Category Archives: Uncategorized

Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity

CDC.gov:

What is already known about this topic?

As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States; however, this might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality.

What is added by this report?

Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late January through October 3, 2020, with 198,081 (66%) excess deaths attributed to COVID-19. The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino persons.

What are the implications for public health practice?

These results inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

Why do so few people share fake news? It hurts their reputation

Sacha Altay, Anne-Sophie Hacquin, Hugo Mercier:

In spite of the attractiveness of fake news stories, most people are reluctant to share them. Why? Four pre-registered experiments (N = 3,656) suggest that sharing fake news hurt one’s reputation in a way that is difficult to fix, even for politically congruent fake news. The decrease in trust a source (media outlet or individual) suffers when sharing one fake news story against a background of real news is larger than the increase in trust a source enjoys when sharing one real news story against a background of fake news. A comparison with real-world media outlets showed that only sources sharing no fake news at all had similar trust ratings to mainstream media. Finally, we found that the majority of people declare they would have to be paid to share fake news, even when the news is politically congruent, and more so when their reputation is at stake.

Recent research suggests that we live in a “post-truth” era (Lewandowsky et al., 2017; Peters, 2018), when ideology trumps facts (Van Bavel and Pereira, 2018), social media are infected by fake news (Del Vicario et al., 2016), and lies spread faster than (some) truths (Vosoughi et al., 2018). We might even come to believe in fake news—understood as “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent” (Lazer et al., 2018, p. 1094; see also Tandoc et al., 2018a)—for reasons as superficial as having been repeatedly exposed to them (Balmas, 2014).

In fact, despite the popularity of the “post-truth” narrative (Lewandowsky et al., 2017; Peters, 2018), an interesting paradox emerges from the scientific literature on fake news: in spite of its cognitive salience and attractiveness (Acerbi, 2019), fake news is shared by only a small minority of Internet users (Grinberg et al., 2019; Guess et al., 2019; Nelson and Taneja, 2018; Osmundsen et al., 2020). In the present article, we suggest and test an explanation for this paradox: sharing fake news hurts the epistemic reputation of its source and reduces the attention the source will receive in the future, even when the fake news supports the audience’s political stance.

M.I.T. Comprehensive Theory Exams in Microeconomics, 1961

Irwin Collier:

From the 1961 Economics Graduate Program Broschure

[boldface emphasis added]

Major Program and General Examinations

Work taken in the Department of Economics and Social Science for the doctorate in economics is divided—broadly speaking—into two separate options: economics and industrial relations. But there is considerable overlap between the two.

All students in both options are examined five fields. Among the fields presently available are the following: economic theory, advanced economic theory, monetary and fiscal economics, industrial organization, economic development, international economics, economics of innovation, labor economics and labor relations, personnel administration, human relations in industry, statistical theory and method, and economic history. Each student selects one field as having primary importance for this professional career; ordinarily this is the field in which he writes his dissertation, though exceptions may be made. The remaining four fields are designated secondary fields. One of the five fields must be economic theory.

Students are also required to have at least a minimum knowledge of statistics and economic history. This minimum is presently interpreted to mean one semester of work in each at the graduate level. Candidates who present statistics or economic history as a primary or secondary field normally take two or three semester subjects in the field and automatically satisfy the requirements in that area.

Additional commentary.

The Government’s Reckless Student Lending is Creating a Budget Hole Akin to the 2008 Crisis, New Analysis Shows

Brad Polumbo:

There’s no doubt that federal student loan programs were created with good intentions. Advocates wanted to help more young Americans pursue a college education and achieve social mobility. But the unintended consequences of short-sighted federal intervention into the higher education market are growing ever more apparent by the day.

Ample research already documents the way that federal subsidization of student loans has led to rampant tuition price inflation. 

Per CNBC, private colleges have seen 129 percent price inflation since 1988 in inflation-adjusted dollars. At public colleges, prices have more than doubled over the same period. By handing out student loans like candy on Halloween, the federal government artificially inflated demand—thus encouraging and enabling tuition hikes.

For instance, research published by the New York Federal Reserve found that every dollar the government gave out in subsidized loans led to a 60 cent rise in tuition rates. And a Harvard study comparing higher education programs that accepted federal aid to those that did not found that tuition at aid-accepting programs grew much faster.

Post-George Floyd, a Wave of ‘Anti-Racist’ Teaching Sweeps K-12 Schools Targeting ‘Whiteness’

John Murawski:

The president of the Lower Merion School Board on Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line declared to families: “We need to eradicate white supremacy and heteropatriarchy in all of our institutions.”

In Maine, a coastal public school district where 3.7% of the 2,100 students are African American or Hispanic, the superintendent declared war on “the intentional barriers white people have built to harm Black people.” The top administrator added: “We grieve for all of the Black lives taken by white supremacy.”

Educators at the prestigious Brentwood College School in Los Angeles, have made more changes to the curriculum this year than any other in the private school’s nearly five decade history. Teachers are introducing critical race theory, which views U.S. history through the prism of racial conflict, and assigning readings from Ibram X. Kendi, the academic and author who contends race-neutral policies are the bulwark of the “White ethnostate.”

As part of the makeover, Brentwood School leaders have rolled out a fresh theme this year for fifth graders: “Identity and Power.”

The absence of information in today’s press

Turning Chaos:

We’re told we live in the information age. Statements like this often quote the mind-boggling amount of data produced on the internet using exotic-sounding words like zettabytes per day as proof. To function in this sea of data, we’re supposed to find signals in the noise and read from credible sources of news and other information. With news media taking political stances, it’s not that easy.

My assertion, paradoxically, is that polarization has greatly diminished the quantity of information being produced and consumed via today’s press despite the sea of content they produce. The result is a loss of the press’s effectiveness in their two functions within a healthy democracy, as a check on government and promoter of informed debate.

Training Bias Out of Teachers: Research Shows Little Promise So Far

Sarah Sparks:

This summer, the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools held a series of anti-racist town hall meetings in the wake of the police-led killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on people of color in their community. But the conversation rapidly turned to inequalities within in the school system.

“I would describe it as a harsh look into the current realities of what our students and our families are saying to us around anti-racism in our schools,” said Goodrell Middle School Principal Peter LeBlanc, who noted the conversations are part of the district’s ongoing equity audit. “The foundational finding, which we call it, is our current school system is perpetuating systemic racism.”

More than 6 in 10 students in the Des Moines district are students of color, while more than 9 in 10 school employees are white, and both students and staff of color reported a lack of diversity in staffing and curriculum, as well as inequitable school policies and practices. Data backed them up; for example, Black and Hispanic graduation rates in Des Moines still trail those of white and Asian students.

The Democrats’ Push to ‘Cancel’ $50k in Student Loan Debt Completely Ignores the Real Reason College Is So Expensive

Brad Polumbo:

Calls are mounting among Democrats and progressives for a prospective Biden administration to make “canceling” student debt a top priority.

The loudest demands have come from progressive legislators such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar. Meanwhile, prominent senators such as Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer are imploring Biden to “cancel” $50,000 in student debt via executive order.

Student loan forgiveness is good, actually
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 16, 2020

Student loan debt is holding back a whole generation from buying homes, starting small businesses, and saving for retirement – all things we rely on to grow our economy. Executive action to #CancelStudentDebt would be a huge economic stimulus during and after this crisis.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 16, 2020

While this legally dubious use of executive authority is still a matter of debate in Democratic circles, most elected Democrats support “canceling” some student debt via legislation. For example, in May House Democrats passed the “HEROES Act,” a COVID-19 relief package that included $10,000 in taxpayer-financed student debt relief. (To be clear, student debt “cancelation” just means that taxpayers must pay it off.)

High family income, not SAT scores, is your real ticket to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton

Michael Sandel:

First, the SAT, it turns out, does not measure scholarly aptitude or native intelligence independent of social and educational background. To the contrary, SAT scores are highly correlated with wealth. The higher your family income, the higher your SAT score. At each successive rung on the income ladder, average SAT scores increase. For scores that put students in contention for the most selective colleges, the gap is especially stark. If you come from a family with an annual income greater than $200,000, your chance of scoring above 1400 (out of 1600) is one in five. If you come from a poor family (less than $20,000 per year), your chance is one in fifty. Those in high-scoring categories are also, overwhelmingly, children of parents with college degrees.

Beyond the general educational advantages well-off families can provide, the SAT scores of the privileged are boosted by the use of private test- prep courses and tutors. Some, in places like Manhattan, charge as much as $1,000 per hour for one-on-one tutoring. As meritocratic competition for college admission has intensified in recent decades, tutoring and test prep has become a billion-dollar industry.

Why the DOJ Has a Strong Case Against Google

Federalist Society:

It is notable that this case has arisen at all , given the institutional power Google wields in Washington. As recently as 2013, the Federal Trade Commission closed an antitrust investigation into Google, despite staff recommendations finding that Google’s “conduct has resulted—and will result—in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”

But now, agencies and committees across the government and the nation seem to agree that some legal action should be taken against Google.

The suit also comes on the heels of a remarkable 16 month investigation into the Big Tech giants by the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, resulting in bipartisan agreement regarding evidence of anti-competitive actions taken by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts use Google services, including Madison.

‘I’ll leave the city for my kids to get educated’

Joanne Jacobs:

Several parents noted that many private schools are teaching in person. City-funded preschool programs are operating if they’re in private schools, but closed if they’re in district buildings.

If the chaos and incompetence drives middle-class families out of the city or into private schools and students who remain have learned little but knock-knock jokes, New York City’s public schools will go into a death spiral.

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

The Inauthenticity Behind Black Lives Matter

Shelby Steele:

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina gave a remarkable speech at this year’s Republican National Convention. Yes, here was a black man at a GOP event, so there was a whiff of identity politics. When we see color these days, we expect ideology to follow. But Mr. Scott’s charisma that night was simply that he spoke as a person, not a spokesperson for his color.

Burgess Owens, Herschel Walker, Daniel Cameron and several others did the same. It was a parade of individuals. And in their speeches the human being stepped out from behind the identity, telling personal stories that reached for human connections with the American people—this rather than the usual posturing for leverage with tales of grievance. So they were all fresh and compelling.

Do these Republicans foretell a new racial order in America? Clearly they have pushed their way through an old racial order, as have—it could be argued—many black Trump voters in the recent election. I believe there is in fact a new racial order slowly and tenuously emerging, and that we blacks are swimming through rough seas to reach it. But to better see the new, it is necessary to know the old.

The old began in what might be called America’s Great Confession. In passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, America effectively confessed to a long and terrible collusion with the evil of racism. (President Kennedy was the first president to acknowledge that civil rights was a “moral issue.”) This triggered nothing less than a crisis of moral authority that threatened the very legitimacy of American democracy.

Kentucky AG joins legal challenge to governor’s order banning in-person learning at schools

Alex Nitsburg:

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Danville Christian Academy have filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order that all public and private K-12 schools must stop in-person learning and switch to remote learning starting Nov. 23. The legal challenge takes issue with the prohibition as it applies to religious institutions.

A complaint alleges violation of the federal and state constitutions and violation of the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The plaintiffs want the court to block the enforcement of the executive order against religious institutions such as Danville Christian Academy.

“The order allows schools to provide small group in-person targeted services as provided in Kentucky Department of Education guidance,” a complaint notes. “On information and belief, such services do not include in-person classroom instruction.”

Why Some Schools Close as Covid-19 Cases Rise When Others Stay Open

Leslie Brody and Yoree Koh:

In New York City, when 3% of tests for Covid-19 are positive, schools close. In Indianapolis, the trigger is 13%.

As the coronavirus pandemic surges, cities and school districts—even those located near each other—are making closure decisions based on differing criteria. Nationwide, the triggers for shutting classrooms vary widely, as do the sets of authorities who make the calls.

Complicating the decision: The understanding of the virus has been changing since schools across the country closed in the spring and sent more than 50 million students to remote learning. Since then, some studies show that schools aren’t major contributors to community spread. Some researchers say decisions to close often depend on a community’s density, transportation patterns, resources for safety steps, political atmosphere and local risk tolerance, as well as trends in the pandemic.

Wisconsin high court must rule on Racine’s power overreach

Racine Journal Times:

It’s one thing when an individual school district, such as Racine or Kenosha Unified, decide that they are going to go virtual. It’s another thing for the Racine health department to step in and rule that all schools, including private schools, in its jurisdiction must also shut their doors.

Yet that is exactly what Racine’s health director did when issuing an order saying that all schools within the department’s jurisdiction must switch to virtual learning from Nov. 27 through Jan. 15. That includes not just schools in private and public schools in Racine, but also Elmwood Park and Wind Point.

Now, local parents along with the assistance of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty are fighting the order, trying to stop it before it goes into effect.

And they are right to fight it. It’s an overreach by the City of Racine.

It’s exactly the type of order that the Wisconsin Supreme Court halted in September when Dane County and Public Health Madison tried to require virtual learning there for grades 3-12.

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison Schools’ Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee November Meeting Documents

Administration slides:

1) Call to order
2) Approval of minutes dated Nov. 5, 2020
3) Review Charge Statement/Purpose & Timeline
4) Update of responses to questions & comments
5) What we heard from last meeting?
a) Successful Implementation of RJ Practices & MMSD- Critical Response Teams
6) Partnering with Law Enforcement- Flow and Guidance
7) Continue Discussion: RJ District-wide Implementation Best Practices-
Budget/Policy
8) Making Connections to Restorative Justice and Policy # 4147
a) Discuss Budget & Policy Recommendations: What do we need to continue the work?
What needs to be revised? Strengthened?
9) Confirm Next Meeting Dates/Times/Proposed Agenda Items
10) Adjournment

Freedom, Inc. Policy Proposal:

BACKGROUND

On July 21, 2020, Madison City Council took a historic near unanimous vote to terminate the contract between the Madison Police Department and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), which provided School Resource Officers for the city’s four high schools—the final step in formally removing police officers from Madison schools after the MMSD School Board voted to end the contract. This hard fought victory was the culmination of years long organizing by Black and Southeast Asian youth organizers of Freedom Inc’s “Freedom Youth Squad” who launched their “No Cops In Schools” campaign over four years ago. Removing the physical presence of police from schools is a crucial first step in prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of Black youth and youth of color and protecting them from a system of policing that views them as threats and not as students. However, creating safe, nurturing, and liberatory learning environments for young people attending Madison schools demands much more than the physical removal of law enforcement from school campuses. It requires community control over school safety and discipline within MMSD, and a robust and transparent community-led accountability process for teachers, school administrators, and other school staff who continue to perpetuate the violent and harmful policing and criminalization of Black, Brown, LGTBQ, and differently abled students.

Template for Gathering Safety & Security Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations – Nov 19, 2020.

Committee Members:

Savion Castro (Madison School Board seat 2, appointed to fill Mary Burke’s incomplete term. Seat 2 is on the April, 2021 ballot). Run!

Gloria Reyes (Madison School Board seat 1, elected. This seat is on the April, 2021 ballot. Run!)

Kiesha Duncan (Madison student)

Vera Naputi (West High School Parent)

Stephanie Prewitt (LaFollette High School Parent)

Everett Mitchell (Dane County Circuit Judge)

Noble Wray (former Madison Police Chief)

Lorrie Hurckes-Dwyer (Dane County Time Bank)

Wayne Strong (Former Madison Police Officer and a candidate for the School Board)

Anthony Ward (School Security Staff)

Patrice Hutchins (East High Staff Member)

Corvonn Gaines (West High Staff Member)

Silvia Gomez (East High Staff Member)

Ed Sadlowski (Madison Teachers Union Executive Director)

Nadia Pearson (West High Student)

Bianca Gomez (Freedom, Inc.)

Martha Siravo (Madtown Mommas)

Marques Flowers (Memorial High Staff Member)

Ashzianna Alexander (LaFollette High Student)

Vanessa McDowell (YWCA)

Yanna Williams (Dear Diary)

(Member source document).

August 3 Capital Times post.

Brenda Konkel commentary.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

When Science Was the Best Show in America

Lee Alan Dugatkin:

On May 29, 1810, Katherine Fritsch, a sister in the Moravian Church, boarded a coach in Lititz, Pennsylvania, along with a group of her friends and began the 75-mile trek to Philadelphia. Fritsch noted in her diary the one city site she most wished to see: Peale’s Museum. On the grounds of the museum, whose two buildings sat on State House Square, with rows of trees and manicured lawns, Fritsch passed through a menagerie that included a large cage with a live eagle sitting “right majestically on his perch—above his head a placard with this petition on it: feed me daily for 100 years.”

THE MET OF ITS TIME: Charles Willson Peale painted this self-portrait to celebrate his pioneering museum. Its goal, he wrote his friend Thomas Jefferson, was to collect subjects in nature and “enlighten the minds of my countrymen.”Charles Willson Peale; The Artist in His Museum, 1822; Oil on canvas; Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Gift of Mrs. Sarah Harrison (The Joseph Harrison, Jr. Collection), 1878.1.2

From the yard, Fritsch went into the Peale Museum proper, through a door with “Whoso would learn Wisdom, let him enter here!” posted above. Fritsch walked past a turnstile that rang chimes to announce visitors. She walked up the stairs and into the Quadruped Room, which included a moose, llama, bear, bison, prong-horned antelope, hyena, and a jackal. She explored the Marine Room, overflowing with fish, amphibians, lizards, sponges, and corals. In the Long Room, glass cases were filled with hundreds of birds set against backdrops matching their natural environments; she saw insect cases in which the specimens could be rotated under a microscope. Fritsch didn’t get to see the museum’s mammoth skeleton, but noted in her diary that “all our talk was of how delightful had been our visit to the museum.”

Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.

Patrick Honner:

It probably says a lot about me as a teacher that I assign problems like this. I watch as students try to arrange the right angles consecutively. When that doesn’t work, some try alternating the right angles. Failing again, they insert them randomly into the polygon. They scribble, erase and argue. The sound of productive struggle is music to a teacher’s ears.

Then they get suspicious and start asking questions. “You said four right angles. Did you really mean three?” “Are you sure you meant to say convex?” “Four right angles would basically make a rectangle. How can we get four more sides in our octagon?” I listen attentively, nodding along, acknowledging their insights.

Finally someone asks the question they’ve been tiptoeing around, the question I’ve been waiting for: “Wait, is this even possible?”

This question has the power to shift mindsets in math. Those thinking narrowly about specific conditions must now think broadly about how those conditions fit together. Those working inside the system must now take a step back and examine the system itself. It’s a question that’s been asked over and over in the history of math, by those working on problems ranging from squaring the circle to circumambulating the city of Königsberg. And it’s a question that helps us shape what mathematics is and how we understand it.

Remote learning is here to stay — can we make it better?

Nilay Patel and Sophie Erickson:

Parents everywhere have had to quickly become experts in virtual learning and remote classrooms as the pandemic has shut down schools around the country — and the results haven’t been universally positive.

But there are some things that remote learning does better than classrooms: kids can learn at their own pace and rewatch lessons, they can interact with more of their peers, and they learn to set goals and achieve them. The challenge is balancing what online learning does well with what it can’t do — what we need classrooms to do.

For this week’s episode of Decoder with Nilay Patel, I talked to Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a nonprofit online learning platform for students in kindergarten through high school. Khan Academy is an organization that can only exist because of technology. Sal started tutoring his niece in math over video using off-the-shelf cameras and software, and Khan Academy has since grown into an organization with nearly 20 million users per month in 46 languages and more than 190 countries.

Student Test Scores Drop in Math Since Covid-19 Pandemic

Leslie Brody and Yoree Koh:

American children started school this fall significantly behind expectations in math, and modestly behind in some grades in reading, according to one of the first reports on widely used tests since the coronavirus pandemic shut schools in March.

It would take students in grades five and six at least 12 weeks on average to catch up to where they were expected to be in the fall in math, compared with pre-pandemic skills, the report found. Children in grades two and three would need four to seven weeks to catch up in math, while those in grades four, seven and eight would need eight to 11 weeks.

The report was released by Renaissance Learning Inc., an online testing program used by thousands of U.S. schools to assess students several times yearly and track their progress.

How anthologies help readers discover lost books

Jason Wordie::

Books, like everything else, have their own natural lifespans. Publishers of original material thought likely to be popular may choose to invest in a larger print run, which ensures more surviving copies. Conversely, marginal works might only merit a small initial outlay, with any reprint contingent on successful sales figures.

These can be significantly affected by capricious reviews; many a worthwhile book has been torpe­doed by a few unfortu­nate published remarks. Likewise, local-interest books produced in minority languages in relatively small, predominant­ly mono­lingual target markets – such as for English-reading audiences in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan – result in even smaller print runs.

Unless serious biblio­philes in a parti­cular subject areas assiduously collect whatever newly appears, many titles sink without trace, becoming largely forgotten reference-library fossils. Eventually, some titles become of sufficient historical, cultural or literary interest to merit a full reprint, and find a new life.

School’s Out for Autumn in New York

Seth Barron:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that he was forced to close public schools—serving 1.1 million children—after the city’s coronavirus “positivity case” rate hit a seven-day rolling average of 3%. At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Mr. de Blasio cited a “data-driven, science-driven” decision-making process. The school system, which had opened for part-time, in-person classes only six weeks ago, shut its doors the next day.

The decision angered parents, as the virus hasn’t been spreading in schools. Tens of thousands of children and staff have been tested for Covid-19, with a reported case rate of only 0.19%. The school system is thus 15 times as safe as the city at large, so it makes little sense to close the schools to fight a rising second wave of infection. Most European countries have kept schools open even while businesses remain closed. The World Health Organization advises that there have been only limited cases of student-to-student transmission, and that school closures aren’t an effective means of reducing community transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has similarly concluded that the minor risks of keeping schools open for in-person learning are outweighed by the social and economic costs of closing them.

‘Mr Biden, the COVID task force said it’s safe for children to be back in class,’

“An emphasis on adult employment

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Parental income as a marker for socioeconomic position during childhood and later risk of developing a secondary care-diagnosed mental disorder examined across the full diagnostic spectrum: a national cohort study

Christian Hakulinen, Pearl L. H. Mok, Henriette Thisted Horsdal, Carsten B. Pedersen, Preben B. Mortensen, Esben Agerbo & Roger T. Webb:

Links between parental socioeconomic position during childhood and subsequent risks of developing mental disorders have rarely been examined across the diagnostic spectrum. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of parental income level, including income mobility, during childhood and risks for developing mental disorders diagnosed in secondary care in young adulthood.

Charter-school networks are outperforming traditional public schools

The Economist:

NEW YORK CITY’S schools may be closing, but the pupils at Success Academies, a network of charter schools which has placed all of its 20,000 pupils in remote learning, will still be wearing their uniform (vivid, pumpkin-orange shirts with navy trousers) every day of the week. Unlike traditional public schools in the city, which reopened eight weeks ago but are now closing as covid-19 cases spike, Success has remained all-virtual. Just as with their in-person offerings, high-performing charter networks have managed to create an exemplary virtual programme that other schools are starting to learn from.

Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success, compares the logistics of arranging high-quality remote learning to the D-Day operation. Children needed laptops, science kits, and noise-cancelling headphones. The 7% of her pupils who live in homeless shelters needed internet hotspots. “Remote 2.0’s” curriculum is continuously refined. Ms Moskowitz tweaked the school schedule, usually sacrosanct, to make more time for small-group learning. Unlike many schools, Success did not abandon learning standards or live teaching after closures started in the spring. It required pupils to snappily start school on time and in uniform. If a child is not at her screen by 9am, parents are called.

This approach has achieved “striking success in the face of the viral challenge,” notes a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think-tank. Like Success, Uncommon Schools, another high-performing network with 21,000 pupils, has now made much of its virtual curriculum available free online. At least 227,000 people from every state in America and 92 countries have used the materials. Anyone can log in to download lessons given by its best teachers. One family in Washington, DC, even sought to enroll their child virtually, despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest Uncommon school.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Is Our Workforce Overqualified?

Itxu Diaz:

We have a problem: there are too many smart people in the world. There are too many overqualified workers. There are too many college degrees. There are too many applicants for positions that rely on a particular kind of intelligence. Our modern labor markets have inflated to the extreme the appreciation of highly intellectual jobs, disregarding those that require craftsmanship or simply soul, delicacy, or empathy.

Hardly anyone wants to care for the elderly, or repair short-circuited sockets, or slice meat in a supermarket. Most young people are too busy trying to hack their way into some big consulting firm that promises a bright, bold future. And they’re willing to do just about anything to get there, including sacrificing their family life, their leisure, their friendships—selling their own mother at a flea market if necessary.

According to the OECD, 45% of young Americans have a lovely, shiny college degree under their arm. Of course, we should congratulate them on their efforts. But we should also tell them the truth: as the number of graduates expands, the value of the degree decreases. Much of young people’s frustration comes from the fact that a college degree no longer guarantees that they will find a job worthy of their high qualifications. There have come to be more economists than economy, more lawyers than lawsuits, more engineers than bridges.

So something disconcerting happens, as British essayist David Goodhart has realized. In many Western countries, while young graduates find themselves in a working hell that falls far short of expectations—wandering around scrounging for jobs with salaries far below what they thought their training was worth—workers with less glamorous reputations, such as electricians or plumbers, earn a far better living at a much lower cost.

Students for Life sues D.C. for ban on ‘Black preborn lives matter’ mural after allowing anti-police mural

Greg Piper:

City has turned a blind eye to all other political ‘defacement’ for months

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel commissioned a two-block-long street mural reading BLACK LIVES MATTER just north of the White House.

She allowed Black Lives Matter activists to paint DEFUND THE POLICE right next to it – also in permanent paint.

Given this green light for political expression in favor of black lives, pro-life students started writing “Black preborn lives matter” in chalk on the public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood facility in D.C. Police arrested them before they could even finish.

Students for Life of America, the black conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation and their staff members have now sued the city in federal court, with an “as-applied” constitutional challenge to D.C.’s so-called defacement code.

Why financial literacy matters more than ever

Patrick Jenkins::

Growing up in a just-about-managing former market town on the fringes of the south Wales valleys, with a music teacher dad and a psychologist mum, there weren’t many signs to suggest I would develop an interest in finance. Then, for my 16th birthday, my father gave me a present: £100-worth of BT shares on the occasion of the telecoms group’s Thatcherite privatisation. For months afterwards, I would check the share-price pages of The Daily Telegraph, my parents’ paper of choice. If the stock was up a ½ pence, I would rejoice that I was now £1 better off.

Primitive stuff. And yet that early interest has taken me to my current job as the Financial Times’ deputy editor. Financial literacy has been the cornerstone of my career.

The contrast between my professional life and my early years, as well as the stark gap between haves and have-nots in northeast London where I live, are among the factors that have encouraged me to try to make a difference. In the coming months, the FT is going to establish its first ever charitable foundation, the Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign.

We no longer live in a world of paternalistic employers, nanny states and friendly bank managers. The shift towards a myriad choice of financial products, self-determined retirement planning and sometimes unscrupulous companies that seek to exploit us has made it steadily more important for all of us to have a firm grasp of basic finance. Your mobile phone contract might be great value or a horrible rip-off. Your credit score can rule your life unless you understand its mysteries. These would be reasons enough for the FT to be launching this initiative.

Cancel student-loan debt? That’s making the working class subsidize the elite!

Jonah Goldberg:

One good rule of thumb is to judge parties and politicians by their priorities. Look at which things they actually work to achieve or spend political capital on. This will tell you not only what they’re really for, but which constituents they really care about.

By that metric, it will be very revealing if one of Joe Biden’s first actions as president will be to forgive student debt.

That’s an idea swirling around Democratic circles — particularly among the progressive base. The base turned out for Biden, and now they want their pay-off — literally so, in the case of massive debt forgiveness.

Last week, a coalition of 236 progressive groups led by teachers unions called on Biden to cancel student debt on his first days in office. Biden himself has already urged Congress to cancel $10,000 as part of a pandemic relief package.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have called for even greater debt forgiveness. Sanders’ plan would cost an estimated $1.6 trillion dollars.

New York’s School Closure Sends Parents Scurrying for Backup

Kate King and Charles Passy:

New York City’s decision to switch back to fully remote learning in its public schools sent parents scrambling for backup.

Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered schools to temporarily end in-person instruction beginning Thursday due to rising coronavirus cases in the city. Companies that provide learning pods and tutoring services say they have had an increase in inquiries from parents looking for some kind of in-person or individualized instruction.

Hundreds of thousands of students were attending in-person classes this fall, according to the most recent data available, with another 541,000 students opting for fully remote learning. About one million students were enrolled in New York City public schools last year.

Staten Island resident Steve Stanulis said he is rushing to find child care or a pod-style setup for his three children in grade school. Learning pods, which can be organized by parents or private companies, offer in-person instruction to a small group of children who are taught by either a parent or professional teacher or tutor.

“It’s all fear and not enough fact”

Jessica Chasmar:

CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday slammed the closures of New York City schools amid the uptick in coronavirus cases, saying the decision is being based on “fear and not enough fact.”

During a discussion with Dr. Anthony Fauci on his show Thursday night, Mr. Cuomo, who is the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to shut down in-person learning Thursday without revealing a plan for reopening after the city overall hit a 3% positive COVID-19 test rate.

“I am an antagonist, full disclosure, to the idea of how we’re handling schools,” CNN’s Mr. Cuomo told Dr. Fauci. “It doesn’t make sense to me, Doc, that one case closes down a whole school. They don’t have any real ways of getting you testing. They have different kinds of tests and different periods.

Parents Are Watching Like Never Before. ‘Trust Us’ Isn’t Enough

Sonja Brookins Santelises:

Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools across the country, district leaders and educators have worked to navigate the challenges of this “new normal” in education. And nowhere have the challenges been steeper than in districts like the one I lead in Baltimore.

Like other districts already battling historic and systematic disinvestment in our schools and communities, Baltimore schools have advocated for everything that our educators and students need. We have zeroed in on the digital divide, using precious funds to connect students with devices and hotspots, while rallying for free internet for our students and families. We have called on our state leaders and Congress to pass legislation to ensure sorely needed emergency funding for public schools.

These efforts are critical. But if we focus all our attention outward, we educators will miss the real opportunity of our new reality: a once-in-a-generation chance to turn our attention aggressively inward, using the crisis upon us to accelerate the unfinished work of repairing the flaws and deep systemic inequities of the “old normal” in American education.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Houston-area schools see surge in failing students as COVID wreaks havoc on grades

Jacob Carpenter:

Students across Greater Houston failed classes at unprecedented rates in the first marking period, with some districts reporting nearly half of their middle and high schoolers received at least two F grades because they routinely missed classes or neglected assignments.

The percentage of students failing at least one class has doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in several of the region’s largest school districts, education administrators reported in recent days, a reflection of the massive upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

If those trends keep up, districts expect to see a decline in graduation rates, an increase in summer school demand and a need for intensive support to accommodate students falling behind, among numerous other consequences.

Schools Don’t Spread Covid. Teachers’ Unions Don’t Care.

Joe Nocera:

My first boss in journalism was Charlie Peters of the Washington Monthly, whose way of mentoring his young staff writers was to assign us articles that took us well out of our comfort zones. Given that my parents were both public school teachers, it was inevitable that when the teachers’ union in Washington, D.C., called for a strike in the fall of 1978, Peters told me to write about it.

Working on that article turned me into a critic of teachers’ unions, as Peters knew it would. Sadly, nothing that has happened in the ensuing 42 years — including, most recently, the unions’ insistence that schools be shut down during the pandemic — has caused me to change my mind.

In the 1970s, when I first started writing about teachers’ unions, the main issues they fought with school districts about were work rules. After a series of strikes in the early 1960s, teachers won the right to collective bargaining, which allowed them to negotiate for higher pay; for limits on the number of hours they worked; for due process rights for teachers; and more. They also gained a great deal of political power by aligning themselves with the Democratic Party.

Without question, teachers deserved to make more money — they still do — but the work rules turned out to be terribly damaging to public education. Those “due process rights” made it impossible to fire bad teachers. Seniority rules put length of service over merit and talent — and often drove good young teachers out of the profession. Limiting the number of hours a teacher had to be in the building meant that students who needed extra help never got it.

Ramanujan’s Easiest Formula

Azimuth:

A while ago I wanted to figure out how to prove one of Ramanujan’s formulas. I figure this is the sort of thing every mathematician should think about at least once.

I picked the easiest one I could find. Hardy called it one of the “least impressive”. Still, it was pretty interesting: it turned out to be a puzzle within a puzzle. It has an easy outer layer which one can solve using standard ideas in calculus, and a tougher inner core which requires more cleverness. This inner core was cracked first by Laplace and then by Cauchy. Not being clever enough to do it myself, I read Cauchy’s two-page paper on this subject to figure out the trick. It was in Latin, and full of mistakes, but still brilliant.

On Friday November 20th I’m giving a talk about this at the Whittier College Math Club, which is run by my former student Brandon Coya. Here are my slides:

Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It

Filippo Menczer and Thomas Hills:

Consider Andy, who is worried about contracting COVID-19. Unable to read all the articles he sees on it, he relies on trusted friends for tips. When one opines on Facebook that pandemic fears are overblown, Andy dismisses the idea at first. But then the hotel where he works closes its doors, and with his job at risk, Andy starts wondering how serious the threat from the new virus really is. No one he knows has died, after all. A colleague posts an article about the COVID “scare” having been created by Big Pharma in collusion with corrupt politicians, which jibes with Andy’s distrust of government. His Web search quickly takes him to articles claiming that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu. Andy joins an online group of people who have been or fear being laid off and soon finds himself asking, like many of them, “What pandemic?” When he learns that several of his new friends are planning to attend a rally demanding an end to lockdowns, he decides to join them. Almost no one at the massive protest, including him, wears a mask. When his sister asks about the rally, Andy shares the conviction that has now become part of his identity: COVID is a hoax.

This example illustrates a minefield of cognitive biases. We prefer information from people we trust, our in-group. We pay attention to and are more likely to share information about risks—for Andy, the risk of losing his job. We search for and remember things that fit well with what we already know and understand. These biases are products of our evolutionary past, and for tens of thousands of years, they served us well. People who behaved in accordance with them—for example, by staying away from the overgrown pond bank where someone said there was a viper—were more likely to survive than those who did not.

Modern technologies are amplifying these biases in harmful ways, however. Search engines direct Andy to sites that inflame his suspicions, and social media connects him with like-minded people, feeding his fears. Making matters worse, bots—automated social media accounts that impersonate humans—enable misguided or malevolent actors to take advantage of his vulnerabilities.

When ‘tsunami’ was introduced to the English language, and what it means

Lisa Lim:

“On the evening of June 15, 1896, the northeast coast of Hondo, the main island of Japan, was struck by a great earthquake wave (tsunami), which was more destructive of life and property than any earthquake convulsion of this century in that empire.”

This was perhaps the first time the word “tsunami” was introduced to English users – in an article in the September 1896 issue of National Geographic magazine, given in parentheses and in italics as the Japanese word for “great earthquake wave”.

“Tsunami” is, in fact, composed of the Japanese tsu meaning “port, harbour”, and nami meaning “wave”, and pronounced with the initial “ts” as in the Japanese.

In spite of its appearance in National Geographic, the word did not, in fact, gain much traction in the English-speaking world in the 19th century, though its use is noted in geological articles in the early 20th century.

How to get good at chess

Stephen Moss:

The first thing to say about chess is that we are not all natural geniuses like Beth Harmon, the star of The Queen’s Gambit, who is taught the game by grumpy but lovable janitor Mr Shaibel at the age of nine and is very soon beating him.

The daughter of a maths PhD, she sees the patterns and movement in chess immediately, can visualise effortlessly – being able to memorise moves and play without a board is the sign of chess mastery – and sees whole games on the ceiling of her orphanage dormitory. She is a prodigy, just like world champion Bobby Fischer, on whom Walter Tevis based the novel from which the TV series is drawn. We are mere mortals. So how do we get good?

First, by loving chess. “You can only get good at chess if you love the game,” Fischer said. You need to be endlessly fascinated by it and see its infinite potential. Be willing to embrace the complexity; enjoy the adventure. Every game should be an education and teach us something. Losing doesn’t matter. Garry Kasparov, another former world champion, likes to say you learn far more from your defeats than your victories. Eventually you will start winning, but there will be a lot of losses on the way. Play people who are better than you, and be prepared to lose. Then you will learn.

Cuesta College trustee won’t resign despite calls from critics: ‘I will not be bullied’ Read more here:

MacKenzie Shuman:

Sysak’s fellow trustees — Mary Strobridge, Patrick Mullen, Barbara George, Angela Mitchell and student trustee Jesus Cendejas — were among those calling for Sysak’s resignation.

But Sysak said Thursday that he does not plan to step down.

With Sysak abstaining from the vote, Cuesta College’s board of trustees unanimously voted Thursday to form an ad hoc committee to investigate Sysak’s now-deleted Facebook posts and present their findings at the next board meeting on Dec. 9. The committee will consist of two board members — Strobridge and Mullen — with a Cuesta College human resources employee acting as the moderator for the committee.

That committee will also bring back recommendations for the Cuesta College board to form a broader committee to advise the board on equity and diversity matters.

During the Dec. 9 meeting, the board may choose to censure Sysak, which “is an official expression of disapproval of a board member’s actions by the board,” according to the board’s policies.

Teachers Should Get the Covid Vaccine First

Aaron Strong and Jonathan Welburn:

Two vaccine trials reported highly encouraging results in the past week, with both versions looking to be 95% effective or better. If one or both are approved for emergency use, the U.S. might have enough doses for 20 million people in early 2021. How should the initial supply be allocated? Should it be given to populations with a higher mortality risk, or to people who are most likely to spread disease at higher rates?

Most agree that America’s 18 million health-care workers should top the list. The 3.3 million teachers should come next.

Combating this pandemic has always been about saving lives while allowing the economy to function. The latter isn’t only about immediate business reopenings; it’s also about avoiding long-term harm to the economy and a generation of schoolchildren. That requires laying the groundwork to reopen schools for full-time in-person learning as soon as possible.

Lockdown Addicts: New data from Sweden show it’s safe to keep schools open, but Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisors seem more interested in shutting down.

John Tierney:

For the lockdown-weary, a brief window of hope opened after the presidential election. With Joe Biden victorious, Democratic politicians and their media allies lost their incentive to weaken Donald Trump’s economy and stoke Covid-19 panic among voters. And with Republicans well-positioned to retain the Senate, governors and mayors in blue states could no longer count on a windfall from a Democratic Congress to rescue them from the consequences of their lockdowns. Finally, cooler heads could prevail—right?

So much for that fantasy. Instead of reconsidering their policies, local officials are restricting more businesses and closing more schools, as New York City has just done. Journalists continue treating Covid deaths as the only ones that matter, while ignoring the mounting medical and social toll from lockdowns. Promising more restrictions, Biden has created an advisory board comprised of individuals who favor stricter lockdowns and foresee restrictions continuing until late next year, even if a Covid vaccine is quickly approved.

Biden and other leaders claim to be following “the science,” but that obviously doesn’t include the research showing the high costs and low benefits of lockdowns and school closures. Closing schools was a dubious move in the spring, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that it would likely do little to stem the pandemic (and noted that school closings in other countries had failed to make a discernible impact). Today it makes even less sense in light of the accumulated evidence.

Milwaukee PUblic Schools not done with BLM at school

Donovan Newkirk:

After criticism from parents and other taxpayers, the Milwaukee Public School District will not be moving forward with its plan to incorporate the controversial Black Lives Matter at School curriculum district-wide this academic year.

But some individual MPS schools will be implementing at least some aspects of the curriculum as BLM supporters around the country continue to argue it should be used to formally shape the minds and views of young students.

MPS initially embraced the controversial organization.

Just three days after the death of George Floyd on May 28 in Minneapolis, the MPS School Board passed a resolution to spend nearly $190,000 to develop and implement a curriculum centered around the Black Lives Matter movement. The resolution also called for hundreds of thousands of dollars more annually for the salaries and benefits for 12 ethnic studies teaching positions, five of them new.

At the same meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution urging the district to “reduce the funding of contracts with the Milwaukee Police Department.”

Megyn Kelly Is Ditching NYC After School Promotes Reforming ‘White Kids,’ Says Future ‘Killer Cop’ In ‘Every Classroom’

Tim Pearce:

Independent journalist Megyn Kelly is pulling her children out of school and leaving New York City after her boys’ school promoted a call to “reform white children” and accused white people of “reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity” and slaughtering black people.

Kelly, who founded Devil May Care Media, revealed a letter that her boys’ school administrators circulated among parents and faculty during an episode of her podcast, “The Megyn Kelly Show,” on Monday. Kelly said that she and her husband were pulling their children out of school and leaving New York City over the “out of control” racial social justice agenda in the city’s schools.

“It’s out of control on so many levels, and after years of resisting it, we’re going to leave the city. We pulled our boys from their school and our daughter is going to be leaving hers soon, too,” Kelly said. “The schools have always been far-left, which doesn’t align with my own ideology, but I didn’t really care. Most of my friends are liberals, it’s fine. I come from Democrats as a family.”

“I’m not offended at all by the ideology and I lean center-left on some things, but they’ve gone around the bend. I mean they have gone off the deep-end.,” she continued. “This summer in the wake of George Floyd, they circulated amongst the diversity group – which includes white parents like us, there are people who want to be allies and stay attuned to what we can do – an article, and afterward they recirculated it and wanted every member of the faculty to read it.”

Canceling Student Loan Debt Is Poor Economic Stimulus

CRFB.org:

Facing a weak economy still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a number of calls for President-elect Joe Biden to support the economic recovery by cancelling some or all student loan debt.

There is a debate over whether the President has the legal authority to cancel debt by executive order and whether or not it would be good policy overall.  However, one thing is clear: student debt cancellation would be an ineffective form of stimulus, providing a small boost to the near-term economy relative to the cost. Assuming the loans would be forgiven tax-free, we estimate an economic multiplier of 0.08x to 0.23x.

In this analysis, we show:

There are a number of benefits and costs associated with cancelling student debt. But as a stimulus measure, its “bang for buck” is far lower than many alternatives under consideration or the COVID relief already enacted.

“Pandemic Pods” For All: The Promise of High Dosage Tutoring

Nicholas Munyan-Penney and Charles Barone:

With more than half of U.S. K-12 students enrolled in districts providing no in-person instruction, and many more districts considering moving to all-remote learning due to spiking COVID-19 infection rates, pressures are mounting on parents to find ways to guide, support, and supplement their children’s education.

We know that many parents who can afford it are enrolling their children in private tutoring and small group learning programs also known as “pandemic pods.” Learning pods are, overall, a promising idea. However, only higher income parents can afford them, which exacerbates already wide opportunity gaps in our current public education system.

Recent polling we did in Wisconsin found that a majority of voters have similar concerns: 73% of likely voters indicated they were somewhat or very concerned that private pods would worsen opportunity gaps. These concerns were even higher among Black and Democratic voters, with 87% and 85% voicing concern, respectively.

To promote greater educational equity, we think it makes sense to establish publicly funded, evidence-based, one-on-one tutoring programs and pandemic pods, especially for those students who are the most ill-served by remote and hybrid COVID learning models. These could be run by school districts, colleges and universities, or non-profit community-based organizations.

A Draft Critique of the Meritocritique

Garrett Jones:

I recently looked for empirical papers that looked at one way to compare meritocracy to some concrete alternative: Are Ivy grads in today’s SAT era better or worse than those that graduated before the SAT era?

George W. Bush, for example, was at Yale just around the time that SAT scores started mattering more, and some profiles of W noticed the tension in the Ivies at the time—old money competing in the classroom against smart outsiders. It was just a fast-enough transition that an enterprising economist could try using it as a natural experiment that asked a question like this:

Are there more or fewer Nobel laureates/U.S. Senators/patent holders/CEOs/leading philanthropists from one era rather than another, adjusting for the expected time trends? Does it look like a structural break in graduate quality?

Farm accident ends the short life of ‘cool kid’ from Illinois

Dave Reynolds:

But, according to Bureau County Coroner Janice Wamhoff, as the large piece of machinery was being straightened into position in the building by the elder Wall, one of its metal, tooth-like shanks pierced Kaden in the back of the head.

He died instantly.

Angie Wall, Kaden’s mother, said it appeared that Kaden ducked to get under the cultivator and was hit from behind.

“It was just a terrible, split-second accident,” she told the Journal Star. “It was nobody’s fault. Kaden did not suffer. He was already gone when I got there.”

New International College Enrollments Plummet 43% Due To COVID-19

Chronicle:

he number of international students at American colleges plunged this fall, according to a just-released survey by the Institute of International Education, with new enrollments diving 43 percent as tens of thousands of students stuck overseas because of the pandemic deferred their admission or called off their studies altogether.

Although the current drop is without precedent, international enrollments had begun to decline even before Covid-19 struck, according to new data from the institute and the U.S. State Department. According to the annual “Open Doors” report, released on Monday, enrollments decreased nearly 2 percent in the fall of 2019. …

Wisconsin’s largest teachers union calls for state to decide when schools should close due to COVID-19

Samantha West:

Wisconsin’s largest teachers union wants state health officials to decide when schools should close because of COVID-19, arguing local health department guidance is inconsistent and potentially dangerous.

The demand comes as the Wisconsin Education Association says it continues to receive hundreds of complaints from educators who feel unsafe in the classroom and frustrated by the state’s hands-off approach to closing schools.

A Nov. 13 letter sent to Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm called on DHS to create mandatory metrics for schools to use in determining whether classes should meet in-person or online.

Such measures wouldn’t be necessary, the letter said, “had the Republican Legislature and Wisconsin Supreme Court not thwarted your good faith efforts … to contain the virus.”

“However, we are now in a situation where the virus is out of control and DHS must use any remaining tools it has to curb its spread.”

US visas for Chinese students tumble 99% as tensions rise

Shin Watanabe:

U.S. visas issued to Chinese students have fallen dramatically as tougher screening by Washington and the pandemic discourage applicants amid rising tensions between the two countries.

The number of F-1 student visas granted to applicants in mainland China came to just 808 in the six months through September, down 99% from 90,410 in the same period a year earlier, according to data released by the U.S. Department of State. Chinese students make up the largest share of international students in the U.S., at roughly 30%.

The sharp plunge suggests that tensions between Washington and Beijing are affecting the career plans of Chinese students as well as academic exchanges between the two countries. Difficulty in obtaining American visas could steer some Chinese students toward other destinations, such as Australia, Canada and Japan.

Mass. school committees push for full funding of low-income students, tax increases

James Vaznis:

School committee members from three dozen districts urged Governor Charlie Baker and other state leaders Wednesday to make good on a promise to fully fund the education of students living in poverty — and encouraged lawmakers to raise taxes if necessary.

“It is unconscionable that as the wealthy continue to amass wealth, our governor and Legislature are neglecting our poorest communities, which educate an overwhelming majority of the Commonwealth’s students of color,” the 90 school committee members wrote in a letter to state leaders.

As part of their proposed fix, school committee members from Boston, Holyoke, Revere, Somerville, Worcester, and elsewhere urged lawmakers to raise the corporate tax rate, increase capital gains taxes, and close loopholes that allow US companies with foreign affiliates to pay less in taxes.

Lambda School Commentary

Applied Divinity Studies:

Lambda School is a coding bootcamp that only charges tuition if you get a job. Founder/CEO Austen Allred frequently takes to Twitter, defending his bootcamp against allegations of fraud, and rebutting critics with case after case of student success.

I was initially excited about Lambda School, but have slowly grown disillusioned over time. So when they released their 2019 H1 Outcomes Report, I was excited to finally access a ground truth and put an end to all the speculation.

Instead, I found a consistent pattern of deception.

In the rest of this piece, I’ll walkthrough a number of examples, in which Allred:

• Claims a job placement rate of 86%, when the actual number is as low as 55%, and at least as bad at 70%

• Misrepresents graduate salaries on Twitter, despite claiming a random sample

• Calls regulatory approval a “significant endorsement”, despite a troubled history of bans

• Lies about having been homeless

Some of these are blatant and explicit, some are more subtle. I’ve done my best to present the facts fairly, and leave the rest up to your judgement.

Our inept leaders’ irrational decision to close NYC schools

Karol Markowicz:

You can take your child to eat indoors at a restaurant, take them to any number of extracurricular activities indoor and out, take them for a manicure, and certainly take them to a Joe Biden victory street party, but you can’t take them to your local public school to learn. The message for months now has been crystalized: School is just not that important in this city.

The incompetent one-two punch of New York City leadership, featuring a dithering Mayor Bill de Blasio and angry Governor Andrew Cuomo, was on full display yesterday as rumors swirled all morning whether schools would shutter.

Hizzoner was hours late for his press conference so Gov. Cuomo went ahead and had his own. Cuomo insulted reporters, acted cagey, and said NYC schools could remain open as the positive rate was only 2.5%.

He looked like a fool when, shortly after his press conference ended, the news hit that Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza had informed principals that schools were indeed closing starting Thursday because NYC had, actually, hit the 3% rate.

Of course the mayor and governor use different data! Doesn’t every state feature that kind of dysfunction by two leaders who happen to be in the same party?

Complacency and American Girl Dolls

Joy Buchanan:

It’s not lost on me that American Girl is playing on nostalgia to sell more product. Millennials like myself might buy this mini Molly doll so we can re-live memories of childhood vicariously. However, I’m going to use this to illustrate “the great stagnation”.

You can be inwardly focused or outwardly focused. The WWII war effort was a time when America was dynamic and focused on achieving great things.

“Courtney” the 80’s doll is pictured next to a Pac-Man arcade machine. Her goal is to keep herself sufficiently entertained. She can listen to her Walkman if Pac-Man gets boring.

All Hail Geometric Algebra!

Crypto.Stanford.edu:

What if we generalize? That is, given any two rotations that fix the origin, what is the single rotation that is equivalent to their composition? Can we solve this just as easily?

Yes! With geometric algebra, we can solve the first problem comfortably with pen and paper, and apply the same method to its generalization.

We’ll take a whirlwind tour of A Survey of Geometric Algebra and Geometric Calculus by Alan Macdonald. We’ll also assume our constructions are well-defined; for proofs, refer to An elementary construction of the geometric algebra by the same author. See also:

Civics: How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps

Joseph Cox:

The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, Motherboard has learned. The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a “level” app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

Through public records, interviews with developers, and technical analysis, Motherboard uncovered two separate, parallel data streams that the U.S. military uses, or has used, to obtain location data. One relies on a company called Babel Street, which creates a product called Locate X. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a branch of the military tasked with counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and special reconnaissance, bought access to Locate X to assist on overseas special forces operations. The other stream is through a company called X-Mode, which obtains location data directly from apps, then sells that data to contractors, and by extension, the military.

Civics: Judge orders Gov. Evers to turn over emails to FOX6

Amanda St. Hilaire:

A recent spot check on two weeks of state lawmakers’ emails uncovered the practice of using personal email addresses to communicate about sensitive government information.

MILWAUKEE – After a year-long battle over Governor Tony Evers’ emails, a Dane County Circuit Court judge ruled this week in FOX6’s favor.

In September 2019, FOX6 requested just over four weeks of emails to and from Governor Tony Evers and his chief of staff, Maggie Gau. FOX6 regularly conducts open records spot checks on public employees’ emails. A recent spot check on two weeks of state lawmakers’ emails uncovered the practice of using personal email addresses to communicate about sensitive government information.

The governor’s assistant legal counsel Erin Deeley denied the request and FOX6’s subsequent attempt to narrow the request to emails from one week.

America’s other identity divide — class

Rana Foroohar:

Race is often a central issue in American political life. But, as the 2020 presidential election has just shown us, class is a topic that matters just as much, perhaps even more, at least in terms of votes.

While the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, won a majority of small towns and rural areas, his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, took communities that represent a whopping 70 per cent of the US economy, according to Brookings Institution data. No matter where voters were in the country, if they lived in an economic growth hub, it’s likely that they voted for Mr Biden.

This tells us some important things about America. First, that wealth and power are concentrated in just a few places. When you look at an electoral map of the US, it is overwhelmingly red, except on the coasts and a few inland urban areas. More than two-thirds of US job growth since 2007 has been concentrated in 25 cities and regional hubs, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Meanwhile, lower growth areas and rural counties where some 77m people live have had “flat or falling employment growth”, even following the recovery from the last financial crisis. 

What American Schools Should Teach About Race, Racism and Slavery

Dennis Prager:

So, then, what should American schools teach about race?

They should, of course, teach students about slavery and racism.

But, if truth and moral clarity are to matter, students must also learn that slavery was universal. They would therefore learn about Muslim-Arab slavery, slavery among Africans, slavery among Native Americans and Native South Americans, and slavery in Asia and India.

They would learn that it was the West, beginning with England and America, that abolished slavery. And they would learn that the abolitionists were overwhelmingly religious Christians, animated by the Bible and Judeo-Christian values.

They would learn that, unlike the slaves under Arab-Muslim rule, most black slaves in America were allowed to have children and form families. They would read Herbert Gutman’s “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” about which The New York Times wrote when it was published in 1976: “Gutman has performed an immense service in burying the idea that slavery destroyed the black family.” For the record, Gutman was a professor of the left and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

School District Decides Asians Aren’t Students of Color

Robby Soave:

One school district in Washington state has evidently decided that Asians no longer qualify as persons of color.

In their latest equity report, administrators at North Thurston Public Schools—which oversees some 16,000 students—lumped Asians in with whites and measured their academic achievements against “students of color,” a category that includes “Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Multi-Racial Students” who have experienced “persistent opportunity gaps.”

Most indicators in the report show that the achievement gap between white/Asian students and “students of color” is fairly narrow and improving over time. It would probably be even narrower if Asian students were categorized as “students of color.” In fact, some indicators might have even shown white students lagging behind that catch-all minority group. Perhaps Asians were included with whites in order to avoid such an outcome. (The superintendent did not respond to a request for comment.)

civics: Progressive policies penalize those who play by the rules and shower benefits on those who don’t.

James Meigs:

A man approached Warren with a question. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money [so that] she doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”

“Of course not,” Warren replied.

“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

A video of the exchange went viral. It summed up the frustration many feel over the way progressive policies so often benefit select groups, while subtly undermining others. Saving money to send your children to college used to be considered a hallmark of middle-class responsibility. By subsidizing people who run up large debts, Warren’s policy would penalize those who took that responsibility seriously. “You’re laughing at me,” the man said, when Warren seemed to wave off his concerns. “That’s exactly what you’re doing. We did the right thing and we get screwed.”

That father was expressing an emotion growing more common these days: he felt like a chump. Feeling like a chump doesn’t just mean being upset that your taxes are rising or annoyed that you’re missing out on some windfall. It’s more visceral than that. People feel like chumps when they believe that they’ve played a game by the rules, only to discover that the game is rigged. Not only are they losing, they realize, but their good sportsmanship is being exploited. The players flouting the rules are the ones who get the trophy. Like that Iowa dad, the chumps of modern America feel that the life choices they’re most proud of—working hard, taking care of their families, being good citizens—aren’t just undervalued, but scorned.

Commentary on Wisconsin’s Referendum Tax & Spending Climate

Wisconsin Policy Forum:

Despite the highest unemployment rate on record earlier this year and the absence of tens of thousands of students from school buildings since March, unofficial results show Wisconsin voters approved school referenda this month at near record rates. The results speak particularly loudly given that they happened in a high-turnout election and in both red and blue communities.

The Fury of the Fatherless

Mary Eberstadt:

According to the first thorough examination of the street protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, undertaken by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project in conjunction with the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton, more than 10,600 incidents of what is benignly called “unrest” were recorded between May 24 and August 22. Of these, some 570 involved violence. Of those, most have involved Black Lives Matter activists. Preliminary insurance estimates show that the damage will surpass the $1.2 billion in damages accrued during the 1992 Rodney King riots. And then there are the atmospherics that separate these protests from many that have gone before: lusty screaming, ecstatic vandalism, the menacing of bystanders.

The ritualistic exhibition of destructive behaviors in city after city is without precedent in America. Neither the civil rights demonstrations nor the protests against the war in Vietnam looked remotely like this. The differences demand explanation. Blame what you will on the usual bête noirs: ­Donald Trump, cancel culture, police brutality, political tribalism, the coronavirus pandemic, far-right militias, BLM, antifa. All these factors feed the “­demand” side of the protests and rioting, the ­reasons for the ritualistic enactment. But what about the “supply” side—the ready and apparently inexhaustible ranks of demonstrators themselves? What explains them?

The answer cannot be “racism.” The spectacle of often-white protesters screaming at sometimes-black policemen undercuts anything dreamed of by Critical Race Theory. So do the actual statistics concerning cop-on-black crime. So do public attitudes. In 2017, according to Pew Research, 52 percent of respondents said that race “doesn’t make much difference” in marriage, and another 39 percent said that interracial marriage is “a good thing.” When 91 percent of the public shrugs at or applauds interracial marriage, it is absurd to speak of a spectral racism that permanently and irredeemably poisons society.

So, here’s a new theory: The explosive events of 2020 are but the latest eruption along a fault line running through our already unstable lives. That eruption exposes the threefold crisis of filial attachment that has beset the Western world for more than half a century. Deprived of father, Father, and patrium, a critical mass of humanity has become socially dysfunctional on a scale not seen before.

Revealing the mysteries of music

Stephen Brown:

A lifetime ago, when I was taking a first-year course in music theory at university, the instructor was banging out a series of chords from a Chopin Nocturne – and I speak literally here, he was punishing the piano as though to beat the sequence into submission, as though to – what? force it to reveal its mysteries? But its mysteries did not lie in an argument about the function of a particular chord, an argument that hinged on whether Chopin had written a G-flat when he should have written an F-sharp (the same black key on the piano).

The Nocturne’s mysteries, insofar as they are discoverable, lie in the relationship between the ceaseless rhythmic iteration of the left hand and the right hand’s striving to sustain its long melody notes, and in the subtle dissonances the left hand uses to corral it – language of affect not wholly different from that used by Henry Purcell in “Dido’s Lament”. None of this seemed of any relevance to my chord-puzzle instructor, and shortly afterwards I changed my course.

Is This the End of College as We Know It?

Douglas Belkin:

Rachael Wittern earned straight As in high school, a partial scholarship to college and then a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She is now 33 years old, lives in Tampa, earns $94,000 a year as a psychologist and says her education wasn’t worth the cost. She carries $300,000 in student debt.

Dr. Wittern’s 37-year-old husband worked in a warehouse for several years before becoming an apprentice electrician. He expects to earn comparable money when he’s finished—minus the debt. When and if they have children, Dr. Wittern says her advice will be to follow her husband’s path and avoid a four-year degree.

“I just don’t see the value in a lot of what I studied,” she says. “Unless they have a really specific degree in mind we’d both prefer they take a more pragmatic, less expensive route.”

For traditional college students, the American postsecondary education system frequently means frontloading a lifetime’s worth of formal education and going into debt to do it. That is no longer working for millions of people, and the failure is clearing the way for alternatives: Faster, cheaper, specialized credentials closely aligned with the labor market and updated incrementally over a longer period, education experts say. These new credentials aren’t limited to traditional colleges and universities. Private industry has already begun to play a larger role in shaping what is taught and who is paying for it.

For more than a century, a four-year college degree was a blue-chip credential and a steppingstone to the American dream. For many millennials and now Gen Z, it has become an albatross around their necks.

The kids aren’t alright: How Generation Covid is losing out

Federica Cocco:

When Mary Finnegan, 27, and her sister Meg, 22, left their Brooklyn apartment to return to their parents’ home in March, they took enough clothes to last two weeks.

Their stay stretched into months. “It was like a return to homeschooling: no boys, no play dates, nowhere to go, except home and the liquor store,” Mary told the Financial Times.

As the coronavirus pandemic worsened and universities closed, Mary and Meg were followed by three other siblings, turning the parental four-bedroom house in Washington, New Jersey, into a “food hall, a bakery and a gym”, according to their mother Lori.

The Finnegans are among the millions of young adults around the world who have moved back in with their parents since Covid-19 struck. In the US, the share of 18- to 29-year-olds living at home is the highest ever recorded.

While they are less at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, students and young workers are suffering from the pandemic’s economic fallout more harshly than other groups, data show. The pandemic has also amplified previous trends including low wages, stagnant job markets and rising student debt.

A global survey by the Financial Times, to which more than 800 16- to 30-year-olds responded, shows that these difficulties are translating into growing resentment towards older generations, which are both better off and holding greater political sway.

“We are not in this together, millennials have to take the brunt of the sacrifice in the situation,” said Polina R, 30, from Montreal, Canada. “If you won’t watch out that we don’t end up jobless and poorer, why should we protect you?”

Here is what they told the FT about their experiences during the pandemic:

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

“Try as best as possible to keep the schools open…”

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

“Schools Should Be the Last Things We Close, Not the First/Why do we keep asking children to bear the brunt of a lockdown?”

Aaron Carroll:

Cases have definitely been more common in school-age children this fall. But when schools do the right things, those infections are not transmitted in the classroom. They’re occurring, for the most part, when children go to parties, when they have sleepovers and when they’re playing sports inside and unmasked…. The playbook for keeping schools as safe as possible has been understood for many months…

[O]ur schools are not, for the most part, prepared to deliver high quality educational content online. Kids are also social animals and need safe in-person interactions for their mental health and development….  Closing schools also exacerbates social and economic disparities…. Students who fall behind will have an incredibly difficult time catching up….

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

Projecting the Potential Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement

Megan Kuhfeld:

As the COVID-19 pandemic upended the 2019–2020 school year, education systems scrambled to meet the needs of students and families with little available data on how school closures may impact learning. In this study, we produced a series of projections of COVID-19-related learning loss based on (a) estimates from absenteeism literature and (b) analyses of summer learning patterns of 5 million students. Under our projections, returning students are expected to start fall 2020 with approximately 63 to 68% of the learning gains in reading and 37 to 50% of the learning gains in mathematics relative to a typical school year. However, we project that losing ground during the school closures was not universal, with the top third of students potentially making gains in reading.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

Teachers unions have kept schools closed. Now they want more money?

Frederick Hess:

Since March, millions of students have been out of school. Nearly half of the nation’s 50 largest school districts haven’t yet reopened or are only now planning to do so. Hybrid reopening plans have been a start-and-stop, hit-and-miss endeavor. Given the mounting evidence that the public health risks of reopening schools are modest and manageable, it’s no surprise that parents are growing more supportive of in-person schooling. 

Here is a moment for educators to rise to the challenge: to insist that schools safeguard the well-being of staff but also that they find ways to serve their charges. Unfortunately, a rather different narrative has taken hold. Indeed, last week, El Paso teacher Lyn Peticolas took to Education Week—K-12 education’s newspaper of record—to publish an op-ed titled “What Demands to ‘Open Schools Now!’ Sound Like to a Teacher” in which she ardently denounced the “coronavirus-deniers” who hurl “vitriol” at school districts for not reopening. 

Utterly ignoring that thousands of private schools have reopened without incident, that many thousands of public schools have safely opened their doors, or the grave concerns about remote learning, Peticolas waxes enthusiastic about the miracles of virtual teaching before declaring that the “sole aim” of those seeking to reopen schools “seems to be to cause strife and unrest.” She goes on, at great length, to explain how overburdened and underappreciated teachers are.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Do Family Policies Reduce Gender Inequality? Evidence from 60 Years of Policy Experimentation

Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Johanna Posch, Andreas Steinhauer & Josef Zweimüller:

Do family policies reduce gender inequality in the labor market? We contribute to this debate by investigating the joint impact of parental leave and child care, using administrative data covering the labor market and birth histories of Austrian workers over more than half a century. We start by quasi-experimentally identifying the causal effects of all family policy reforms since the 1950s on the full dynamics of male and female earnings. We then map these causal estimates into a decomposition framework a la Kleven, Landais and Søgaard (2019) to compute counterfactual gender gaps. Our results show that the enormous expansions of parental leave and child care subsidies have had virtually no impact on gender convergence.

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Should Remote Workers Pay a Tax for the ‘Privilege’ of Using Their Home as an Office?

Christian Britschgi:

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the service sector, made millions unemployed, and forced many of us who still do have jobs to work remotely. Fortunately, we now have a perfect solution to all this economic dislocation and disruption: a new tax on working from home!

This week, the German financial giant Deutsche Bank released a new report full of proposals for how governments and corporations should respond to the pandemic. Included in the report is a call for a 5 percent tax on the incomes of people who work from home in places where the government is not advising or forcing people to do so.

“For years we have needed a tax on remote workers—COVID has just made it obvious,” writes Deutsche Bank’s Luke Templeton. “Remote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving its benefits.”

Those who have the privilege of telecommuting are reaping rewards hand over fist in the form of less money spent on transportation, restaurant meals, and dry cleaning, argues Templeton.

Trumpism & Academia

Jack Stripling:

As counties on the electoral map turned gradually this week from red to blue, the presidency of Donald J. Trump appeared, as the poet might have said, like a patient etherized upon a table.

The overwhelming question looming over the proceedings was not just whether Trump’s electoral hopes could have been revived, but also what might happen after his time in office reaches its end. What aspects of Trump’s presidency, in all of its populist brashness, might endure once Americans had denied him a second term?

It is a question of particular urgency on college campuses, whose leaders and faculty members seek to revive a spirit of intellectual engagement and civility in a riven nation.

Despite Trump’s loss on Saturday to Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger for president, the vitality of “Trumpism” appears intact. The suspicion of intellectual elites, the dismissal of scientific research, and the notion that the nation’s prosperity is threatened by named and unnamed outsiders are hallmarks of a political philosophy that has gone mainstream with a presidential bullhorn.

Related: “a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions”

Surprise! Americans Oppose Discrimination

John Rosenberg:

Almost everyone is disappointed, frustrated, or angry about the election results—Republicans, because at this writing they appear to have lost the presidency amid widespread reports of voting—er, irregularities; Democrats, because they suffered an unexpected but major shellacking in the House and appear not to have regained the Senate. A noteworthy, important exception is the hearty band of Asian Americans and other Davids, who, under the inspired leadership of Ward Connerly, defeated the massively funded effort of Goliath—California’s Democratic party and the state’s cultural and financial elite—to pass Proposition 16, which would have repealed the state’s constitutional prohibition of discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to people based on race, ethnicity, or sex.

The vote, shocking to some and surprising to many, was not close: 57% to 43%. As this graphic display vividly demonstrates, California was a sea of red counties voting No with only a handful of coastal liberal enclaves (San Francisco, Marin, Santa Cruz, Alameda [Oakland]) voting Yes. Los Angeles, the only other yes-voting county, barely did so—51% to 49%.

Some Racine schools may fight health order telling them to close

Caitlin Sievers:

Some schools are considering fighting it. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative nonprofit law firm based in Milwaukee, says it’s illegal.

But the City of Racine is standing by its Health Department’s most recent COVID-19 order that requires all private and public K-12 school buildings within the jurisdiction of its health department to close from Nov. 27 to Jan. 15. The Health Department advises that schools should switch to virtual learning while the order is in effect.

“The order violates state law,” said Anthony LoCoco, deputy counsel for WILL. “That’s our position. Local health officers don’t have the authority to issue blanket school closures like this. That power resides with the state Department of Health Services.”

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases

https://www.reopenourschools.org.

Scott Girard:

Political affiliation and union representation were more strongly related to Wisconsin school district decisions to opt for virtual or in-person instruction this fall than COVID-19 positivity rate, according to a new report.

The study from the conservative Wisconsin Institute For Law & Liberty (WILL) published Monday found that 14% of districts in the state with a union began the year with virtual-only instruction compared to just 3% of those without union representation. Political affiliation, measured by the 2016 vote share for Donald Trump in a school district’s county, had an even larger correlation.

Average COVID-19 cases per 100,000, meanwhile, were nearly identical between districts going virtual and those returning for in-person instruction. In the three weeks before the school year began, when many districts made decisions about the upcoming year, the rates were 10.96 in districts going virtual and 10.99 in those returning to in-person school, study author Will Flanders said in an interview.

“(That was) the most surprising aspect to me,” Flanders said. “I thought that union presence and political ideology probably would play a role but I didn’t expect the rate of coronavirus in the area to play no significant role.”

The findings locally mirror a national study of about 10,000 districts across the country highlighted in the Washington Post last week.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

“Why are Madison Schools Closed?”

https://www.reopenourschools.org.

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.

College Applications Plummet For Next Year’s Freshman Class

Wall Street Journal:

Through Nov. 2, the Common Application had nearly 8% fewer first-year applications than in the same period last year—and 10% fewer applicants. The application is used by more than 900 colleges and universities. …

Early data show that the number of high-school seniors who have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for next school year is down 16% from this time last year. The numbers are even lower among students of color and those in high-poverty high schools and rural areas, according to a National College Attainment Network analysis of Education Department data. … Common App data show 16% declines in both applicants who requested fee waivers and those who would be first-generation college students. …

Todd Rinehart, president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said he knows of peer schools with applications down by at least 10% so far this year.

K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate:

Luke Templeman:

For years we have needed a tax on remote workers – covid has just made it obvious. Quite simply, our economic system is not set up to cope with people who can disconnect themselves from face-to-face society. Those who can WFH receive direct and indirect financial benefits and they should be taxed in order to smooth the transition process for those who have been suddenly displaced.

The popularity of WFH was growing even before the pandemic. Between 2005 and 2018, internet technology fuelled a 173 per cent increase in the number of Americans who regularly worked from home1. It is true that the overall proportion of people working from home before the pandemic was still small, at 5.4 per cent based on census

data, but the growth was still way ahead of the growth in the overall workforce.

Covid has turbocharged that growth. During the pandemic, the proportion of Americans who worked from home increased ten-fold to 56 per cent. In the UK, there was a seven-fold increase to 47 per cent. Many of these people will continue to work remotely for some time. Indeed, two-thirds of organisations say that

at least three-quarters of their staff can work from home effectively, according to S&P Global Markets. Meanwhile, a DB survey shows that, after the pandemic has passed, more than half of people who tried out WFH want to continue it permanently for between two and three days a week.

Local districts on in-person, virtual teaching roller coaster

Pam Chickering Wilson:

Area school administrators knew this was going to be a tough year heading into the fall semester. The spring pivot to virtual schooling dictated by the state at the start of the pandemic had proven to be less-than-ideal, and yet the pandemic which had precipitated initial school closures was still raging.

Going into the 2020-2021 school year, school planners thoroughly expected to be switching back and forth between in-person and virtual instruction over the course of the next few months, and that has indeed proved to be the case as districts have dealt with COVID-19 cases, coronavirus exposures, and shortages of regular staff and substitutes.

One thing that gave families more control this fall as opposed to the spring was the choice area districts offered to parents of either enrolling their children virtually or face-to-face.

Even amid difficult year for education, some applause-worthy efforts are taking place in Milwaukee

Alan Borsuk:

Even amid the current difficult and unstable situations for educating children, there are efforts to aim high.

This is good and valuable. I wish there were more indications that administrators, teachers, parents and civic leaders are aiming high. It seems like a lot of effort connected to schools is focused on just holding things together while dealing with COVID-19 protection steps, and not so much on making academic progress while doing likewise.

But is this a time to settle for less? Especially among those who most need to do better, from circumstances associated with low rates of success, there is always urgency to aiming for better. I would argue that in current circumstances, when the risk of time being lost is so high, it is all the more important to be undeterred.

So permit me to spotlight several signs of unwavering effort to reach big goals.

All-In Milwaukee. Allison Wagner, this young organization’s executive director, says that fewer than 10% of students from the City of Milwaukee go on to earn a two- or four-year college degree.

“a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions”

Graeme Wood, via a kind email:

The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions. His models, which track these factors in other societies across history, are too complicated to explain in a nontechnical publication. But they’ve succeeded in impressing writers for nontechnical publications, and have won him comparisons to other authors of “megahistories,” such as Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari. The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat had once found Turchin’s historical model­ing unpersuasive, but 2020 made him a believer: “At this point,” Douthat recently admitted on a podcast, “I feel like you have to pay a little more attention to him.”

Diamond and Harari aimed to describe the history of humanity. Turchin looks into a distant, science-fiction future for peers. In War and Peace and War (2006), his most accessible book, he likens himself to Hari Seldon, the “maverick mathematician” of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, who can foretell the rise and fall of empires. In those 10,000 years’ worth of data, Turchin believes he has found iron laws that dictate the fates of human societies.

The fate of our own society, he says, is not going to be pretty, at least in the near term. “It’s too late,” he told me as we passed Mirror Lake, which UConn’s website describes as a favorite place for students to “read, relax, or ride on the wooden swing.” The problems are deep and structural—not the type that the tedious process of demo­cratic change can fix in time to forestall mayhem. Turchin likens America to a huge ship headed directly for an iceberg: “If you have a discussion among the crew about which way to turn, you will not turn in time, and you hit the iceberg directly.” The past 10 years or so have been discussion. That sickening crunch you now hear—steel twisting, rivets popping—­­is the sound of the ship hitting the iceberg.

“We are almost guaranteed” five hellish years, Turchin predicts, and likely a decade or more. The problem, he says, is that there are too many people like me. “You are ruling class,” he said, with no more rancor than if he had informed me that I had brown hair, or a slightly newer iPhone than his. Of the three factors driving social violence, Turchin stresses most heavily “elite overproduction”—­the tendency of a society’s ruling classes to grow faster than the number of positions for their members to fill. One way for a ruling class to grow is biologically—think of Saudi Arabia, where princes and princesses are born faster than royal roles can be created for them. In the United States, elites over­produce themselves through economic and educational upward mobility: More and more people get rich, and more and more get educated. Neither of these sounds bad on its own. Don’t we want everyone to be rich and educated? The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do.

In the United States, Turchin told me, you can see more and more aspirants fighting for a single job at, say, a prestigious law firm, or in an influential government sinecure, or (here it got personal) at a national magazine. Perhaps seeing the holes in my T-shirt, Turchin noted that a person can be part of an ideological elite rather than an economic one. (He doesn’t view himself as a member of either. A professor reaches at most a few hundred students, he told me. “You reach hundreds of thousands.”) Elite jobs do not multiply as fast as elites do. There are still only 100 Senate seats, but more people than ever have enough money or degrees to think they should be running the country. “You have a situation now where there are many more elites fighting for the same position, and some portion of them will convert to counter-elites,” Turchin said.

Related: Scribes and bureaucrats.

The political class’s coronavirus credibility crisis endangers public health

Brad Polumbo:

With rising case counts and hospitalizations, the coronavirus crisis is getting out of hand in many parts of the United States. Getting the spread of COVID-19 under control, if it is possible, will require individual sacrifice and voluntary action by millions of people. But the possibility of such cooperation has been severely undercut by the ill-timed credibility crisis consuming our hypocritical elected class.

Remember House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “salon scandal” in early September? The California Democrat infuriated the public when she got her hair done despite a San Francisco order banning in-door salon services. Making matters worse, she then blamed the salon owner for “setting her up.”

This flap came after other examples of high-profile hypocrisy, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s gym trip while COVID-19 was shutting down his city. These examples have continued apace in recent weeks.

As Tiana Lowe of the Washington Examiner noted, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is the latest hypocritical politician to be caught breaking her own COVID-19 rules. She traveled out-of-state to party after Joe Biden’s projected presidential victory.

Future Farmers of America: What is a Farmer?

Jeff Meske:

Do you ever hurry or make short cuts that aren’t best for a job? Do you ever suffer from a lack of planning? In Today’s devotion we read Proverbs 21:5, where God says “Good planning and hard work leads to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Here in FFA we are here to have fun, learn about agriculture and see what the FFA has to offer . What is a farmer? and when did they come to be? In this small speech about farmers, Paul Harvey explains it.

The video that just played really makes me appreciate the farmers of the world. They have one of the hardest jobs but have some of the strongest faith because it is always just trusting in God that all of the crops and animals grow. And he gives them a message from Deuteronomy that says, “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.” In that passage it says to trust God and take pride in your work.

Is discrimination widespread? Testing assumptions about bias on a university campus

Mitchell Campbell & Markus Brauer:

Discrimination has persisted in our society despite steady improvements in explicit attitudes toward marginalized social groups. The most common explanation for this apparent paradox is that due to implicit biases, most individuals behave in slightly discriminatory ways outside of their own awareness (the dispersed discrimination account). Another explanation holds that a numerical minority of individuals who are moderately or highly biased are responsible for most observed discriminatory behaviors (the concentrated discrimination account). We tested these 2 accounts against each other in a series of studies at a large, public university (total N = 16,600). In 4 large-scale surveys, students from marginalized groups reported that they generally felt welcome and respected on campus (albeit less so than nonmarginalized students) and that a numerical minority of their peers (around 20%) engage in subtle or explicit forms of discrimination. In 5 field experiments with 8 different samples, we manipulated the social group membership of trained confederates and measured the behaviors of naïve bystanders. The results showed that between 5% and 20% of the participants treated the confederates belonging to marginalized groups more negatively than nonmarginalized confederates. Our findings are inconsistent with the dispersed discrimination account but support the concentrated discrimination account. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Our results suggest that the Pareto principle also applies to discrimination, at least at the large, public university where the studies were conducted. We discuss implications for prodiversity initiatives.

Civics: “The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty”

Josh Blackman:

The topic of this year’s convention is the rule of law and the current crisis. And I take it that the title is intended primarily to refer to the COVID-19 crisis that has transformed life for the past eight months. The pandemic has obviously taken a heavy human toll, thousands dead, many more hospitalized, millions on employed the dreams of many small business owners dashed. But what has it meant for the rule of law,

I’m now going to say something that I hope will not be twisted or misunderstood. But I have spent more than 20 years in Washington, so I’m not overly optimistic. In any event, here goes. The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty. Now, notice what I am not saying or even implying, I am not diminishing the severity of the viruses threat to public health. And putting aside what I will say shortly about a few Supreme Court cases, I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions. Nor am I saying anything about whether any of these restrictions represent good public policy. I’m a judge, not a policymaker. All that i’m saying is this. And I think it is an indisputable statement of fact, we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced, for most of 2020.

Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech, live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings, think of worship services, churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover on Yom Kippur War. Think about access to the courts, or the constitutional right to a speedy trial. trials in federal courts have virtually disappeared in many places who could have imagined that the COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test. And in doing so it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.

Fifth, he discussed the broad delegation to government to deal with “emergencies” and “rule by experts.”

One of these is the dominance of lawmaking by executive Fiat rather than legislation. The vision of early 20th century progressives and the new dealers of the 1930s was the policymaking would shift from narrow minded elected legislators, to an elite group of appointed experts in a word, the policymaking would become more scientific. That dream has been realized to a large extent. Every year administrative agencies acting under broad delegations of authority churn out huge volumes of regulations that dwarfs the statutes enacted by the people’s elected representatives. And what have we seen in the pandemic sweeping restrictions imposed for the most part, under statutes that confer enormous executive discretion?.

We had a covid related case from Nevada. So I will take the Nevada law as an example.

When scientific journals take sides during an election, the public’s trust in science takes a hit

Kevin Young, Bernhard Leidner and Stylianos Syropoulos:

When the scientific establishment gets involved in partisan politics, it decreases people’s trust in science, especially among conservatives, according to our recent research.

In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, several prestigious scientific journals took the highly unusual step of either endorsing Joe Biden or criticizing Donald Trump in their pages.

In September, the editor-in-chief of the journal Science wrote a scathing article titled “Trump lied about science,” which was followed by other strong critiques from both the New England Journal of Medicine and the cancer research journal Lancet Oncology.

Several other top publications – including Nature and Scientific American – soon followed, with overt endorsements of Biden. The statements focused on each candidate’s impact on scientific knowledge and science-based decision-making.

To evaluate whether political endorsements like these might influence people’s attitudes toward science, we ran an online survey experiment.

Surviving the Next Four Years of Tech

James Poulos:

As immortalized by ruling-class paeans around the time of Obama’s second term to the power of “data” (read: teched-up experts) to “save politics,” the established Left planned—long before the advent of Trump or COVID—to use the power of digital technology to consolidate world mindshare around their dreamed-up ethical framework. Trump’s election signaled strongly to the teched-up elite that the machines had betrayed them and required an all-new level of national and global control.

The present focus of that reaction has been on Trump himself, but also on Trump’s supporters, who are “even worse” because they can’t be thrown out of office. But a growing populist wing of the Left recognizes that routine plebiscitary rubber stamps on compliance mandates issued by technologized woke autocrats is not, in fact, liberal or democratic, and is certainly not America. Despite obvious ideological cleavages, another Trump term will hold open the Overton window needed by loyal Americans of diverse beliefs who understand that the appropriation of all speech and thought space into an elite-managed virtual world is fatal to our flourishing.

Things will be different under a Biden (read: Harris) administration. Due to Trump and COVID, the teched-up elite will go into overdrive toward what is now commonly known as a “great reset”—a top-down seizure of control over both wayward “bots” and humans, neither of whom have evinced an attitude of sufficient compliance with the ethical framework of the woke managerial class.

This is a realm of life where no degree of “de-polarization” or “re-normalization” in political rhetoric will change the vector of virtualization and consolidation of spiritual power in America and beyond. The goal is to implement the psychic transformation of the “Never Trump” worldview into a “Never Again” worldview. The means is to ensure that political support for any political figure strong enough even to delay or disrupt the “great reset” can no longer be organized—or even dreamed of.

Use caution, district leaders: Even in a pandemic, there’s no immunity from financial missteps

Marguerite Roza, via a kind Deb Britt email:

Charges of financial blunders have taken out district leaders before. Think the pandemic inoculates leaders from that possible fate? Think again.

In fact, leaders may be at higher risk for accusations of financial missteps than normal, thanks to a perfect storm of pandemic-era conditions. District leaders are making hurried off-cycle spending decisions with little public deliberation, all when money is tight and staff and community tensions are high. Given the fast and furious nature of this moment, it’s easy to slip up. And where board members, teachers unions, or others in the community are at odds with leaders, any potential misstep can get magnified.

Because of the pandemic (and the availability of federal CARES funds), many districts have moved swiftly to sign hefty contracts for everything from laptops and hot spots to personal protective equipment, air purifiers, and building ventilation system upgrades. With districts competing against each other for limited supplies, some superintendents have had to commit to contractor bids on the spot or lose out altogether.

How Elite Colleges Rip Off Taxpayers

John Stossel:

Yale University has fancy dining halls. They pay no property tax.

Local restaurants struggle to compete, but their tax burden makes that hard.

“We basically pay one-third of our rent in taxes!” complains Matt West, manager of Koon Thai Restaurant. “Yale is a money-making machine.”

It is. Many colleges are.

Yale has a $31 billion endowment. Harvard’s is $40 billion. My alma mater, Princeton, has $26 billion.

Yet, these schools also get government handouts and tax breaks. How government rips off taxpayers and students by subsidizing colleges is the subject of my video this week.

Yale owns about a quarter of the town of New Haven, Connecticut, but the school pays little property tax. It even has a golf course that’s half tax-exempt.

Politicians tried to tax the school, but they cannot.

“It’s written into the constitution,” complains New Haven Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker-Myers. “They just don’t have to pay.”

Could Law School Be the Worst Higher Education Investment?

George Leaf:

For decades, law school was a growth industry. Back in 1970, there were 146 law schools with an enrollment of 78,000 students; by 2013, there were 201 schools, enrolling 139,000 students. Enrollment peaked in 2010 at 147,000. (For the current year, it seems that enrollments will probably remain level with last year.)

By 2015, we were seeing articles such as this one in the Wall Street Journal: “Fewer and Fewer Students are Applying to Law School.” A number of law schools have closed since 2017, including Valparaiso, Whittier, Savannah, Arizona Summit, and Charlotte. More are on thin ice.

Evidently, many prospective law students were figuring out that the high cost of three years of study necessary to earn a JD just wasn’t worth it in a glutted market and were choosing other paths after college.

Just how right they were is highlighted in a new study by the Texas Public Policy Foundation entitled, “Objection! Law schools can be hazardous to students’ financial health.”

The study’s author, Andrew Gillen, explains the approach, “a debt-to-earnings test called Gainful Employment Equivalent (GEE). GEE compares the earnings of recent graduates with the typical borrower’s student loan debt to determine if students can afford their student loan payments.”

Paul’s Math Notes

Paul:

Welcome to my online math tutorials and notes. The intent of this site is to provide a complete set of free online (and downloadable) notes and/or tutorials for classes that I teach at Lamar University. I’ve tried to write the notes/tutorials in such a way that they should be accessible to anyone wanting to learn the subject regardless of whether you are in my classes or not. In other words, they do not assume you’ve got any prior knowledge other than the standard set of prerequisite material needed for that class. In other words, it is assumed that you know Algebra and Trig prior to reading the Calculus I notes, know Calculus I prior to reading the Calculus II notes, etc. The assumptions about your background that I’ve made are given with each description below.

I’d like to thank Shane F, Fred J., Mike K. and David A. for all the typos that they’ve found and sent my way! I’ve tried to proof read these pages and catch as many typos as I could, however it just isn’t possible to catch all of them when you are also the person who wrote the material. Fred, Mike and David have caught quite a few typos that I’d missed and been nice enough to send them my way. Thanks again Fred, Mike and David!

If you are one of my current students and are here looking for homework assignments I’ve got a set of links that will get you to the right pages listed here.

At present I’ve gotten the notes/tutorials for my Algebra (Math 1314), Calculus I (Math 2413), Calculus II (Math 2414), Calculus III (Math 3435) and Differential Equations (Math 3301) class online. I’ve also got a couple of Review/Extras available as well. Among the reviews/extras that I’ve got are an Algebra/Trig review for my Calculus Students, a Complex Number primer, a set of Common Math Errors, and some tips on How to Study Math.

Wisconsin education chief seeks $1.6 billion tax & spending increase for schools in 2021-23

Annysa Johnson:

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor is seeking an additional $1.6 billion for education over the next two years, along with changes that would cushion districts as they weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stanford Taylor’s proposed 2021-23 budget, announced this week, reflects many of the same priorities as her predecessor, now-Gov. Tony Evers: an increase in special education funding and mental health resources, a focus on equity, and restoring the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of the cost of education.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Google knows where you are, and so do advertisers.

Sebastian Meineck:

Google Maps knows everything. Not just about every street, and every cafe, bar and shop on that street, but the people who go to them. With 1 billionmonthly active users, the app is embedded in people’s lives – directing them on their commute, to their friends’ and families’ homes, to doctor’s appointments and on their travels abroad. 

The fact that Google Maps has the power to follow your every step doesn’t automatically mean it’s misusing that power. But they could, which is an issue in and of itself, especially since Google’s headquarters are in the US, where privacy legislation is looser than in Europe and intelligence agencies have a history of surveilling private citizens (I see you, NSA).