, Texas A&M International and Western Connecticut State University.

California, which refused to provide data for the NCTQ study, will allow teacher candidates to skip basic skills and subject-matter tests, if they pass relevant college classes with a B or better, reports Diana Lambert for EdSource.

The California Basic Skills Test (CBEST) measures reading, writing and math skills normally learned in middle school or early in high school. The California Subject Matter Exams for Teachers (CSET) tests proficiency in the subject the prospective teacher will teach, Lambert writes.

Curiously, the Wisconsin State Journal backed Jill Underly for state education superintendent, despite her interest in killing our one teacher content knowledge exam: Foundations of Reading. Wisconsin students now trail Mississippi, a stare that spends less and has fewer teachers per pupil.

Foundations of reading results. 2020 update.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Ongoing YouTube (Google) censorship

Reuters:

YouTube said on Wednesday it had removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his pandemic pronouncements.

YouTube said in a press release the decision was taken “after careful review” and without consideration for Bolsonaro’s job or political ideology. The far-right former army captain, who has overseen the world’s second deadliest outbreak, has won widespread criticism for railing against lockdowns, touting unproven miracle cures, sowing vaccine doubts and shunning masks.

“Our rules do not allow content that states that hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin are effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, that states there is a cure for the disease, or says that masks do not work to prevent the spread of the virus,” it said in a statement.

Many taxpayer supported K – 12 school districts use Google services, including Madison.

University Of Oregon Settles Equal Pay Case With Professor Jennifer Freyd For $450,000

Register-Guard:

Professor Emerit Jennifer Freyd and the University of Oregon are pleased to announce that we have settled our lawsuit after more than four years of litigation. Under the settlement, the University will pay Prof. Freyd and her attorneys $350,000 to cover her claims for damages as well as attorney’s fees over the four years of litigation. In addition, the University will make a $100,000 donation to the Center for Institutional Courage, the foundation founded by Prof. Freyd dedicated to scientific research and action promoting institutional courage.

We are pleased to put this litigation behind us and together affirm our continued commitment to uncover, acknowledge, and address gender inequity and other forms of discrimination.

Limits on Taxation Levied by the City of Knoxville

Knoxville Tax Cap:

This ordinance-by-voter-petition, if adopted by the Knoxville City Council or approved by the voters of the City of Knoxville, would require voter approval in the future before the property tax rate could be increased above the level appearing in the ordinance, which is the current tax rate today.

To be successful the goal is to get 14,854 signatures to avoid any challenge to the number of valid signatures.

Lawsuit against critical race theory is as strong legally as morally

Quin Hillyer:

I wrote yesterday about how the school district in the Chicago suburb of Evanston teaches that the nuclear family must be aggressively undermined as a vehicle of white supremacism. I wrote about how this ideology holds that “the very foundations” of republican government and its “principles of constitutional law” must be challenged. The lawsuit in Evanston and the related findings by a Department of Education investigation make for essential reading for anyone who is currently in denial about this or doubts that the misnamed “anti-racism” training being used in our schools amounts to a moral disaster.

District Lawyer’s Salary of $700K Is the Only Thing That’s Not ‘Thorough and Efficient’ in Lakewood

New Jersey Education Report:

Judge Scarola suggested that NJ’s Commissioner do a needs assessment. Allen-McMillancomplied and ruled that the district has shortcomings (here’s the latest on student outcomes) but Lakewood is fulfilling its constitutional duties to public school students and there is no need for any change in the state school funding formula, despite Lakewood’s need to “borrow” millions of dollars from the state every year. (Current debt is over $100 million. Lakewood will never pay this “loan” back.)
District officials, especially attorney Michael Inzelbuch, whom the district pays over $700,000 a year, more than any school district anywhere in the known universe, want the state to say that Lakewood in-district students are just fine, thank you very much, but the school funding formula is inapplicable to Lakewood because of its unusual demographics. The district filed a lawsuit in 2019; that suit was dismissed for lack of merit.
David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center, is critical of Judge Scarola’s ruling, and, presumably, Allen-McMillan’s as well. He cites as evidence “the lavish and unprecedented payments to the district’s lawyer in recent years” and says the New Jersey Commissioner is ultimately responsible for not demanding changes to the way Lakewood privileges ultra-Orthodox students.

The Myth of Pervasive Misogyny

Cory Clark and Bo Winegard

Many feminists and progressives argue that the West is plagued by pervasive misogyny. In fact, this claim is made with such frequency, and is so rarely challenged, that it has become part of the Left’s catechism of victimhood, repeated by rote without a second thought. The only real question is how powerful and pernicious the misogyny is. Real-world data, however, suggest a different narrative, complicated by the fact that men have worse outcomes in many domains. For example, they are much more likely to be incarcerated, to be shot by the police, to be a victim of violent crime, to be homeless, to commit suicide, and to die on the job or in combat than women. Furthermore, they have a shorter life expectancy and are less likely to be college educated than women. Although these (and similar) data can be reconciled with the pervasive misogyny theory, they should at least give pause to the open-minded. The best data from contemporary social science tell a rather different story and suggest that the very persistence of the pervasive misogyny narrative is itself a manifestation of the opposite: society is largely biased in favor of women.

The world, of course, is a messy place and disparities between men and women may have many causes. This is why carefully controlled social science is useful for examining the extent, direction, and nature of sex-related biases. Although the details can get complicated, the basic idea behind most bias studies is pretty straightforward. Researchers present participants with identical information that has some bearing on the abilities of males or females while manipulating which sex the information is about. For example, they might ask two groups of people to evaluate identical essays, telling one group that it was written by a man and the other group that it was written by a woman. If participants who believed the essay was written by a man evaluated it as more compelling, more intelligent, more insightful, and so on than participants who believed it was written by a woman, psychologists would consider that a bias in favor of men. Similarly, if one asked two groups of people to evaluate identical scientific studies that discovered that either men or women performed better on a measure of leadership, and participants who read that men outperformed women regarded the study as higher quality than participants who read that women outperformed men, psychologists would consider this a male-favoring bias (everyday people consider such patterns to be biases as well).

Contrary to expectations from the pervasive misogyny theory, across a variety of topics, samples, and research teams, recent findings in psychology suggest that such biases often favor women. For example, a paper just published in the British Journal of Psychology led by Steve Stewart-Williams found that people respond to research on sex differences in ways that favor females. In two studies, participants were asked to read a popular science article that was experimentally manipulated to suggest that either men or women have a more desirable quality (for example, men/women are better at drawing or men/women lie less often). Participants evaluated the female-favoring research more favorably than the male-favoring research. Specifically, participants found the female-favoring research more important, more plausible, and more well-conducted and found the male-favoring research more offensive, more harmful, more upsetting, and more inherently sexist. This pro-female bias was observed among both male and female participants, and in study two, the researchers replicated the results in a south-east Asian sample.

Civics: 19th century poet Walt Whitman – Behind The Black –

Robert Zimmerman

As noted by Kelly Scott Franklin, a professor of English literature at Hillsdale College and a scholar of Whitman,

“What this new movement of censorship really wants is to do away with the very act and process of education, because education is complicated and it’s hard work. It requires a lot of sifting to find beauty, truth, and goodness,” he said. “It requires compassion and a willingness to try to see the world as others did in their time and place. It requires acts of magnanimity toward flawed and wounded human beings, even if we disagree, and even if they’re in grave error. Those activities are hard–in the classroom and in everyday life. So it’s much simpler just to silence, cancel, and destroy.”

Civics: Huge data leak shatters the lie that the innocent need not fear surveillance

Paul Lewis:

Billions of people are inseparable from their phones. Their devices are within reach – and earshot – for almost every daily experience, from the most mundane to the most intimate.

Few pause to think that their phones can be transformed into surveillance devices, with someone thousands of miles away silently extracting their messages, photos and location, activating their microphone to record them in real time.

Such are the capabilities of Pegasus, the spyware manufactured by NSO Group, the Israeli purveyor of weapons of mass surveillance.

NSO rejects this label. It insists only carefully vetted government intelligence and law enforcement agencies can use Pegasus, and only to penetrate the phones of “legitimate criminal or terror group targets”.

Yet in the coming days the Guardian will be revealing the identities of many innocent people who have been identified as candidates for possible surveillance by NSO clients in a massive leak of data.

Without forensics on their devices, we cannot know whether governments successfully targeted these people. But the presence of their names on this list indicates the lengths to which governments may go to spy on critics, rivals and opponents.

Small California school districts will refuse to follow mask mandate

Joe Hong:

Some school officials are flouting the updated state rules, saying students will be allowed to return to the classroom with or without a mask.

California’s smallest school districts say they will refuse to send kids home for not wearing a mask despite a new state mandate. 

Superintendents in these tight-knit and typically more conservative communities want the state to let local districts make their own decisions, considering the success some of them have had with reopening their campuses last year without triggering COVID-19 outbreaks.

“These districts were in class all year, and they just don’t believe masks are needed to teach children,” said Tim Taylor, executive director of the Small School Districts Association, which represents hundreds of districts with fewer than 5,000 students.

On Monday afternoon, the California Department of Public Health went back and forth on updates to its masking rule. Health officials first said students who refuse to wear masks without a valid medical excuse won’t be allowed on campuses. Four hours later, the agency revised the guidelines to say local districts will be responsible for enforcing the mask mandate.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The district has refused to release the investigative report.

Chris Rickert:

East was largely shut down to in-person learning during Kearney’s tenure as principal. Madison high schools were the last in Dane County to welcome back students amid the COVID-19 pandemic when they began reopening to two half-days per student in late April.

Kearney dealt with most of the fallout from two high-profile incidents involving school staff. Business teacher David Kruchten resigned in February 2020 after he was indicted for placing hidden cameras in students’ hotel rooms during class trips. He is expected to plead guilty to a federal charge of attempting to produce child pornography.

Report recommends Madison terminate district employees who OK’d East High hidden cameras
Report recommends Madison terminate district employees who OK’d East High hidden cameras
Elizabeth Beyer | Wisconsin State Journal
A hidden camera was also found in January in a coach’s office at the high school, placed there to catch a custodian suspected of sleeping on the job. An independent investigation recommended staff involved in the incident be fired. District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said Tuesday that “staff who were identified to be directly involved in approving the installation of cameras were either already retired, or have since retired.”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Replace the Proposed New California Math Curriculum Framework

Independent Institute:

California is on the verge of politicizing K-12 math in a potentially disastrous way. Its proposed Mathematics Curriculum Framework is presented as a step toward social justice and racial equity, but its effect would be the opposite—to rob all Californians, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, who always suffer most when schools fail to teach their students. As textbooks and other teaching materials approved by the State would have to follow this framework and since teachers are expected to use it as a guide, its potential to steal a promising future from our children is enormous.

The proposed framework would, in effect, de-mathematize math. For all the rhetoric in this framework about equity, social justice, environmental care and culturally appropriate pedagogy, there is no realistic hope for a more fair, just, equal and well-stewarded society if our schools uproot long-proven, reliable and highly effective math methods and instead try to build a mathless Brave New World on a foundation of unsound ideology. A real champion of equity and justice would want all California’s children to learn actual math—as in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus—not an endless river of new pedagogical fads that effectively distort and displace actual math. The proposed framework:

2007 Math Forum

Connected Math

Discovery Math

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Proposed change to Wisconsin K-12 Taxpayer Funding Priority: Students vs System

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty:

The Problem: Current school funding is a complex combination of state, local and federal aid. Funding in districts is largely based on antiquated revenue limits that have cemented in place funding gaps for 25 years. Students are worth more, or less, depending on where they happen to live, or whether they attend a choice or charter school. Even worse, the current funding system utilizes a three-year rolling average of enrollment that allows districts to receive funding for students they no longer educate. This current model is a barrier to reform.

Weighted Student Funding: Wisconsin can fund students, not just buildings and systems. A system of weighted student funding would provide the same level of funding for each student regardless of school sector, or home district. Students would receive extra revenue based on characteristics like poverty, disabilities, and English language learners, but otherwise would be valued the same.

The advantage of this system would be to create a dynamic student-centered funding system that allows for the expansion of new and innovate education models. We can get more money flowing into the classroom and not get bogged down in administrative costs. Finally, weighted student funding would unshackle students and schools from an opaque and complex formula that relies too heavily on the property wealth or poverty of a given community.

Commentary.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

The German Experiment That Placed Foster Children with Pedophiles

Rachel Aviv:

Suddenly, it seemed as if all relationship structures could—and must—be reconfigured, if there was any hope of producing a generation less damaged than the previous one. In the late sixties, educators in more than thirty German cities and towns began establishing experimental day-care centers, where children were encouraged to be naked and to explore one another’s bodies. “There is no question that they were trying (in a desperate sort of neo-Rousseauian authoritarian antiauthoritarianism) to remake German/human nature,” Herzog writes. Kentler inserted himself into a movement that was urgently working to undo the sexual legacy of Fascism but struggling to differentiate among various taboos. In 1976, the magazine Das Blatt argued that forbidden sexual desire, such as that for children, was the “revolutionary event that turns our everyday life on its head, that lets feelings break out and that shatters the basis of our thinking.” A few years later, Germany’s newly established Green Party, which brought together antiwar protesters, environmental activists, and veterans of the student movement, tried to address the “oppression of children’s sexuality.” Members of the Party advocated abolishing the age of consent for sex between children and adults.

In this climate—a psychoanalyst described it as one of “denial and manic ‘self-reparation’ ”—Kentler was a star. He was asked to lead the department of social education at the Pedagogical Center, an international research institute in Berlin whose planning committee included Willy Brandt, who became the Chancellor of Germany (and won the Nobel Peace Prize), and James B. Conant, the first U.S. Ambassador to West Germany and a president of Harvard. Funded and supervised by the Berlin Senate, the center was established, in 1965, to make Berlin an international leader in reforming educational practices. Kentler worked on the problem of runaways, heroin addicts, and young prostitutes, many of whom gathered in the archways of the Zoo Station, the main transportation hub in West Berlin. The milieu was memorialized in “Christiane F.,” an iconic drug movie of the eighties, about teen-agers, prematurely aware of the emptiness of modern society, self-destructing, set to a soundtrack by David Bowie.

Civics: NPR has not run a piece critical of Democrats since Christ was a boy.

Matt Taibbi:

Moreover, much like the New York Times editorial page (but somehow worse), the public news leader’s monomaniacal focus on “race and sexuality issues” has become an industry in-joke. For at least a year especially, listening to NPR has been like being pinned in wrestling beyond the three-count. Everything is about race or gender, and you can’t make it stop. 

Conservatives have always hated NPR, but in the last year I hear more and more politically progressive people, in the media, talking about the station as a kind of mass torture experiment, one that makes the most patient and sensible people want to drive off the road in anguish. A brief list of just a few recent NPR reports:

Billie Eilish Says She Is Sorry After TikTok Video Shows Her Mouthing A Racist Slur.” Pop star caught on tape using the word “chink” when she was “13 or 14 years old” triggers international outrage and expenditure of U.S. national media funding. 

Black TikTok Creators Are On Strike To Protest A Lack Of Credit For Their Work.” White TikTok users dance to Nicky Minaj lyrics like, “I’m a f****** Black Barbie. Pretty face, perfect body,” kicking off “a debate about cultural appropriation on the app.”

Geocaching While Black: Outdoor Pastime Reveals Racism And Bias.” Area man who plays GPS-based treasure hunt game requiring forays into remote places and private property describes “horrifying” experience of people asking what he’s doing. 

Broadway Is Reopening This Fall, And Every New Play Is By A Black Writer.” All seven new plays being written by black writers is “a step toward progress,” but critics “will be watching Broadway’s next moves” to make sure “momentum” continues. 

She Struggled To Reclaim Her Indigenous Name. She Hopes Others Have It Easier.” It took Cold Lake First Nations member Danita Bilozaze nine whole months to change her name to reflect her Indigenous identity. 

Tom Hanks Is A Non-Racist. It’s Time For Him To Be Anti-Racist.” Tom Hanks pushing for more widespread teaching of the Tulsa massacre doesn’t change the fact that he’s built a career playing “white men ‘doing the right thing,’” NPR complains. 

Mixed in with Ibram Kendi recommendations for children’s books, instructions on how to “decolonize your bookshelf” and “talk to your parents about racism” (even if your parents are an interracial couple), and important dispatches from the war on complacency like “Monuments And Teams Have Changed Names As America Reckons With Racism, Birds Are Next,” “National” Public Radio in the last year has committed itself to a sliver of a sliver of a sliver of the most moralizing, tendentious, humor-deprived, jargon-obsessed segment of American society. Yet without any irony, yesterday’s piece still made deadpan complaint about Shapiro’s habit of “telling [people] what their opinions should be” and speaking in “buzzwords.”

To curse social media is to exonerate society

Janan Ganesh:

Europe’s failure to produce a Twitter or Snapchat endears the continent to me. I don’t think I have ever made an Instagram or Facebook post. I found the last of these companies unctuous and megalomaniacal when it was still linked to Barack Obama’s rise, not Donald Trump’s. The value of such outlets to the world’s brutally governed stops me — just — wishing them gone. It is with no tenderness, then, that I wince to hear a US president claim they are “killing people”. Taste matters: half the point of Joe Biden, who used the phrase twice, is to drain public life of its vitriol.

Truth matters even more. The idea that social media is the source of vaccine avoidance evokes the bots-caused-Brexit hype of yesteryear. It is not just hard to stand up. It suggests a political class in gleeful possession of a villain for all seasons. No doubt, great torrents of cant and quackery wash through Facebook. But so do facts about vaccine efficacy and dispenser locations that might otherwise elude millions of users. To a degree that is almost unique on a public policy issue, the site takes an unambiguously pro-vaccine line. The premise that the bad and the good here nets out in favour of the bad is quite the leap. A less esteemed personage than the president might have been invited to make good on the claim.

“that take-up rates might be worse without social media as a source of reassurance among the liberal-minded.”

When Government Urges Private Entities to Restrict Others’ Speech

Eugene Volokh:

Say the government urges various intermediaries—bookstores, billboard companies, payment processors, social media platforms—to stop carrying certain speech. The government isn’t prosecuting them or suing them, just asking them. (This is in the news both with regard to the Biden Administration “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation” and Donald Trump’s lawsuits against FacebookTwitter, and YouTube, to the extent they claim government officials’ speech pressured those platforms into blocking him.) Is such government urging constitutional?

[A.] Generally speaking, courts have said “yes, that’s fine,” so long as the government speech doesn’t coercethe intermediaries by threatening prosecution, lawsuit, or various forms of retaliation. (Indeed, I understand that government officials not uncommonly ask newspapers, for instance, not to publish certain information that they say would harm national security or interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.) Here’s a sample of appellate cases so holding:

[1.] A New York City official sent a letter urging department stores not to carry “a board game titled ‘Public Assistance—Why Bother Working for a Living.'” The letter said the game “does a grave injustice to taxpayers and welfare clients alike,” and closes with, “Your cooperation in keeping this game off the shelves of your stores would be a genuine public service.” Not unconstitutional, said the Second Circuit in Hammerhead Enterprises, Inc. v. Brezenoff (1983):

[T]he record indicates that Brezenoff’s request to New York department stores to refrain from carrying Public Assistance was nothing more than a well-reasoned and sincere entreaty in support of his own political perspective…. Where comments of a government official can reasonably be interpreted as intimating that some form of punishment or adverse regulatory action will follow the failure to accede to the official’s request, a valid claim can be stated…. [But] appellants cannot establish that this case involves either of these troubling situations.

[2.] The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography sent letters to various corporations (such as 7-Eleven) urging them not to sell pornographic magazines:

The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography has held six hearings across the United States during the past seven months on issues related to pornography. During the hearing in Los Angeles, in October 1985, the Commission received testimony alleging that your company is involved in the sale or distribution of pornography. The Commission has determined that it would be appropriate to allow your company an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to drafting its final report section on identified distributors.

You will find a copy of the relevant testimony enclosed herewith. Please review the allegations and advise the Commission on or before March 3, 1986, if you disagree with the statements enclosed. Failure to respond will necessarily be accepted as an indication of no objection.

K12 Tax & Spending Climate: Immigration and the Aging Society

Steven A. Camarota:

The idea that immigration is the solution to the aging of American society has become an article of faith among those arguing for ever-higher levels of new arrivals. They assert that, in societies such as the United States, where fertility rates are low relative to historic patterns, the native population will not supply enough workers to maintain a robust economy and pay for government services, particularly retirement programs. If native-born Americans aren’t going to have enough children to balance the longer-lived elderly population, the argument goes, then our only option is to increase immigration levels.

It’s not a crazy argument; it just happens to be incorrect. In reality, a significant body of research shows that the impact of immigration on population aging is small. While immigration can certainly make our population larger, it does not make us dramatically younger.

And yet, commentators have been making such arguments for years. The late Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer asserted in 1998 that America has been “saved by immigrants” from the kind of aging taking place in other first-world countries. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush famously said that America needed higher levels of immigration to “rebuild the demographic pyramid.” At the data-journalism site FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman has argued that immigration is the “only thing” preventing the country from facing a “demographic cliff.”

Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise?

Richard Smith:

Everybody gains from the publication game, concluded Roberts, apart from the patients who suffer from being given treatments based on fraudulent data.

Stephen Lock, my predecessor as editor of The BMJ, became worried about research fraud in the 1980s, but people thought his concerns eccentric. Research authorities insisted that fraud was rare, didn’t matter because science was self-correcting, and that no patients had suffered because of scientific fraud. All those reasons for not taking research fraud seriously have proved to be false, and, 40 years on from Lock’s concerns, we are realising that the problem is huge, the system encourages fraud, and we have no adequate way to respond. It may be time to move from assuming that research has been honestly conducted and reported to assuming it to be untrustworthy until there is some evidence to the contrary.

The Blurred Lines of Parasocial Relationships

Fadeke Adegbuyi:

Hila, and her husband, Ethan Klein, have amassed millions of followers on YouTube over the last decade as the duo behind h3h3 Productions and co-hosts of the H3 podcast. Initially building their audience through comedy sketches and reaction videos, in the past few years their channel has centered around discussions and interviews pertaining to pop culture, politics, and the internet. They’ve also become experts at living life online. Before the big announcement, they had shared their desire to conceive a second child, discussing their struggles with fertility and giving their viewers insight into doctor’s visits and specialist’s advice. In an earlier video, Hila mentioned that they would bypass the customary three-month waiting period before telling people about getting pregnant, intentionally eschewing the taboo of discussing a potential miscarriage—their audience would be the first to know.

Civics: Spyware & Dissidents

Kartikay Mehrotra:

At least 100 activists, journalists and government dissidents across 10 countries were targeted with spyware produced by an Israeli company called Candiru, according to cybersecurity researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which tracks illegal hacking and surveillance.

Using a pair of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, cyber operatives operating in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Hungary, Indonesia and elsewhere purchased and installed remote spying software made by Candiru, according to the researchers. The tool was used in “precision attacks” against targets’ computers, phones, network infrastructure and internet-connected devices,” said Cristin Goodwin, general manager of Microsoft’s Digital Security Unit.

Declining enrollment, weak legislative support, pandemic fallout all cloud UWM’s future

Devi Shastri:

A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum paints a grim picture of the future of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which was facing mounting financial challenges even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Enrollment was declining. State support per student lagged. Tuition was frozen.

All of these challenges alone painted a worrisome picture of the future of the state’s second-largest campus, which serves one of the most diverse and underserved student populations in Wisconsin.

The pandemic has even further imperiled that future, the report said. The report was commissioned and partially funded by the UWM Foundation.

The analysis, published Thursday, puts data to UWM administrators’ long-standing warnings that they need more support in their effort to maintain the campus, which straddles a dual mission: to provide access to higher education for as many students as possible and to maintain its status as an elite research university.