All posts by Jim Zellmer

Don’t Fall for the Latest Changes to the Dangerous Kids Online Safety Act 

BY JASON KELLEY, AARON MACKEY, AND JOE MULLIN

We’ll dive into the details of KOSA’s latest changes, but first we want to remind everyone of the stakes. KOSA is still a censorship bill and it will still harm a large number of minors who have First Amendment rights to access lawful speech online. It will endanger young people and impede the rights of everyone who uses the platforms, services, and websites affected by the bill. Based on our previous analyses, statements by its authors and various interest groups, as well as the overall politicization of youth education and online activity, we believe the following groups—to name just a few—will be endangered:  

Construction of new UW-Madison football facility could disrupt veterans memorial park

Oliver Ehrhardt


“What this means is the Veterans Memorial Park will no longer be seen as a memorial to soldiers and veterans, but it is instead code for the athletic department to host tailgates and to use the land for themselves,” Gingras said. 

Student veterans currently have limited access to a single on-campus space, according to Gingras. He said veterans often have family responsibilities and don’t return home during holidays, making a dedicated space for connection an important feature for their well-being.  

Gingras said that Camp Randall was historically a military site before hosting athletic facilities. The area was a full-time military training site for Wisconsin soldiers during the Civil War, processing over 70,000 troops. 

Civics: After years of avoiding extradition, Julian Assange’s appeal is likely his last chance. Here’s how it might unfold (and how we got here)

Holly Cullen:

There he faces multiple counts of computer misuse and espionage stemming from his work with WikiLeaks, publishing sensitive US government documents provided by Chelsea Manning. The US government has repeatedly claimed that Assange’s actions risked its national security.

This is the final avenue of appeal in the UK, although Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, has indicated he would seek an order from the European Court of Human Rights if he loses the application for appeal. The European Court, an international court that hears cases under the European Convention on Human Rights, can issue orders that are binding on convention member states. In 2022, an order from the court stopped the UK sending asylum seekers to Rwanda pending a full review of the relevant legislation.

The extradition process has been running for nearly five years. Over such a long time, it’s easy to lose track of the sequence of events that led to this. Here’s how we got here, and what might happen next.

Civics: Nevada identifies voter history errors on website, fixes underway

Jessica Hill:

After numerous Nevada voters saw irregularities in their voter history on Sunday, the secretary of state’s office said it has identified the issues and is fixing them, according to a statement Monday evening.

The office learned Sunday there were possible technical issues relating to Nevadans’ voting history for people who did not participate in the Feb. 6 presidential primary. It said elections and IT staff began working immediately with county clerks and registrars Monday morning.

Notes on financing illegal immigration

Ryan Mcmaken:

In recent months, stories from both the legacy media and the independent media have continued to pile up on how undocumented foreign nationals—also known as “migrants” and “illegal aliens”—are able to take advantage of a vast network of taxpayer funded benefits in daycare, medical care, housing, and more. 

For example, both the New York Post and Denver Post report that these foreign nationals have “overwhelmed” the Denver Health hospital system in Denver, and that the situation is “unsustainable.” Meanwhile, public schools report classrooms are filling up quickly with the children of these foreign nationals. Denver is hardly alone. The New York Post notes that both the City of New York and the state government have expanded local welfare programs, including pre-paid credit cards, to further ensure that migrants continue to receive cash and resources from American taxpayers. This is in addition to the approximately 66,000 foreign nationals who are housed in hotels and shelters, care of both New York and federal taxpayers. USAToday reports that colleges “across the country” are receiving millions in taxpayer money to offer housing to migrants at no charge. Chicago’s mayor is bragging he’s giving away $17 million in taxpayer-funded giveaways to “asylum seekers” who are presently living off the sweat of the taxpayers in government shelters. This, of course, is just a downpayment on many more planned giveaways. 

Just how much in taxpayers’ resources is going to foreign nationals? It’s difficult to estimate for a number of reasons. The spending is done through numerous different government agencies at various levels of government. Moreover, much of the money if filtered through non-profits (i.e., “NGOs”) that are labeled “charities” but are simply adjuncts of the regime. 

Once we add up $1 billion here and $77 million there, after a while we’re talking about real money, and one thing becomes abundantly clear: the regime and its partners are subsidizing the influx of foreign nationals who are promised a variety of both cash and in-kind benefits. It must also be noted that, contrary to certain myths, the largesse is not reserved for only the so-called “illegal aliens.” Legal immigrants can take advantage of the generous and well-funded American welfare state even more readily than can the undocumented migrants.

UW-Madison student gov votes to remove Lincoln statue, a ‘remnant’ of ‘white supremacy’

Mckenna Dallmeyer ’22

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student government unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that calls for the removal of the Abraham Lincoln statue on campus.

In June, Campus Reformreported that UW-Madison would not remove the Lincoln statue despite students’ calls in favor of doing so. In September, a petition titled “BIPOC Demands for the University of Wisconsin-Madison” garnered more than 3,000 signatures. The first demand states, “Remove the Abraham Lincoln monument located at the top of Bascom Hill and replace it with someone who stands for the justice of all people.”

Students argue that President Lincoln was “anti-Black,” “anti-Native” and “not pro-Black.”

Following these calls to remove the statue, a resolution was introduced to the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Student Council advocating for the removal of the Lincoln statue on campus.

The resolution states that the statue should be removed and replaced because it “serve[s] as remnants of this school’s history of white supremacy.”

The chronic absenteeism puzzle

Jill Barshay:

Why is it that only 15 percent of public school leaders say they’re “extremely concerned” about student absences, according to a recent Education Department survey? 

This question gnawed at me as I wrote my Feb. 12, 2024 column about how chronic absenteeism remains stubbornly high in elementary, middle and high schools. Defined as missing at least 10 percent of the school year, or 18 out of 180 days, chronic absenteeism doubled from about 15 percent of students before the pandemic to about 30 percent in the 2021-22 school year. Attendance has failed to snap back and recovered only a bit during the 2022-23 year, according to data from 38 states and the District of Columbia collected by FutureED, a think tank based at Georgetown University. More than one out four students remain chronically absent. 

By any measure, this level of absenteeism is alarming. It’s why test scores are sliding and why schools are struggling to help students catch up from pandemic learning losses. Mass absenteeism also affects students who are attending school because teachers cannot keep pace with the lessons they’re supposed to teach when so many classmates have missed core concepts.

Why don’t more principals understand the crisis that is happening inside their school buildings?

More.

These Teenagers Know More About Investing Than You Do

Hannah Miao and Gunjan Banerji:

Seventeen-year-old Sophia Castiblanco doesn’t just drive a Tesla. She also owns shares of the company.

Sophia, a high school junior in the Chicago suburbs, invests in stocks such as Tesla, Apple and Amazon.com. When she started making money as a social-media content creator three years ago, her parents encouraged her to put some of her earnings in investments likely to grow over time, rather than parking all her cash in a savings account.

She now has several thousand dollars invested in accounts set up by her father at Charles Schwab, Edward Jones and Robinhood. Last year, she saved up money to buy a new Tesla Model 3, which starts at around $40,000, through a payment plan she is splitting with her parents. On TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, she makes videos teaching her thousands of followers about investing basics.

“I’ve always had a business mindset of wanting to make money, and I’m very OK with taking risk,” Sophia said. “There’s really no minimum age to start.”

For those of you watching the state curriculum list developments in Wisconsin…

Quinton Klabon:

“DPI is recommending all…instructional materials that meet the requirements outlined in Act 20. …By providing a list of all of those that meet the requirements, there is meaningful choice for Wisconsin districts to best match their local needs.”

Is this the right philosophy?

—–

DPI:

“Those materials that meet the requirements, even at a minimum level.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The Oxford Comma and The Internet

Angus Croll:

The Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) is that extra comma that you sometimes get at the end of a list, before the and or the or. “She wrote novels, essays, and JavaScript” uses an Oxford comma. “He bought apples, butter and the ranch” doesn’t. 

The Oxford moniker derives from the century-old endorsement of the serial comma by the Oxford University Press manual of style; and the OUP is backed up by a slew of revered authorities: Strunk’s Elements of Style, Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage and the Chicago Manual of Style. Why? Because omitting the Oxford comma can result in distressing double meanings: 

“She lives with her two children, a cat and a dog.”

Legions of grammarians are quick to point out that while the lack of an Oxford comma can cause ambiguities, its presence never will. Here’s something we can all get behind, right? 

Well, no, not really, because it turns out that for every phrase that the Oxford comma clarifies, there’s another for which it obfuscates. “Through the window she saw George, a policeman and several onlookers” clearly refers to two people and some onlookers. Throw in the Oxford comma and George has become a policeman: “Through the window she saw George, a policeman, and several onlookers”.

By the Book: We’re investigating why many Wisconsin kids struggle to read. We want to hear from you.

Danielle DuClos

In Wisconsin, at least 79% of school districts surveyed by the Department of Public Instruction use curriculums that don’t meet academic standards recommended by the department. Many teacher preparation programs aren’t embracing this science to help new educators learn to teach reading either.

Are you an elementary school teacher whose students are having a hard time reading? Do you want a new reading curriculum?

Or are you a parent whose child struggles to read? Is your child getting the support and instruction they need to be successful?

Maybe you’re a community member or researcher with insight into Wisconsin’s reading instruction.

If this sounds familiar, tell us about it. Through this series, we want to share the experiences and stories of teachers, parents, community members and students who are trying to navigate a system that might not be working for them.

—-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

School districts need to debunk teachers’ unions misleading talking points on $pending

Michael Hartney, Vladimir Kogan

The belief that schools are chronically underfunded isn’t limited to Newton. According to a survey one of us conducted during the 2022 Cooperative Election Study, fewer than one in three Americans knows that the federal government sent hundreds of billions in emergency pandemic aid to the nation’s schools, a historic funding boost. (This does not include additional funding from state governments, which were rolling in money from their own pandemic bailouts.) In fact, one in five voters thinks that Uncle Sam cuteducation spending during the pandemic. This misimpression enabled the NTA to build popular support for its strikes with parents and other community members, and teachers’ unions around the country likely will rely on such ignorance in contract negotiations this summer, with the last of the pandemic-era federal aid running out in September.

In this environment, Newton’s experience may be a preview of broader labor unrest to come. Schools’ financial woes present fertile ground for union mobilization and electioneering. Public schools hemorrhaged students during the pandemic, which accelerated the enrollment declines that were already under way due to a shrinking school-aged population. Federal money allowed districts to backfill emerging budget holes and put off fraught but necessary right-sizing decisions. As that money expires, districts will be forced to confront these realities.

School-district leaders are about to find themselves in an unenviable position. Federal money is drying up. Student enrollment is declining. And unions have a history of arguing that any resulting budgetary adjustments are evidence of underfunded public education and justify teachers’ strikes. But fiscal and enrollment realities will not change, nor will the academic needs of students still reeling from pandemic learning loss.

“Dear Students“

Kelly Meyerhofer:

This is quite the parting email from Richard Brunson to the Goshen College student orchestra.

jsonline.com/restricted/?re…

Richard Brunson:

I wanted to take a moment and tell you how sorry I am. I am sorry my time with you ended so abruptly. I loved my time at Goshen College and will miss it. I am also sorry that so many of you were so quick to believe the worst of me. I am sorry that no one thought to ask whether the news was true, or if it was deliberately skewed and sensationalistic. I am sorry you couldn’t see muckraking, yellow journalism for what it was. I am sorry that the student reporters at Goshen, even when they were provided with the documented facts showing that the news reports were deliberately salacious, continued to spout half-truths and innuendo, and I’m sorry that some of you were so willing to aid in that endeavour. The UW knew I was not a danger to anyone, or they wouldn’t have tried to extort me to drop my legal actions against them and then they would let me move on with my career. I am sorry you don’t see the irony of someone saying in the student paper that they believe in “restorative justice” and forgetting that to restore something means to put it back the way.

I am sorry that you didn’t get to see my daughter Alyson sobbing in my arms when I had to break the news to her. I’m sorry that Goshen College was more interested in appearing to do the right thing for the sake of appearances instead of actually doing the right thing regardless of the consequences as Jesus would have done. I am sorry that I won’t get to make music with you again. I was determined to be a most loyal and supportive friend to all of you. I’m sorry you didn’t believe that.

I am sorry that you didn’t get to see my daughter Alyson sobbing in my arms when I had to break the news to her. I’m sorry that Goshen College was more interested in appearing to do the right thing for the sake of appearances instead of actually doing the right thing regardless of the consequences as Jesus would have done. I am sorry that I won’t get to make music with you again. I was determined to be a most loyal and supportive friend to all of you. I’m sorry you didn’t believe that.

And I’m especially sorry that when Mika still showed up to play oboe in order to make sure you had all the players you needed for the concert, colleagues didn’t even have to decency to acknowledge her presence, or the decency to tell her in advance that they didn’t want her to play.

I leave you with a clear conscience, knowing that I am innocent of any offense against you. And though I do wrong, I do not the wrongs of which I am accused.

Believe it or not, but I wish only the best to you all, always. I will miss working with you, and seeing you achieve such great things.

More:

My client, Richard Brunson, admitted to wrongs and apologized, as is documented in the legal record,” Brown told the Journal Sentinel. “He made the mistake of defending himself against procedural oversteps and excessive punishments that violated the law. When will his punishments end?”

And. Search.

Air Canada responsible for errors by website chatbot after B.C. customer denied retroactive discount

Susan Lazaruk:

A B.C. man booked an Air Canada flight to Toronto for his grandmother’s funeral using the website’s chatbot, which said he could pay full fare and apply for a bereavement fare later.

An Air Canada passenger from B.C. has won his fight after the airline refused him a retroactive discount, claiming it wasn’t responsible for promising the refund because it was made in error by the airline’s online chatbot.

Artificial-intelligence law experts say it’s a sign of disputes to come if companies don’t ensure accuracy when increasingly relying on artificial intelligence to deal with customers.

Article content

Article content

Jake Moffatt booked a flight to Toronto with Air Canada to attend his grandmother’s funeral in 2022 using the website’s chatbot, which advised him he could pay full fare and apply for a bereavement fare later, according to the decision by B.C. civil resolution tribunal.

Civics: President Trump’s Kafkaesque Civil Trial in New York State

Steven Calabresi

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a $355 million fine and has been barred from doing business in New York State for three years.  Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to pay essentially all of his cash reserves of $400 million, which fine if upheld would force Trump to sell some of his real estate holdings to raise cash to live on.  Once interest is added on the total fine will rise to $450 million.  This is all on top of an $83.3 million fine Trump must pay for allegedly defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll.  The fines in total could deprive Trump of between 11% and 13% of his wealth.  Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric have also been fined, and they are barred from doing business in New York State for two years.  Ivanka or Melania Trump could legally run the Trump businesses for the next two years, but Judge Engoron appointed retired U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones to continue in her role as an “independent monitor” of the Trump business empire but expanded her authority to review financial disclosures before they are submitted to third parties.  Judge Jones can hire an independent director of compliance, and she has the authority to compel Trump to sell some or even all of his businesses down the road.  This is all punishment for Trump allegedly committing fraud by falsely in inflating and deflating the value of his real estate assets to pay lower state taxes and to receive more favorable loans from banks.

The New York State laws used to go after Trump have NEVER  been used in this way, historically, and while Trump may owe some back state taxes, if Judge Engoron is right, not a single bank claimed that it had been defrauded by Trump in the loans it had made to him.  This is truly a victimless crime.

——

America’s Dysfunctional Overclass

Michael Barone

 does America’s overclass think of the rest of us? The short answer is “not much.” They think ordinary people’s splurging on natural resources is destroying the planet and needs to be cut back forcefully. And that the government needs to stamp down on ordinary people enjoying luxuries that, in their view, should be reserved for the top elites.

These are the implications of the results of two surveys of elite people conducted by pollster Scott Rasmussen by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, an organization that supports low tax rates and low government spending. The surveys covered not large swaths of the population but were confined to the top 1% of society.

One survey, the Elite, included only respondents with postgraduate degrees, household incomes above $150,000 and residents in a ZIP code with more than 10,000 people per square mile. Another, Ivy League graduates, included adults who attended Ivy League or other selective private colleges such as Chicago, Duke, Northwestern or Stanford.

Notes on Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Selections

Quinton Klabon:

Whoa! Wisconsin reading curriculum update!

@WisconsinDPI @DrJillUnderly disagree: NO to Bookworms, YES to basals, bilingual. See screenshot.

Tensions come out in explanatory literacy text!

Joint Finance @repborn @SenMarklein @JFCDemocrats decide now. What will they choose?!

——-

Jenny Warner:

DPI adding ARC to the list proves they have no idea what three cueing looks like or an adequate curriculum. teachingbyscience.com/arc?fbclid=IwA…

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: “If the prosecution succeeds, investigative reporting will be given a near death blow.”

Alan Rusbridger:

In other words, trust the state. If they say “jump”, your role is to ask “how high?”

But why would you? “The state”—don’t we know it?—routinely gets all kinds of things wrong. The same is, inevitably, true of the secret state, the security state, the deep state—whatever you want to call it. 

Would you trust the police or security services to monitor all your communications and movements? Not if you’ve read any Orwell. Did you not notice the intelligence failures/embellishments that helped shape US and UK policy before the disastrous attack on Iraq in 2003? Really?

Were you blind to the proven allegations of torture and rendition during and after 9/11? Did you miss the findings of illegal surveillance in the wake of the Snowden revelations? Do you shrug when you read about the police or intelligence agencies penetrating protest groups, behaving in ways that form the subject of the UK’s ongoing undercover policing inquiry?

In other words, the security state—for all that it does good and necessary work—needs to be monitored and held to account. Especially as it has immense powers over the lives of individuals, including questions of life and death. 

Nice Article on some Parenting Costs; Deeper Dive?

Natalie Yahr cites a University of Wisconsin Survey of families with young children.

Conducted by the UW Survey Center and analyzed by UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, the survey went to around 3,500 people across the state. Researchers compared the responses of participants who have children under age 6 with those who don’t.

Of those with young children, more than a third said it’s challenging to cover their monthly expenses. Less than a quarter of families without young children said the same. Sixty percent of families with young children said they weren’t confident that they could cover an unexpected expense, compared to 50% of those without.

The survey also asked respondents about food insecurity, or the worry that they might run out of food before they have money to buy more. Around 40% of families with young children said they have that worry, compared to roughly 25% of all respondents. Families with young children and incomes under $50,000 were particularly likely to experience food insecurity, with around 66% citing it as a concern.

Families with young children were also more likely to worry about inflation, with 75% citing it as a concern, compared with 63% of other households. There’s a credentialism battle underway, with cost and access implications.

Perhaps future surveys might dive deeper, and consider:

  • Health Insurance cost explosion. Lauren Ward:

    Monthly premium costs
    For monthly premiums, the overall average cost was $1,178. But that number can change a lot based on age. For instance, a 21-year-old paid a monthly average premium of just $397, while a 50-year-old paid an average of $712.

    Deductibles

    The average yearly deductible for an individual was $5,101. That number more than doubles for families, who had an average deductible of $10,310 per year.

    Maximum out-of-pocket expenses

    The maximum out-of-pocket expense for individual policyholders averaged $8,335. It doubled for families, averaging $16,672 per year.

  • Utilities. Madison residents have long paid the highest electric rates in Wisconsin. Why?

  • Water/Sewer rates. “Madison Water Utility gets huge rate increase, criticism“. More.

  • Property tax burden growth and bang for the buck (schools, city, county and Madison College Programs). Jessie Opoien:

    Wisconsin is set to see its largest increase in property taxes since the Great Recession — but the actual effect on homeowners will be cushioned by a boost to two state tax credits that lower the amounts homeowners and businesses must pay.

    Allison Garfield:

    In 2023, city tax collections increased by 5.6% to $273.7 million, compared with a 1.2% hike in 2022.

  • Stealth taxes such as the Urban Forestry fee and Madison’s wheel tax.

  • Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has mentioned a local sales tax increase recently, as well.

  • Food costs (something positive!). Perhaps competition explains this?

    On a more positive note, the data also found that Wisconsinites spend the least of any state on weekly groceries at $221.46 per week, nearly $50 below the national average. Iowa is the second-cheapest at $227.32 per week, and Nebraska is the third-cheapest at $235.12.

  • “Madison’s airport the most expensive in the Country” – Gavin Escott

Readers may also consider the implications of Obamacare on healthcare costs (substantial increases with additional taxpayer subsidies) along with the $36B (!) backdoor electronic medical record federal taxpayer subsidy (deeper dive).

Both have affected Madison and Dane County.


The individual burden of these issues illustrates the challenges of using tax & spending policies plus regulation (Obamacare and the back door EMR subsidy) to address cost issues along with unintended consequences.

Consider the enormous family healthcare deductibles on top of cost increases. It would be useful to plot taxpayer healthcare spending along with hospital system growth, often via financialization.

Raising children on the eve of AI

Julia Wise:

I’m somewhat used to thinking of this in terms of “doom / not doom” and less used to thinking in terms of “what kind of transformation?” 

One thing that got me thinking beyond that binary was historian Ian Morris on Whether deep history says we’re heading for an intelligence explosion, specifically why we should expect the future to be wild.

Another was this interview with Ben Garfinkel of the Centre for the Governance of AI, starting with reasons you might think AI will change things a lot:

Scientists Censoring Science

Steve Stewart-Williams

What motivated us to put pen to paper? Simple: All of us are concerned about what appears to be an increasing tendency within science to stifle certain unpopular claims – not because of low scientific quality but for other, non-scientific reasons. The claims in question tend to revolve around hot-button political issues such as sex, gender, and colonialism, and the attempts to censor these claims tend to come from a leftist or progressive perspective. Here are some of the examples of scientific self-censorship that we document and discuss in the paper:

  • Increasing numbers of scientists report being sanctioned for conducting politically contentious research.
  • Retractions of papers have become more and more common over the last decade, and at least some of these appear to be driven primarily by concerns other than epistemological merit. One group of scholars even retracted their own paper, not because it was scientifically flawed, but because it was being cited by conservatives in ways they didn’t approve of.
  • Several lines of research suggest that studies reaching politically unpalatable conclusions may have a harder time negotiating the peer-review process than they would if the conclusions were flipped. As we note in our paper, “When scholars misattribute their rejection of disfavored conclusions to quality concerns that they do not consistently apply, bias and censorship are masquerading as scientific rejection.”
  • Recent surveys suggest that many academics support censuring or censoring controversial research, and that support is stronger among younger scholars.
  • Unsurprisingly, recent polls also suggest that many academics now self-censor on even mildly controversial topics.
  • A large number of academics express a willingness to discriminate against conservatives when it comes to hiring, publications, grants, and promotions. Unsurprisingly, conservative scholars are particularly likely to self-censor.
  • A growing number of journals have explicitly committed to judging scientific papers not just on the quality of the research but also on their (supposed) social or political impact. “In effect,” we note, “editors are granting themselves vast leeway to censor high-quality research that offends their own moral sensibilities.”

Civics: San Francisco Appoints First Noncitizen to Serve on Elections Commission

Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman

Wong’s appointment is the result of a 2020 voter-approved measure that removed the citizenship requirement to serve on San Francisco boards, commissions and advisory bodies. Each of the commission’s seven members is appointed by a different city official, such as the mayor, city attorney or district attorney. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Wong.

Massachusetts Teacher Union exerts more power amid a wave of teacher strikes, generating praise and scorn

James Vaznis

Over the last decade, the Massachusetts Teachers Association has turned itself into a formidable and divisive force: crushing a ballot question to expand charter schools, helping to pass a new school funding law and a so-called millionaires tax, and hijacking the state’s plan to reopen classrooms in the fall of 2020, which prolonged remote learning.

The state’s largest teachers union in recent years also has loomed large over nearly a dozen illegal work stoppages — including the recent Newton teachers strike — as it lobbied Beacon Hill to legalize such job actions. Now, the MTA is gearing up to kill the MCAS graduation requirement at the ballot box in November.

“Some want Wisconsin to use AI, but state workers fear replacement”

by Andrew Bahl

Lawmakers are pushing Wisconsin agencies to consider how they use artificial intelligence tools to make their work more efficient, an effort state workers and their allies fear could be used to ultimately slim the number of human workers employed by the state.

AI has started to become an option for state and local governments, both within Wisconsin and across the country. The rise of publicly available tools, such as ChatGPT, signals the rise of other tools designed to streamline tasks traditionally performed by humans.

Both Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Gov. Tony Evers have launched panels to explore the use of AI in Wisconsin and come up with a framework to regulate and utilize the new technologies.

As part of Vos’ task force, a group of lawmakers are proposing a requirement that state agencies begin cutting positions at the end of the decade. With that in mind, they would need to begin regularly updating the Legislature on their use of AI and how they plan to use the tools to make government more efficient, including trimming the size of their workforce.

That proposal passed the Assembly Thursday on a voice vote, meaning it is unclear how many members voted in support or opposition

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The Horse Association of America was created to fight the rise of the tractor.

“19 year old son of former CEO of Google dead from fentanyl overdose”

Petey:

No he probably didn’t take a fentanyl pill, no he probably wasn’t a junky, he probably did what many of us have all done in our lives.

Experiment with drugs.

For him though, it was fatal.

Why? Cause fentanyl is in everything these days, killing our youth.

This happens all the time and it’s heartbreaking.

Having a couple of drinks, someone takes out a bag of cocaine.

Someone says let’s try these new gummies?

“So DHS was basically deputized”

Mike Benz:

“So just like that, you had this cybersecurity agency be able to legally make the argument that your tweets about mail-in ballots, if you undermine public faith and confidence in them as a legitimate form of voting, was now you were now conducting a ‘cyber attack’ on US critical infrastructure by articulating ‘misinformation’ on Twitter and just like that —”

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In Russia, we have a saying: everything new is something old that has been sufficiently forgotten.

—-

“A warrant requirement from our perspective would go too far in undermining the very purpose of FISA, and, frankly, it would put victims at risk.”

Yale Weighs Reversing SAT Testing After Dartmouth, MIT Shift

Janet Lorin:

Yale University is considering reinstating standardized testing and join Ivy League peer Dartmouth College in a policy shift that reflects a broad reevaluation within higher education admissions.

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an email that the university is “closely considering” its policy, adding that he expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks about the school’s plans for next year and beyond. Dartmouth said earlier this month that it will once again require applicants to submit scores starting in the fall

Madison Spelling Bee winner cements a family legacy

Anna Hansen:

For 13-year-old word whiz Vincent Bautista, the traditional Mexican soup represented a final hurdle, six letters, three of them vowels, separating him from cementing a family legacy at Madison’s All-City Spelling Bee on Saturday morning.

It wasn’t until Bautista sealed his victory with the final “o” that the white-knuckled crowd exhaled. Bautista could only smile: The weight of the competition had lifted, replaced by the weight of a massive golden trophy, where his name will be engraved alongside every other spelling bee champion dating back to 1968, including his own brother and sister.

“On that last word, I really didn’t know it, so I had to do my best on it,” he said. “My heartbeat was pumping.”

Former Penn President Shatters Record For Highest-Paid College President: $22,866,127

Julia Piper and  Nick Perez

The former president of the University of Pennsylvania was the highest-paid leader of a private college in 2021, according to The Chronicle’s annual analysis of executive compensation at private nonprofit institutions. It is the highest payout documented since 2008, when The Chronicle began collecting data on such compensation.

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More:

“They think it’s not a big deal”

Gabe Cohen:

On a recent Tuesday morning, guards escort Malcolm, a 17-year-old from DC, into a circuit courtroom where he’ll soon be sentenced for attempted robbery. As he walks to his seat, slumped and handcuffed in a jail jumpsuit, with an exhausted look on his face, he gives a subtle nod to five boys in the gallery – his friends who have come to witness his fate.

“Let’s pray for Malcolm,” says Jawanna Hardy, an adult chaperoning the teens, as she reaches for their hands. They bow their heads. She asks the Lord for a lenient sentence.

The 14-year-old boy beside her – we’re calling him “Sam” to protect his identity – keeps his eyes open through the prayer, blankly staring down. As the hearing gets underway, he quietly voices his discomfort and fear for his friend.

“I don’t want to be here,” Sam says. “This is real.”

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Higher Treasury yields snowball into $1.1 trillion of additional interest

Eric Wallerstein:

Treasury yields have sprung to multiyear highs, forcing the U.S. government to pay a lot more in interest and putting pressure on the budget.  

The U.S. government is expected to pay an additional $1.1 trillion in interest over the coming decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates. Interest costs are on pace to surpass defense this year as one of the largest government expenses in the budget. Only Social Security and Medicare are forecast to be bigger burdens in the coming years.

The Small University Endowment That Is Beating the Ivy League

Juliet Chung:

Baylor University has traded its way to the top of the university endowment performance rankings.

Many universities allocate their money among different assets and adjust periodically. Baylor, led by a former trader, seizes on market moves frequently to boost or cut exposure to its managers.

“The only thing I’m doing is what the market tells me to do: If the market goes up, we take some money back. If the market goes down, we give it money,” said investment chief David Morehead. “It is finance 101.”

Morehead regularly touts Baylor’s performance compared with other endowments to its outside fund managers. He takes particular pride in beating the Ivies, which Baylor has largely done over the past five years despite those endowments’ larger staffs. Besides Morehead, Baylor has four investment staffers, all women.

The endowment gained 6.4% for the fiscal year ended June 30, beating all the Ivy League endowments. Over the past five years, its 10.9% annualized return outpaced that of all the Ivies except for Brown University, which notched a 13.3% average annual gain. Baylor ranks in the top 5% of all U.S. endowments for the period, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

Exeter Under Ideology

Christopher Rufo:

Left-wing racialism has become the lexicon of the Ivy League, so it is only natural that its feeder schools have adopted it as well—partly out of idealism, partly out of cynicism.

The most prestigious of these is Phillips Exeter Academy. The school has graduated senators, diplomats, generals, and titans of industry. In the past, this meant assimilating the manners and mores of America’s elite Protestant culture. Today, it means drilling students in ideological concepts such as “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and “queer theory.” The Exeter man is prepared to rule or, at a minimum, to conform to the culture of those who do.

I have spoken with a recent graduate and obtained documents that show the shocking extent to which Exeter has assimilated fashionable left-wing ideologies of race and gender, which stand in stark contrast with the founding mission of the school and the common conception among many of its alumni. (Phillips Exeter Academy did not respond to a request for comment.)

The story begins with the 2020 death of George Floyd. Following the lead of Ivy League presidents, Exeter principal Bill Rawson published an open letter promising to “combat the pernicious legacy of systemic racism that Black people and other people of color face each and every day.” To do this, Rawson continued, “will require a willingness, particularly on the part of the white members of our community, to be actively and effectively anti-racist.”  

“Black lives matter,” Rawson pleaded. “Black voices matter.”

The Case Against ‘Dead Poets Society’

Elizabeth Grace Matthew

The problem? The film’s fictional Keating and his real-life counterparts—who now dominate secondary and post-secondary education—mostly poison the young people whose intellectual and spiritual thirst they mean to quench.

Healthy Order and Healthy Disorder

Before Keating exerts his influence, Welton is a place where many boys are thriving. We see boys sneaking transistor radios into dorms, boys contemplating how to steal the girlfriends of public-school athletes, boys forming regular study groups and occasional cheating alliances, boys bustling with the restless physical energy that, more than any other characteristic, defines male youth.

That is, we see boys pushing against the boundaries that their parents and teachers have set—exactly as healthy teens should.

Are those boundaries overly narrow and constraining, and therefore due for reform? In some cases, absolutely—and tragically so. Animated by class anxiety and therefore deeply concerned about his son’s academic performance and professional trajectory, Mr. Perry, the father of a boy named Neil, forces his son to withdraw from a position as assistant editor of Welton’s yearbook so that he can focus exclusively on his course work. Worse, given Neil’s deep penchant for acting, Perry forbids his son from participating in a local production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Neil defies his father by participating in the play anyway and ultimately commits suicide when his parents fail to understand the depth of his commitment to the theater and continue to insist that he become a doctor.

——

Commentary.

NHS nurses being investigated for ‘industrial-scale’ qualifications fraud

Denis Campbell:

The scam allegedly involves proxies impersonating nurses and taking a key test in Nigeria, which must be passed for them to become registered and allowed to work in the UK.

“It’s very, very worrying if … there’s an organisation that’s involving themselves in fraudulent activity, enabling nurses to bypass these tests, or if they are using surrogates to do exams for them because the implication is that we end up in the UK with nurses who aren’t competent,” said Peter Carter, the ex-chief executive of the RCN and ex-chair of three NHS trusts, calling it an “industrial-scale fraud”.

He praised the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for taking action against those involved “to protect the quality of care and patient safety and the reputation of nurses”.

Politics and Education Governance

Frederick Hess and Michael Mcshane:

Chaotic campuses rife with double standardsabout the kinds of speech that merit protection. A Biden administration determined to let student borrowers shrug off hundreds of billions in loans and stick taxpayers with the tab. Progressive states working to eliminateadvanced math based on misguided notions of “equity.” Survey findings showing that, when asked about the purpose of civics education, more K–12 teachers mention environmental activism than “knowledge of social, political, and civic institutions.”

Tack on prolonged school closures, campus craziness, and declining test scores, and it’s no great surprise that public confidence in the nation’s schools and colleges has plunged. This plunge has shaken the public’s confidence in Democrats (long seen as the party of the teachers’ unions and the faculty lounge).  But it also gives the GOP a historic opportunity to lead on education. Unburdened by longstanding relationships with the education blob, conservatives are well-positioned to stand up for common sense, shared values, and much-needed rethinking.

Yet, while Democrats have fumbled their longtime lead on education, Republicans haven’t yet seized the baton. Indeed, other than school choice, it can seem like the right doesn’t have many actionable ideas — with most of its energy consumed combating the left’s worst ideas. It can be far from clear what Republicans are actually for when it comes to education.

The happiest kids in the world have social safety nets

Rachael Lyle-Thompson

When my sister, her husband and their four-month-old daughter moved from New Jersey to the Netherlands in March of 2022, I wasn’t expecting our family to receive a lesson in Dutch parenting. But, after spending time at their former home on Bloemgracht, a street and canal in the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam, I learned a lot about the Dutch parenting pedagogy: namely, allowing children to be free and independent—even when it means permitting them to bike in the rain. Yet underneath this conscious parenting philosophy, I observed that, while Dutch parenting may indeed be impressive, it’s the Dutch social safety net that permits parents to feel safe and secure enough to allow their children this broad freedom and independence.

Social safety net

Visiting my sister’s 1600s-era apartment one summer, I meet her Dutch neighbors Daan and Annamarie and their two children, Louie, 7, and Morris, 10. As my partner, Mike, and I sit on the bench in front of my sister’s home, we watch as Louie and Morris chase each other up and down the street, barefoot and dodging Bakfiets—the human-powered cargo bike that all the “cool” Dutch parents have—and run back and forth across the bridge over the Bloemgracht canal.

What, Exactly, Should You Eat? Inside the $190 Million Study Trying to Find the Answer

Andrea Petersen:

At a biomedical center here, there’s a man scarfing down Frosted Flakes and tater tots while hooked up to an IV. His job? To help the government figure out what you should eat.

That man, Kevin Elizabeth, a 28-year-old tech worker, is one of 500 Americans who will be living at scientific facilities around the country for six weeks, eating precisely selected meals and undergoing hundreds of medical tests. He is part of a new study, costing $189 million, that is one of the most ambitious nutrition research projects the National Institutes of Health has ever undertaken.

If the study succeeds, it could help Americans get healthier and cut through years of confusion about nutrition guidance.

Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 systems’s lack of transparency

Abigail Leavins:

Monica Santana Rosen, the CEO of the Alma Advisory Group, which consulted on the superintendent search, explained why the board thought it was important to provide a platform for students, in particular, to ask questions of the candidates, but she did not answer why additional panels were not made available to the public.

“In the end, we felt it was better to prioritize the conversations that were going to bring the best information to the broader community,” Rosen said. “We really wanted to hear what the students had to ask the candidate and how each of them were going to respond.”

“Ultimately,” she added, “the board prioritizes students and parents as those who really are the closest and have a lot at stake in giving them the opportunity to have that platform and share it with the rest of the community.”

In late January, the district announced three finalists for superintendent: Mohammed Choudhury, the former state superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education; Joe Gothard, the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools and a former Madison principal; and Yvonne Stokes, a former superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana. On Feb. 6 the district hosted two interview panels; one led by students and another by parents and caretakers. These were livestreamed but neither the public nor media could attend in person. The interview panels held on Feb. 7 were not livestreamed or open to the public or media at all.

$pending is always a challenge, given the moving numbers.

Mr. Rickert mentions current school year spending of $591,000,000 for 25,581 students or $23,103 per student.

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

“The Madison school district is planning to hit up taxpayers for $1 billion — one Billion with a capital B dollars — in referenda over the next 20 years to go carbon neutral”

David Blaska:

Someone tell the Madison public schools we need more global warming, not less. The school district is planning to hit up taxpayers for $1 billion — one Billion with a capital B dollars — in referenda over the next 20 years to go carbon neutral. 

MMSD can’t teach or keep young Javon safe but it’s going to replace that Swedish girl’s perpetual scowl with a Mona Lisa smile.

Blaska’s Bottom Line:What local government needs is an independent budgetary watchdog — something like the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. (Where are the Frautschis and the Evjue Foundation when you really need them?) Meanwhile, the Republican state legislature is once again trying to give us a break on our income taxes — Gov. Evers having once before vetoed.

——

Explore Madison taxpayer’s k-12 $pending, now at least $23k per student.

——

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Born with a treatable condition at a Milwaukee hospital, she died 30 hours later. What happened to Baby Amillianna?

Jessica Van Egeren

On Sept. 18, 2021, Amillianna Ramirez-Johnson was born at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s hospital in Milwaukee. She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces, had a halo of fuzzy, dark curls, 10 fingers, 10 toes and a healthy heart. 

But her weak cry and the pale-blue tint to her skin signaled her breathing was stressed. The umbilical cord was “stained green,” according to medical records.

The staining was from meconium, a thick, tar-like substance that when passed by a newborn — creating the baby’s first dirty diaper — is a sign of good health. But when a fetus is stressed, meconium is released too soon, creating a toxic mix of amniotic fluid and waste that is inhaled prior to birth.

Amillianna had inhaled the sticky substance either in utero or while traveling through the birth canal. It entered her airways and settled in her lungs. 

An hour after she was born, Amillianna was transferred to Room 624 in the neonatal intensive care unit. Before she and her parents were separated, a nurse held Amillianna close to her mother Karen Ramirez’s cheek, the newborn’s lips resting there for a quick couple of seconds.

Why Is the College-Completion Rate Stagnating?

Grace Hall:

A college education is often touted as absolutely necessary if one is to achieve the American dream. Yet college-completion rates have stagnated in recent years. Given that enrollment rates have declined, as well, it is clear that American colleges and universities have their work cut out for them if they want to survive. Colleges are not simply educational institutions—they are businesses. Without paying students (and a federal government to subsidize those payments), colleges and universities run the risk of folding.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) recently published data concerning the national college-completion rate. That number has stagnated at 62.2 percent for students who started college in fall 2017, a similar outcome experienced by the last two cohorts, from 2015 and 2016.

No matter the cause, colleges will need to improve their completion rates in order to survive in the long term.The data also exhibited a widening gender gap, with 65.6 percent of women graduating in six years, while only 58.4 percent of men did the same. This represents the biggest gender divide since at least the cohort of 2008, the first tracked by NSCRC. While the news media constantly bombards the American public about a “patriarchy” that prevents women from succeeding, women are now consistently more likely to earn degrees than are men.

DPI’s actions do not comply with statutory rulemaking requirements and are therefore invalid.

WILL

The Quotes: WILL Education Counsel Cory Brewer stated, “This ruling is a win for parents, kids, and school choice in Wisconsin. As we noted in our lawsuit, DPI has been exceeding its authority under state law in how it administers the parental choice programs and making up the rules as it goes along. These programs were created to be a simple, easy to use option for eligible families, and today’s ruling helps restore that goal.”

Carol Shires, SCW Vice President of Operations, stated, “This ruling removes roadblocks for families and recognizes the real purpose of school choice: to open doors for parents to find the best educational opportunity for their children. Thankfully, common sense and sanity prevailed in this case.”

Catholic Memorial High School of Waukesha, Inc. President, Donna Bembenek, stated, “Catholic Memorial is proud to stand alongside WILL, SCWA, and Roncalli Catholic Schools to protect the rights of parents to send their kids to a school of their choosing. These programs were designed to create educational access for parents, and this ruling affirms that goal.

Milwaukee 911 dispatcher refused to send officer to carjacking, call audio shows

Nick Bohr:

A carjacking in a quiet neighborhood near 84th and Mill last October still haunts the 64-year-old victim. 

“I remember the person coming into my car, pulling me out of the car, pushing me down, fighting me for my purse,” the victim said Tuesday. She doesn’t want to be identified because she’s still shaken by the crime.

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As she fought the young man, a neighbor called 911.

“Some kids are stealing my neighbor’s car. They’re in her car. They can’t get the car door shut,” she’s heard saying on the 911 call obtained by WISN 12 News through an open records request. The victim is heard as well, describing the ongoing carjacking.

The Argument Over a Long-Standing Autism Intervention

Jessica Winter:

When Tiffany Hammond was growing up in Texas, in the nineteen-nineties, other children teased her for how she spoke: she talked too softly, she talked in a monotone, she paused too long between words, she didn’t talk enough, she talked to herself. “Something’s wrong with her head,” kids would say. She was always fidgeting with pens or Troll dolls. She tried to connect with her peers by taking on their interests as her own—the Goosebumps series of scary novels, the N.B.A.—but the attempts backfired, as when she printed out an N.B.A. schedule, laminated and color-coded it, and brought it to school as a conversation piece. She kept a notebook on “how to be human,” which included tips such as remembering to staple your worksheets at the top-left corner and acquiring a pair of the correct Filas. Nothing worked. “I wondered why I didn’t have friends, or if I even deserved friends,” Hammond said. She dreaded school so much that, on a few mornings, when she was supposed to be walking there, she instead tried to make it to her great-grandparents’ house, some twenty-five miles away.

Helping our kids do math every day

Sebastian Gutierrez

Our kids love math, so helping them do what they love seemed like a good daily goal.

However, life often got in the way, and we didn’t do enough math for them.

Making “doing math” a daily habit was a way to show them respect and honor their interests.

Making Math a Habit

Once both kids had shown enough interest in math that it was apparent to us that we should give them more math, we decided to make doing daily math a habit.

The first thing we tried was being organized and establishing a “Time” Cue.

Year of Fear: In his new book, sociologist Eric Klinenberg looks at what COVID exposed about America.

Kim Brooks:

2020 is both a social autopsy of the institutions that broke down during the pandemic and the story of seven people who lived through it. Why combine these two approaches?

One of my heroes is C. Wright Mills, a midcentury sociologist. He argues that no sociological research project is complete unless you can connect it with the big picture, social story, and historical forces that worked on our individual lives and stories. In other words, the best sociology puts our personal experiences into a broader context because so many of the things that we experienced as personal problems are, in fact, shared problems that come from our culture. So, in all my work I’ve tried to go back and forth between the personal and the social — or some would say the structural. I’ve never done anything quite as intimate, though, as 2020.

Why focus exclusively on New York?

I’ve lived in New York City for 20 years. Shortly after the pandemic began, I published an article in the New York Times in which I argued that social distance was the wrong strategy for surviving the pandemic, that we needed physical distance but social solidarity. It was clear to me that this fact was going to allow some societies to get through the crisis while others fell apart. My initial idea was that I’d travel around the world and see what was happening in all these different societies. Well, of course, the pandemic lasted years, not weeks, so I never was able to go out and travel around the world. But I was in New York, and New York contains a world of different experiences.

How did growing up in Chicago shape your interests as a sociologist?

Overall, the Taxpayer supported Madison School District plans to spend about $591 million this school year”

Chris Rickert:

Math achievement did not necessarily line up with per-pupil spending in Dane County and Wisconsin’s largest districts. Madison spent the most, for example, of the 10 county districts included in the analysis, or $18,896 per pupil in the 2021-22 school year, according to data from the state Department of Public Instruction. Among the state’s largest districts, it was second only to Milwaukee, which spent the most per student, or $19,164, in 2021-22, and had the lowest math scores.

Schools nationwide closed to in-person learning on the recommendation of federal health officials in March 2020 and in some cases, such as in Madison, didn’t fully reopen until the 2021-22 school year — a year and a half later. Public health researchers have long known that the old and the sick were most at risk of dying or developing serious illness from COVID-19, and research as early as the fall of 2020 indicated that in-person schooling did not create an elevated risk of getting COVID for students or employees.

While it’s not known to what degree closing schools curbed the spread of the disease, an October 2022 analysis by the joint Madison-Dane County public health agency of COVID hospitalizations and deaths linked to in-person schooling in Dane County showed there had been no deaths and eight hospitalizations among school populations — six of students and two of teachers.

One school-age person in Dane County, a 16-year-old boy, died of COVID-19, on Nov. 25, 2020.

——

$pending is always a challenge, given the moving numbers.

Mr. Rickert mentions current school year spending of $591,000,000 for 25,581 students or $23,103 per student.

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

UW-Oshkosh professors push for no-confidence vote on chancellor, citing financial failures

Kimberly Wethal

The petition, which has been circulating for two weeks and has enough signatures to prompt a Faculty Senate vote, lists nine reasons faculty lack faith in Leavitt’s ability to lead UW-Oshkosh. They include Leavitt’s oversight of “substantial overspending of revenues” that contributed to the budget crisis and destruction of student support networks built over decades; failure to address potential enrollment declines; and a disregard for shared governance groups. The petition cited Leavitt’s reliance on a consulting firm, not faculty and staff governance, to determine layoffs.

“UW-Oshkosh is strong. Our top leadership is not,” the petition states. “We take no joy in listing the failings of our current leadership. Indeed, we live with their impact every day.”

The decline of financial privacy

Alex Tabarrok:

Cash gave us substantial privacy by default because there was no technological alternative but there was never a collective vote for cash or, sadly, a consensus for privacy. You might hope that people would demand to keep the privacy rights they they once had but no. The populace seems indifferent to the erosion of privacy. Instead, paranoia about criminals hijacks the narrative. “What about the sex traffickers and terrorists?!” they shout. People seem more than willing to give up their privacy in exchange for a promise of security–false though the promise may be. Thus, we get ever more draconian regulations, effectively strangling our financial freedom. The $10,000 cash rule, for example, is insane, a reflection of Nixonian paranoia and not fit for a free society.

Grade Inflation at UC Riverside, and Institutional Pressures for Easier Grading

Schwitz:

Three things are visually obvious from this graph:First, there’s a spike of high grades in Spring 2020 — presumably due to the chaos of the early days of the pandemic.Second, the percentage of As is higher in recent years than in earlier years.Third, the percentage of DFWs has remained about the same across the period.

In Fall 2013, 32% of enrolled students received As. In Fall 2023, 45% did. (DFW’s were 9% in both terms.)

One open question is whether the new normal of about 45% As reflects a general trend independent of the pandemic spike or whether the pandemic somehow created an enduring change. Another question is whether the higher percentage of As reflects easier grading or better performance. The term “inflation” suggests the former, but of course data of this sort by themselves don’t distinguish between those possibilities.

The increase in percentage As is evident in both lower division and upper division classes, increasing from 32% to 43% in lower division and from 33% to 49% in upper division.

How about UCR philosophy in particular? I’d like to think that my own department has consistent and rigorous standards. However, as the figure below shows, the trends in UCR philosophy are similar, with an increase from 26% As in Fall 2013 to 41% As in Fall 2024:

Nobel Prize winner Gregg Semenza tallies tenth retraction

Retraction Watch:

It’s Nobel Prize week, and the work behind mRNA COVID-19 vaccines has just earned the physiology or medicine prize. But this is Retraction Watch, so that’s not what this post is about.

A Nobel prize-winning researcher whose publications have come under scrutiny has retracted his 10th paperfor issues with the data and images. 

Gregg Semenza, a professor of genetic medicine and director of the vascular program at Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Cell Engineering in Baltimore, shared the 2019 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for “discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” 

The pseudonymous sleuth Claire Francis had flagged possibly duplicated or manipulated images in Semenza’s publications on PubPeer before 2019, and other sleuths posted more beginning in October 2020. 

At 93, Joy Hakim is Still in the Fight for Better Children’s Textbooks

Greg Toppo:

As a small illustration of her long, idiosyncratic writing career, Joy Hakim likes to tell the story of a chance encounter in an Oakland elevator.

On the way down after a speaking engagement, a woman handed her a slip of paper — it contained the phone number of her son’s private school. He and his classmates, she said, could really benefit from their school swapping out its traditional history textbooks for a set of Hakim’s.

Asked who she was, the woman admitted that she was a representative of one of the big publishing houses.

“I was appalled,” Hakim remembered. “But this is an industry where almost no one believes the books educate well — and scores prove that.” 

Hakim doesn’t know if the school ever switched over. But the episode underscores her uncomfortable place in an industry that has never quite embraced her. By turns raw, thrilling and eye-opening, her writing offers young people a look at history that they rarely get between the covers of mass-produced textbooks.

Can you imagine not only being so consistently wrong, but also failing to show any sort of humility?

Liz Wolfe:

In a sense, Ehrlich’s trajectory is an early example of the current activist script: Make an apocalyptic prediction with very little regard for the truth, then keep peddling your alarmism even as you’re proven wrong, acting like you’re justified if it gets more people to care about the broad strokes (specifics be damned). Disregard all damage and destruction in your wake, rinse and repeat.

Yale Weighs Reversing SAT Testing After Dartmouth, MIT Shift

Janet Lorin:

Yale University is considering reinstating standardized testing and join Ivy League peer Dartmouth College in a policy shift that reflects a broad reevaluation within higher education admissions.

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an email that the university is “closely considering” its policy, adding that he expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks about the school’s plans for next year and beyond. Dartmouth said earlier this month that it will once again require applicants to submit scores starting in the fall.

Feds investigating Edina Public Schools for discrimination

Louis Krauss:

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Edina Public Schools over alleged discrimination, months after two Muslim students were suspended for using a pro-Palestinian slogan while protesting the Israeli war in Gaza.

The two students — Somali American girls who participated in a student walkout in support of Palestinians in October — each received a three-day suspension for chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Attorney Bruce Nestor announced Nov. 27 that he had filed a civil rights complaint against the school district on behalf of the suspended students. Speaking alongside members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nestor said the complaint was filed to defend students wanting to engage in speech in support of Palestinians, adding that “we will not stand for a double standard that punishes Muslim students.”

The Future of Land-Grant Universities

Allison Schrager:

American universities are in trouble. And no, I don’t mean the troubles in the Ivy League, though these schools are indeed a mess. America’s other—potentially more important—universities also face a crisis. What made the American higher education system great was not just its Ivy League schools but its land-grant state universities. Today, however, budget pressures at these institutions could alter the trajectory of education, the labor force, and our politics for years.

Land-grant universities got their start in 1862, when the federal government donated land to the states, facilitating the creation of these schools. The idea, as the Department of Agriculture puts it, was to help “working class citizens” secure “equal access to higher education with a focus on farming and mechanical skills.” These were the skills most in need at the time. In 1900, for instance, just under half of Americans worked in agriculture. The resulting universities adapted their offerings over the years, the better to suit a changing economy. Today, many have become top-tier research institutions, with extensive libraries that rival those of the Ivy League.

Civics: Latham & Watkins cuts off its Hong Kong lawyers from international databases

Chan Ho-him and Kaye Wiggins in Hong Kong and Suzi Ring:

US law firm Latham & Watkins is cutting off automatic access to its international databases for its Hong Kong-based lawyers, in a sign of how Beijing’s closer control of the territory is forcing global firms to rethink the way they operate.

The world’s second-highest-grossing law firm has told staff that while Hong Kong will have access by default to China documents, from this month they will not be able to see other content in its international databases unless specifically given permission, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The move underscores the growing difficulties for global companies operating in a city that made its name as an international financial hub. It comes after Beijing introduced new anti-espionage and data laws restricting information flows out of the country.

The law firm’s policy cuts off Hong Kong lawyers from default access to content in its US, Europe, Middle East and Asia databases.

Latham & Watkins is now “treating Hong Kong as the same as mainland China”, one of the people said, as US firms grow wary over Beijing’s closer control of the territory. The law firm declined to comment.

Handwriting but not typewriting leads to widespread brain connectivity: a high-density EEG study with implications for the classroom

F. R. (Ruud) Van der Weel Audrey L. H. Van der Meer

As traditional handwriting is progressively being replaced by digital devices, it is essential to investigate the implications for the human brain. Brain electrical activity was recorded in 36 university students as they were handwriting visually presented words using a digital pen and typewriting the words on a keyboard. Connectivity analyses were performed on EEG data recorded with a 256-channel sensor array. When writing by hand, brain connectivity patterns were far more elaborate than when typewriting on a keyboard, as shown by widespread theta/alpha connectivity coherence patterns between network hubs and nodes in parietal and central brain regions. Existing literature indicates that connectivity patterns in these brain areas and at such frequencies are crucial for memory formation and for encoding new information and, therefore, are beneficial for learning. Our findings suggest that the spatiotemporal pattern from visual and proprioceptive information obtained through the precisely controlled hand movements when using a pen, contribute extensively to the brain’s connectivity patterns that promote learning. We urge that children, from an early age, must be exposed to handwriting activities in school to establish the neuronal connectivity patterns that provide the brain with optimal conditions for learning. Although it is vital to maintain handwriting practice at school, it is also important to keep up with continuously developing technological advances. Therefore, both teachers and students should be aware of which practice has the best learning effect in what context, for example when taking lecture notes or when writing an essay

Tracking student data falls short in combating absenteeism at school

Jill Barshay:

Chronic absenteeism has surged across the country since the pandemic, with more than one out of four students missing at least 18 days of school a year. That’s more than three lost weeks of instruction a year for more than 10 million school children. An even higher percentage of poor students, more than one out of three, are chronically absent. 

Nat Malkus, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, calls chronic absenteeism – not learning loss – “the greatest challenge for public schools.” At a Feb. 8, 2024 panel discussion, Malkus said, “It’s the primary problem because until we do something about that, academic recovery from the pandemic, which is significant, is a pipe dream.” 

K-12 Tax & $pending Climate: California’s growing burden

Tyler Cowen:

California’s highest income tax rate is 13.3%. That is in addition to a top federal tax rate of 37%. California also has a state sales tax rate of 7.25%, and many localities impose a smaller sales tax. So if a wealthy person earns and spends labor income in the state of California, the tax rate at the margin could approach 60%. Then there is the corporate state income tax rate of 8.84%, some of which is passed along to consumers through higher prices. That increases the tax burden further yet.

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Commentary.

More.

Why should we respect scientists when their role in the Covid lab leak debate revealed a worrying attachment to China

Juliet Samuel

In a shrinking list of trusted authorities, scientists remain close to the top. The government, the church, the media and even the Post Office might all have had their scandals but, outside climate-denying, antivax circles, “the science” was still sacrosanct. Then along came Covid and raised the scientific establishment to the status of government, judge and jury.

Now the backlash has begun. It may not have reached the establishment, where “the science” is still regarded as akin to the Gospel, but distrust of science and scientists is on its way to becoming mainstream. And like all the other flawed institutions struggling to adapt to the new world of decentralised information and fragmenting authority, the scientific establishment thoroughly deserves its fate.

Notes on Milwaukee k-12 spending, staffing and enrollment

Patrick Mcilheran

Wisconsin’s largest school district is planning to ask its voters to approve a $252 million annual increase in its revenue — and, consequently, spending — in an upcoming referendum.

That district, Milwaukee Public Schools, has seen a sharp increase in spending in the two most recent years of state data after nearly a decade of spending that mostly kept up with but did not exceed inflation.

That, in turn, followed years of steady increases in spending above the rate of inflation and, then, coinciding with the Walker-era Act 10 reforms that coupled a cut in state school aid with tools to allow districts to save money on benefits costs, a sharp drop in spending.

MPS’ referendum is set for April 2. It will ask voters whether MPS can exceed its “revenue limit” permanently. The increase would phase in over four years, starting with what MPS says would be $140 million in new annual revenue in the 2024-25 school year and ramping up to $252 million a year by 2027-28.

District officials say that state funding is inadequate because it has not kept pace with inflation.

How China Miscalculated Its Way to a Baby Bust

Liyan Qi:

China’s baby bust is happening faster than many expected, raising fears of a demographic collapse. And coping with the fallout may now be complicated by miscalculations made more than 40 years ago.

The rapid shift under way today wasn’t projected by the architects of China’s one-child policy—one of the biggest social experiments in history, instituted in 1980. At the time, governments around the world feared overpopulation would hold back economic growth. A Moscow-trained missile scientist led the push for China’s policy, based on tables of calculations that applied mathematical models used to calculate rocket trajectories to population growth.

Four decades later, China is aging much earlier in its development than other major economies did. The shift to fewer births and more elderly citizens threatens to hold back economic growth. In a generation that grew up without siblings, young women are increasingly reluctant to have children—and there are fewer of them every year. Beijing is at a loss to change the mindset brought about by the policy.

Births in China fell by more than 500,000 last year, according to recent government data, accelerating a population drop that started in 2022. Officials cited a quickly shrinking number of women of childbearing age—more than three million fewer than a year earlier—and acknowledged “changes in people’s thinking about births, postponement of marriage and childbirth.”

Some researchers argue the government underestimates the problem, and the population began to shrink even earlier.

Becoming Disillusioned with Teaching by Matthew

Cliff Williams

“In place of ideas and curiosity and the beautiful blooming of young people discovering life, I felt as though I was dying in front of them.”

Edited by Cliff Williams from a recorded and transcribed conversation with Matthew on December 13, 2023. He was in his early thirties when we talked. “Matthew” is a pseudonym.

Becoming a Teacher

Matthew’s road to teaching began four or five years after he finished college. “I had studied writing when I was in college, but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. I worked as a barista for a while. Then I spent several years doing various marketing jobs. I did copy writing, I wrote blog posts for businesses, and for a time I was a brand manager.

“After spending a few years in the world of marketing, I got jaded with it. I didn’t believe that more things needed to be sold. So I left marketing and started working at a bookstore.

“When I was in college, one of my professors had us read Marilynne Robinson’s novel, Gilead. I wasn’t ready for it at the time, but when I read it again after college, I fell in love with it. Then when a friend who also worked at the bookstore told me about Robinson’s new collection of essays, What Are We Doing Here?: Essays, I read it too. 

“That book expresses Robinson’s frustration with the way the humanities were treated by government institutions and businesses, even by the educational system itself. She advocated for the beauty of reading and writing, and wrote eloquently about deeply human things.

Notes on changes in Wisconsin taxpayer K-12 funding policies

WILL:

The Assembly is currently considering AB900—a bill that would “decouple” public school spending from spending on the voucher and independent charter school programs. While the concept likely sounds quite confusing, it’s actually relatively straightforward, and will benefit public schools, taxpayers, and choice schools as well. We’ll explain how below. 

PUBLIC SCHOOLS 

Currently, when a student leaves for the state’s school choice programs and some independent charters, state aid to school districts is reduced to make up for the cost to the state of that student.  This loss of state aid is allowed to be made up for with a revenue limit adjustment that raises property taxes in the district.  AB900 would change this.  School districts would no longer see their aid reduced for the cost of the voucher or charter students, leading to a property tax cut and access to more state aid. Instead, choice and charter schools would be funded by the state.  In addition, the bill includes a provision for school districts to recoup 25% of the revenue limit authority they used to receive for voucher students—leading to additional revenue per pupil for the vast majority of districts in the state.   

We have included an attachment that shows what the bill would result in for every district. This comes from a memo produced by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  To help with understanding, consider the example from Green Bay reproduced below: 

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

With violence at Brockton High School a near-daily problem, teachers are at a breaking point

Shannon Larson 

In December 2022, his arm was broken trying to break up a fight after school, a day after he had remarked to other teachers that it was only a matter of time before someone got “seriously hurt — or God forbid — killed,” he recalled.

More than a year has passed since then, but the disruptions from the pandemic seem to have intensified, pushing teachers and staff to a breaking point. They recounted their experiences in interviews and in emotional testimony at a recent Brockton School Committee meeting, describing students vaping and dealing drugs, engaging in violent behavior that was recorded by crowds of onlookers, having sex in empty classrooms, and verbally harassing faculty.

Cousins are disappearing. Is this reshaping the experience of childhood?

Natalie Stechyson

It’s something her own children won’t experience.

Lancastle’s older brother and sister don’t have children and her husband is an only child. So Nicholas, 9, and Charlie, 7, don’t have any cousins at all — a growing trend as the decreasing fertility rate causes extended families to narrow over time, sociologists and demographers say.

Worldwide, families are shrinking, according to a kinship study published in December in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. That study, using international demographic data for every country in the world, projected a 38 per cent global decline in living relatives for individuals aged 65 by the year 2095, compared to 1950.

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Choose life.

Baby Bust’: Why Fewer Young People Expect to Become Parents

Wharton:

Jeffrey Klein: In your new book, Baby Bust, you raise some provocative issues about work and family…. As I read this book, I really felt you were compelled to write it. So, what do you find compelling about this topic?

Stewart D. Friedman: There’s both a personal reason and a professional one. I originally got into this topic area when my first son was born, now 26 years ago. When I met him for the first time, I was overwhelmed by a question that I just couldn’t get out of my head: “What am I going to do to make the world a safe place for him to grow up in?” This is a question that I hadn’t really thought much about before I met him, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When I got back into my Wharton classroom about a week later, I framed the question in a slightly different way for the students, the future business leaders of the world: How are you thinking about the development, not so much of talent in the next generation, but of people? What does that mean for you professionally as well as personally, and how are you going to figure out how to do that in your own world?

That created quite a stir in the classroom. First of all, they had prepared a case on motivation and reward systems, and I had put that aside for the day. They weren’t very happy about that. But some people were quite upset about the fact that I was talking about family and kids. Others were upset because they didn’t really want to hear about my personal life. But quite a few were really grateful and interested in the questions that I was challenging them with as I just started to rant on this issue, completely unprepared.

7 tips for improving news coverage of private school choice

Denise-Marie Ordway

About half of U.S. states offer private school choice programs, which help families pay for private school. It’s a highly politicized, complicated issue involving multiple types of tuition assistance, hundreds of thousands of children and billions of taxpayer dollars.

It’s also an issue journalists need to examine closely. News coverage grounded in academic research is particularly important as more states consider starting these programs and lawmakers in states that have them push to expand.

How can journalists strengthen their coverage? We put this question to seven university professors who study private school vouchers and other private school choice programs. Here’s their advice:

1. Explain how the various private school choice programs differ.

In the U.S., the three most common private school choice programs are tuition vouchers, tax-credit scholarships and education savings accounts, or ESAs. Journalists often refer to them all as “voucher” programs, but there are key differences.

“ESAs are radically different from school vouchers,” Patrick J. Wolf, a professor of education policy and the 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice at the University of Arkansas, wrote to The Journalist’s Resource.

In our roundup of research on private school choice, we briefly explain these three programs:

The Forgotten History of the Chapter

Nicholas Dames

It is hard to see chapters, such is their banal inevitability. The chapter possesses the trick of vanishing while in the act of serving its various purposes. In 1919, writing in the Nouvelle revue françaiseMarcel Proust famously insisted that the most beautiful moment in Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education was not a phrase but a blanc, or white space: a terrific, yawning fermata, one “sans l’ombre de transition,” without, so to speak, the hint of a transition. It is the hiatus, Proust explains, that directly ensues from a scene set during Louis Napoleon’s 1851 coup, in which the protagonist Frédéric Moreau watches the killing of his radical friend Dussardier by Sénécal, a former militant republican turned policeman for the new regime. After this sudden and virtuosic blanc, Frédéric is in 1867; sixteen aimless years elapse in the intervening silence. It is, Proust argues, a masterful change of tempo, one that liberates the regularity of novelistic time by treating it in the spirit of music. And yet this blanc is not entirely blank. What Proust neglects to mention, whether out of forgetfulness or disdain for such editorial and typesetting detail, is that the hiatus he is praising here is a chapter break. 

“All three finalists either declined the Wisconsin State Journal’s interview requests prior to the panel interviews or did not respond to requests”

Abbey Machtig:

However, only two of those panels, one with students and one with parents, were available to watch via livestream. Members of the public and the media could not attend in person.

Nichols told the State Journal the board wanted to match the interview process from previous superintendent searches and “maintain the parts of our interviews we historically have made more public and then which were more internal anyway.”

“When you add a more public component to interviewing, I think generally it can add as a potential distraction from the interview itself.”

Harvard Extension School Administrator Accused of Plagiarism in Anonymous Complaint

Tilly R. Robinson and Neil H. Shah

Harvard Extension School administrator Shirley R. Greene was accused of 42 instances of plagiarism in her 2008 University of Michigan dissertation in a complaint sent to the University Friday — the latest in a string of anonymous plagiarism complaints against Black Harvard officials.

All three anonymous complaints — against former University President Claudine Gay, Harvard Chief Diversity Officer Sherri A. Charleston, and now Greene, who handles Title IX complaints at the Extension School — were leveled at Black women who hold or held leadership positions at the University.

Unlike Gay, Charleston and Greene are administrators and do not hold academic appointments at Harvard.

The complaint was submitted anonymously to the chair of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ professional conduct committee Friday afternoon and obtained by The Crimson.

Green Bay k-12 superintendent commentary

Danielle DuClos:

Green Bay School District Superintendent Claude Tiller is under review for comments he made on an Atlanta-based talk radio show last week, according to the Green Bay School Board.

Tiller was in Atlanta on Feb. 6 to recruit teachers from Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College, according to his X, formerly known as Twitter, account. While there, he was a guest on a WAOK 1380 radio talk show “REALationship Talk.”

The Feb. 6 show, hosted by Adrienne Berry, focused on navigating educational leadership, according to the station’s Facebook page. Berry did not immediately respond to the Press-Gazette’s phone call or social media messages.

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More.

Do Not Trust Appearances: My Visit to Deep Springs College

Harrison Barnes:

Back in the late 1980s, I had come here to visit Deep Springs College. This college was really a commune of sorts, which was in the middle of the desert, a few hours outside of Las Vegas. At that time, the school boasted the highest SAT scores of any college in the United States and it was very small. In fact, if I recall correctly, there were only about 25 students in the entire school, which was itself supported by an endowment. Tuition was free. In order to attend the school, the students were required to take on various jobs on a farm that the school had established in the middle of the desert. There, the school was supposed to teach its students important real world skills such as self-reliance and resourcefulness, among other abilities. According to the school’s website:

Deep Springs is an all-male liberal arts college located on a cattle-ranch and alfalfa farm in California’s High Desert. Electrical pioneer L.L. Nunn founded the school in 1917 on the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-governance in order to help young men prepare themselves for lives of service to humanity. The school’s 26 students, along with its staff and faculty, form a close community engaged in this intense project.

Deep Springs operates on the belief that manual labor and political deliberation are integral parts of a comprehensive liberal arts education.

Each student attends for two years and receives a full scholarship valued at over $50,000 per year. Afterwards, most complete their degrees at the world’s most prestigious four year institutions.

New Bill Would Require Phonics-Based Reading Instruction in California

by Carolyn Jones • CalMatters

An Assembly bill introduced this week would require all California schools to teach students to read using the “science of reading,” a phonics-based approach that research shows is a more effective way to teach literacy.

AB 2222, introduced by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, a Democrat from West Covina, is backed by Marshall Tuck, who ran for California superintendent of public instruction in 2018. Tuck is now the chief executive officer of EdVoice, an education policy organization. It’s also backed by the advocacy groups Decoding Dyslexia California and Families in Schools.

Many schools in California have already transitioned to the science of reading approach, but some are still using a method known as balanced literacy or whole language, which emphasizes sight recognition of words in addition to phonics. The battle over the best way to teach children to read has been heated, because the stakes are so high: strong literacy skills are linked to higher graduation rates, better employment opportunities, the chances of being incarcerated and the state’s overall economy.  

Cousins are disappearing. Is this reshaping the experience of childhood?

Natalie Stechyson:

Lancastle’s older brother and sister don’t have children and her husband is an only child. So Nicholas, 9, and Charlie, 7, don’t have any cousins at all — a growing trend as the decreasing fertility rate causes extended families to narrow over time, sociologists and demographers say.

Worldwide, families are shrinking, according to a kinship study published in December in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. That study, using international demographic data for every country in the world, projected a 38 per cent global decline in living relatives for individuals aged 65 by the year 2095, compared to 1950.

The composition of family networks is also expected to change, with grandparents and great-grandparents living longer, but the number of cousins, nieces and nephews declining, the authors noted.

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively.

Adam Kotsko:

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications, from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing newobstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade—except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

These Families Are Shutting Down the Bank of Mom and Dad

Veronica Dagher:

Nancy Clark and her then-28-year-old son, Reid Clark, had just sat down to dinner in June 2022 when the conversation turned to when he would move out. The topic had come up before, but this time they decided to set a date one year later.

Nancy, now 60, said she remembers thinking: “I know that becoming financially independent needs to feel a little painful.”

Reid set off on his own last June. He ditched a job managing his family’s three ice cream shops in New Hampshire for a gig as the assistant to a professional ice hockey team’s mascot in St. Paul, Minn. He also works at an M&M’s store.

Nancy bought him groceries when he moved in and occasionally gives $50. By this June, Reid will no longer get any financial help if he’s short. He hasn’t needed to hit up his mom for rent money in the past few months. “I want to chart my own path in life,” he said.

Taking such a gradual approach and framing the conversation around gaining financial independence give it a positive spin, said Rocky Fittizzi, a wealth strategies adviser at Bank of America Private Bank. Telling your children you’re cutting them off suggests it is a punishment.

How To Be Someone People Love To Talk To

Bakadesuyo:

First impressions really are a big deal and talking to new people can be daunting, no doubt. What’s the answer?

It’s simple, really. Research shows that if you expect people will like you, they probably will:

Social optimists, of course, are in the happy position of expecting to be accepted and finding that, generally speaking, they are. Social pessimists, though, face the dark side of what sociologist Robert K. Merton—who coined the expression ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’—has called a ‘reign of error’. Expectation of rejection leads to the projection of colder, more defensive behaviour towards others, and this leads to actual rejection.

Don’t take the cliche advice and “just be yourself.” Put some effort into being warm and open. Ironically, studies show putting your best foot forward actually reveals the real you:

An ideal might be 20% of Americans with a college degree—meaning a reduction of slots by approximately half.

Christopher Rufo:

In 1970, 10% of Americans had a college degree. Today, 40% of Americans have a college degree.

This means, by simple math, that the average intelligence of college graduates has plummeted and, simultaneously, creates a large cohort of Americans who feel entitled to “college-worthy professions” without the intellectual aptitude for them. Hence, the explosion of email jobs, DEI offices, and administrative positions—which are the most susceptible to capture by resentment ideology.

Meanwhile, the cost of this college-degree bubble is shifted onto taxpayers, as the $1.6 trillion student loan scheme is funded, subsidized, and guaranteed by the federal government.

46% of Americans didn’t read a book in 2023

Nathan Bransford:

First up, some stats that are as bracing as the January weather outside (not really, I live in Southern California) to kick off our roundup. A full 46% of Americans did not finish a book last year and 5% more read just one, so if you read two books you’re in the top half of American readers. If you read more than fifty, congrats you’re a book one per-center! Meanwhile, 42% read on paper, 22% digital, and 19% audiobooks, with e-books attracting the heaviest readers.

Lincoln Michel dives a level below the stats and notes that while it’s a tad obscured how they categorize the genres, a quite robust 12% of readers read literary fiction–the same as the number that read science fiction and more than the 11% who read romance–puncturing some of the “we write books people actually read” sneers among certain genre 

No data? No problem! Undisclosed tinkering in Excel behind economics paper

Retraction Watch:

Last year, a new study on green innovations and patents in 27 countries left one reader slack-jawed. The findings were no surprise. What was baffling was how the authors, two professors of economics in Europe, had pulled off the research in the first place. 

The reader, a PhD student in economics, was working with the same data described in the paper. He knew they were riddled with holes – sometimes big ones: For several countries, observations for some of the variables the study tracked were completely absent. The authors made no mention of how they dealt with this problem. On the contrary, they wrote they had “balanced panel data,” which in economic parlance means a dataset with no gaps.

“I was dumbstruck for a week,” said the student, who requested anonymity for fear of harming his career

Worse than Plagiarism: False Firstness Claims and Dismissive Literature Reviews

Richard Phelps:

Recent revelations of suspicious, unattributed text borrowings at academe’s pinnacle of prestige—the president’s office at Harvard University—once again draws attention to the pestilence of plagiarism. Plagiarism scandals among elites are nothing new, of course, and pop up frequently in the news both here and abroad, often with serious negative consequences for the accused.[1]

Of course, plagiarism is unethical—it misdirects credit for the work and misrepresents the accomplishments of the perpetrator. But I will argue it is not the worst sin scholars commit in reference to the wider research literature, though it is more likely to be punished.

Plagiarism stands out among the pantheon of unethical scholarly shortcuts in part because it is relatively easy to catch, and with improving internet textual search tools, it is getting even easier. To catch a plagiarist, one only needs to find the original copied source.

Though malevolent, each incidence of plagiarism misrepresents only one piece of work in the wider research literature. Other, rarely punished research behaviors can misrepresent several other works, even entire research literature.

With a dismissive literature review, an author declares at the outset of an article that previous research on the topic is either nonexistent or no good. Typically, no evidence supports the claim, such as where or how—or even if—the author looked for previous work.

College Financial-Aid Applications Fall 57%

Oyin Adedoyin:

As of late January, about 700,000 seniors had completed applications, down from roughly 1.5 million applicants the same time last year, according to the National College Attainment Network’s analysis of Education Department data.

The rollout stands to be one of the biggest shocks to college admissions in decades, administrators said. Financial-aid packages may not go out until after the date students are normally expected to put down deposits. Some schools have already pushed back the deadline to accept offers of admissions, and more are expected to follow suit.

“Everyone wants answers. Everyone wants to know how and when. And we don’t have answers,” said Mj Huebner, vice president of admission and financial aid at Kalamazoo College. The school told applicants they won’t have to commit until June 1, a month later than usual.

The Government Accountability Office launched an investigation into this year’s Fafsa rollout, following a request from Republican lawmakers.

The Fafsa is used to apply for federal grants and loans. Applications usually open Oct. 1. Half of high-school seniors complete it between then and the end of December. Some schools give out aid packages as early as November. This year, the form wasn’t available until the end of December, and even then families didn’t have full access until January, though families still have time to apply.

“diminishes our district’s ability to maintain our high standard for 4K services that are needed for our families” – credentialism

Rich Kremer:

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Educational Association Council teachers union and Wisconsin State Reading Association have registered against the bill. The Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association have registered in support.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association Co-Director Paula Drew told legislators that while the organization “acknowledges that the way childcare is funded is flawed” in Wisconsin, the bill is “pitting public schools against local childcare providers.”

“While equitable 4K funding for community 4K childcare is an important piece, it’s not the silver bullet to solve the current childcare crisis,” Drew said. “Above all, there must be an ongoing state investment to stabilize childcare infrastructure in Wisconsin.”

SB 973

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

While there is a cure for STDs, there is no cure for stupidity.

Carl Trueman:

The problems with the sexual revolution are embarrassingly obvious. A philosophy of sex that views it as recreational and focused on personal satisfaction tilts inevitably toward seeing the other person as an object to be used. That is why sexual liberation has not proved the gateway to a feminist utopia but has instead favored men. It has also further downgraded children to those who interfere with self-fulfillment. Human bodies do not do well when we use them in any way we wish, especially in the sexual realm. Active gay men are seventeen times more likely to develop anal cancer than their heterosexual counterparts. Even the government acknowledges that, though it is strangely coy about offering the obvious advice. It is hard to imagine the government blithely reporting that statistic relative to any other human activity without also strongly advising people to desist from the problematic behavior. And we have yet to see the full effect of the free-floating sexual life of no commitments on that other current health problem: loneliness. I’d wager it will intensify, not mitigate, the problem of late-life isolation and despair. And yet the revolution continues apace, with each catastrophe simply one more glitch for the experts to solve.

Human history indicates that the self-evident nonsense of an idea is seldom a barrier to it becoming the dominant philosophy of its age. That man is born free and is everywhere in chains is one. That sex is a cost-free, light recreation is another. And we are paying a heavy price for this sexual fantasy, with no sign as yet that our scientific experts are willing to step up and play the role of moral conscience on anything but those issues where they can safely affirm the tastes of the day, such as recreational drugs, fruit-flavored vapes, and alcohol.

Why did the legislature remove third-grade literacy as a goal?

Catrin Wigfall:

There is no doubt that the 2023 legislative session was “transformational.” I have written here about the numerous new education mandates that the DFL-controlled legislature passed and what they mean for Minnesota students, families, and educators. 

But there were also things removed — such as the goal to support third-grade students in achieving grade-level literacy. As of spring 2023 test results, less than half (47.1 percent) of third-grade students statewide are reading at grade level as measured by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA).

—-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Write Less, Teach more

Ms Jasmine:

Mock exams. Days, weeks, and months of preparation, ensuring our students feel ready to take on the reality of exam conditions. We believe they’re up to the task. Their exercise books? Immaculate. Extended writing? Reams worth. And every SLT book look is 100% green.  All of this outward evidence available to us, calling us to the land of 100% 4+, only to have their mocks come back and it’s as if everything we taught them has disappeared. ‘This is shown in the quote’ when the last three essays have used context to embed them; summarising the story when their books have in-depth analysis of methods, alternative interpretations and ‘critical’ evaluations. So– what happened between that RAGd book look and the exam? We focused on their performance in the moment, emphasising speed and quantity, and looked for superficial behaviours, in hopes that they equated with a final demonstration, but in ignorance of the reality that long term learning doesn’t necessarily follow the temporary performance in lessons.

Notes on Meritocracy

Nicola Woolcock:

A University of Cambridge academic has suggested that a meritocracy would reduce the number of black Harvard professors to almost zero.

Nathan Cofnas, an early career fellow at the faculty of philosophy, wants a “hereditarian revolution” and for a culture of “race realism” that acknowledges differences between ethnicities.

However, in a blog he says that many supporters of his theories are less intelligent than people who are more “woke”.

Cofnas, who was hired by the university in 2022, said that, without imposed diversity in recruiting, that black people “would disappear from almost all high-profile positions outside of sports and entertainment”.

——

Commentary.