Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Failures of Lean-In Feminism

Elizabeth Grace Matthew:

Former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, in which the Facebook COO offers predominantly female readers gutsy, directive advice about how to approach their careers, is about to reach its tenth birthday. Looking back over the last decade, it’s unclear whether it made a difference for women in America. 

Sandberg’s book, which grew out of her Ted talk entitled “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” and launched hundreds of women’s groups, is best understood as a forceful response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s famous 2012 lament in The Atlantic that women in the twenty-first century still could not “have it all.” 

In her book, Sandberg accepts this fact and doubles down: Of course, no one can have it all; still, women should run fully half of the world’s businesses and men fully half of its homes, because a world in which more women lead is presumptively a better world for all women. 

Yet despite Lean In’s phenomenal popularity and some of its useful tips on matters like negotiating salaries, just eight percent of Fortune 500 companies today are female-led. We are not much closer to Sandberg’s visionthan we were a decade ago.

Teaching and learning with Large Language Models, Including GPT

Tyler Cowen and Alexander T. Tabarrok

Abstract: GPTs, such as ChatGPT and Bing Chat, are capable of answering economics questions, solving specific economic models, creating exams, assisting with research, generating ideas, and enhancing writing, among other tasks. This paper highlights how these innovative tools differ from prior software and necessitate novel methods of interaction. By providing examples, tips, and guidance, we aim to optimize the use of GPTs and LLMs for learning and teaching economics effectively.

DIE Administrative Commentary

Dov Fischer:

First things first. When I was a little boy studying at yeshiva elementary school (Jewish parochial school), I had a first-grade English teacher who was first grade, Mrs. Sherman. Yes, Missus Sherman. She taught me two things I always have remembered. Having learned to speak English in Brooklyn, I did not initially know that “then” and “than” were two different words. The Yankees were better then the Mets, chocolate was better then vinella, becawss dat was da way we tawked then. Mrs. Sherman taught me “than.” It was a revelation and laid the foundation for my writing today at The American Spectator. The second thing she taught me was that you don’t say “me and Stuey”; you say “Stuey and I” whenever using the two nouns and that conjunction in the nominative case. And in the objective case, you say “Stuey and me.” But, with a poetic exception, you never say “Me and Stuey.”

Shift forward half a century, give or take. This week, our country saw something far more worrisome than the predictable collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. We saw the further degrading of our culture to the degree that so-called “law students” at a so-called premium university barked and yipped like dogs and disrupted a speech by an Article III judge, the Hon. Kyle Duncan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He had been invited to address the conservative and libertarian Federalist Society of Stanford Law School, and the dogs who masquerade as “law students” at Stanford came to bark and growl and howl and bay and yelp and whimper. Caninites, if not Philistines.

I am a child of White Privilege. My grandparents had the privilege of fleeing pogroms in Russia and Galicia. My father had the privilege of working 10 hours daily, six days a week, with time off only for observing the Shabbat (Sabbath) according to its laws. I was very privileged. I was home every summer, never at sleep-away. I traveled by public transportation. But I had two parents at home, and they made me do my homework every night. Na-na-na-na-na.

I come from a different America. We may lose — even may already have lost — that America forever; I hope not. If we have — or if we do — who will stand for freedom and core decency if that America is gone while the likes of China, Russia, Iran, Arab Muslim sheikhdoms, North Korea, and other tyrannies proliferate? Will the planet take a detour back to the Middle Ages, albeit with social media and chatbots with which to draft our surrender, or to 1940s Germany and its occupied vassals? Who will stare down the axes of evil if America becomes a nation of feminized men and women who deny their gender that is dominated by whining victims demanding trigger warnings from Xi, Putin, and the ayatollahs?

Supreme Court rules for deaf student in education case


The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday for a deaf student who sued his public school system for providing an inadequate education. The case is significant for other disabled students who allege they were failed by school officials.

The case the justices ruled in involves Miguel Luna Perez, who attended public school in Sturgis, Michigan. Perez’s lawyers told the court that for 12 years the school system neglected the boy and lied to his parents about the progress he was making, permanently stunting his ability to communicate.

Stop requiring college degrees for jobs that don’t need them

Rachel Cohen:

When President Joe Biden recently touted the hundreds of billions of dollars invested into American manufacturing in the last two years, he included a talking point that previous Democratic presidents might not have bragged about. New factories in Ohio, he said, could offer thousands of “jobs paying $130,000 a year, and many don’t require a college degree.” 

When Biden highlighted those non-college jobs at the State of the Union, it was just three weeks after Pennsylvania’s new Democratic governor Josh Shapiro eliminated the requirement of a four-year college degree for the bulk of jobs in Pennsylvania state’s government, two months after Utah’s Republican governor Spencer Cox did the same, and nearly one year after Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan set off the trend. Since the president’s State of the Union, Alaska’s Republican governor Mike Dunleavy has also followed suit.

Maryland’s newly elected Democratic governor, Wes Moore, plans to continue opening up state jobs to non-college-educated workers, confirmed his spokesperson. 

For liberal politicians like Moore, Shapiro, and Biden, promoting policies to help the more than 70 million American workers who never graduated from college is rooted partly in politics, as Democrats have struggled recently to earn support from non-college-educated voters, especially men. After decades of prioritizing college attendance, the Democratic Party has been scrambling to figure out how to change the widespread perception that its leaders are out of touch with the struggles of average people.

Great Books Homeschool


 grades does the curriculum cover?

We provide a complete curriculum for kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Does the curriculum produce its own books or learning materials?

The curriculum is compiled from carefully selected external materials. This allows the student to benefit from the world’s best educational sources in each subject, and it creates space for the inclusion of great books on a wide variety of topics.

How does pricing work?

Our curriculum for kindergarten is completely free. For other grades, we offer a free seven-day trial to explore the curriculum. Thereafter the cost is $39 monthly for your whole family. You may pause or cancel your monthly subscription at any time.

Do I need to purchase books?

Other than the math and art curricula, you should be able to procure most of the core and optional books from your local library. You may wish to purchase your favorites keep in your home, but this is not required.

The Tyranny of the DIE Bureaucracy

Wall Street Journal:

Critical race theory is becoming institutionalized across American universities, and a major reason is the educational bureaucracy. Most universities now have offices for diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, that exercise a broad writ on campus and act as speech police within the university.

That power was on ugly display last week at Stanford Law School, where a mob of law students shouted down Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan in a spectacle unfit for any institution of higher learning. (Judge Duncan relates his experience nearby.)

Heckling unpopular speakers is common on campus, but what makes this episode stand out is the role played by administrators. As the room grew unruly, Judge Duncan asked that a college official step in. The law school’s associate dean for DEI, Tirien Steinbach, took the podium. “Me and many people in this Administration do absolutely believe in free speech,” the dean said, but then went on to ask if “the juice is worth the squeeze”—that is, whether tolerating free speech is worth the pain it causes.

Madison school board forum tonight

Scott Girard:

The candidates on hand will include the two running for Seat 6 — former school district educator Blair Feltham and former Madison City Council candidate Badri Lankella — as well as Seat 7 incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen, who is running unopposed. The current representative for Seat 6, Christina Gomez Schmidt, is not running for reelection.

The general election will take place on April 4.

The forum is free and will run 7-8 p.m. in the auditorium at East High, 2222 E. Washington Ave. We also plan to livestream the discussion on

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Law-School ‘Mismatch’ Is Worse Than We Thought

Richard Sander:

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on affirmative-action in admissions, the time to spread the word is now.

Eighteen years ago, I published an article in the Stanford Law Review which documented for the first time the enormous breadth and scale of race-based admissions preferences in law schools [A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, 57 Stan. L. Rev. 367 (2004)]. At most law schools, the undergraduate grades (UGPA) and median LSAT scores of enrolled Black students were two standard deviations below those of white students at the same school. Outside of a handful of “Historically Black” institutions (where racial preferences were minimal), Blacks in law school were not faring well. They were failing out of school at more than twice the white rate; half of those who did graduate had grades in the bottom 10th of their class; and Blacks were six times as likely as whites to take the bar exam multiple times but never pass. …

Robert Steinbuch (a colleague at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock) and I eventually secured the public release of data from 12 cohorts of law students at four law schools, covering about 6,500 students in all. And after a multi-year review process, the Journal of Legal Education—the official organ of the Association of American Law Schools—has now agreed to publish the first set of our results in its next issue.

Covid changed parents’ view of schools — and ignited the education culture wars

Hannah Natanson

And Leah McCullough, 38, who has one child in the Mentor district and home-schools her other three, dates her distrust of public education to the era of Zoom school, when she said she saw lessons she deemed outlandish.

“I started noticing, they would break off into these meetings and it was, like, [a video of] dancing Muslims under a rainbow,” McCullough said. “And I’m like: ‘Oh what? What is this?’ And there was a lot of talking about color.”

(Asked about Popelas’s and McCullough’s stories, Mentor schools spokeswoman Kristen Estes said she could locate no evidence of either the assignment or the video.)

A few weeks after Concerned Taxpayers debuted, a coalition of about a dozen mothers and grandmothers began attending board meetings to speak after, and against, its members. At the start of this school year, Melanie Majikas, 51, founded Support Education to counter what she called the anger and misinformation emanating from Concerned Taxpayers. In weeks, nearly 300 parents joined up.

“I wanted to show the teachers that someone supported what they were doing,” said Lauren Marchaza, 40. “Particularly after my daughter’s kindergarten teacher went above and beyond during covid.”

Lynne Mazeika, 75, whose children and grandchildren graduated from the district and who has one grandchild still enrolled, said she “just couldn’t stand the negativity anymore.”

$1.49B in additional federal taxpayer & for Wisconsin K-12. Where did it go?

Quinton Klabon:

The coronavirus pandemic was a 2-year catastrophe for children. Students suffered through virtual schooling, quarantined teachers, and emotional misery. Academic results, the lowest this century, still have not recovered.

After sending $860 million to help Wisconsin public schools manage through spring 2021, Congress sent a final $1.49 billion to get students back on track.

The goal? Do whatever it takes to catch kids up by September 2024.

The problem? No one knows how schools have directed it or not directed it…until now.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

why do older grad students become bitter?


The other day, a new grad student asked me this question. It brought me back to my own first year.

When I entered grad school, I noticed that the older grad students just seemed… oddly bitter? The 6th years were living in a different world from us 1st years. Some of them would joke about it, some would deflect when asked, and some students we only heard about. I always wondered what made them so. Does their love for science slowly leave as they pass their time here? Will I become that way?? How do I avoid that?

Well, it has been 5.5 years since entered grad school, so I feel I can answer that now.

Taxpayer supported Madison school board community meetings

Scott Girard:

This month, the Madison School Board offered four opportunities for the community to share what’s going well — and what’s not — in the district.

Events at each of the four large high schools showed what is on the minds of parents, staff and students, including how concerns differ from building to building. After the third session, School Board President Ali Muldrow expressed emphatic appreciation for what they heard from the two dozen speakers that night.

“I have to say that tonight’s listening session allowed for me to really re-fall in love with the work we do as board members and with this community,” Muldrow said.

Below is a summary of each of the four listening sessions and the subjects they focused on. Each can be viewed online through the board’s YouTube channel.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on Emergency Teacher Licensing

Scott Girard

Wisconsin schools are increasingly turning to emergency licenses to get staff into classrooms with some using those licenses longer than may have been intended.

According to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state Department of Public Instruction issued 3,197 emergency licenses to teach in Wisconsin in the 2021-22 school year, up 184.2% from the 1,125 issued in the 2012-13 school year.

“When school districts in Wisconsin cannot find a teacher licensed by DPI to fill a certain position, they can hire an unlicensed individual who then applies for a license with certain conditions or stipulations,” the WPF report explains.

These types of licenses can be used by teachers, counselors, social workers, librarians and school administrators.

“Emergency licenses play an important role in staffing the state’s classrooms and may be used in a variety of scenarios, which are often short-term and sometimes urgent,” the report states.

Students discuss entitlement reform, government spending and the impending insolvency crisis.

Wall Street Journal:

The Ghost of Social Security

It is very unlikely that Congress will fully sunset Social Security, which is a core issue for older Americans who have significant voting power. A policy to end Social Security would have far too much political pushback to be viable, as Rick Perry’s loss in the 2012 presidential primaries showed.

Rather, lawmakers will have to work incrementally. There are three potential routes Congress might take. The first would be to raise the age for full benefits. This would mirror the Social Security Reform Act of 1983, the U.K. Pensions Act of 1995 and the current proposal in the French Senate.

The second would be to encourage funding alternative retirement plans. An existing program ripe for expansion is the FICA Alternative Plan, which requires employees to set aside funds instead of contributing to Social Security. Social Security’s financial burden could be eased by providing an opt-in alternative retirement account that reduces Social Security eligibility but provides an avenue for tax-advantaged savings.

The third route would be to means-test Social Security based on wealth or lifetime income. This could be done by prohibiting Americans who reported more than $15 million of lifetime income from claiming Social Security. This may become popular with progressive groups but is likely to fail.

Civics: Bank Bailout benefactors

Andrew Kerr:

Prominent tech companies, liberal news outlets, and a Democratic politician’s vineyards are among the thousands of businesses that breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday when the Biden administration moved to bail out Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank maintained $209 billion in assets and $175.4 billion in total deposits, making it the 16th-largest bank in the country. It was the second-largest bank to fail in American history when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of the institution on Friday.

President Joe Biden has insisted that the FDIC’s move was not a bailout, and claimed his administration is working to protect “American workers and small businesses.” But average Americans won’t benefit the most from the bailout. Ninety-three percent of the bank’s depositors kept more than $250,000 in the bank.

While the California bank was famous for its rolodex of tech clients, it happily accepted deposits from all manner of people, including some of the individuals and institutions involved in pushing the Biden administration’s bailout.

Here are just a few.

Gavin Newson

What Are Word and Sentence Embeddings?

Luis Serrano:

Word and sentence embeddings are the bread and butter of LLMs. They are the basic building block of most language models, since they translate human speak (words) into computer speak (numbers) in a way that captures many relations between words, semantics, and nuances of the language, into equations regarding the corresponding numbers.

Sentence embeddings can be extended to language embeddings, in which the numbers attached to each sentence are language-agnostic. These models are very useful for translation and for searching and understanding text in different languages.

Iowa Board of Regents statement on DIE policies

University of Iowa

Over the next few months, the Board of Regents will initiate a comprehensive study and review of all Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs and efforts at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

I am appointing Regents Barker, Lindenmayer and Rouse to lead the study. This working group will report their findings and any recommendations back to the full Board.

As a result, I am directing Iowa’s three public universities to pause the implementation of any new DEI programs until the study is completed.

A chat or for every student

Sai Gaddam:

My wife and I run a micro-school in Mumbai, India. We recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Our kids go there along with 15 others. As we like to joke, we are doing small-batch, locally sourced, artisanal education. I also run a tech startup where we are building a product in the learning space. Both of these were born as a result of the pandemic when schools shut down and we saw up close what happens in the name of education.

Texas Education Agency will take control of Houston ISD in June

Brian Lopez

The move is in response to years of poor academic outcomes at a single campus in the district, Phillis Wheatley High School, and allegations of misconduct from school board members. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said state law requires his agency to either close that campus or appoint a new board to oversee the district.

Texas passed a law in 2015 mandating a state takeover if a school district or one of its campuses receives failing grades from the TEA for five consecutive years. Phillis Wheatley reached that threshold in 2019.

Morath and the agency moved to force out the district’s school board that same year. The district pushed back and sued, but the Texas Supreme Court ruled in January that the agency could move forward with its plan to take over the district.

“Even with a delay of three full years caused by legal proceedings, systemic problems in Houston ISD continue to impact students most in need of our collective support,” Morath wrote in a letter to district leaders Wednesday.


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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on taxpayer funded building expansion amidst enrollment declines in Madison; academics?

Olivia Herken:

Memorial’s new music wing is among several projects made possible in November 2020, when voters in the Madison School District approved a $317 million capital referendum to build a new elementary school and fund significant high-school renovations.

Construction started around the district in 2022, and now all those plans are yielding real, tangible changes.

All four comprehensive high schools are undergoing renovations, including a new pool and gym at West, a new entrance at La Follette, and a cafeteria and music addition at East. A new elementary school is also being constructed on the South Side, and Capital High School is moving under one roof.

Most of the high schools started out this school year with some classrooms, bathrooms and offices already renovated. Now other, bigger projects are beginning to take shape.

Work at Capital High School is expected to wrap up this June. The district expects the new South Side elementary school, known for now as Rimrock Elementary, to be ready in August, just in time to welcome new students for the fall.

Work at the four main high schools won’t be completed until August 2024, but already there are plenty of changes.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Free speech and Vermont Schools

Tom Knighton

A Vermont high school did the unthinkable. They forfeit a game.

Why? Because the other team had a trans player. 

There are all kinds of reasons why they might take this course of action in light of this fact, of course. After all, we’ve seen the damage a trans player can cause. Then there’s the fact that the school in question is a Christian school, which means there’s a potential religious angle here.Subscribe

It doesn’t matter, though, because now there’s a problem.

“The oligarchs are playing a dangerous game by pouring trillions into woke causes.”

Joel Kotkin:

Beware of plutocrats bearing gifts. The annual clown show at Davos epitomises how today, the global elites have embraced an unholy trinity of ‘progressive’ doctrines: climate-change apocalypticism, a belief in systemic racism and racial ‘equity’, and radical gender ideology. The super-rich hope that by genuflecting to these causes, they can buy themselves political protection and fend off the activists lurking in the ranks of their own companies. Yet, in the long run, this could end up fuelling their demise.

The recent ‘Great Awokening’ of our elites reflects a long-standing shift among executives in terms of priorities and perspective. The capitalist class first arose out of the middle orders, and even from within the peasantry, as the industrial revolution, particularly in the Netherlands and Britain, challenged the autocracy of both the church and the monarchical state. These were often tough, ruthless entrepreneurs embodying values of hard work, thrift, family and faith. 

But with the managerial revolution of the 1950s, the nature of executive elites changed. As sociologist Daniel Bell first identified half a century ago, business leaders were no longer upstarts and thus the natural opponents of state power. Instead, they reflected a new type of individualism, unmoored from religion and family, a worldview which transformed the foundations of middle-class culture. The goal of this new executive class, as Bell saw it, was not so much building great companies, but gaining accolades from their peers, the press and the public – a trend also set out in Alvin Toffler’s 1980 book, The Third Wave.

K-12 tax & spending climate: “hospitals charge patients 479% of their acquisition cost of clinically administered medications”

Willard Walker

Additionally four in five hospitals charge patients and insurers more than double their acquisition cost for medicine.

Wisconsinites feel this reality more than most. While health care costs are high generally, our state ranks among the five states with the highest hospital prices in the country.

Employers like myself, dedicated to providing affordable, quality health care coverage to our employees, rely on critical tools such as white-bagging to combat the hospitals’ monopolistic billing practices. We need Wisconsin lawmakers to remember the impact affordable health care has on our economic stability.

More Students Are Turning Away From College and Toward Apprenticeships

Douglas Belkin:

Today, colleges and universities enroll about 15 million undergraduate students, while companies employ about 800,000 apprentices. In the past decade, college enrollment has declined by about 15%, while the number of apprentices has increased by more than 50%, according to federal data and Robert Lerman, a labor economist at the Urban Institute and co-founder of Apprenticeships for America.

Apprenticeship programs are increasing in both number and variety. About 40% are now outside of construction trades, where most have traditionally been, Dr. Lerman said. Programs are expanding into white-collar industries such as banking, cybersecurity and consulting at companies including McDonald’s Corp., Accenture PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“I grew up in the Soviet Union. Even those universities valued merit more than some American schools do today”

Ilya Buynevich:

Walking near Temple University, I noticed a flyer advocating for “socialism in our lifetime.” The message from an outside group reads in full, “Socialist Revolution: Join the fight for socialism in our lifetime.” Having grown up in Soviet-era Ukraine and now a tenured professor at Temple, I feel strongly that most college-age Americans do not understand what they are saying when they advocate for socialism. 

Today, many American college students do not understand that they are advocating for a system that goes beyond what even the Soviets promoted. There is a real distinction that students do not appreciate between the romanticized idea of state socialism in Scandinavia and the reality of socialism – what I experienced as a student in the Soviet Union. 

Most student activists tout equity and many undergraduates champion socialism as a means to achieve equity – a process to engineer outcomes. Where I grew up, this would mean giving everyone the same grade, so it was never a factor in Soviet higher education. 

Soviet universities admitted roughly half of each cohort based on merit: grades in three placement exams. Yes, nepotism and bribes existed in the system, but applicants needed to be exceptionally smart to gain entrance in highly selective majors (international relations, law, or performing arts) at prestigious urban universities. The system prized engineered equality – nearly all were equally poor – but never used a concept of equity to fix results. 

My classmates and I were judged by our academic performances and faced high academic standards, especially during oral-style examinations (80-90% were in this format). I remain eternally thankful to my secondary school teachers and professors. They prepared us to succeed and graded us based on skill, and I was able to complete my education in the United States and earn a doctoral degree at Boston University.

“One of the dangers of ChatGPT and similar AIs is that, for now, they are wildly inaccurate when it comes to specific details”

Saul Costa:

They are constantly “hallucinating” alternative versions of reality, and then passing that on in a very convincing manner for the user to absorb. It is an unfortunate limitation, but one that can be mitigated through careful use of the AIs.

Using these AIs effectively in educational settings depends largely on the ability of the learner to know what statements to trust and which to validate. In my experience, all quantifiable data should be regarded as inaccurate by default. Names should be verified when they are a crucial part of the narrative being explored. Concepts are the most trustworthy because they stem directly from what the AIs do best: finding the connections between things.

As odd as it may sound, in the experience I am about to describe, the inaccurate details provided by ChatGPT do not matter. I intended to use the AI to learn how to approach answering my question by observing how it did, not to get concrete answers. I disregarded the bulk of the details because they are simply stand-ins that will be verified and updated later when I go to apply what I have learned.

Here is how it went.

Ivy League’s Agreement to Ban Athletic Scholarships Is Illegal, Lawsuit Says

Melissa Korn:

The eight schools that make up the Ivy League engage in illegal price-fixing by not awarding athletic scholarships, alleges a lawsuit filed Tuesday by current and former Brown University basketball players.

While all Division I athletic programs award financial aid to selected athletes, Brown, Harvard, Yale and the other Ivies have for years agreed to provide only need-based financial aid to students, including athletes. According to the suit, the agreement violates federal antitrust law, and harms recruited athletes who otherwise could have gotten scholarships covering tuition and fees, or been eligible for reimbursement on thousands of dollars of other school-related expenses under National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations.

The suit names as defendants all eight Ivy League schools and the Ivy League Council of Presidents, which coordinates Ivy League athletics. It was filed in federal court in Connecticut, with a former men’s basketball player and current women’s basketball player at Brown as the named plaintiffs.

“deeply flawed” reading curricula

By LaTonya Goffney, Sonja Santelises and Iranetta Wright:

America is finally acknowledging a harsh truth: The way many schools teach children to read doesn’t work. Educators, and indeed families, are having a long overdue conversation about how one of the nation’s most widely used curricula, “Units of Study,” is deeply flawed — and where to go from here.

The problem became a mainstream topic of conversation after parents got a closer look at their children’s lessons over Zoom during the pandemic, and journalist Emily Hanford released a podcast exposing how schools and teachers were “Sold a Story.” 

As Hanford explained, “Units” was not crafted on the science of reading — or what research shows are the best ways to build literacy. Such research-based methods focus on developing content knowledge, an understanding of letter-sound and sound-spelling relationships, word recognition, and language comprehension and fluency. Multiple, rigorous studies over 40 years prove these are the most effective ways to teach reading.

Yet “Units” instead encourages children to “cue” their thinking by looking at pictures or other words on the page to figure out what they don’t know. This approach is wholly inadequate — it does not build knowledge and skills, is especially problematic for children with a limited vocabulary, and often amounts to little more than guessing. 

But the “Units” curriculum has been popular, championed by respected voices, and too few teachers know about or study the science of reading as part of their preparation programs and professional development. Many administrators have also assumed that instructional programs peddled to their districts have a solid research base and are supported by data.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Emergency department visits for attempted suicides rose globally among youth during pandemic, shows meta-analysis

University of Calgary:

Even though pediatric emergency department visits decreased greatly overall during the COVID-19 pandemic, a newly published study led out of the University of Calgary shows there was also a sharp increase in emergency department visits for attempted suicide and suicide ideation among children and adolescents in that same period of social isolation.

Dr. Sheri Madigan, a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychology, is the lead author on the study, published today (March 9) in The Lancet Psychiatry, which provides a meta-analysis of 42 studies representing over 11 million pediatric emergency department visits across 18 countries, comparing the data on visits prior to the pandemic with those that took place during the pandemic, up to July 2021.

The numbers show that while there was a 32% reduction in pediatric emergency department visits for any health-related reasons during the pandemic, there was still a 22% increase in children and adolescents going to emergency departments for suicide attempts, and an 8% increase in visits for suicide ideation.

Lockdowns and children’s health outcomes

Issues and insights

Researchers found “a 22% increase in children and adolescents going to emergency departments for suicide attempts, and an 8% increase in visits for suicide ideation,” even though there was “a 32% reduction in pediatric emergency department visits for any health-related reasons during the pandemic.”

And which party was almost fully responsible for forcing the young into isolation? It was the Democrats in this country and their ideological kin in others, with the encouragement and approval of their media department, who placed the young under virtual house arrest and closed schools, houses of worship, playgrounds and other settings where social interaction takes place. No wonder so many lost hope.

It’s the same side of the political spectrum that has unconscionably stunted the speech, language, social and emotional development of small children through its obsession with mask mandates.

Not everyone agrees that this is the case. There is some debate among the experts. But common sense strongly suggests that forcing an entire population to appear less human – a masked population looks like a swarm of angry monsters – and interfering with basic verbal communication will have long-lasting negative consequences on society’s youngest and most vulnerable.

At Stanford, Public Accountability for Thee But Not for Me

Washington Free Beacon:

Why members of the school’s Federalist Society chapter should help cover up the misconduct of their peers and the administrators who collaborated with them is a mystery to us. But such a cover-up is surely not in the best interests of the institution or the legal system it ostensibly serves.

McConnell told us he stands by his guidance about press engagement, but did not respond to questions about what sorts of consequences might be appropriate for the mob that shut down the event.

The school’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild—the organizing force behind the Maoist horde of would-be lawyers—papered the hallways prior to Judge Duncan’s arrival with the names and photographs of the Federalist Society’s board members.

Yet when Free Beacon reporter Aaron Sibarium quoted the group’s board members describing the protests as “Stanford Law School at its best,” and named those board members, we got a note from one of them, Lily Bou, demanding that we remove her name and those of her classmates. “You do not have our permission to reference or quote any portion of this email in a future piece.”

That’s not exactly how the First Amendment works.

We’ve gotten similar complaints about publishing images—pulled from social media—of Stanford Law School dean Jenny Martinez’s classroom, which protesters covered end to end in flyers after she issued an apology to Judge Duncan.

We received the following note from Mary Cate Hickman, who identified herself as a second-year law student and describes herself on LinkedIn as “passionate about social justice” and a graduate of the Sorbonne.

Wisconsin Act 10 Savings Total $16.8 Billion Since 2012


Wisconsin has gotten mighty used to multi-billion budget surpluses over the past 12 years, something that was unimaginable before the passage of Act 10.

Rich Government Benefits Were Bankrupting Wisconsin 

Back in 2010, the state was facing an immediate $127 million budget shortfall and a $3.6 billion structural deficit going into the next budget cycle. Gov. Scott Walker correctly identified bloated public sector union contracts as the main culprit. Despite the left waging what we would today call a weeks-long “insurrection,” Walker and the Republican-led legislature passed a package of reforms that instantly turned around the state’s financial situation.

Bringing Government Benefits Closer In Line With The Taxpayers Who Finance Them 

Act 10 required government employees to pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums (still less than half the usual contribution of private sector workers toward their health insurance) and half of the contributions made towards their own pensions. Previously, they paid nothing; state taxpayers picked up both the employer and employee match. For perspective, the average private sector worker pays 17% of their health insurance premiums for single coverage and 28% for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Act 10 also limited what public-sector unions could negotiate for. These changes were meant to give state and local governments more flexibility to identify potential savings and keep their budgets balanced. It had an immediate impact.

Much more ion Act 10, here. Further background: the Milwaukee Pension Scandal

More on Free Speech Suppression at the Stanford Law School

Stuart Kyle Duncan

Stanford Law School’s website touts its “collegial culture” in which “collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning.” Then there’s the culture I experienced when I visited Stanford last week. I had been invited by the student chapter of the Federalist Society to discuss the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, on which I’ve served since 2018. I’ve spoken at law schools across the country, and I was glad to accept this invitation. One of my first clerks graduated from Stanford. I have friends on the faculty. I gave a talk there a few years ago and found it a warm and engaging place, but not this time.

When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and “trans people.” Plastered everywhere were photos of the students who had invited me and fliers declaring “You should be ASHAMED,” with the last word in large red capital letters and a horror-movie font. This didn’t seem “collegial.” Walking to the building where I would deliver my talk, I could hear loud chanting a good 50 yards away, reminiscent of a tent revival in its intensity. Some 100 students were massed outside the classroom as I entered, faces painted every color of the rainbow, waving signs and banners, jeering and stamping and howling. As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: “We hope your daughters get raped!”


Children & chatbots

Tyler Cowen:

With the introduction of GPT-4 and Claude, AI has taken another big step forward. GPT-4 is human-levelor better at many hard tasks, a huge improvement over GPT-3.5, which was released only a few months ago. Yet amid the debate over these advances, there has been very little discussion of one of the most profound effects of AI large language models: how they will reshape childhood.

In the future, every middle-class kid will grow up with a personalized AI assistant — so long as the parents are OK with that.

As for the children, most of them will be willing if not downright eager. When I was 4 years old, I had an imaginary friend who lived under the refrigerator, called (ironically) Bing Bing. I would talk to him and report his opinions to my parents and sister.

In the near future, such friends will be quite real, albeit automated, and they will talk back to our children as directly as we wish. Having an AI service for your child will be as normal as having a pet, except the AI service will never bite. It will be carried around in something like a tablet, though with a design that is oriented toward the AI.

A toolkit tells teachers how to push radical ideology on children despite Gov. Youngkin’s ban.

Wall Street Journal:

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin won election in 2021 in no small part on education policy, including a promise to ban critical race theory in schools. His first executive order instructed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to review curricula and end the use of “inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory.”

The Black Lives Matter at School organization promotes an annual “week of action,” which took place Feb. 6-10 this year. The VEA encouraged its members to participate and offered an instruction manual “to be used as a resource guide for advancing racial justice in Virginia’s schools,” as Taisha Steele, director of the Human and Civil Rights division at the VEA, wrote in a memo with the materials.

By “advancing racial justice,” she means following the highly politicized agenda of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The materials show this isn’t an attempt to teach black history as part of American history, or to fill in the gaps in black history that no doubt have existed in instruction in the past.

Civics: Taxpayer Supported censorship – “asking questions”

Civics: legacy newspaper circulation data

Don Surber:

Nice try, but Gannett eliminated no jobs. Its former readers did. While Benton blamed the company, he also had to admit that Sunday circulation fell 77% at Gannett’s 9 biggest newspapers between 2018 and 2022. Fewer readers, fewer reporters.

He pointed out the Lafayette Advertiser in Louisiana — his hometown paper — saw an 85% collapse in circulation over the past 7 years. 

2015: 26,885

2016: 23,773

2017: 20,177

2018: 14,670

2019: 10,389

2020: 8,592

2021: 6,528

2022: 3,996

The Internet won’t save the paper. Its online presence is pathetic — and it too dropped from 1,421 online subscribers in 2015 to just 468 online subscribers in 2022. 

Benton blamed Gannett.

“But in the 1970s, the department turned away from educational practice”

Christopher Rufo

The process of shutting down the education department at University of Chicago was more orderly. The department’s pedigree was impressive: it was founded by reformer John Dewey and had been home to prominent scholars such as Bruno Bettelheim and William S. Gray, creator of the “Dick and Jane” reading series. But in the 1970s, the department turned away from educational practice and focused more on left-wing educational theory. Over time, the quality of academic work declined, and external funding began to dwindle. Finally, in 1996, after a formal review, the dean of the social science division, Richard Saller, recommended that the university close down the department, citing “uneven” research and “low expectations.” It was officially shuttered soon afterward.

These examples establish an important precedent: it is not a violation of “academic freedom” to close down ideologically captured or poor-performing academic departments; it is, to the contrary, part of the normal course of business. Legislators in states such as Florida and Texas, which will both be considering higher education reform this year, should propose the abolition of academic departments that have abandoned their missions in pursuit of shoddy scholarship and ideological activism.

It is time for the “victim’s revolution” to be met with a meaningful counter-revolution. Legislators have an opportunity to abolish academic programs, such as critical race theory, ethnic studies, queer theory, gender studies, and intersectionality, that do not contribute to the production of scholarly knowledge but serve as taxpayer-funded sinecures for activists who despise the values of the public whom they are supposed to serve.

Enough is enough. It is time for principled action, not fatalism and defeat. Conservatives have an opportunity to move beyond critique and enact meaningful reforms that will restore the pursuit of truth as the telos of America’s public universities.

Digital Rights

Digital rights charter:

  1. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the digital realm.
  2. Everyone has the right to own, and hold in their own direct and exclusive possession and control, digital objects, without unreasonable burdens. The government shall not have the right to store or access passwords or private keys without due process of law. All other legal or natural persons shall not have the right to store or access passwords or private keys without explicit permission.
  3. Everyone has the right to be free to transact digital objects, without unreasonable burdens.
  4. Everyone has the right to use decentralized applications, without unreasonable burdens.
  5. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures of their digital objects and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. This right extends to digital objects and information a person provides to a third party, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The government may not search or seize such digital objects or information without complying with the requirements of the foregoing sentence.
  6. Everyone has the right to participate in the creation and maintenance of digital public commons, such as open-source software and public blockchains and distributed ledgers. No one shall be held responsible for the actions of others in a digital public commons that is not under that person’s control.
  7. Everyone has the right to privacy in their digital life. The right to privacy also includes the right of everyone to use encryption that is free from back doors or other intentional weaknesses or circumventions in the encryption that are accessible by the government or private companies or individuals. Interpretations of this right should be read broadly and to favor an individual’s right to privacy

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: What $100,000 Is Actually Worth in the Largest U.S. Cities – 2023 Study

Smart Asset:

Key Findings

$100K goes furthest in Memphis. The city may be known as the “Home of the Blues,” but Memphis’ low cost of living surely won’t make you sing them. A $100,000 salary is worth more here ($86,444) than in any other city in our study after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living.

Texas cities dominate the top 10. Thanks to no state income tax and the low cost of living, the Lone Star State looms large in our study. Seven out of the 10 cities in our top 10 are located in Texas. After deducting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living, a $100,000 salary on average is worth $77,885 across the 10 Texas cities that we analyzed in our study.

Oklahoma City has the lowest cost of living. A $100,000 goes a long way in the Sooner State’s largest city, considering that the cost of living is only 83.2% of the national average – the lowest out of all 76 cities in our study. A $100,000 salary is worth $84,498 in Oklahoma City after adjusting for the cost of living.

In New York City, $100K amounts to just $35,791 when you consider taxes and the cost of living. Taxes and cost of living take a big bite out of a $100,000 income in the Big Apple, which ranked last in our analysis. After adjusting for those factors, $100,000 is worth just $35,791.

Los Angeles Teacher Strike Looms

Kayla Jimenez:

More than 60,000 bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria employees, campus security, teaching assistants and educators from the Los Angeles Unified School District say they’ll strike from March 21 to 23, a move likely to shut down hundreds of schools. 

The labor union representing the support staff announced the dates during a lively rally Wednesday afternoon at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. 

Represented by labor union SEIU Local 99, about 30,000 school support staff are demanding LAUSD provide a 30% raise and $2 per hour equity wage increase. About 35,000 teachers represented by the United Teachers of Los Angeles plan to join them. The school district has offered, in part, more than a 15% raise, retention bonuses and to bring its minimum wage up to $20.

In a letter to families on Monday evening, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told parents the district is trying to work with the union to come to an agreement before kids are severely impacted by the closures. And he and district negotiators are prepared to work around the clock to come to negotiations before the strike, he told news reporters on Wednesday morning.

Commentary on Diversity Statements

Francie Diep:

As Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, was taking fresh aim at diversity initiatives in higher education, the state’s college presidents put out an unusual statement.

Some diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives “have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and its related tenets,” said the statement, which was dated January 18 and stamped with the logos of the 28 state and community colleges that belong to the Florida College System. (These don’t include the four-year public universities, which are part of the separate State University System of Florida.)

Tabloid-style education news is all the rage

Alexander Russo:

All three of these challenges include large investments of money, energetic state and local policy activity, and — most important — a large number of kids affected.

All three are happening now, in the present.

And yet, you’ll see relatively little about these core challenges and changes looking at the education pages of some of our biggest national news outlets.

Instead of covering core education issues, the Times and Post are focused on stories about culture wars and violence.

Intentionally or not, tabloid-style coverage has become a mainstay.

Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college

Collin Hinkley:

Hart is among hundreds of thousands of young people who came of age during the pandemic but didn’t go to college. Many have turned to hourly jobs or careers that don’t require a degree, while others have been deterred by high tuition and the prospect of student debt.

What first looked like a pandemic blip has turned into a crisis. Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists say the impact could be dire.

At worst, it could signal a new generation with little faith in the value of a college degree. At minimum, it appears those who passed on college during the pandemic are opting out for good. Predictions that they would enroll after a year or two haven’t borne out.

K-12 Parent climate commentary

Tom Knighton;

I’ve experienced education from a variety of angles. I went to both public and private schools. I’ve known people who went to parochial schools and talked with them about their experience and I’m now homeschooling my daughter.

So I’ve got some perspective on the idea of public education.

As I noted last week, I’m a proponent of school choice.

Yet let’s also be honest, the current paradigm in public education has a limited shelf life. 


Because there are teachers like this:

Madison mayor election and the taxpayer supported k-12 schools

Scott Girard:

The debate also featured discussions about how high-density developments affect Madison Metropolitan School District’s student population and whether it is time to bring police back into schools.

Reyes said there is concern among some residents that large housing developments taking place all over the city are pricing some families out of areas and diminishing school enrollments. She said that as mayor she wants the school district to be represented on Madison’s Plan Commission so that schools have a voice in development proposals.

Rhodes-Conway pointed out that there already is a slot reserved for the MMSD superintendent on the Plan Commission but that no one from that office has ever decided to serve in the position.

“We have asked repeatedly to have the school district appoint someone to the Plan Commission,” Rhodes-Conway said. “They have declined so far, which I think is really disappointing. In the meantime, we need to listen to what the district has told us, which is that we need more housing.”

Reyes, who was Madison School Board president during much of the pandemic, said she did not see collaboration between the school district and the mayor’s office during her tenure.

“This is the first time I’ve heard that there was a relationship between the school district and the mayor’s office,” Reyes said about Rhodes-Conway meeting with the superintendent. “During the pandemic we were on our own and did not have the support of the mayor.”

“It’s possible the superintendent didn’t keep my opponent informed of his calendar, but we met every week during the pandemic about how we could keep schools safe, keep kids fed and do virtual learning for kids who could not learn at home,” Rhodes-Conway replied.

On the topic of school safety, Rhodes-Conway pointed to the city’s Community Alternative Responsive Emerging Services, or CARES – a unit dedicated to deescalating tensions during a mental health crisis – as a program that could help school safety. CARES started in September 2021 during Rhodes-Conway’s first term as mayor.

Reyes said she believes it is time to consider whether to return school resource officers to school beats. Reyes, a former law enforcement officer, voted against removing police from schools prior to the pandemic during her tenure on the School Board, but then reversed course in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and voted to remove the resources officers from Madison schools.

More, here.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Conservatives on campus

Henry Farrel:

However, as the book’s publication date suggests, this shift began to take hold years before the Great Awokening. And Binder and Wood provided persuasive evidence that the shift had far less to do with what was happening on college campuses than changes in the broader conservative movement. There was money – and lots of it – for organizations that were willing to take the culture war to America’s universities, creating an entire political economy.

The later consequences are described in The Channels of Student Activism, a more recent academic book, published by Binder and Jeff Kidder last year. While Binder and Kidder are sympathetic to Haidt’s broad program of reform, they push back with evidence against his causal argument. People like George Lukianoff and Haidt “point fingers at the supposed shortcomings of Generation Z,” blaming the purported psychological frailty of an entire generation. Binder and Kidder find that the evidence points towards organizations as the key factors of change. Students “are channeled not coddled,” provided with incentives, identities and even entire career paths by political organizations.

Binder and Kidder identify very different organizational political economies for conservative and liberal/left students. Right leaning students are “encouraged by organizations external to their schools to adopt a discourse hostile to the academic enterprise,” “targeting a liberal campus culture, which plays into a larger Republican game plan.”

As they describe it (on the basis of interviews with students and figures within the relevant organizations):

Universities Need to Do More to Protect Free Speech. Here’s How We’re Succeeding

Adam Weinberg:

Free speech on college campus has emerged as a new front in the culture wars. But despite what you may have heard, most university students and faculty are supportive of free speech and the robust exchange of ideas on university campuses. According to recent research by the Knight Foundation, 84 percent of students view free speech rights as critical to our democracy.

Still, college campuses are increasingly challenging places to have challenging conversations. The same study found that the percentage of students who believe that free speech rights are secure has dropped from 59 percent to 47 percent since 2019—fully 12 points. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who felt their campus climate prevents students from expressing their opinions has increased, from 54 percent to 65 percent, since 2016.

Universities need to do more to protect free inquiry and expression, which will only flourish on campuses ​that ​​ ​are clear ​about ​their purpose, driven by cultures of curiosity and intellectual humility, hold the line when controversies arise, and focus on creating communities where everybody feels a sense of connection.

How do we do this kind of work? Universities can start by laying out clearly and loudly our purpose and articulating why free inquiry and expression of ideas are crucial to our work. This should be simple: Colleges and universities exist to produce knowledge and educate students. Neither of these is possible if faculty feel a need to censor themselves and students don’t have the opportunity to voice their views, hear the views of others and engage across intellectual differences.

Understanding Social Media Recommendation Algorithms

Arvind Narayanan

I think a broader understanding of recommendation algorithms is sorely needed. Policymakers and legal scholars must understand these algorithms so that they can sharpen their thinking on platform governance; journalists must understand them so that they can explain them to readers and better hold platforms accountable; technologists must understand them so that the platforms of tomorrow may be better than the ones we have; researchers must understand them so that they can get at the intricate interplay between algorithms and human behavior. Content creators would also benefit from understanding them so that they can better navigate the new landscape of algorithmic distribution. More generally, anyone concerned about the impact of algorithmic platforms on themselves or on society may find this essay of interest.

I hope to show you that social media algorithms are simple to understand. In addition to the mathematical principles of information cascades (which are independent of any platform), it’s also straightforward to understand what recommendation algorithms are trained to do, and what inputs they use. Of course, companies’ lack of transparency about some of the details is a big problem, but that’s a separate issue from the details being hard to understand—they aren’t. In this regard, recommendation algorithms are like any other technology, say a car or a smartphone. Many details of those products are proprietary, but we can and do understand how cars and smartphones work. Once we understand the basics of recommendation algorithms, we can also gain clarity on which details matter for transparency.

In composing this essay, I’ve r

New Thinking on Peer Review at NIH

Stuart Buck:

That said, there are some lingering issues with grant peer review that aren’t new at all. 

In 1975, the NIH launched a major “Grants Peer Review Study Team” that produced a number of reports and recommendations (much thanks to Bhaven Sampat at Columbia for sending me the documents in question!). 

1978 report from that team tried to address many of the comments raised by the scientific community about NIH’s grant peer review. Despite the passage of some 45 years, the issues might feel . . . very familiar:

First, some commenters felt that peer review was stacking the deck against outsiders:

Civics: How Graphic Artists Facilitate Deliberative Democracy

Democracy next

France’s ongoing Citizens’ Assembly on end-of-life issues is proving that reading isn’t always the best way to soak up knowledge or solve problems. 

As an observer, I’ve watched as a graphic artists have come to play a critical role in the assembly, where 185 French citizen-members are sorting through complex questions relating palliative care, assisted suicide, euthanasia and related issues. 

When taking an important decision – absorbing unfamiliar information, questioning one’s conscience, prioritising options and finding consensus with others – illustrations are proving an excellent assist to the extensive reading materials. It turns out they help with thinking, talking and assembling a final report as well. Perhaps it should come as no surprise: the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

The role of the three artists who accompany each assembly session at first seemed mostly decorative, like the cartoonists who enliven conferences and speeches with real time caricatures of what’s going on.

On the decline in public health trust

Gillian K. SteelFisher, Mary G. Findling, Hannah L. Caporello, Keri M. Lubell,

Public health agencies’ ability to protect health in the wake of COVID-19 largely depends on public trust. In February 2022 we conducted a first-of-its-kind nationally representative survey of 4,208 US adults to learn the public’s reported reasons for trust in federal, state, and local public health agencies. Among respondents who expressed a “great deal” of trust, that trust was not related primarily to agencies’ ability to control the spread of COVID-19 but, rather, to beliefs that those agencies made clear, science-based recommendations and provided protective resources. Scientific expertise was a more commonly reported reason for “a great deal” of trust at the federal level, whereas perceptions of hard work, compassionate policy, and direct services were emphasized more at the state and local levels. Although trust in public health agencies was not especially high, few respondents indicated that they had no trust. Lower trust was related primarily to respondents’ beliefs that health recommendations were politically influenced and inconsistent. The least trusting respondents also endorsed concerns about private-sector influence and excessive restrictions and had low trust in government overall. Our findings suggest the need to support a robust federal, state, and local public health communications infrastructure; ensure agencies’ authority to make science-based recommendations; and develop strategies for engaging different segments of the public.

Why write?

FS blog

Writing is the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. Importantly, writing is also the process by which you figure it out.

Writing about something teaches you about what you know, what you don’t know, and how to think. Writing about something is one of the best ways to learn about it. Writing is not just a vehicle to share ideas with others but also a way to understand them better yourself. 

Paul Graham put it this way: “A good writer doesn’t just think, and then write down what he thought, as a sort of transcript. A good writer will almost always discover new things in the process of writing.”

There is another important element to writing that often gets overlooked. Writing requires the compression of an idea. When done poorly, compression removes insights. When done well, compression keeps the insights and removes the rest. Compression requires both thinking and understanding, which is one reason writing is so important.

Litmus Tests for Nuclear Scientists

John Sailer:

Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Engineering heavily emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). For faculty, contributing to DEI is now simply a part of the job—in 2020, the college added questions about DEI to its annual reviews. That move is no surprise, as the college already asked for diversity statements from many of its prospective faculty, a practice which, of course, continues to this day. Applicants for a currently-open job in nuclear engineering, for example, must submit “a written statement that describes [their] commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The OSU College of Engineering makes its approach to evaluating diversity statements abundantly clear, listing a rubric for assessing the statements on its website. The rubric illustrates, once again, the basic problem with diversity statements—namely, that they invite ideological screening.

We link the rubric below, but certain features are worth highlighting. Here are a few items that can earn a low score, according to the rubric:

Teacher Cost of Living

Edwin Rios:

Ongoing negotiations between teachers unions and school districts in recent years in Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere have increasingly centered around compelling districts to address housing affordability challenges their employees face beyond raising salaries and bolstering benefits.

In California, teachers on a weekly basis make nearly 18% less than comparable college graduates, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Gray says that disparity puts an “additional tax” on teachers of color who come into the profession saddled with more debt. She blames the lack of diversity among teachers on meager wages and benefits that are worsened by the housing affordability and childcare challenges.

Notes on the state of “education reform”

Matthew Yglesias

I keep trying to write an article about the strange death of the education reform movement and the extent to which many of the contemporary woke wars emerged from these once-intense, now-forgotten battlegrounds. Every time I sit down to write it, though, the column spirals out of control. But this is my newsletter and I can do what I want, so instead it’s going to be a series of posts that come out on no particular schedule. Some of them will probably be a little unsatisfying and anti-climactic, but I appreciate you all bearing with me on this journey because I think it’s important. 

What finally got me to actually start this series is the Chicago mayor’s race, where the incumbent Lori Lightfoot failed to make the runoff. 

To grossly oversimplify a situation that has lots of local nuance: with Lightfoot out, the final round will feature Paul Vallas, the candidate of the police union running on a law-and-order platform, against Brandon Johnson, the candidate carrying the progressive torch. This is Chicago of course, so all the main candidates, including Vallas, are left-of-center in a national political context, and the vanquished Lightfoot is genuinely very progressive. Johnson, though, is the preferred candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union.1

But I think what’s interesting about it from a national perspective is the extent to which Vallas’ profile is centered around the crime issue.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The Democrats’ Disastrous Miscalculation on Civil Liberties

Matt Taibbi:

Civil liberties have officially gone out of style, a phenomenon on full display at the Weaponization of Government Hearing at which I just testified. 

The circus-like scene featured a ranking member calling two journalists a “direct threat,” a Stanford-educated former prosecutor who confused accusation with proof, and a Texas congressman, Colin Allred, who proudly held up the results of an adjudicated criminal case to argue against due process in another arena. When I asked Allred’s permission to point out that he’d just demonstrated that a proper forum for dealing with campaign abuses already existed in the court system, he basically told me to shut up. 

“No,” he said, “you don’t get to ask questions here.”

I then had to keep my mouth shut as an elected official shifted to Dad mode to admonish me to “take off the tinfoil hat,” because “there’s not a “vast conspiracy,” by which he meant he apparently meant my last three months of research.

Lottery admissions

Joanne Jacobs:

An influx of unprepared students, admitted by a new lottery system, is destroying Philadelphia’s top-ranked school, charges a report by parents at Masterman, a middle and high school.

The selective school is being “systematically dismantled,” charges the Masterman Home and School Association. “The long history of rigor and enriched curriculum is fading. The identity of the school and its purpose and mission are in disarray, leaving a fractured community.”

The new admissions system gives preferences to students from previously underrepresented zip codes, writes Kristen A. Graham in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Students coming from Masterman’s very challenging middle school no longer are guaranteed admission to the high school.

Masterman lacks the staff and resources to support students entering at the “basic” and “below basic” level, the report states.

Privatizing our digital identities

Ciprian Dorin Craciun

Imagine a parallel universe in which the society has developed so that, just like in our society, every time a person needs to interact with some business or governmental institution, one needs to present some form of document that, within a reasonable limit of certainty, attests that one is who one says to be. Also, to simplify the exercise, imagine that there is exactly one form of such identification document, the ID-card.

What happens if one doesn’t have such an ID-card? One basically doesn’t exist, or at least practically can’t get anything done. Lose it, and one needs to get another ID-card, which is identical to the previous one, obviously after jumping through some hoops in a sacred bureaucratic ritual. If one, for some reason, doesn’t manage to get an identical ID-card to the previous one, but instead gets even a slightly different one, for all practical purposes it’s just like one is now a completely different person that was born just yesterday. (Remember, this is a strange far away parallel universe.)

Health department logs reveal a sad time of neighbors tattling on neighbors for Covid violations

David Zweig:

This is a summary of one of the many complaints—some of which were bizarrely detailed like this—that were submitted to the Santa Clara County, California, complaint department, where citizens were encouraged to rat our their fellow county residents for violating health orders. I gained access to a government spreadsheet of some of the complaints [which I’ve included at the bottom of this post] while reviewing legal documents for my article about the lawsuit of Santa Clara vs Calvary Chapel for Covid violations. 

Reading the complaints gives a window into the psyche of our fellow Americans during the pandemic, and introduces serious questions about the healthy functioning of a society that encourages neighbors to snitch on neighbors for minor offenses.

In late November, a household was tattled on for regularly holding social gatherings, and doing so without people wearing face coverings or social distancing. At one of the gatherings kids from different families were running around together. To make matters worse, the complainant said that “contractors working at the premises do not wear face coverings” . . .and they were “chatting and laughing.”

The following day, a complaint came in about a neighbor who has a “swing band” that gets together every Saturday to practice. They don’t wear masks or distance, and they were “playing loud wind instruments.”

What’s so amusing, and perhaps unsettling about many of the complaints is their odd degree of specificity. A swing band? Really?

Madison College alum to bring business education to African students through new partnership

Kimberly Wethal

“In Africa, for example, our people were using WhatsApp to study — that’s not the way to study, WhatsApp is a platform for communication,” Kabre said. “We can do better, and in fact, we can do even something much bigger that can really cover more areas, and also partner with institutions to have good content.”

Madison College launches Africa initiative to bolster curriculum, international options

For MATC, also known as Madison College, its partnership with Kabre fits neatly into one of its established initiatives. As part of its Africa Initiative, MATC sees the continent as an area of growth, both in terms of curriculum and international student enrollment. About 70% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 30, but there’s a skilled labor gap — less than 10% of traditionally college-age people there are enrolled in a post-secondary program and there are not enough universities to meet demand.

MATC signed partnerships with Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute of Business Studies and the University of Gambia last fall and is collaborating with UW-Madison to craft an African Studies certificate that could launch as early as this fall.

“The discussion we’ve had over the past few months (is) how can we assist those countries here in Africa to see some of the educational programs that we have?” MATC President Jack Daniels said. “It also fits within our mission of providing training, and we’ve done a great job here in the state of Wisconsin in terms of providing the types of skill-based training folks need for jobs.”

The latest spelling bee news

Daniela Jaime:

After several close calls and unconventional rounds, Madison’s top speller for two years running emerged as the winner of Saturday’s Badger State Spelling Bee.

The awards presentation at the All-City Spelling Bee on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023.

The spelling bee at Madison Youth Arts Center went for four hours and more than 20 rounds before 12-year-old Aiden Wijeyakulasuriya, a student at Blessed Sacrament School, claimed the top spot after he spelled all 10 words correctly in a written test to determine the champion.

Runner-up Finn Siegl-Gesin, a seventh-grader at Platteville Middle School, spelled six of the words correctly.

Wijeyakulasuriya will be representing the Badger State at the National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., starting May 30.

K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison Projections show that “annual deficits could reach between $20 million and $30 million.”

Dean Mosiman:

Reyes, who said she’d seek five recommendations from Finance Department staff to address coming shortfalls, sees a different landscape. “I feel right now we are on the Titanic and we’re about to hit the iceberg,” she said. “We need a strong leader who’s going to be able to make some tough decisions.”

How’d we get here?

The candidates in the April 4 election disagree on why the city faces future budget deficits.

Reyes contends Rhodes-Conway has “mismanaged” city finances largely though the use of borrowing and one-time funds for operations. Asked for specifics, Reyes said the mayor is using federal funds to build the coming bus rapid transit (BRT) system but will not have the money to operate it.

“I think significantly what’s going to put us in this budget deficit is the bus rapid transit system,” she said.

Rhodes-Conway said Reyes doesn’t seem to have a grasp of how BRT and a coming Metro Transit redesign will work, contending that BRT — the backbone of the bus system — is replacing current service on main east-to-west and north-to-south routes and won’t add operating costs.

Madison taxpayers have long supported substantially higher per student spending than most K-12 school districts.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Jurist silenced by elite Stanford Law mob explains why it matters for democracy

Rod Dreher:

It was a revolt of the elites, a pogrom against free speech and civil discourse carried out by some of the nation’s most privileged. It was a scene from Dostoevsky’s political novel Demons played out in one of America’s most exclusive training schools for its legal ruling class. And it is a stark warning about the potentially totalitarian future of the US.

You will have heard by now about the shocking incident last week at Stanford Law School, one of the country’s top three, in which Kyle Duncan, an appellate judge on the federal Fifth Circuit, was shouted down and verbally abused by woke students who did not want to let him give a talk to students of the Federalist Society, which had invited him. 

The law school’s diversity dean, Tirien Steinbach, turned up to read a long prepared statement in which she lectured the conservative judge for his wickedness, and for causing “pain” and “harm” to Stanford students through his jurisprudence and presence on campus. You can watch the entire debacle below — and you should, because you have to see it and hear it to grasp the grotesque and repulsive nature of what happened at one of America’s most elite law schools.

Merit vs lottery admissions

Sara Randazzo

Phil­adelphia schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Tony B. Watling­ton Sr. said he knows the process isn’t per­fect but calls the lot­tery an ap­pro­pri­ate step to­ward eq­ui­table ac­cess. The dis­trict is hir­ing out­side con­sul­tants and lis­ten­ing to com­mu­nity feed­back to see if the sys­tem needs to be ad­justed, he said.

“I want to ad­dress the is­sues in a way that we all get bet­ter,” Dr. Watling­ton said. “It doesn’t have to be an in­her­ent us-ver­sus-them sce­nario.”

Schools that set aca­d­e­mic qual­i­fi­ca­tions for en­roll­ment are rare in the na­tion’s pub­lic school sys­tems. Chester E. Finn Jr., a se­nior fel­low at the Thomas B. Ford­ham In­sti­tute, found 165 se­lec­tive-ad­mis­sions high schools na­tion­wide, many on the East Coast.

Stanford President and Stanford Law School Dean Apologize to Judge Kyle Duncan

Eugene Volokh:

From today’s letter (posted by Ed Whelan [National Review Online]):

Dear Judge Duncan,

We write to apologize for the disruption of your recent speech at Stanford Law School. As has already been communicated to our community, what happened was inconsistent with our policies on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus.

We are very clear with our students that, given our commitment to free expression, if there are speakers they disagree with, they are welcome to exercise their right to protest but not to disrupt the proceedings. Our disruption policy states that students are not allowed to “prevent the effective carrying out” of a “public event” whether by heckling or other forms of interruption.

In addition, staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.

Stolen Youth

Glenn Reynolds:

Karol Markowicz and Bethany Mandel are the authors of a new book, Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation.  Writers, thinkers, and mothers, the pair look at what’s being done to children today by schools, Hollywood, government, and the medical profession.  Because Helen is interested in this stuff too – she stole the review copy when it arrived and I had to work hard to get it back – she’s contributed some questions to this interview, too.

Make a Donation

Glenn:  You had rather a rough childhood both before and after immigrating. Can you tell us a little about it? Does that have something to do with your concern for how today’s kids are treated?

Karol: It’s funny because while it was rough, in so many ways, I always felt like being a child was an important time and that childhood was something the people around me were trying to protect for me. What I saw during the pandemic was a reverse of that. Children were put last, again and again, especially in New York City where we were living. I knew I could save my own kids but because I had grown up poor, in a bad neighborhood, I knew there were so many people who couldn’t just easily form a pod for their kid or get them a tutor or move to their beach house to have space and sanity. I couldn’t forget about those people and I could not forget about their children. 

Helen: I was stunned when I read about the hardships you dealt with as a child.  You had to endure a lot of childhood trauma with a sick mom and an absent Dad yet you proved yourself resilient. Why are so many young people unable to cope with life these days?

Bethany: My mother was a social worker and prided herself on raising me tough. There was no wallowing, there was only moving forward. I was praised for working hard and she deeply resented the participation trophies they handed out to us as kids. In the last chapter, I talked about the therapist that “tough loved” me into not just self-identifying as an orphan and a victim. Now, kids are praised for their victimhood status; they’re encouraged to marinate in the bad parts of life.

Declining US IQ?

Shelby Kearns:

A recent study suggests that, for the first time in nearly 100 years, Americans’ average intelligence quotient (IQ) is declining. 

The professors who authored the study theorize that the quality of education could play a role in reversing the IQ gains enjoyed by previous generations.

The study, published in a spring 2023 edition of Intelligence, measures IQ test results among 18- to 60-year-olds to examine the phenomenon first observed by philosopher James Flynn

Professors from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and the University of Oregon in Eugene explain the Flynn effect: starting in 1932, average IQ scores increased roughly three to five points per decade. In other words, “younger generations are expected to have higher IQ scores than the previous cohort.”

Data from the sample of U.S. adults, however, imply that there is a reverse Flynn effect. From 2006 to 2018, the age groups measured generally saw declines in the IQ test used by the study, the International Cognitive Ability Resource (ICAR).

Overall declines held true across age groups after controlling for educational attainment and gender, but the study shows that the loss in cognitive abilities is steeper for younger participants. “[T]he greatest differences in annual scores were observed for 18- to 22-year-olds,” the authors write.

Virginia AG orders Fairfax school to stop racial discrimination against Asian, white students in college prep

Yaron Steinbuch

The woke district’s letter didn’t cite Asian or white students as being qualified for the program.

“It has come to the attention of this Office that Cooper Middle School is engaging in conduct in contravention of the Virginia Human Rights Act … and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Johnson wrote.

“It appears that Cooper Middle School is soliciting and selecting applicants to the College Partnership Program based on race, color, and national origin,” she continued.

Civics: the politics of independence and self reliance

James Pogue:

“When people who would abort a baby the day it’s born, threw kids under the bus during the pandemic, take kids to drag shows, and saddle our children with crippling debt,” Mr. Massie tweeted in October, “tell you how to live because they’re concerned about sea levels in 100 years, hide your children.”

It’s a debate that cuts to the heart of American politics. Mr. Massie’s version of being the “greenest member of Congress” is an explicit throwback to a Jeffersonian vision — of America as a country of people who live and work close to the land, with minimal government interference and a maximum of personal responsibility for the future of the nation. It is also a vision of rugged self-reliance that has long informed back-to-the-landers on the left, but that many on that side of politics now regard as the most insidious of American political poisons, one that has made collective action on issues like climate change impossible to achieve in this country.

“If Thomas Jefferson could have had solar panels at Monticello, he’d have had solar panels,” Mr. Massie told the libertarian economist and podcaster Matt Kibbe in 2019. “The less you have to go to the store and buy, the less dependent you are on Walmart — it’s not just that you’re greener, but you’re more independent.”

Why Elite Law and Medical Schools Can’t Stand U.S. News

Eric Gentler:

Choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions students will ever make. Besides being a significant investment of time and money, it is a critical first step to ensuring a student’s future career opportunities, earning potential, and quality of life. But absent U.S. News’s academic rankings, it’s difficult to find accurate, comprehensive information that empowers students to compare institutions and identify the factors that matter most to them. We are one of the few places that do.

Our rankings don’t capture every nuance. Academic institutions aren’t monolithic or static; comparing them across a common data set can be challenging. But we reject our critics’ paternalistic view that students are somehow incapable of discerning for themselves from this information which school is the best fit.

Moreover, the perspective of elite schools doesn’t fit with that of the broader law- and medical-school community. Our editors held meetings with 110 law deans following the outcry over our rankings. Excepting the top 14 law schools, almost 75% of the schools that submitted surveys in 2022 did so in 2023. For medical schools, the engagement level was higher.

Dropping the SAT Requirement Is a Luxury Belief

Rob Henderson:

The writer claims standardized tests penalize poor kids who get good grades. He calls it a “barrier.”1
I rarely see discussions about the reverse situations. There are poor kids who get bad grades but find a path upward because of standardized testing.

A 2016 study found that implementing a standardized testing requirement increased the number of poor and nonwhite kids in gifted programs. In other words, an IQ test administered to all students revealed that previously overlooked students from disadvantaged backgrounds qualified as academically gifted. 

Similarly, a British study found that when relying on their own impressions, teachers tended to view a kid from a low-income background as less academically competent even when they had the same test score as a rich kid. The objectivity of scores can serve as a useful corrective to the subjective nature of teacher evaluations.

DIE Speech Suppression at Stanford


David Lat:

What did Judge Duncan have to say for himself in general? In a phone interview this afternoon, he made several points to me:

  • “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me because I had to endure a bunch of people jeering at me. I did think it was outrageous and unacceptable, but nobody should feel sorry for me. I’m still going to be a judge, and I’m still going to decide my cases.”

  • “I do feel bad—and outraged—for the Stanford FedSoc students. They are awesome people who just want to invite interesting judges to come talk to them. They’re a small group, obviously way outnumbered. They are the ones who lack power and status at Stanford Law. It’s ridiculous that they can’t get treated with civility, and it’s grotesquely unfair.”

  • “I get where my critics are coming from, and I understand why they don’t like me. They claim that I am marginalizing them and not recognizing their existence. But this is hypocritical of them, since that’s exactly what they are doing to their classmates in FedSoc.”

  • “I get the protesters, they are socialized into thinking the right approach to a federal judge you don’t agree with is to call him a f**ker and make jokes about his sex life. Awesome. I don’t care what they think about my sex life. But it took a surreal turn when the associate dean of DEI got up to speak…. She opens up her portfolio and lo and behold, there is a printed speech. It was a set up—and the fact that the administration was in on it to a certain degree makes me mad.”

  • “I later heard that the associate dean of DEI was claiming two things. First, she claimed that I didn’t have a prepared speech and was just there to stir up trouble. It was a long flight out to Stanford, I’m not a professional rabble-rouser like Milo Yiannopoulos, and I’m not trying to sell a book. I actually had a speech, it was on my iPad, and I was going to be talking about controversial cases handled by the Fifth Circuit that present difficult issues because the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on them is in flux.”

  • “Second, she claimed that the fact that two U.S. marshals showed up at the event was a sign that I’m a rabble-rouser and disruption always happens when I speak. But I didn’t bring or invite these marshals; these marshals from the Northern District of California just showed up after getting a tip-off. I have never been protested like that at any other law school, I have known of other conservative judges who have spoken at Stanford without any problems, and I spoke there in 2019 without any problems. So I was lulled into a false sense of security.”

  • “You don’t invite someone to your campus to scream and hurl invective at them. Did I speak sharply to some of the students? I did. Do I feel sorry about it? I don’t.”

K-12 Governance notes: reform edition

Christopher Rufo:

But now, five years later, the IDW has become a spent force. As the group was confronted with a series of real-world political decisions—the rise of Trump, the COVID crisis, and the anti-CRT movement—it fractured, splintered, and decomposed. With some notable exceptions, such as Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, and Bret Weinstein, the “centrists” of the IDW could never move from the domain of criticism to the domain of action. They acted as if they could solve political problems through interminable podcast debates and failed to offer a viable theory of change. 

Consequently, the IDW was overtaken by events. Although the movement deserves credit for pointing out the problem of left-wing overreach in America’s institutions, this critique is now part of conventional wisdom and is no longer sufficient. As I explain in my new video essay, the lesson of the IDW’s disintegration is clear: opponents of left-wing orthodoxy must grapple with the reality that, in a two-party democratic system, the path to reform must go through politics. If they want results, they must be willing to get their hands dirty.

Civics: Anatomy of Misinformation

Civics: How Press Bias Fed FISA Abuse in the Trump-Russia Panic

Stewart Baker:

It looks like we’re in the morning-after stage of media coverage of former President Trump and his Russia connections. Most recently, the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) published a harsh analysis of the press’s role in stoking the Trump-Russia panic. The author, Jeff Gerth, is a respected former journalist, and the CJR is more or less the official organ of mainstream media, but the piece is an unsparing chronicle of how the media’s hostility to Trump led it to overhype the Trump-Russia connection. 

Gerth concludes that entering into an “undeclared war” with Trump has saddled the U.S. press with a lasting credibility problem. What’s been unnoticed until now is how the press’s unremitting hostility to Trump also hurt the credibility of the FBI and its intelligence operations. 

The Trump-Russia media saga began with a bit of journalistic malpractice. As the GOP convention was preparing to nominate Trump, Gerth tells us, the Washington Post ran one of the early attacks on Trump for kowtowing to Russian interests: a July 18 opinion column from Josh Rogin headlined, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russian stance on Ukraine.” It was wrong. In Gerth’s understated words:

“If enough of these kids get into the legal profession,” he said, “the rule of law will descend into barbarism.”

Aaron Sibarium:

The protest is perhaps the most extreme example yet of law students shouting down conservative speakers. A similar incident occurred at Yale Law School last year when Kristen Waggoner, a prominent Supreme Court litigator, was drowned out by hundreds of students protesting her views on transgender issues. Also last year, students at the University of California-Hastings disrupted a talk with the libertarian law professor Ilya Shapiro, shrieking and jeering each time he opened his mouth.

The tactics used against Duncan were nearly identical. Nearly everyone in the room showed up to disrupt the proceeding, according to Duncan and two members of the Federalist Society, and many of the hundred or so students on hand were holding profane signs, including one that declared: “Duncan can’t find the clit.”

Each time Duncan began to speak, the protesters would heckle him with insults, shouting things like “scumbag!” and “you’re a liar!”

The din became so loud that Duncan asked for an administrator to keep order, according to video of the event. That’s when Steinbach, the associate diversity dean, delivered her remarks. While she reminded students of the law school’s free speech policies, which prohibit the disruption of speakers, she proceeded to stand by while students continued to  heckle Duncan, videos from the event show.

She also expressed sympathy for students who wanted to “reconsider” those free speech policies, given the “harm” Duncan’s appearance had caused.

At least three other administrators—associate dean of student affairs Jory Steele, associate director of student affairs Holly Parish, and student affairs coordinator Megan Brown—were present throughout the event, according to Tim Rosenberger, a member of Stanford’s Federalist Society chapter. None of them told the students to allow Duncan to speak without interruption.

Eventually, one of the leaders of the protest instructed the students to “tone down the heckling slightly so we can get to our questions,” a video obtained by the Free Beacon shows. So began a contentious question and answer session between Duncan, who never got to read his prepared remarks, and his critics, who continued to disrupt and jeer as he spoke.

“Government adds approximately $88,500 to the average cost of each new-built home in the Midwest”


The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a new policy report,Priced Out of House and Home: How Laws and Regulation Add to Housing Prices in WisconsinThe report examines the ways in which government regulation has contributed to the rising cost of home prices in Wisconsin. The report makes recommendations for both state and local policy makers to remove barriers to the development of more affordable market-rate housing. 

The Quote: WILL Policy Director, Kyle Koenen, said, “Arbitrary government regulations that restrict property rights and depress the supply of affordable, market-rate housing options are pricing more and more families out of their version of the American dream. Policymakers at all levels of government should work to remove unnecessary barriers that contribute to the growing costs of homes nationwide.” 

Background: Over the past few years, the rising cost of housing has been a growing concern amongst Americans, particularly those looking to purchase their first home. Fewer Americans believe that now is a good time to buy a home than those who believed this during the Great Recession. Furthermore, a record low number of Americans believe they are ever going to own a home. Historically, low levels of housing inventory suggest that the lack of supply plays a key role in the shortage of affordable market-rate housing options. In a nation where homeownership has historically been one of the primary means of wealth creation for lower- and middle-class families, the increase of people being crowded out of the housing market has the potential to obstruct upward mobility in the long-run.  

This tight supply can be attributed to a number of factors, including the inflation of construction materials and a lack of qualified labor. However, for developers that prepare land for housing and builders that build the homes, government regulations from the local, state and federal level make it more difficult and expensive to develop affordable-market rate housing.

Here’s the Ugly Truth About Why Middle Class Kids Aren’t Getting Into Harvard


Reading the comments leads to an army of angry replies claiming the story is phony. Admittedly, it’s an unnamed person sharing an account from an unnamed source, so of course it’s unproven. But anybody who finds Keenan’s story to be unlikely, or a surprise, is not paying attention to the reality at American colleges today. 

Critics of Keenan’s post pointed out that, thanks to 1996’s Proposition 209 (which survived a repeal push in 2020), California’s public universities are not allowed to use race as a factor in admissions. The response of those with a brain is simple: If you think the UC system is strictly following that law, you’re an idiot.

Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest

Jon Haidt:

In May 2014, Greg Lukianoff invited me to lunch to talk about something he was seeing on college campuses that disturbed him. Greg is the president of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression), and he has worked tirelessly since 2001 to defend the free speech rights of college students. That almost always meant pushing back against administrators who didn’t want students to cause trouble, and who justified their suppression of speech with appeals to the emotional “safety” of students—appeals that the students themselves didn’t buy. But in late 2013, Greg began to encounter new cases in which students were pushing to ban speakers, punish people for ordinary speech, or implement policies that would chill free speech. These students arrived on campus in the fall of 2013 already accepting the idea that books, words, and ideas could hurt them. Why did so many students in 2013 believe this, when there was little sign of such beliefs in 2011?

Greg is prone to depression, and after hospitalization for a serious episode in 2007, Greg learned CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In CBT you learn to recognize when your ruminations and automatic thinking patterns exemplify one or more of about a dozen “cognitive distortions,” such as catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, fortune telling, or emotional reasoning. Thinking in these ways causesdepression, as well as being a symptom of depression. Breaking out of these painful distortions is a cure for depression. 

What Greg saw in 2013 were students justifying the suppression of speech and the punishment of dissent using the exact distortions that Greg had learned to free himself from. Students were saying that an unorthodox speaker on campus would cause severe harm to vulnerable students (catastrophizing); they were using their emotions as proof that a text should be removed from a syllabus (emotional reasoning). Greg hypothesized that if colleges supported the use of these cognitive distortions, rather than teaching students skills of critical thinking (which is basically what CBT is), then this could cause students to become depressed. Greg feared that colleges were performing reverse CBT.

Education fads will make learning decline worse

Joanne Jacobs

“As bad as the pandemic was for student learning,” some education fads will make it worse, writes Greg Richmond, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Across the country, schools are moving away from homework, grades, attendance and academic honors, he writes. “Numerous public school districts now prohibit teachers from giving students a score of less than 50% on homework,” even if the student does nothing or turns in plagiarized work. 

Parents who want a traditional education — grades and all — can turn to Catholic schools, Richmond writes. “As measured in last year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, Catholic schools’ eighth-grade reading scores increased during the pandemic, while public school scores declined,” he writes. 

“If Catholic schools were a state, they would be the highest performing in the nation on all four NAEP tests,” Kathleen Porter-Magee, superintendent of Partnership Schools, a network of Catholic schools in New York and Ohio, tweeted in October.

Many parents want a safe, orderly school that respects their role in raising their children.

In A Country With A Lot Of Parents, Why Can’t Democrats Even Cough Up The Words ‘Parent’s Rights?’
It’s reactionary, tone deaf, and not good for young people

Andrew Rotherham:

I was recently having lunch with a friend, who was a senior hand in the Carter White House. We were noting that in those days if you had predicted there would be a TV network where much of the guest talent was former military, CIA and other spooky types, FBI, and assorted other national security players and the audience lapping it up would be mostly Democrats you’d be laughed at. You’d be ridiculed even more if you then added that when the Russians invaded a sovereign nation many Republicans and conservatives would advocate against supporting efforts to counter Russian military force.

Yet here we are. It’s hard to miss how as a feature of the partisan hardening in this country our politics are becoming predictably and sometimes comically reactionary. There are counterexamples, sure, Joe Biden on crime and policing for instance cuts against the activist grain of the Democratic Party. But in general there is a reaction – counter-reaction problem. How many people died because they wouldn’t follow “Democratic” public health advice? When Donald Trump would call for due process Twitter would light up with people who formerly were at least nominally on board with civil liberties shouting him down. (Reader, even toxic losers deserve due process, it’s basically the whole idea). The ongoing January 6th saga is a depressing, and dangerous, example. Not long ago the Twitter spectacle would have freaked out liberals.

Here in education, one place this reactionary trend shows up a lot is around “parents rights.” Like “Make America Great Again” it’s one of these slogans that it’s sort of politically suicidal to be against yet people do it anyway. (I’m not talking about “MAGA” and 1/6 and all that, but just the 2016 version with those four words and their plain meaning.) When confronted with “Make America Great Again” Democrats could have said, yes, we should do that and here’s our agenda for how. Instead, prominent voices started arguing America wasn’t really ever great, and ridiculing people who love their country. Or, worse, claiming those who believe in American greatness are racist or deplorable and openly or secretly hoping to resurrect a pre-civil rights America. Sure, those types exist, but, not surprisingly this sentiment didn’t sit well with a lot of people who don’t think like that and also love their country. It helped turn a consequential election and drive a brutal wedge in our politics and culture. It’s why “ultra” MAGA or whatever stupid nomenclature is now being road tested.

Our public education system has abandoned excellence for ideology

Scott Yenor:

Scenes from the Loudoun county, Virginia, school board meetings riveted Americans during 2021. A girl had been raped in a school bathroom by a boy dressed as a girl. For fear of running afoul of transgender ideologues, the district covered up the crime. Soon after her father was arrested for complaining bitterly at a school board meeting, the National Association of School Boards asked the U.S. Department of Justice to treat complaining parents as domestic terror threats. An early draft of the Association’s letter called on the federal government to deploy the National Guard and military police to restrain parents at school board meetings.

Luke Rosiak’s Race to the Bottom shows that such episodes are produced by an educational system that has abandoned excellence for ideology. The proximate causes of the equity agenda include zealots in the ranks of teachers, principals, and board members. But, Rosiak shows, the ultimate cause is a system funded from top to bottom by social justice crusaders determined to transform the public schools in order to transform the country.

An investigative reporter for the Daily Wire who broke stories putting a national spotlight on Loudoun County public schools, Rosiak reveals “the secret forces destroying American public education,” as his subtitle promises. The book also shows how the Left “marches through”—captures and controls—powerful governing institutions. Once you see this process in detail here, you will see it everywhere.

Madison East High School senior wins Journalist of the Year award

Wyatt Bandt:

A Madison high school student was named Journalist of the Year by the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association.

Kadjtata Bah, a senior from Madison East High School, was given the title for her “outstanding background in journalistic work.” 

She began writing about topics she was interested in for the Simpson Street Free Press at the age of 11. Now, she’s one of the publication’s Senior Teen Editors, and she helps writers as old as seven grow their skills. Bah’s written on historical, cultural, political and community-focused topics.

She’s also been an intern for the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, The Cap Times and Madison Magazine. She also works as a volunteer reporter for the Eastside news, is a staff writer for her school’s yearbook and is a staff member for her school’s broadcast program.

College Should Be More Like Prison

Brooke Allen:

Never have I been more grateful to teach where I do: at a men’s maximum-security prison. My students there, enrolled in a for-credit college program, provide a sharp contrast with contemporary undergraduates. These men are highly motivated and hard-working. They tend to read each assignment two or three times before coming to class and take notes as well. Some of them have been incarcerated for 20 or 30 years and have been reading books all that time. They would hold their own in any graduate seminar. That they have had rough experiences out in the real world means they are less liable to fall prey to facile ideologies. A large proportion of them are black and Latino, and while they may not like David Hume’s or Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on race, they want to read those authors anyway. They want, in short, to be a part of the centuries-long conversation that makes up our civilization. The classes are often the most interesting part of these men’s prison lives. In some cases, they are the only interesting part.

Best of all from my selfish point of view as an educator, these students have no access to cellphones or the internet. Cyber-cheating, even assuming they wanted to indulge in it, is impossible. But more important, they have retained their attention spans, while those of modern college students have been destroyed by their dependence on smartphones. My friends who teach at Harvard tell me administrators have advised them to change topics or activities several times in each class meeting because the students simply can’t focus for that long.

Dishonor Code: What Happens When Cheating Becomes the Norm?

Suzy Weiss:

When it was time for Sam Beyda, then a freshman at Columbia University, to take his Calculus I midterm, the professor told students they had 90 minutes. 

But the exam would be administered online. And even though every student was expected to take it alone, in their dorms or apartments or at the library, it wouldn’t be proctored. And they had 24 hours to turn it in.

“Anyone who hears that knows it’s a free-for-all,” Beyda told me. 

Beyda, an economics major, said students texted each other answers; looked up solutions on Chegg, a crowdsourced website with answers to exam questions; and used calculators, which were technically verboten. 

He finished the exam in under an hour, he said. Other students spent two or three hours on it. Some classmates paid older students who had already taken the course to do it for them. 

“Professors just don’t care,” he told me.

Civics: notes on YouTube (google) censorship


What was the content? A somewhat geeky episode in which Benjamin and I explored the epistemological implications of an analogy between a specific aspect of the Dominion v. Fox News defamation case, and an accusation commonly leveled at COVID-19 mRNA “vaccine skeptics.” Apparently, during the course of this long-form discussion on the contextual nature of the onus of proof, Benjamin or I shared Super Dangerous Medical Misinformation. Watch it if you dare on Rumble:

Thomas Jefferson and the smoothening of the American mind

Douglas Murray:

In recent weeks I have been trying out a mental exercise. Perhaps you might join me? Cast your mind back to 1999. We were standing on the dawn of a new millennium. True, there was a strange fear that all the computers might crash because of a bug called Y2K. But aside from that there seemed to be a tremendous optimism. One of the biggest causes for this was the nature of information technology: specifically, the internet.

Imagine if someone had said to you then: “We are heading into a world where almost anything can be…

Why school choice won’t get here fast enough

Tom Knighton:

When I was in school, I went to public school bookended by stints at private school. I’ve seen a bit of everything, in that regard, including secular and religious instruction, to some degree.

So when I tell people I’m a school choice supporter, they need to understand I’ve seen both sides of it.

But there’s another reason to support school choice, and that’s the fact that progressive policies have made so many public schools into Thunderdome.

From National Review:

A 200-pound Ontario middle schooler was getting ready to pummel his classmate when a group of teachers escorted him to an office where they hoped to calm him down — instead, he proceeded to ram into the two adults, a man and a woman, for the better part of an hour, leaving them shaken and bruised. He never faced any consequences.