Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chicago Public Schools Cancel Classes After Teachers Vote Against In-Person Instruction

Joe Barrett:

Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday after the teachers union voted late Tuesday to stop providing in-person instruction, citing the latest spike in Covid-19 that has sent cases to record levels in the city.

City leaders called the vote by the Chicago Teachers Union an illegal job action and said teachers who didn’t report to work wouldn’t receive pay. The administration promised to provide parents with a plan later Wednesday for how it would resume operations in the face of the walkout.

School administrators and the union in the nation’s third largest school system have clashed repeatedly over Covid protocols throughout the pandemic. Classes were online for much of the 2020-2021 school year and began returning to in-person last February amid strong objections of the union.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a media briefing Tuesday that the shift to online learning last year had been very difficult on working families and hurt many students.

“Achievement gaps are real and they are affecting kids of color at an exponential rate,” she said.

How School Closures Made Me Question My Progressive Politics

Rebecca Bodenheimer:

I probably should have inferred that becoming a school-reopening advocate would not go over well in my progressive Oakland community, but I didn’t anticipate the social repercussions, or the political identity crisis it would trigger for me. My own experience, as a self-described progressive in ultra-lefty Oakland, is just one example of how people across the political spectrum have become frustrated with Democrats’ position on school reopenings.

Parents who advocated for school reopening were repeatedly demonized on social media as racist and mischaracterized as Trump supporters. Members of the parent group I helped lead were consistently attacked on Twitter and Facebook by two Oakland moms with ties to the teachers union. They labelled advocates’ calls for schools reopening “white supremacy” called us “Karens,” and even bizarrely claimed we had allied ourselves with Marjorie Taylor Greene’s transphobic agenda. 

There was no recognition of the fact that we were advocating for our kids, who were floundering in remote learning, or that public schools across the country (in red states) opened in fall 2020 without major outbreaks, as did private schools just miles from our home. Only since last fall, when schools reopened successfully despite the more contagious Delta variant circulating, have Democratic pundits and leaders been talking about school closures as having caused far more harm than benefit. 

Some progressive parents now admit they were too afraid of the blowback from their communities to speak up. And they were right to be wary. We paid a price.

How fake science is infiltrating scientific journals
Harriet Alexander

Harriet Alexander:

In 2015, molecular oncologist Jennifer Byrne was surprised to discover during a scan of the academic literature that five papers had been written about a gene she had originally identified, but did not find particularly interesting.

“Looking at these papers, I thought they were really similar, they had some mistakes in them and they had some stuff that didn’t make sense at all,” she said. As she dug deeper, it dawned on her that the papers might have been produced by a third-party working for profit.

Harvard University claims to be America’s finest — but it has become a hotbed of timidity and bigotry

Ruth Wisse:

On January 1, 1993, I arrived at Harvard to take up a newly endowed professorship in Yiddish literature. It seemed preposterous: me at Harvard, Yiddish at Harvard. The university had never figured in my aspirations. My impressions of the university had been formed mostly from what I knew of its program in Jewish studies, which was jokingly referred to as ‘the Yeshiva on the Charles’ because of its emphasis on Talmudic and medieval sources. Its almost exclusively male Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations felt obliged to appoint a female.

My gender played an even more prominent part in the deliberations of the Department of Comparative Literature where I was to hold a joint appointment. By 1993, no self-styled academic conservative like me — who taught literature old style, reading along the grain rather than against it, with appreciation for its texture and its historical, cultural and linguistic contexts — could have won the vote of some of the literature department’s trendsetters had I not been a woman. In yet another irony, these progressive members of the committee did not know that I had opposed affirmative action for women at my then-job at McGill University. In short, I was appointed on the basis of a policy I deplored. Still, I accepted the position and the following year I was made the Center’s director. Having been assured that my chair would be accompanied by a lectureship in Yiddish language, I set up language instruction, undergraduate courses, and a track for graduate students supported by generous stipends.

After multiple lockdowns, three vaccines, and one bout of COVID, I want my life back.

Helen Lewis:

I got my COVID-19 booster shot last week, on the first day I was eligible. My shot was delayed because I caught COVID in early December, an experience that was low-key grim: two days of shotgun sneezing, no taste or smell for a week, and a constant fatigue that didn’t abate until the holidays. I was very glad to face the coronavirus with two Pfizer doses already in my arm, and even more grateful that my parents and 91 percent of Britons in their age group are triple-jabbed.

Immunity builds to a peak in the fortnight after vaccination, and so next week I will be about the most protected a human can realistically expect to be against COVID. That reflection has inevitably led to another one: I want my life back. Thank you, coronavirus. Next. 

Avoiding the virus is no longer an option; Omicron has seen to that. Almost everyone is likely to catch the variant eventually. Over Christmas, one in 10 of my fellow Londoners—one in 10!—had COVID. Thanks to Britain’s solid vaccination rates, particularly among vulnerable groups, this tsunami of infections has so far led to a daily death toll less than a fifth the size of the one we had last winter. In the United States, the picture looks bleaker, with overwhelmed hospitals and 1,500 deaths a day. Because the vaccinated can still spread the disease, Americans should probably lie low for a few more weeks, until this wave subsides. Personally, I don’t need an immediate license to party like it’s February 2020, but I want some indication from lawmakers and medical experts that restrictions won’t last forever. For any country without the discipline, collectivism, and surveillance technology of China, the zero-COVID dream is over. Two years is long enough to put our lives on hold.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance

Scott Girard:

MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds told the Cap Times in an email Tuesday the district’s attendance rate Monday was 80.6%. That’s below the average of more than 90% throughout the 2020-21 school year, according to attendance data received through an open records request.

Other area school districts, which all returned from winter break as scheduled in the first week of January, reported slightly higher attendance rates during the first week of 2022.

In the Verona Area School District, attendance ranged from 85.37% to 89.58%, according to data provided by superintendent Tremayne Clardy.

Waunakee Community School District’s attendance rate was between 87.86% and 89.81% throughout last week, district communications and engagement specialist Anne Blackburn wrote in an email.

Similarly, the Oregon School District saw attendance rates from 82.2% to 87.5% last week, according to an email from district communications director Erika Mundinger.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District saw attendance rates stay between 88.5% and 90.2% the week of Jan. 3, director of information and public relations Shannon Valladolid wrote in an email.

Perhaps related: a physician recently mentioned to me that we are living through a phenomena of the worried well.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Yale, Georgetown, Other Top Schools Illegally Collude to Limit Student Financial Aid, Lawsuit Alleges

Melissa Korn:

Sixteen major U.S. universities, including Yale University, Georgetown University and Northwestern University, are being sued for alleged antitrust violations because of the way they work together to determine financial-aid awards for students.

According to a lawsuit filed in Illinois federal court late Sunday by law firms representing five former students who attended some of the schools, the universities engaged in price fixing and unfairly limited aid by using a shared methodology to calculate applicants’ financial need. Schools are allowed under federal law to collaborate on their formulas, but only if they don’t consider applicants’ financial need in admissions decisions. The suit alleges these schools do weigh candidates’ ability to pay in certain circumstances, and therefore shouldn’t be eligible for the antitrust exemption.

Higher Ed “woke” practices, Memphis edition

Matthew Foldi:

The governor of Tennessee says the University of Memphis is canceling a program that offered financial incentives to professors for infusing “social justice” into their courses.

Gov. Bill Lee (R., Tenn.) contacted the public university immediately after learning about the new program, first reported on by the Washington Free Beacon, which offered faculty $3,000 to redesign their curricula to align with the university’s “diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice” commitments. The governor said the program will not be carried out.

“The University of Memphis informed my office that the initiative will not move forward,” Lee told the Free Beacon. “We welcome robust debate on college campuses, but taxpayer dollars should never be used to fuel a divisive, radical agenda.”

“Ending this program was the right decision, and I thank the university for hearing our concerns,” Lee said.

Commentary on K-12 student choice

Shannon Whitworth:

I work at a high school where the majority of the students are from inner-city Milwaukee. They are confronted almost daily with some form of dysfunction, depravity, or violence.

One day, some of my students challenged me as to why they should put a lot of effort into their studies when, from their perspective, the outlook for their futures looked bleak. I reminded them that God doesn’t want them to live in poverty or hopelessness. Rather, as stated in Proverbs 13, He wants them to live lives of prosperity, generosity and leave a legacy, which is possible if we follow His plan. I was able to share aspects of my faith with my students because the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) has enabled their parents to send them to Milwaukee Lutheran High School on a voucher.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Biden’s Education Secretary Cardona ASKED the National School Board Association to send letter comparing protesting parents to domestic terrorists, new emails claim

Rob Crilly:

President Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona apparently solicited the controversial letter from the National School Boards Association that said threats made by protesting parents should be taken as seriously as domestic terrorism, according to emails released on Tuesday.

The NSBA, in an internal memo sent on October 12, revealed that they had held discussions with White House officials before sending the much-criticized letter to President Joe Biden.

Attorney General Merrick Garland later said the letter, setting out worries about threats, was the starting point for plans for a task force to protect members of school boards.

Now, emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, suggest that Cardona himself was part of the process that led to its production.

In an exchange on Oct. 5 email, NSBA Secretary-Treasurer Kristi Swett wrote that the group’s interim chief executive Chip Slaven ‘told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.’

‘Should this allegation be true, it would reveal that this administration’s pretextual war on parents came from the highest levels,’ PDE President Nicole Neily told Fox News Digital, which was first to report on the emails.

COVID-19 allowed too many to pervert their power

Selena Zito:

Some days, people would pull an ornament from their jacket pocket and add it while on their daily stride. On other days, one might see a parent pushing a stroller or with a child on their little bicycle stop and look at the delightful little ornaments.

Without fail, each child would look at it with the same awe you might see from a child who lives in New York City and visits Rockefeller Center to take in that giant spectacle of a tree.

It was a sad little tree, but it had a lot of love and community around it. And that made it special because the community created it and cared for it.

Then one day, shortly before Christmas, the tree was stripped bare, the joy it gave gone. Within days, a sign went up that read, “Whoever took our Christmas tree ornaments…put them back.”

Weeks later, the sign is still stubbornly there — despite the wind and rain that have pounded the area. It is a reminder that some people demand accountability even for something as seemingly inconsequential as the decorations on a small tree.

You might wonder why people would go out of their way to strip this tree of ornaments that had no monetary value other than to do it because they could get away with it. They glean some sense of perverse power. Well, then certainly the thought has crossed your mind in two years or so why we have collectively been allowing people to go out of their way to destroy things in our culture for no other reason other than that they get away with it.

And they glean some sense of perverse power.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The Great Barrington Declaration and closed schools;
Lockdowns failed to serve the collective good

Thomas Fazi and Toby Green:

All of which has meant that, until the Observer’s interview with Mark Woolhouse, there has been painfully little critical analysis from the mainstream Left as to whether the raft of restrictive Covid measures we have seen over the past two years have indeed served the collective good — or saved lives for that matter. By definition, for something to be considered in the collective interest of a society, it has to be in the interest of at least a significant majority of its members. However, it’s hard to see how lockdowns (and other subsequent measures) meet this criterion.

Their psychological, social and economic impact mighthave been justified from a collective-interest and life-saving standpoint if Covid represented an equal threat to all citizens. Yet soon into the pandemic, it became clear that Covid-19 was almost exclusively a threat to the elderly (60+): in the last quarter of 2020, the mean age of those dying both with and of Covid-19 in the UK was 82.4, while by early 2020 the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) — the risk of actually dying if you catch Covid — in people under 60 was already known to be exceptionally low: 0.5 per cent or less. A paper written late in 2020 for the WHO by professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University, one of the world’s foremost epidemiologists, then estimated that the IFR for those under 70 was even lower: 0.05%. As Woolhouse points out in his interview “people over 75 are an astonishing 10,000 times more at risk than those who are under 15”.

Moreover, given the impacts on other aspects of medical care, the preservation (or prolonging) of life of the elderly was certainly being achieved at the expense of the life expectancies of younger sectors of the population — to say nothing of the catastrophic impacts in the Global South. This has indeed been confirmed by evidence which shows that excess deaths in younger age groups rose sharply in 2021, with very little of this attributable to Covid mortality.

If anything, Covid restrictions should have been framed in terms of solidarity: as measures which implied the overwhelming majority of the collective, which risked little or nothing from Covid, paying a price, and a heavy one at that, in order to protect, in theory at least, a minority (in Western countries people aged 60 or older represent on average around 25% of the population). Acknowledging this from the start would have avoided much loss of trust in public institutions down the road, and would have allowed for a rational discussion around important questions of intergenerational equity, proportionality and the balancing of rights and interests.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Watching the Education Apocalypse in Slow Motion

C Bradley Thompson:

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’VE BEEN TELLING YOU NOW SINCE DAY #1 OF DUMB & DUMBER. Banning CRT is NOT the solution. You’re going to get it no matter what, which is why you must #JustWalkAway. “Getting critical race theory out of public schools is harder than passing a law.”

Banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory and its tenets in public schools may not be as easy as passing a law. Idaho was the first of nine states to pass an anti-CRT law, and so far this new school year, some parents don’t see any change.

“In any way that they can get it in there, they get it in there, by using words like equity, teaching about white supremacy,” said Kristen Young, a parent in the Nampa School District who formed a local chapter of Power to Parents.

WHAT EVERY SIX-YEAR-OLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN ORDER TO BE PROPERLY EDUCATED: “The New Sex Education.” Why don’t we just drop ALL sex talk in schools.

The NEW-NEW MATH DOESN’T ADD UP. (H/T Glenn Reynolds via Lynn Miclea.)

Wisconsin Legislature to Hold Hearing on State Report Card

Wiseye video stream:

DPI recently made changes to the state report card that no longer provide an accurate picture of the performance of Wisconsin’s schools. The Assembly Committee on Education will hold an informational hearing, Wednesday at 10:30 am, on Wisconsin’s state report card to determine why the changes were made and how the report card can be improved going forward.

Will Hearing Statement.

Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations: Wisconsin’s Report Card “Fails to Meet Expectations”

Madison, Milwaukee school performance overrated by Wisconsin DPI

Letter to Wisconsin Governor Evers on His Roadmap to Reading Success Veto

State Senator Kathy Bernier and State Representative Joel Kitchens:

Literacy in Wisconsin is in crisis: 64% of Wisconsin 4th graders can’t read at grade level, with 34% failing to read at even the basic level. As co-chair of Governor Walker’s Read to Lead Task Force, you know that high quality universal literacy screening is the undisputed cornerstone of evidence-based reading instruction. Unfortunately, your veto of Senate Bill 454, The Roadmap to Reading Success, delays the inevitable adoption of desperately needed science-based standards for how we screen and identify struggling readers to get them the help they need.

For too long we have relied on the now disproven pet theories and guesswork of the education establishment and it has left a full two-thirds of our 4th graders struggling to read. How many more children need to pass through Wisconsin’s failing reading system while state specialists hold endless meetings to puzzle over this crisis?

When you vetoed the Roadmap to Reading Success, you said more money is needed. Governor Evers, under the budget you signed into law in July, the state already reimburses schools for 100% of the costs of literacy screeners. Sadly, what you vetoed are the science-based high standards that would ensure we use screeners that actually get the job done with accurate, actionable data.

Our recent budget invests $15.3 billion into K-12 education, or nearly 40% of all state spending. On top of this, Wisconsin schools are receiving an unprecedented $2.7 billion in federal COVID funds and you recently committed an additional $110 million in no-strings-attached federal ARPA funds. Governor Evers, if more funds are needed to take this inevitable and critical first step toward solving our reading crisis, you have sole control over nearly $1 billion in additional federal COVID dollars. That’s why today, we’re introducing an amendment to Assembly Bill 446, calling on you to release any portion of these funds you see fit and sign this bill into law. When a full one-third of fourth graders can’t read at the basic level, we simply cannot wait.

As red and blue states across the country are adopting the reforms in this bill and seeing stunning improvement in reading achievement, Wisconsin’s children are being left behind. If you need further convincing that the Roadmap to Reading Success is the foundational change we need to begin addressing our literacy crisis, some of the most significant research driving literacy reforms across the country is happening right here at UW-Madison’s Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Dr. Seidenberg, one of the world’s foremost researchers on neuroscientific understanding of how children learn to read, spearheads groundbreaking research. We urge you talk with Dr. Seidenberg and learn firsthand why he supports the Roadmap to Reading Success.

The time to act is now. As more and more Wisconsin parents, teachers and local school leaders are waking up to this reading crisis and taking the challenge head-on, they are crying out for desperately needed statewide leadership. The Roadmap to Reading Success isn’t speculative, wishful thinking about what might work. It is the best of evidence-based screening practices. It’s not a question of if, but when Wisconsin will adopt these science-based reforms. Governor Evers, if you don’t sign this bill into law, someone else will. So, for the sake of our kids, do your homework on this quickly and sign this bill into law.

State Senator Kathy Bernier

State Representative Joel Kitchens

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

China Is Haunted by Its One-Child Policy as It Tries to Encourage Couples to Conceive

Liyun Qi:

When China put in place its one-child policy four decades ago, policy makers said they would simply switch gears if births dropped too much. That has turned out to be not so easy.

“In 30 years, the current problem of especially dreadful population growth may be alleviated and then [we can] adopt different population policies,” the Communist Party said in a 1980 open letter to members and young people.

With the number of births declining year after year, China is now racing in the opposite direction, closing abortion clinics and expanding services to help couples conceive. But a legacy of the one-child policy, scrapped in 2016, is a dwindling number of women of childbearing age as well as a generation of only children who are less eager to marry and start a family.

In addition, infertility appears to be a bigger problem in China than in many other countries. According to a survey by Peking University researchers, it affects about 18% of couples of reproductive age, compared with a global average of around 15%.

COVID school policies set me adrift from my tribe.

Angie Schmitt:

I kept hoping that someone in our all-Democratic political leadership would take a stand on behalf of Cleveland’s 37,000 public-school children or seem to care about what was happening. Weren’t Democrats supposed to stick up for low-income kids? Instead, our veteran Democratic mayor avoided remarking on the crisis facing the city’s public-school families. Our all-Democratic city council was similarly disengaged. The same thing was happening in other blue cities and blue states across the country, as the needs of children were simply swept aside. Cleveland went so far as to close playgrounds for an entire year. That felt almost mean-spirited, given the research suggesting the negligible risk of outdoor transmission—an additional slap in the face.

Things got worse for us in December 2020, when my whole family contracted COVID-19. The coronavirus was no big deal for my 3- and 5-year-olds, but I was left with lingering long-COVID symptoms, which made the daily remote-schooling nightmare even more grueling. I say this not to hold myself up for pity. I understand that other people had a far worse 2020. I’m just trying to explain why my worldview has shifted and why I’m not the same person I was.

By the spring semester, the data showed quite clearly that schools were not big coronavirus spreaders and that, conversely, the costs of closures to children, both academically and emotionally, were very high. The American Academy of Pediatrics first urged a return to school in June 2020. In February 2021, when The New York Times surveyed 175 pediatric-disease experts, 86 percent recommended in-person school even if no one had been vaccinated.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Delta removes pilot 4 year degree requirement

Delta Airlines:

After a comprehensive review of our pilot hiring requirements, Delta has decided to make a four-year college degree “preferred” rather than “required” for first officer candidates, effective immediately.

While we feel as strongly as ever about the importance of education, there are highly qualified candidates – people who we would want to welcome to our Delta family – who have gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience. Making the four-year degree requirement preferred removes unintentional barriers to our Delta flight decks.

Evidence on face masks in schools ‘inconclusive’

BBC:

The government admits the evidence for using masks in schools to reduce spread of Covid is “not conclusive”.

The uncertainty is acknowledged in a review used by ministers in England to make their decision to introduce face coverings in classrooms.

The government’s own study in the autumn did not provide proof of a statistically significant impact.

The evidence review says other studies have provided mixed results, but taken together suggest they may help.

And the move was backed by the UK Health Security Agency.

The review has only just been published following the announcement on Monday about the return of face coverings in classrooms.

“You can’t open the schools without the teachers, and Democrats can’t win without teachers”

Ann Althouse:

“I’d see the entire city of Newark unemployed before I allowed one single teacher’s aide to die needlessly.”

Said John Abeigon, the Newark Teachers Union president, quoted in “As More Teachers’ Unions Push for Remote Schooling, Parents Worry. So Do Democrats. Chicago teachers have voted to go remote. Other unions are agitating for change. For Democrats, who promised to keep schools open, the tensions are a distinctly unwelcome development”(NYT).

Commentary on Government activism vs populism

Paul Bedard:

Jeremy took a more libertarian view and countered, “There’s a belief out there that government intervention begets more government interventions. That is, the more the federal government intervenes in society and people’s affairs and creates legislation and bureaucracy, it creates other issues. And so do our crises stem from completely random issues or are these crises the result of intervention. And whether we look at coronavirus, whether we look at the economy, I think there’s evidence that points to government meddling in affairs and in places that they shouldn’t. I’m talking about a deadly gain of function research, we’re talking about decades of, well, not decades, but years of Federal Reserve policies that brought interest rates low to nearly zero and blowing up a bubble.”

Arizona shows the way to respond to unions that refuse to teach.

Wall Street Journal:

The political scandal of the year so far is unfolding in plain sight in Chicago, where the teachers union has effectively shut down the public schools. Will this finally cause President Biden to speak up for children? Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is showing the way.

Chicago schools were supposed to be open Wednesday, but they shut down after the Chicago Teachers Union voted against in-person learning. The CTU says it won’t relent until the surge in Covid-19 cases has subsided, or the school district signs an agreement “establishing conditions for return” approved by the CTU.

Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot is unhappy, correctly noting that Chicago’s classrooms are safe and accusing the union of an “illegal work stoppage.” She added that teachers who didn’t show up Wednesday would be put on no-pay status. We’ll see how long that lasts given how powerful the CTU is in Democratic politics.

The CTU action comes as we are learning about the full—and unnecessary—costs inflicted on children in the name of Covid prevention. These include mental-health issues, losing ground academically, and the lack of normal socialization. This damage has all been done even though children remain among the least at risk for a severe case of Covid.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” this weekend, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona also emphasized that schools can be opened safely. “We know what works, and I believe even with Omicron, our default should be in-person learning for all students across the country.”

Looking for an Off Ramp on COVID Policy

Keith Whittington:

The Omicron wave of COVID has many institutions scrambling. Depressingly, many are acting as if there have been no advances over the past two years. Despite requiring that everyone on campus be fully vaccinated, including boosters, my own university continues to impose aggressive masking requirements, comprehensive asymptomatic testing, extended isolation for asymptomatic individuals who test positive, and draconian restrictions on normal campus activities. In an effort to create some modicum of quarantine conditions, students are prohibited from leaving the county except when engaged in university approved activities. Some of those decisions are being driven by government policies. Princeton is hardly alone in partying like it is 2020. Enough already.

Two years ago, I thought that even libertarians should endorse some pretty intrusive policies early in the pandemic. When confronted with a novel airborne respiratory infection that was fairly contagious even in asymptomatic stages and frequently fatal and for which there were no effective vaccines or therapies, the government had an important role to play in trying to limit the spread of the disease. But I also warned

The machinery of government can be vastly expanded and strengthened during these periods to the detriment of liberty and civil society in the future. We should be cautious about putting in place anything other than temporary measures for addressing the current crisis. If there are long-term reforms that need to be considered in the aftermath so as to better prepare for future epidemics, there will be time to carefully consider them later.

That was two years ago. The scientific community has responded to the pandemic in incredible ways. Extraordinarily effective tests, vaccines and therapies have been developed at a miraculous rate. The government has responded in pretty terrible ways. Public health officials have demonstrated that they must be kept on a short leash and are too often willing to let their personal political preferences and risk aversion affect their policy judgment. Public health institutions have done more to impede and confuse than to facilitate an appropriate response to the pandemic. The FDA and the CDC are due for some fundamental reform. Executive branch officials have demonstrated that they are more than happy to make policy by arbitrary diktat. Politicians and the media have contributed to polarizing issues that should not be polarized and stoking fear for short-term gain. Goalposts are constantly being moved, when there are any goalposts in evidence at all.

Are Chicago Students Suffering With or From Teachers Unions?

James Freeman:

Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday after the teachers union voted late Tuesday to stop providing in-person instruction, citing the latest surge in Covid-19 that has sent cases to record levels in the city.

City leaders called the vote by the Chicago Teachers Union an illegal job action and said teachers who didn’t report to work wouldn’t receive pay. The administration promised to provide parents with a plan later Wednesday for how it would resume operations in the face of the walkout.
Union officials said Wednesday that they were sticking with their demands to stay out of schools to protect members, students and families from the virus but planned to meet with city leaders in the afternoon to continue trying to hammer out an agreement to resume instruction…

The union said in a tweet that 73% of its 25,000 members had voted to resume remote learning.’
Well, here’s to the 27% of union members who voted to put the educational needs of students first and to follow the science. Mr. Barrett reports:

Censorship: White House and Google/YouTube

Alana Goodman:

Shareholders in Google and YouTube are pressing the tech giants to disclose any requests they have received from the Biden administration to scrub politically “problematic” information from the platforms, according to a copy of a shareholder proposal obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group that holds a voting stake in Google and YouTube’s parent corporation Alphabet, submitted the shareholder proposal to the company this week, following a string of controversies over Google and YouTube’s removal of videos that question the Biden administration’s COVID-19 policies.

The proposed disclosure requirement could shed light on whether the administration has directed tech companies to remove information that it deems misleading, a scenario that raises concerns about government censorship. In July, the White House said it was “in regular touch” with social media platforms to discuss ways to combat “misinformation” online.

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

Commentary on Closed taxpayer supported Madison Schools (no achievement discussion)

Scott Mildred (and others)

Our community didn’t let the district’s tardiness slide without a stern warning. That’s because missing in-person classes for the last week (with two days of online school) badly disrupted people’s lives, especially working parents who don’t have easy options for emergency child care.

The district’s spokesman had told the State Journal on Dec. 20 that moving to online-only learning was not part of the district’s plans for January. Yet an email to parents on the eve of New Year’s Eve informed families that school buildings wouldn’t open the following Monday after all. That left many parents scrambling over the holiday weekend to get time off work, find somewhere safe for their kids to stay, or ask for an impromptu “bring your child to work day.”

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: Milwaukee votes on health policy while Dane County continues unelected administrative mandates

Corrinne Hess:

At the urging of Milwaukee Public Schools and area restaurants, a Milwaukee Common Council committee moved forward an ordinance Friday for a city-wide mask mandate.

Under the plan, a face covering would be required for anyone 3 years old and up inside a public building whenever the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus is equal to or greater than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in Milwaukee County as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Milwaukee has repeatedly hit that mark since the omicron variant reached the city around Thanksgiving. 

On Friday, Milwaukee had more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and more than 38 percent of people tested for the virus were positive, said city Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.

The Public Health and Safety Committee voted 3-2 on the ordinance with two members of the committee, Scott Spiker and Mark Borkowski abstaining, saying they were being expected to make a decision before the details were worked out.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

I Am a New York City Public High School Student. The Situation is Beyond Control.

Josh Gordons Burner:

I’d like to preface this by stating that remote learning was absolutely detrimental to the mental health of myself, my friends, and my peers at school. Despite this, the present conditions within schools necessitates a temporary return to remote learning; if not because of public health, then because of learning loss. 

A story of my day: 

– I arrived at school and promptly went to Study Hall. I knew that some of my teachers would be absent because they had announced it on Google Classroom earlier in the day. At our school there is a board in front of the auditorium with the list of teachers and seating sections for students within study hall: today there were 14 absent teachers 1st period. There are 11 seatable sections within the auditorium … THREE CLASSES sat on the stage. Study hall has become a super spreader event — I’ll get to this in a moment. 

– Second period I had another absent teacher. More of the same from 1st period. It was around this time that 25% of kids, including myself, realized that there were no rules being enforced outside of attendance at the start of the period, and that cutting lass was ridiculously easy. We left — there was functionally no learning occurring within study hall, and health conditions were safer outside of the auditorium. It was well beyond max capacity.

– Third period I had a normal class period. Hooray! First thing the teacher did was pass out COVID tests because we had all been close contacts to a COVID-positive student in our class. 4 more teachers would pass out COVID tests throughout the day, which were to be taken at home. The school started running low on tests, and rules had to be refined to ration. 

– “To be taken at home.” Ya … students don’t listen. 90% of the bathrooms were full of students swabbing their noses and taking their tests. I had one kid ask me — with his mask down, by the way — whether a “faint line was positive,” proceeding to show me his positive COVID test. I told him to go the nurse. One student tested positive IN THE AUDITORIUM, and a few students started screaming and ran away from him. There was now a lack of available seats given there was a COVID-positive student within the middle of the auditorium. They’re now planning on having teachers give up their free periods to act as substitute teachers because the auditorium is simply not safe enough. 

– Classes that I did attend were quiet and empty. Students are staying home because of risk of COVID without testing positive (as they should) and some of my classes had 10+ students absent. Nearly every class has listed myself and others are close contacts. 

– I should note that in study hall and with subs we literally learn nothing. I spent about 3 hours sitting around today doing nothing. 

– I tested positive for COVID on December the 14th. At the time there were a total of 6 cases. By the end of break this number was up to 36. By January the 3rd (when we returned from break) the numbers were up to 100 (as listed on the school Google Sheet). Today there are 226. This is around 10% of my school. As of Monday, only 30 of whom were reported to the DOE … which just seems like negligence to me. 

– 90% of the conversations spoken by students concern COVID. It has completely taken over any function of daily school life. 

– One teacher flat out left his class 5 mins into the lesson and didn’t return because he was developing symptoms and didn’t believe it safe to spread to his class. 

I’ve been adamantly opposed to remote learning for a while, and thought that it was overall an unmitigated disaster for the learning and mental health of students. At the present time, however, schools cannot teach and function well enough in person. We must go remote.

Teacher Unions vs Parents and Children: political commentary

Dana Goldstein and Noam Scheiber:

Few American cities have labor politics as fraught as Chicago’s, where the nation’s third-largest school system shut down this week after teachers’ union members refused to work in person, arguing that classrooms were unsafe amid the Omicron surge.

But in a number of other places, the tenuous labor peace that has allowed most schools to operate normally this year is in danger of collapsing.

While not yet threatening to walk off the job, unions are back at negotiating tables, pushing in some cases for a return to remote learning. They frequently cite understaffing because of illness, and shortages of rapid tests and medical-grade masks. Some teachers, in a rear-guard action, have staged sick outs.

In Milwaukee, schools are remote until Jan. 18, because of staffing issues. But the teachers’ union president, Amy Mizialko, doubts that the situation will significantly improve  and worries that the school board will resist extending online classes.

“I anticipate it’ll be a fight,” Ms. Mizialko said.

She credited the district for at least delaying in-person schooling to start the year but criticized Democratic officials for placing unrealistic pressure on teachers and schools.

“I think that Joe Biden and Miguel Cardona and the newly elected mayor of New York City and Lori Lightfoot — they can all declare that schools will be open,” Ms. Mizialko added, referring to the U.S. education secretary and the mayor of Chicago. “But unless they have hundreds of thousands of people to step in for educators who are sick in this uncontrolled surge, they won’t be.”

The view from Madison, via David Blaska:

Madison Teachers Inc. claims that two-thirds of its members surveyed “either did not support a return to school buildings on January 10 or would only do so if COVID-19 infection rates were stabilizing or decreasing.”

“Not only have we started this school year short-staffed, but we are losing an extraordinary number or staff due to burnout and disrespect from leadership and community stakeholders.”

Disrespect from “community stakeholders?” Whom might that be? Parents? Taxpayers? At least, they have the support of the Madison-area Democratic Socialists. The Far Left group today blamed Covid on capitalism:

Hello comrades,

I am sure you are all thinking about Omnicron and how it yet again illustrates the blatant failings of capitalism, the state, the U.S. healthcare system, and so many other oppressive institutions. … (MTI) is calling on MMSD leadership to make basic commitments to staff members. Please read their statement, sign their petition, and share it.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Parents sue to end illegal Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Liberty Justice Center:

A group of Chicago parents have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Teachers Union, calling this week’s school closures an “illegal strike” and demanding that teachers return to school for in-person learning. The lawsuit was filed late Thursday by attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, a national nonprofit law firm that fights for students’ educational rights.

More than 300,000 students were locked out of Chicago Public Schools starting Wednesday after unionized teachers refused to teach in-person. Not only is the strike illegal under Illinois law, it also violates the union’s own contract.

“CTU’s resolution calling members to not show up for work in-person is a strike regardless of what CTU calls it and violates both the collective bargaining agreement with CPS and Illinois law,” said Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “CTU cannot unilaterally decide what actions should be taken to keep public schools safe, completely silencing parents’ input about what is best for the health, safety, and well-being of their children.”

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Milwaukee Public Schools are staying virtual for now, and none of the reasons involve improving student education

Alan Borsuk:

This all said, MPS is in a small club of school districts that have switched to all-virtual schooling during the current surge. The vast majority of American schools are staying in-person, even if it’s a struggle.

One board member, Megan O’Halloran, suggested that schools that were reporting comparatively few COVID cases among teachers and students should re-open on Monday (Jan. 10). She said that the MPS COVID “dashboard” indicated more than half of schools would be candidates for re-opening under the standard that has been used of no more than 3% of the school community testing positive. The idea was voted down 8 to 1.

The lack of urgency about student achievement. This very much predates the pandemic and is a broader issue. But it seems relevant to the tepid push for keeping kids in classrooms now. There just aren’t many people who have called publicly for energetic and fresh ways to raise the longstanding and deeply worrisome proficiency of many thousands of Milwaukee children (not only in MPS) when it comes to

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Millennials Are the Silencing Generation

F H Buckley:

OK millennial, you don’t care for us baby boomers. You complain that we’ve taken all the food off the table and left you the crumbs. You say we cling to our jobs and won’t make room for you. And you especially resent how, throughout, we took ownership of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.

In the 1960s we were a youth movement that demanded to be heard. We marched on the Pentagon and occupied college administration buildings. In the 1970s we mellowed, listened to the Band and the Eagles, and read Charles Reich’s “The Greening of America.” In the 1980s we rebounded as yuppies. We became investment bankers and lawyers, and the women among us wore suits with padded shoulders. Thereafter we ascended to political power—not always wisely, truth be told. But our music had lyrics and melodies, and our protest songs took on real injustices. We cemented a civil-rights revolution for women and minorities and left a mark on all succeeding generations.

San Francisco Teacher Walkout

Joe Kukura:

Hundreds of teachers have signed an online petition saying they won’t work Thursday because of SFUSD’s alleged COVID safety failings, but can you really have a sickout when more than 10% of the staff is already legitimately out sick?

We had heard rumblings early on Wednesday that there was some sort of San Francisco teacher labor action brewing, as Bay City News reportedUnited Educators of San Francisco (UESF) was “holding a briefing at noon Wednesday to discuss the issues related to the COVID surge.” It may or may not be that particular labor action, but the Chronicle is reporting that SFUSD teachers are planning a mass “sickout” for Thursday, January 6, to protest the lack of available testing and precautions they see as inadequate.

The paper notes that the sickout is “not organized by the teachers’ union.”

$5M in Grants to save Chicago Public School Children

STOP Award

More than 340,000 Chicago Public School students have been forced to stay home by self-interests who dominate the Chicago Public School system. The failure of Chicago’s leadership to open school even after receiving more than $1.5 billion from the federal government in the past year to ensure they are always open safely to students is outrageous and unacceptable.

But there are thousands of great educators and education providers who can and are ready to help more children get educated. We want to help them, immediately, to take kids in from the Chicago public schools and give them the education they need and deserve, both now and into the future.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: Wisconsin Electoral Awareness

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on administrative mandates vs elected official votes: Dane County Edition

Allison Garfield:

Authored by county Supervisor Jeff Weigand, who represents District 20 just east of Sun Prairie, the resolution has been before the city and county’s joint public health committee twice, once in September and once in December. Most recently, on Dec. 1, the resolution was indefinitely postponed in committee.

But the resolution made its way before the full board for the first time Thursday, much to the chagrin of several supervisors who had been part of its original suspension. Weigand, however, said he was proud the resolution was finally getting the full board’s attention.

Echoing comments made by many in public comment, Weigand argued the public health department hasn’t been transparent with data “to evaluate mask extensions.”

“We have unanswered questions,” he said. “This is far beyond an immediate emergency in which the health department would need to act.”

Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher told the Cap Times Thursday before the meeting that public health officials have the statutory authority to help protect the public from public health emergencies. And she said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be just that.

While 80 people registered to speak during public comment, both in support and in opposition of the resolution, Eicher announced at the beginning of the meeting that 123 people registered in support of the resolution and 547 in opposition, but weren’t speaking at the meeting.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Private temporary classroom for taxpayer supported Madison k-12 students

Scott Girard:

It was their temporary classroom for MMSD’s second day of virtual learning amid a delayed return from winter break. Madison offered up her organization’s space on the Capitol Square hours after the district’s Dec. 30 announcement that winter break would be extended through Wednesday, Jan. 6, with virtual learning to close out the week.

By Friday, students were working on their Chromebooks in their own areas of the room. One was going through Spanish lessons with volunteer teacher Mia Hicks while another sat in the corner under a blanket and next to the fireplace on a television working on division problems.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Universities’ Covid Policies Defy Science and Reason

Marty Makary:

Universities are supposed to be bastions of critical thinking, reason and logic. But the Covid policies they have adopted—policies that have derailed two years of students’ education and threaten to upend the upcoming spring semester—have exposed them as nonsensical, anti-scientific and often downright cruel. 

Some of America’s most prestigious universities are leading the charge.

At Georgetown University, fully vaccinated students are randomly tested for Covid every week. Using a PCR test, which can detect tiny amounts of dead virus, asymptomatic students who test positive are ordered to a room in a designated building where they spend 10 days in confinement. Food is dropped off once a day at the door. 

I spoke to several students who were holed up. One of them told me she would sometimes call a friend to come and wave at her through the window, just to see a human face. Another told me that the experience in quarantine “totally changed” her feelings about the school. “Everyone’s just fed up at this point,” she said. “People walk around the library and yell at you if you drink a sip of water. And it was during finals.” She told me she is thinking about “transferring to an SEC school just to have an in-person experience.”

The Appeal To Non-Authority Fallacy — Excerpt From Everything You Believe Is Wrong

William Briggs:

Stars In Our Eyes
An Appealing Authority

Every kid learns what seems to be, but isn’t, the Appeal to Authority Fallacy early when he asks “Why should I?” and is told “Because I said so.” Only this isn’t a proper fallacy because kids should listen to and honor their parents, and because parents, besides having authority over their children, typically know what’s best for them, and what’s best is in the command, but unspoken. What’s best is in tacit premises behind the father’s “Because”, which turns what might be a fallacy into wisdom.

[Much cutting…]

People are fooled by this simple fallacy, but they are just as easily disabused of it when it is pointed out. Because of this, there is no chapter in this book specifically devoted to the Appeal to Authority. There is another, far better, reason for skipping it, though. That is the existence of a far worse, far more pernicious, and far more destructive fallacy which is a kin to the Appeal to Authority.

This is the Appeal to Non-Authority Fallacy.

A Hole In Many

I shiver when thinking of it. No fallacy is good, of course, but not all fallacies are equal in their pestilential powers. The Ultimate Fallacy has the worst individual consequences, but the Appeal to Non-Authority is the most annoying.

Modern advertising, and, more depressingly, our entire media and governmental apparatus, relies on and seeks out this fallacy. We could even say it is worshiped.

In my Stats 101 class notes Breaking the Law of Averages (a free pdf on my website), I asked this Chapter One homework question (stick with me, here): “Stanford Financial took out a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal with a picture of golfer Vijay Singh listing his enormous number of tournament wins with the words ‘Vijay Means Victory.’ Given this evidence, what is the probability Stanford Financial won’t lose money on your investment?”

The obvious answer is that you can’t know. Singh’s golfing prowess is irrelevant, inconsequential, incidental to whether gambles (i.e. “investments”) with Stanford Financial will lose or win you money. Logically, they may as well have touted my golf scores, or yours. They may as well in their ad featured a pretty actress and printed the words “This is a pretty actress and we are Stanford Financial”. The logical content would be the same. Which is to say, it would have had none at all. Singh, God bless him, is a Non-Authority on financial matters. Listening to him, as it were, on investments because he is an authority in some sport is insane.

How This Pandemic Has Left Us Less Prepared for the Next One

Betsy McKay, Amy Dockser Marcus, Natasha Khan and Jeremy Page :

Tiny vials of bat saliva in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, collected with help from U.S. government funding, potentially hold clues to the origin of Covid-19 or the next pandemic.

They are now mostly out of reach of U.S. scientists, part of a bitter international controversy that has effectively stalled a high-stakes hunt for the source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 and also made the world less prepared for future health crises.

One fallout from the conflict over the origin of the pandemic is less scientific collaboration and more mistrust between two global powers that must work together with other nations to head off or mitigate the next disaster.

“We are very vulnerable,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, a London-based charitable foundation that funds health-related research. “I don’t think there is nearly as much cooperation and partnership going on as there was in December 2019.”

The breakdown stems from the early days of the pandemic when U.S.-China relations—already strained over trade and security—plunged to new lows as a lack of transparency from China was exacerbated by finger-pointing from the U.S.

“Dark Money” and K-12 influence

Mike Antonucci:

The National Education Association has a long tradition of finding hidden cabals behind groups that place themselves in opposition to the union’s agenda. In 2019, I chronicled the history of NEA’s efforts, going as far back as 1998, and its report “The Real Story Behind ‘Paycheck Protection’ — The Hidden Link Between Anti-Worker and Anti-Public Education Initiatives: An Anatomy of the Far Right.” That report featured this elaborate flow chart.

The human rights implications of long lockdown and the damaging impact on young people

Ellen Townsend:

The rights and needs of young people have been ignored in this crisis and this is a national and global disaster in the making. The future of our youngsters has been sacrificed in order to protect adults which goes against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 3) states: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. The lockdown measures taken are not proportionate to the risks posed by the virus to young people and below I outline some of the evidence demonstrating the disproportionate impact of lockdowns on young people.Lockdowns deprive young people of the right to education, to normal psychological development, to good mental health and wellbeing.

Lockdowns and school closures disrupt our normal functioning and social interaction – we are fundamentally social beings. For young children, face-to-face play is essential to wellbeing. For some children, playtime at school is the only time they are able to interact with other children.[1] Playing closely with peers protects against mental ill health and without this essential contact young people have felt very lonely[2] [3] and isolated in lockdown with deleterious and long-term impacts on mental health: the impact of loneliness on mental health can be seen up to nine years later.[4] The social and emotional benefits of playing together cannot be understated[5].

Preventing children and adolescents from socialising and attending school will disrupt vital developmental processes that impact on brain development and functioning, especially executive function which is vital for self-control and flexible thinking.[6] For many young children a significant proportion of their life has now been spent in some form of isolation or lockdown. For teenagers, the impact of lack of face-to-face social interaction is particularly worrying since this is a sensitive period of development when peer influence and peer acceptance are especially important.[7] Simply put, adolescence is a vital period in life when the brain undergoes structural and functional changes directly influenced by the social environment, which lockdowns have severely disrupted.[8] Many mental illnesses first appear in the teenage years[9] and lockdowns and school closures have removed many sources of support available to those struggling. Indeed, high quality prospective data indicates that lockdown in March increased the number of young people with diagnosable mental health problems – 1 in 6 in 2020 as compared to 1 in 9 in 2017.[10] This means there is an expanding group of vulnerable young people who will require support.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The cruel, ridiculous reality of ‘virtual learning’

Shannon Proudfoot:

Here is what has particularly chewed me up during this latest round of school closures in Ontario, the province that has deprived its children of education and normalcy more than any other in Canada, and more than virtually any other jurisdiction in the world: it feels like we are all actors in a commercial that says things are basically fine when they are manifestly not.

We are all muddling through a situation that was forced on us, because this is what we need to do for our kids, our jobs and whatever remains of ourselves. But the longer we keep finding a way to soldier through this, the more it feels like we are aiding and abetting the colossal lie that this is okay, that this was a reasonable and necessary choice, that there is not massive damage being sustained by these decisions every day, with the full, horrifying toll unknowable for years.

I gave serious thought to deliberately and completely opting out of “virtual learning” this time around, for reasons both practical and symbolic. On a practical level, my kids hate it—or rather, my incandescently bright Grade 2 student, who has not had a normal school year since she was in junior kindergarten, hates it to the point of tears. Her brother, now in junior kindergarten himself, in what I desperately hoped would be a somewhat normal school year, has yet to learn the hell of online learning.

Parents vs Teacher Unions on closed taxpayer supported K-12 Schools: Chicago edition

Guilia Heyward:

The possibility of more online school for John Christie’s fourth-grade son, Ian, is enough to bring Mr. Christie to tears.

Mr. Christie said his son, who has been diagnosed with autism, thrived with the schedule that in-person instruction gave him during the fall. But in earlier parts of the pandemic, when school was online, Mr. Christie said, the circumstances were dire for his son and for the family, which tried to assist him with remote school in its Pullman neighborhood on the South Side.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Mapping closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Burbio

Burbio’s tracker shows 5225 schools starting a period of disruption (not offering in-person learning) of one or more days during the week beginning January 2nd,

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Commentary on statements to open Madison’s closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Scott Girard:

That percentage is well below the unfilled percentages in the last months of 2021: 49.81% in October, 47.37% in November and 43.56% in December. In its press release Thursday, the district acknowledged that closures of schools or classrooms could still be coming this semester.

Elizabeth Beyer:

“We recognize this week has affected our scholars, families, and staff in many ways,” Jenkins said. “We appreciate our school community’s patience and understanding. Although we prefer our scholars to be connecting in-person with teachers and staff while learning in our classrooms, this necessary pause strengthened our ability to sustain remaining open safely.”

Perspective:

“More than 25,000 students attend MMSD schools and more than 4,000 staff members work in the district. All of the cases over the past week occurred while students and staff were on winter break.”

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: commentary on the Dane County Madison Public Health mask mandate, that lacks elected an official vote

Allison Garfield and Natalie Yahr:

The resolution seeks to dismiss the current emergency order — which was issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County on Dec. 20, 2021 and extends the mask mandate through Feb. 1, 2022 — until public input and “consent of the governed” had been achieved. The previous emergency order had the mask mandate set to expire Jan. 3.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The Price of Dissent

Chris Rufo:

Zac Kriegman had the ideal résumé for the professional-managerial class: a bachelors in economics from Michigan and a J.D. from Harvard and years of experience with high-tech startups, a white-shoe law firm, and an econometrics research consultancy. He then spent six years at Thomson Reuters Corporation, the international media conglomerate, spearheading the company’s efforts on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced software engineering. By the beginning of 2020, Kriegman had assumed the title of Director of Data Science and was leading a team tasked with implementing deep learning throughout the organization.

But within a few months, this would all collapse. A chain of events—beginning with the death of George Floyd and culminating with a statistical analysis of Black Lives Matter’s claims—would turn the 44-year-old data scientist’s life upside-down. By June 2020, as riots raged across the country, Kriegman would be locked out of Reuters’s servers, denounced by his colleagues, and fired by email. Kriegman had committed an unpardonable offense: he directly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement in the company’s internal communications forum, debunked Reuters’s own biased reporting, and violated a corporate taboo. Driven by what he called a “moral obligation” to speak out, Kriegman refused to celebrate unquestioningly the BLM narrative and his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programming; to the contrary, he argued that Reuters was exhibiting significant left-wing bias in the newsroom and that the ongoing BLM protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police” would wreak havoc on minority communities. Week after week, Kriegman felt increasingly disillusioned by the Thomson Reuters line. Finally, on the first Tuesday in May 2021, he posted a long, data-intensive critique of BLM’s and his company’s hypocrisy. He was sent to Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion for the chance to reform his thoughts.

He refused—so they fired him.

I spoke with Kriegman just before Thanksgiving via Zoom. He dialed in from a small, cluttered room in his Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts home, where he lives with his wife and three children. He described his feeling of alienation, then frustration, then moral outrage, as he watched his Reuters colleagues’ behavior following the death of George Floyd. He described the company as a “blue bubble,” where “people were constantly celebrating Black Lives Matter, where it was assumed that everyone was on board.”

“In-Person Learning Will Continue In Arizona”

Governor Ducey:

The Governor is creating the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program to provide relief for parents who may face financial and educational barriers due to unexpected school closures. The program funds up to $7,000 for needs related to Arizona Department of Economic Security- approved child care, school-coordinated transportation, online tutoring and school tuition.

If a school closes for even one day, students and families who meet the income requirements can utilize the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit Program — allowing students to access instruction that best meets their needs.

“In Arizona, we’re going to ensure continued access to in-person learning,” said Governor Ducey. “Everyone agrees that schools should stay open and kids need to be in the classroom. With this announcement, we are making sure parents and families have options if a school closes its doors. Parents are best suited to make decisions about their child’s education. In-person learning is vital for the development, well-being and educational needs of K-12 students. We will continue to work with families, public health experts and school leaders to ensure our kids can stay in the classroom and parents have a choice — always.”

Colorado’s Reading curriculum crackdown

Dale Chu:

To start the year off on an upbeat note, Colorado’s muscular effort to improve K–3 reading curriculum finally appears to be paying off. One of twenty states that passed or recently considered measures related to the science of reading, the Centennial State began cracking down on how its teacher preparation programs cover early literacy. It is now in the process of requiring teachers to demonstrate more in-depth knowledge about reading pedagogy as well as tightening the reins on which reading programs may be used by districts. Last year, barely two in five of the state’s many local districts used reading curricula from the state’s list of approved programs. That has already risen to 63 percent.

The encouraging news can be traced back to Colorado’s READ Act, a major law enacted ten years ago requiring districts to help struggling readers in the early grades. But laws are blunt instruments, particularly when it comes to improving classroom practice, and the READ Act was no exception. Frustrated by the slow rate of progress, lawmakers passed an update to the statute in 2019, which spurred the state to take a more assertive role in compelling districts to pick from the list of state-approved curricula. Notably, Colorado’s four largest districts—Denver, Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Cherry Creek—have all recently publicized plans to adopt new elementary reading programs that adhere to reading science.

The state’s department of education sent out dozens of letters last fall notifying districts that plans for complying with the curriculum requirement must be submitted later this month. Those that don’t risk having their accreditation rating lowered—a toothless consequence by itself but one that could lead to greater sanctions down the road. Colorado districts have long enjoyed wide latitude on their curriculum choices—it’s a “local control” state, after all—so it’s not surprising that some districts have pushed back by playing games or disregarding the state’s directives. But in a foreshadowing of what may be to come, the state’s fifth largest district, Aurora Public Schools, made an abrupt about-face in December after arguing for months that the state’s rules didn’t apply to it. What’s important to understand here is how and why Colorado’s policy is getting results. Other states may have similar laws on the books, but they haven’t yet seen this kind of response. So what’s the secret? Four things come to mind.

K-12 Tax & Spending climate: Wisconsin’s Tax Burden increases to 7% of income

Wisconsin Policy Forum:

Driven by rising income tax collections, Wisconsin’s state tax burden climbed in 2021 for the first time in a decade. Yet local and federal taxes as a share of income hit all-time lows during the pandemic and the total tax burden for state families and businesses is at its lowest level in at least a half century. Some taxes paid by middle-class families here remain relatively high, however, particularly the property taxes on a typical home.

For the first time in a decade, the state taxes paid by Wisconsin residents and businesses in 2021 grew as a share of income in the state. Yet the historically low levels of federal and local taxes in recent years have meant that the overall tax burden – and related spending on public services – have kept dropping for Wisconsinites.

The increased state tax burden did not result from higher tax rates, but instead reflected factors such as a surge in economic activity as the state emerged from the worst of the pandemic. In fiscal year 2021 (the 12 months ended on June 30), state sales tax revenues rose by more than 9% – the most in 37 years. Corporate income and franchise tax collections rose by 59.2% – the most in our records going back to 1960. Individual income tax revenues for the state rose by 6.2% – the most since 2013. In fact, total state tax collections from all sources grew 9.2% in 2021, the largest annual increase since 1984.

K-12 Schools Press to Reopen as Omicron Variant Surges

Douglas Belkin:

K-12 schools around the country are pressing forward with tentative plans to reopen after the holiday break in the midst of a surge in Covid-19 cases. Their biggest challenge: getting enough rapid tests to be able to step up or launch “test-to-stay” strategies.

School-district superintendents are weighing how—and when—to reopen, a decision driven partly by the availability of tests. The superintendents have different appetites for risk, and the level of teacher enthusiasm for returning to the classroom varies. Regional surges in pediatric hospitalizations for Covid-19 are contributing to differences across the country.

In contrast to 2020, there is much broader support to continue school in-person following the grim record of remote teaching on student mental health and learning loss.

“I feel no pain. They can cancel school until June and I’ll be fine,”

Alex Nester:

“I feel no pain. They can cancel school until June and I’ll be fine,” teaching assistant Derrick Colon replied to a post in the union’s private Facebook page. “Been training for this moment all my life.”

This is the third time in just over two years that tensions between Chicago Public Schools and the teachers’ union have led to school closures.

The union called last week for a two-week return to virtual learning and demanded that all Chicago Public School students return a negative COVID test before doors open for the spring semester. Chicago Public Schools distributed 150,000 tests to students to take and return by December 28—a deadline that was pushed back to January 2 after test kits began piling up at FedEx drop boxes.

Just 21 percent of students in Chicago Public Schools met or surpassed English standards in 2021—7 percent fewer than in 2019. And only 16 percent of students met or surpassed math standards, compared with 24 percent in the year prior to lockdowns, the Sun-Times reported.

Speaking Freely: Why I resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Tara Henley:

For months now, I’ve been getting complaints about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where I’ve worked as a TV and radio producer, and occasional on-air columnist, for much of the past decade.

People want to know why, for example, non-binary Filipinos concerned about a lack of LGBT terms in Tagalog is an editorial priority for the CBC, when local issues of broad concern go unreported. Or why our pop culture radio show’s coverage of the Dave Chappelle Netflix special failed to include any of the legions of fans, or comics, that did not find it offensive. Or why, exactly, taxpayers should be funding articles that scold Canadians for using words such as “brainstorm” and “lame.”

Everyone asks the same thing: What is going on at the CBC?

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When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press.

Those of us on the inside know just how swiftly — and how dramatically — the politics of the public broadcaster have shifted.

It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

To work at the CBC in the current climate is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity.

It is to sign on, enthusiastically, to a radical political agenda that originated on Ivy League campuses in the United States and spread through American social media platforms that monetize outrage and stoke societal divisions. It is to pretend that the “woke” worldview is near universal — even if it is far from popular with those you know, and speak to, and interview, and read.

Reading proficiency rates rising in some Appalachian schools
Scientifically based teaching, Direct Instruction programs driving turnaround

Richard Innes:

Results on both state and na.onal tests raise important ques.ons about the general lack of effec.veness of reading instruc.on in Kentucky’s public schools. Evidence from the federal Na.onal Assessment of Educa.onal Progress (NAEP) indicates that many Kentucky teachers struggle to provide effec.ve reading instruc.on.
The dimensions of this problem are enormous. Impacts were examined in a recent Bluegrass Ins.tute report1 that indicates 200,000 of the state’s public school students, about 31% of the total enrollment, are deficient readers.

But, it doesn’t need to be this way. Data from some eastern Kentucky schools – including in Clay County, one of the na.on’s poorest coun.es – indicate that even in schools with large percentages of students from low-income homes, the challenge of overcoming the impact of poverty and achieving effec.ve reading instruc.on can be met.

An analysis tool from the Educa.on Consumers Founda.on reveals that third grade students in several Clay County schools obtain notably beUer outcomes in reading on state tests than many of their fellow students achieve statewide, even including those in wealthier areas.

Clay County elementary schools benefit from an Elgin Founda.on program to improve reading instruc.on. Elgin’s main program is aligned with scien.fic research on reading and addi.onally is supplemented by elements from a program called Direct Instruc.on, which research shows is especially effec.ve for disadvantaged students.
The stellar reading performance of third-graders in the high-poverty pocket of Clay County stands in stark contrast to lots of other Kentucky students in many other areas of the state failing to achieve adequate results. The impact of Elgin’s program in public schools in an area with some of the state’s highest poverty rates is highly noteworthy and earns the program a closer look and considera.on by educators and policymakers for use statewid

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

On the Responsibility of Universities to their Students

Alex Tabarrok:

Emily Oster in The Atlantic:

Many universities have announced a pivot to remote learning for at least part of January, among them UCLA, Columbia, Duke, Yale, Stanford, and Michigan State. The list goes on.

This move—in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant—feels like a return to March 2020, when virtually all U.S. universities closed for in-person learning, sending students home for spring break and telling them not to come back. At that point, keeping students away from campus was reasonable. Now, however, this decision is a mistake. It reflects an outmoded level of caution. And it represents a failure of universities to protect their students’ interests.

I agree. Despite being a big fan of online education there is a big difference between online classes developed over many years with substantial funding, like MRU’s classes, and throwing professors into teaching over zoom. College is supposed to be fun. Meeting people is part of the education. Online is great but not for everything.

I would add three points to the those that Oster makes. First, this is where the students are anyway. I gave a talk at UVA recently and everyone was masked according to policy. After the the talk we went to the Corner where the bars and restaurants were packed with unmasked revelers. Mask mandates are pandemic theatre and inconsistent with how much of the country let alone most students are already living. Similarly, going remote is also pandemic theatre and not likely to appreciably reduce interactions in the community at-large.

A school thinks different

Dear Parents,

Effective upon our return to school after Christmas break, CCCA will be reverting to our pre-COVID health policy (below in bold). Cases of COVID will be treated as equivalent to all other illnesses for the
purposes of school attendance.

I recognize that this change may come as a surprise to some after almost two years of intensive focus on COVID as a special case deserving of special attention. We currently possess all the mitigation
tools necessary to reclaim our normal lives; please avail yourselves to ——- according to personal preference. All that remains is for us to
choose to move forward.

And let me be clear: this is a conscious choice, made in the knowledge that COVID is not gone and that it will likely continue to make its presence felt at CCCA in the future. However, we cannot allow
ourselves to forgo the higher aims of a Christian, classical education indefinitely via disruptive, rolling classroom shutdowns and we cannot
allow the success of our mission to be contingent upon the ebb and flow of this virus. Maximalist measures intended to prevent transmission of
COVID may or may not have been effective toward their stated ends, but they have unquestionably wreaked havoc across our society. CCCA
is committed to modeling the balance of prudence and resilience that will be necessary to put the crisis phase of COVID behind us.

I understand that some of our families might have concerns with this policy change, and I want to emphasize that we are not throwing caution to the wind. Each CCCA family is obviously free to continue to address COVID issues as their conscience dictates; this is a change in our institutional approach only. We ask that every family adhere scrupulously to the health policy below for the remainder of the school year. We do intend to enforce it.

May grace and perseverance abound!

Happy New Year,
Allison Morgan
水*

CCCA HEALTH POLICY
SPRING 2022
Students may not attend class with any primary symptoms…..

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Changing our metrics to suit our narratives has caused confusion, frustrated the honest, and destroyed public trust, or The Graveyard of Common Knowledge

Matt Shapiro:

This kind of pronouncement was meant to imply that vaccination rates were responsible for low rates of COVID at Harvard, not the fact that Harvard is in a region that was at a COVID nadir last September.

Now that the region is having a COVID outbreak, Harvard has, despite mandatory vaccines (and mandatory boosters), mandatory indoor masking, and ubiquitous testing, announced they are returning to remote classes

We’ve now done this two years in a row. When a COVID surge hits the southern part of the United States, the charts come out showing that the northern states are not having a surge and we attribute that fact to whatever policy metrics are currently being promoted without mentioning that COVID seems to be surging in a seasonal way. In 2020, the explanation was mask mandates and closed schools. However, when I dug into the details, I found that blue and red states had similar mask usage (the bigger difference was between urban and rural use) and pediatric COVID rates consistently reflected the COVID rates in the community regardless of whether schools were open or closed.

These explanations, then and now, feel like partisanship dressed up in charts. This can be most easily seen in Dr Paul Krugman’s assertion that the COVID surge was a political event and that Republicans were to blame.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Madison’s taxpayer supported closed schools: 2022 edition

Emily Hamer:

Heinrich also said that “while it is challenging to determine exactly where transmission occurred,” her agency was not aware of any deaths from COVID-19 linked to in-person schooling in Dane County “but it appears that there have been a small number of hospitalizations that appear to be linked to in-school transmission.”

Jenkins confirmed that there have been no deaths related to someone getting infected with COVID-19 at school. Stampfli said a few of the district’s students have been hospitalized, but it’s “hard to tell” whether they got infected at school or somewhere else.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

IQ decline and Piaget: Does the rot start at the top?

James R. Flynn⁎, Michael Shayer

The IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered. Losses in Nordic nations after 1995 average at 6.85 IQ points when projected over thirty years. On Piagetian tests, Britain shows decimation among high scorers on three tests and overall losses on one. The US sustained its historic gain (0.3 points per year) through 2014. The Netherlands shows no change in preschoolers, mild losses at high school, and possible gains by adults. Australia and France offer weak evidence of losses at school and by adults respectively. German speakers show verbal gains and spatial losses among adults. South Korea, a latecomer to industrialization, is gaining at twice the historic US rate.
When a later cohort is compared to an earlier cohort, IQ trends vary dramatically by age. Piagetian trends indicate that a decimation of top scores may be accompanied by gains in cognitive ability below the median. They also reveal the existence of factors that have an atypical impact at high levels of cognitive competence. Scandinavian data from conventional tests confirm the decimation of top scorers but not factors of atypical impact. Piagetian tests may be more sensitive to detecting this phenomenon.

The Value of Ideological Diversity among University Faculty

Keith E. Whittington:

ABSTRACT: Conservatives in the United States have grown increasingly critical of universities and their faculty, convinced that professors are ideologues from the political left. Universities, for their part, have increasingly adopted a mantra of diversity and inclusivity, but have shown little interest in diversifying the political and ideological profile of their faculties. This essay argues that the lack of political diversity among American university faculty hampers the ability of universities to fulfill their core mission of advancing and dissemination knowledge. The argument is advanced through a series of four questions: Is it true that university faculty are not ideologically diverse? Why might it be true? Does it matter? How might it be fixed.

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

Scott Girard:

Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m., includes a public comment portion, a chance to summarize written public comments and an “update on safe return to school buildings for in-person learning.” The last item will be a discussion, but will not include a vote of any kind.

Those interested in speaking during the meeting must fill out a registration form on the district’s website, which opens two hours prior to the meeting. Written comments can be submitted at any time.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the board’s YouTube channel.

At Friday’s meeting, which shortly followed a press conference from district administrators and health experts explaining the decision, board members expressed a mix of understanding and urgency to get students back inside buildings.

Multiple board members encouraged administrators to offer a more solid commitment to the hopeful Jan. 10 return.

“We need to be committed to reopening on Monday unless something happens where we can’t because like half our staff are out,” Cris Carusi said. “Every day that we keep kids in virtual learning is a day when mental health issues are going to become worse for our students, is a day when students are more likely to disengage from school and I think is a day that is going to lead to several more days of challenges when kids get back into buildings.”

Parents vs Madison’s K-12 Administration.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

American Bar Association Proposed Diversity and Inclusion Accreditation Standard

ABA:

Revised Standard 206 aims to achieve the effective educational use of diversity, the compelling state interest recognized in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Fisher v. University of Texas, 570 U.S. 297 (2013) (Fisher I), and Fisher v. University of Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016) (Fisher II). Subsection (a) outlines three things a law school must provide in service of this goal, related respectively to the student body, faculty and staff, and an inclusive and equitable environment.

Subsection (a)(1) requires a school to provide full access to the study of law and membership in the profession to all persons but focuses particularly on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. This focus acknowledges the unique historical injustices and contemporary challenges faced by those groups. Subsection (a)(2) requires a school to include members of underrepresented groups in its faculty and staff, but again requires a particular focus on underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity. Subsection (a)(3) requires an inclusive and equitable environment for a larger list of groups.

Subsection (b) indicates that subsections (a)(1) and (2) will be enforced through analysis of data collected by the law school through the ABA Annual Questionnaire (AQ). However, the law school is required to publish the data already collected to ensure public scrutiny of its progress in meeting the Standard.

Subsection (c) focuses on the enforcement of Subsection (a)(3) by requiring an annual assessment of the inclusivity and equity of a law school’s educational environment. The law school is required to provide the results of this assessment (which could be a law school climate survey, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), or similar assessment mechanism) to the faculty and to the Council upon request and is required to take concrete actions to address any deficiencies.

Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science

Brett Healy:

Further proving that we have learned absolutely nothing from the last 22 months, both Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) announced plans to scrap students’ return to the classroom following Christmas break.

Neither sounded particularly optimistic that this would be a temporary move.

“While it is our goal to resume in-person learning Monday, January 10, 2022, we will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available,” MPS Superintendent Keith Posleysaid in an email to families Sunday night.

MMSD, meanwhile, has not released any plans to return to in-person learning following an extended break and virtual learning tomorrow and Friday.

Biden: Schools should stay open despite omicron wave

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

‘This is a disaster.’: Severity of learning lost to the pandemic comes into focus

Jessica Calefati

AMERICA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM — Results from a standardized test taken by elementary and middle school students earlier this school year paint a bleak picture of the harm the pandemic inflicted on their learning. 

— Performance on the iReady test administered nationally by Curriculum Associates plummeted for all students compared to the last time it was given before the health crisis began. Nearly three million students took the test both times. But achievement among children who attend schools with large proportions of Black and Latino students suffered the most, the data shows. 

The share of students performing below grade level in math swelled by 17 percentage points among kids who attend mostly Black schools — nearly two-thirds of those learners are now behind — whereas the figure only worsened by 6 percentage points among children who attend mostly white schools. In reading, declines were nearly twice as steep for students at majority Latino schools as they were for children at majority white schools.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/588237-biden-schools-should-stay-open

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”; Chicago Teachers Union 2022 edition

Maureen Kelleher:

If ever there was a moment to ensure that schools in underserved neighborhoods received gap-filling levels of resources, starting with PPE and moving up to capital spending on long-deferred ventilation upgrades, that moment arrived in March 2020. If ever there was a moment to ensure the most vulnerable children received first dibs on buses to school and tutoring, that moment arrived in September 2021.

So far, CPS has done little-to-nothing to move the equity needle on any of these fronts.

As a longtime observer of the district and a former CPS parent, it amazes me that district and city leaders cannot look at this situation through the eyes of families facing the greatest challenges right now and plan accordingly.

Mike Antonucci:

“Regrettably, the Mayor and her CPS leadership have put the safety and vibrancy of our students and their educators in jeopardy,” according to a CTU press release.

Whether teachers and students are safer at home is a matter for debate, as the current surge occurred while everyone was at home during the winter break. But I’m baffled to understand how shutting down schools is supposed to positively affect everyone’s vibrancy levels.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

K-12 COVID federal taxpayer and borrowed $plurge

Phyllis Jordan:

These are among the findings of a FutureEd analysis of the Covid-relief spending plans of nearly 2,100 school districts and charter school organizations in 48 states, local education agencies serving some 40 percent of the nation’s public-school students.*

The analysis covers districts and charters receiving $46 billion of the $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funds under the American Rescue Plan and offers the most comprehensive picture to date of local and regional Covid-relief spending. Burbio, a data service that measures school openings and spending, gathered the local plans from a range of public sources as of Dec. 23 and sorted the proposed spending into more than 100 categories.

The ESSER funding was distributed via the federal Title I aid formula, which supports low-income students. As a result, some school districts serving impoverished communities have received more than $10,000 per student in Covid-relief aid while others have received little or no funding.

Local school districts and charters have wide latitudein using the funds, as long as the spending is geared toward reopening schools safely and helping students recover from the pandemic. States must monitor local spending, and the federal government can audit district and charter school spending, as well.

Ledger

Pitt.edu

Welcome to Ledger, the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of blockchains and cryptocurrencies! In our digital pages, you’ll find high-quality, scholarly research on the uses, implementations, and implications of this burgeoning sector of the technology landscape. First published in 2016, Ledger was, is, and will continue to be a free and open-access academic journal, backed by an open, traceable peer-review process.

Universities’ Covid Policies Defy Science and Reason

Marty Makary:

niversities are supposed to be bastions of critical thinking, reason and logic. But the Covid policies they have adopted—policies that have derailed two years of students’ education and threaten to upend the upcoming spring semester—have exposed them as nonsensical, anti-scientific and often downright cruel.

Some of America’s most prestigious universities are leading the charge.

At Georgetown University, fully vaccinated students are randomly tested for Covid every week. Using a PCR test, which can detect tiny amounts of dead virus, asymptomatic students who test positive are ordered to a room in a designated building where they spend 10 days in confinement. Food is dropped off once a day at the door.

I spoke to several students who were holed up. One of them told me she would sometimes call a friend to come and wave at her through the window, just to see a human face. Another told me that the experience in quarantine “totally changed” her feelings about the school. “Everyone’s just fed up at this point,” she said. “People walk around the library and yell at you if you drink a sip of water. And it was during finals.” She told me she is thinking about “transferring to an SEC school just to have an in-person experience.”

Given the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently changed the official quarantine period from 10 days to five, I reached out to Georgetown’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Ranit Mishori. She told me that Georgetown is still using a 10-day quarantine.

Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen

Johann Hari:

When he was nine years old, my godson Adam developed a brief but freakishly intense obsession with Elvis Presley. He took to singing Jailhouse Rock at the top of his voice with all the low crooning and pelvis-jiggling of the King himself. One day, as I tucked him in, he looked at me very earnestly and asked: “Johann, will you take me to Graceland one day?” Without really thinking, I agreed. I never gave it another thought, until everything had gone wrong.

Ten years later, Adam was lost. He had dropped out of school when he was 15, and he spent almost all his waking hours alternating blankly between screens – a blur of YouTube, WhatsApp and porn. (I’ve changed his name and some minor details to preserve his privacy.) He seemed to be whirring at the speed of Snapchat, and nothing still or serious could gain any traction in his mind. During the decade in which Adam had become a man, this fracturing seemed to be happening to many of us. Our ability to pay attention was cracking and breaking. I had just turned 40, and wherever my generation gathered, we would lament our lost capacity for concentration. I still read a lot of books, but with each year that passed, it felt more and more like running up a down escalator. Then one evening, as we lay on my sofa, each staring at our own ceaselessly shrieking screens, I looked at him and felt a low dread. “Adam,” I said softly, “let’s go to Graceland.” I reminded him of the promise I had made. I could see that the idea of breaking this numbing routine ignited something in him, but I told him there was one condition he had to stick to if we went. He had to switch his phone off during the day. He swore he would.

Here’s How One Chicago Family Is Trying Hybrid Learning with a Twist: Outdoor Classes

Maureen Kelleher:

And that family is…mine. Regular readers here know that I made a case before the school year started for Chicago Public Schools to partner with the Chicago Park District to offer “remote-plus” learning: mostly remote at home but with opportunities for teachers and students to gather in socially distant outdoor spaces.

I wanted this opportunity for my own daughter so much that we left the Chicago Public Schools and joined the Chicago Free School, where students are learning outdoors three days a week, at least through September. The only way I wanted to try hybrid learning was with outdoor classes, and as far as I know, Chicago Free School is the only school in town that is doing it.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with WBEZ’s Curious City about how the new school year has started off for our family. They graciously gave permission for me to share our story as they told it, via Twitter.

When They Warn of Rare Disorders, These Prenatal Tests Are Usually Wrong

Sarah Kliff and Artist Bhatia:

Some said the blood screenings that look for the rarest conditions are good for little more than bolstering testing companies’ bottom lines.

“It’s a little like running mammograms on kids,” said Mary Norton, an obstetrician and geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco. “The chance of breast cancer is so low, so why are you doing it? I think it’s purely a marketing thing.”

There are few restrictions on what test makers can offer. The Food and Drug Administration often requires evaluations of how frequently other consequential medical tests are right and whether shortfalls are clearly explained to patients and doctors. But the F.D.A. does not regulate this type of test.

Alberto Gutierrez, the former director of the F.D.A. office that oversees many medical tests, reviewed marketing materials from three testing companies and described them as “problematic.”

“I think the information they provide is misleading,” he said.

The Packard Foundation, declining live births and the abortion pill

Collin Anderson:

Roughly a decade before his death in 1996, tech titan David Packard issued a controversial directive to his children. Skyrocketing birth rates, the Hewlett-Packard cofounder wrote, could one day cause “utter chaos for humanity.” As a result, Packard asserted, his multibillion-dollar foundation must hold one priority above all others: population control.

Packard—a Republican who served as deputy secretary of defense under President Richard Nixon—did not see eye to eye politically with his three daughters, one of whom succeeded him as chair of his foundation following his death. His liberal offspring took the billionaire’s desire to curb population growth as a jumping off point. While the foundation is unbound legally to honor Packard’s policy wishes, they found a way to embrace his views and pursue their own liberal activism—through expanded abortion access, a mission toward which they devoted nearly $350 million in the last five years alone, according to a review of the foundation’s financial disclosures.

Those expenditures have allowed Packard’s successors to deliver significant victories in furthering the late billionaire’s anti-natalist agenda. Take, for example, the Food and Drug Administration’s December decision to ease the process for getting a chemical abortion pill. The Packard Foundation played a central role in the deregulation fight, funneling millions to liberal advocacy groups that spearheaded the legal and political push to remove the FDA’s abortion pill barriers. The foundation meanwhile invested millions of dollars into GenBioPro, the only company that makes a generic form of the abortion drug.

In 2017, the Packard Foundation gave$1,000,000 to the Reproductive Freedom Project, a division of the American Civil Liberties Union that works to “ensure that all in our society have access to” abortion. That year, Reproductive Freedom Project attorneys suedthe FDA to challenge its abortion pill restrictions, which required patients to receive abortion pills in person from specialty clinics.

Months later, in 2018, the foundation invested$500,000 in GenBioPro. The Nevada-based private company makes the generic form of mifepristone, an oral drug used to cause an abortion. It invested an additional $1.5 million in GenBioPro in 2019, the same year the company’s generic abortion pill received FDA approval and hit the market.

Notes and links on abortion and declining live births.

Taxpayer supported Chicago Teacher Union and closed schools

Alex Nester:

Chicago teachers are preparing to strike over what they say are unsafe working conditions caused by a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Chicago Teachers Union has scheduled a Tuesday vote to determine whether its 25,000 members will refuse to return to the classroom, WBEZ reported. On Sunday, more than 6,000 union members at a virtual town hall said they would not feel safe resuming classroom instruction following winter break. Chicago schools were set to reopen Monday, though some schools have already moved to remote learning without district approval.

Last week, the union called for two weeks of remote learning unless all students and district staff provided a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school. The district distributed 150,000 at-home tests for students to take over the break and mail in by Dec. 28. This weekend, the district pushed the mail-in deadline to Jan. 6, following reports that tests were piling up in FedEx drop boxes.

The Chicago Teachers Union has repeatedly bucked efforts to resume in-person learning. Last January, the union thwarted Chicago Public Schools’ plan to reopen schools, even though studies found viral spread in school settings to be “extremely rare.” Many teachers who followed the union’s decision to switch to virtual learning were declared absent without official leave and didn’t receive pay.

Last year, the union claimed that the “push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny.” But studies have shown that black and Latino students have been disproportionately harmed by school closures.

Chicago Public Schools maintains the schools are safe for in-person learning and the strike would put students at “increased health risk.”

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: British Newspaper Cancels ‘Person Of The Year’ Poll After J.K. Rowling Runs Away With Top Spot

Megan Basham:

Readers of the British newspaper, The Guardian, are accusing the outlet of deactivating an online poll that asked readers to vote on “Person of the Year” after it became apparent that J.K. Rowling would handily win.

“Tell us: who is your 2021 person of the year?” ran the headline, posted on Dec. 15, with the subtitle, “Time Magazine chose billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk – but who would be your choice?” A short time later, when Rowling was far and away in the lead, the voting form disappeared, as did the results. A message in small print stated, “This form has been deactivated and is closed to any further submissions.”

Rowling has been at the center of numerous cancel culture storms this year for her refusal to deny the reality of biological sex. Earlier this month she stirred up controversy by mocking Scotland’s law enforcement policy that allows accused rapists to self-identify as female. “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Penised Individual Who Raped You Is a Woman,” she tweeted in reference to an article titled, “Absurdity’ of police logging rapists as women.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, trans activists have retaliated against her refusal to capitulate to their agenda by threatening to send her pipe bombs and publishing her home address on social media. Showing the flair for dark humor that runs through her novels, the world’s richest author wryly joked that she’s received “so many death threats [she] could paper the house.”

The Guardian, which is generally known for being left-of-center, has so far provided no explanation for why it took its poll offline with Rowling firmly in the lead. But that didn’t stop the public from taking to social media to share their suspicions.

Oster Study Finds Learning Loss Far Greater in Districts that Went Fully Remote

Kevin Mahnken:

What are the consequences of closing virtually every American school and shifting to online education for months at a time?

It’s a question that education experts have been asking since the emergence of COVID-19, and one whose answers are gradually becoming clearer. With federal sources reporting that 99 percent of students have now returned to classrooms, newly available data are showing how students were affected by spending long stretches of the last two school years at home. And the signs are not good.

Perhaps the most disturbing news yet was found in a working paper released last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that state test scores dropped significantly in both reading and math during the pandemic. In a discovery that will reopen questions about the wisdom of keeping schools closed, economist Emily Oster and her co-authors found that learning loss was far worse in districts that kept classes fully remote, and that declines in reading scores were greater in districts serving predominantly poor and non-white students.

Oster, a Brown University professor and popular author, has won both adulation and criticism in the COVID era as an advocate for school reopenings. One study she co-authored, examining the spread of coronavirus in 250 Massachusetts districts last winter, helped persuade officials at the Centers for Disease Control to reduce the recommended social distancing requirement in schools from six feet to three.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

The long-term consequences of closed schools are profound

Will Flanders and Libby Sobic:

In the latest chapter of the seemingly never-ending nightmare of school closures, Milwaukee Public Schools decided Sunday, Jan. 2 to return to virtual instruction for the first week of the spring semester, Jan. 3-7. This follows the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) making a similar decision to delay the start of the semester until January 6th. Both of these delays are planned to be short-term as a result of staffing shortages, but neither district has earned the benefit of the doubt. We find it very likely that this may represent the beginning of a longer-term delay. Only time will tell.

The pandemic has caused many institutions to weigh costs and benefits. But perhaps no institution failed more than the K-12 education system. The long-term consequences of closed schools are profound. WILL estimated an economic cost of more than $7 billion to the state from lost learning—representing lost opportunities for a college education, a good career, and a better life. Even more problematic, the kids facing school closures are the same students who already struggle to keep up academically. A recent Fordham study ranked both districts in the bottom ten when it comes to achievement and growth among disadvantaged students. 

Talk to any educator, and they will tell you that “catching kids up” isn’t as easy as moving through the year’s curriculum faster. It is one of the reasons that Wisconsin’s report card rewards student growth and not just proficiency—arguably to too large of extent. Any return to virtual learning, no matter how short, must acknowledge the costs and disruption of recent experience.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Notes on taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School District Crime and achievement governance

David Blaska:

Neighbors here on the SW side are outraged that the so-called safety coordinator for our public schools blows off police trying to track down kids showing off their illegal firearms in a stolen car a block away from Madison East high school. Doesn’t return their phone calls. Refuses to share photographic evidence with staff who might be able to prevent harm and hurt. (Related here.)

“I fully expect that administrators are held accountable for their actions,” one neighbor demanded. New to Madison, are we?

That’s the problem. Administrators ARE accountable to the elected school board which has made known its antipathy toward safety in myriad ways. Expelling police from our troubled high schools in June 2020 was only the final battle in the progressive war on discipline, fought in the name of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In other words, Madison schools’ safety un-coordinator is doing exactly what this school board expects. Three of the 7 school board seats are on the ballot this spring; deadline for declaring candidacy is 5 p.m. Tuesday Jan 4. (See sidebar at right for more info.) Two days hence. Based on the candidates who have already announced, we can expect more of the same.

No one is challenging school board President Ali Muldrow. Only one candidate has announced for the seat held by Ananda Mirilli (a DPI equity bureaucrat). That would be Nichelle Nichols, who performed equity for pay for the Madison Metro School District. Her current job: system leader at the National Equity Project.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration

Elizabeth Beyer:

It’s a complaint echoed by parents across the district Monday, on a day most expected to see their children back at school, as they were elsewhere in Dane County (but not in the state’s largest district, Milwaukee, which also went back to online learning temporarily). Several parents said they didn’t object to the move to online school so much as the short notice by the district.

Most students across Dane County, outside of Madison, returned to their classrooms on Monday. Superintendents at several districts said any pivot to online-only learning would hinge on the number of cases and the level of staffing they’re able to provide.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

‘Abstinence only’ approach to COVID failed in 2021 — missed opportunity for teaching harm reduction

Dr. Amesh Adalja:

It was evident almost from day 1 that COVID-19, caused by an efficiently spreading respiratory virus with an animal host, was with us for good. The goal of the public health campaign was not to somehow return the virus magically to bats but to tame the virus and shift its spectrum of illness to the mild side — all the while acknowledging that there would always be a baseline number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Biden faces series of minefields in coming year
Massive sewage spill closes beaches around Los Angeles
By repeatedly counseling the public with these facts early on and coupling it to actionable ways for people to learn how to develop the ability to COVID-19 risk calculate (e.g. get vaccinated, wear masks in high-risk situations, outdoors are safer than indoors, surface transmission is not common) the rise of omicron and the looming ubiquity of infections would not seem so startling.

Commentary on the Democrat Party Education Axis

Matt Taibbi:

However, much like the Hillary Clinton quote about “deplorables,” conventional wisdom after the “gaffe” soon hardened around the idea that what McAuliffe said wasn’t wrong at all. In fact, people like Hannah-Jones are now doubling down and applying to education the same formula that Democrats brought with disastrous results to a whole range of other issues in the Trump years, telling voters that they should get over themselves and learn to defer to “experts” and “expertise.”

This was a bad enough error in 2016 when neither Democrats nor traditional Republicans realized how furious the public was with “experts” on Wall Street who designed horrifically unequal bailouts, or “experts” on trade who promised technical retraining that never arrived to make up for NAFTA job josses, or Pentagon “experts” who promised we’d find WMDs in Iraq and be greeted as liberators there, and so on, and so on. Ignoring that drumbeat, and advising Hillary Clinton to run on her 25 years of “experience” as the ultimate Washington insider, won the Democratic Party leaders four years of Donald Trump. 

It was at least understandable how national pols could once believe the public valued their “professional” governance on foreign policy, trade, the economy, etc. Many of these matters probably shouldn’t be left to amateurs (although as has been revealed over and over of late, the lofty reputations of experts often turn out to be based mainly upon their fluidity with gibberish occupational jargon), and disaster probably would ensue if your average neophyte was suddenly asked to revamp, say, the laws governing securities clearing. 

But parenting? For good reason, there’s no parent anywhere who believes that any “expert” knows what’s better for their kids than they do. Parents of course will rush to seek out a medical expert when a child is sick, or has a learning disability, or is depressed, or mired in a hundred other dilemmas. Even through these inevitable terrifying crises of child rearing, however, all parents are alike in being animated by the absolute certainty — and they’re virtually always right in this — that no one loves their children more than they do, or worries about them more, or agonizes even a fraction as much over how best to shepherd them to adulthood happy and in one piece.

Related:

Behind the scenes, there must be HUGE battles going on between the various groups in the Democratic Party. If schools close down, Democrats will lose every election for the next ten years. 

I suspect that the Democrat leaders are making some deals that suburban schools stay open, because they can’t afford to lose the suburbs, but they’ll take the loss in the cities.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Civics: China harvests masses of data on Western targets, documents show

Cate Cadell:

China is turning a major part of its internal Internet-data surveillance network outward, mining Western social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to equip its government agencies, military and police with information on foreign targets, according to a Washington Post review of hundreds of Chinese bidding documents, contracts and company filings.

China maintains a countrywide network of government data surveillance services — called public opinion analysis software — that were developed over the past decade and are used domestically to warn officials of politically sensitive information online.

The Geography of Closed Schools

Committee to Unleash Prosperity

Well, just as we feared: the politicians learned NOTHING from the first rounds of Covid.

So now, with the holiday break over, and time to get kids back in the classroom, and after taxpayers shelled out about $190 billion in ransom payments to the teachers unions to get them to, you know, teach, 2,200 schools are closed today.

And guess what: they are almost all in blue states and blue cities.

Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District Administration’s recent Police interactions

David Blaska:

We can draw no conclusion other than that the school district’s head of security sandbagged police in furtherance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. MMSD describes Aguglia as “committed to teaching and coaching educators in evidence-based critical response with alternative forms of mental health support as a tool to reduce violence in school buildings, promote mental health support as a first response, and minimize reactionary and exclusionary practices, specifically resulting in disproportionate rates of students of color in behavioral referral data and the justice system.”

•   Our question to school board president Ali Muldrow: you’ve already expelled police from school grounds, is Aguglia keeping East high students safe? After all, one-third of the student body sheltered at home after one incident rather than risk further violence.

• Our question to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne: will you charge Aguglia with obstruction of justice?

“It’s a challenge to get back into a setting where you have strict deadlines again”

Scott Girard:

Seventeen months passed between the closure of schools in March 2020 and Gordon Allen’s return to learning inside East High School.

The Madison Metropolitan School District student senate president and East senior, who opted to finish the 2020-21 school year virtually rather than return via the district’s phased-in return to buildings, said this fall has presented some challenges for he and his classmates as they adapt back to the realities of in-person school.

“It’s a challenge to get back into a setting where you have strict deadlines again, it’s challenging to sit in one spot for a long period of time,” Allen said in a recent interview. “It’s a challenge to be around so much social activity when you’re used to being cooped up in your room on a computer.

“All of those were, I think, challenges for a lot of students.”

Despite some of the events that have made headlines this fall, Allen said he’s proud of how they’ve handled that onslaught of challenges, which he said “shows how adaptable and resilient the youth are.”

“We need to give students more credit for how well they navigated the transition back to in-person learning because I think we did pretty well,” he said. “The year 2021, it was a challenge, but we still prevail.”

For students, the year has been a whirlwind of experiences. It began with a continuation of the virtual learning that had begun in March 2020, with no MMSD buildings open except for select students with disabilities until mid-March.

As the district brought students back in phases by grade levels, more than 16,000 students returned in the spring to a hybrid schedule: four days a week for elementary school students and middle and high school students split into two cohorts, each attending two days a week. The rest continued to learn online.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

Puerto Rico’s Retirement-Plan Woes Persist as Bankruptcy Nears End

Andrew Scurria, Sebastian Pellejero and Soma Biswas:

Puerto Rico’s long history of failing to pay its pension obligations is expected to haunt the U.S. territory even after its bankruptcy ends.

A proposed bankruptcy restructuring under consideration by a federal judge would end defined-benefit retirement programs covering tens of thousands of active teachers and judges in Puerto Rico. The pension benefits public employees have already earned would be honored when they retire, although current workers can’t accrue anything more.

Those measures would help close a roughly $55 billion gap between the retirement benefits owed to public servants in Puerto Rico and the funding set aside to pay them. Active teachers and judges are being shifted under the bankruptcy plan into defined-contribution retirement products akin to 401(k)s, ending the defined-benefit formulas in place when many of their careers began. Retirement ages would be increased, delaying when pensions can be tapped.

Fixing the pensions system in Puerto Rico will continue to burden both its employees and its shrinking base of taxpayers. The bankruptcy plan pays in full the defined benefits accrued over the past few decades, when politicians routinely dispensed pension enhancements and other retirement perks without the proper funding.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s Priorities

Wall Street Journal:

This month the CTU asked its members if they’d support a district-wide return to remote learning. The survey also asked what actions they’d participate in to force the Chicago schools to improve health safety measures. Corey DeAngelis, a Cato Institute adjunct scholar who is also national director of research for the American Federation for Children, reported on Twitter that 91% of the union members who responded said they’d participate in a “remote work action”—that is, a strike—if the schools don’t pause in-classroom learning.

This is the same union that last December, in a now deleted tweet, declared that “the push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.” Not that the Chicago public school system has covered itself in glory. This week it was forced to extend a deadline for returning Covid home tests after the local press ran photos of returned tests piled up at overflowing FedEx dropboxes.

Mr. Martinez says there will be no city-wide move to remote learning, and any switch will be done on a school and classroom basis. In nearly two years of living with Covid, surely we have learned that the cost in lost learning of keeping children at home is exorbitantly high while the risk that they will get seriously ill from Covid is low.

A Missouri Mother’s Vending Machine Christmas Gift to Help Her Kids Become ‘Young Bosses In the Making’ Sparks Online Debate

Jasmine Alyce

Ciearra Baker of St. Louis surprised her son and daughter with their own vending machine and starter snacks for the holiday in lieu of toys so that they can start learning how to be “young bosses in the making.” 

“Let’s not handicap these kids making their lives easy. I’m not buying toys my kids most definitely will understand life is not easy and making the right choices with money & etc…,” Baker wrote on Facebook. “So I came up with the idea to invest in vending machine for the kids as Christmas gift #Young bosses in the making”

Commentary on K-12 Taxpayer Spending, Civics and Outcomes.

Will Bunch:

By the late 2010s, less than a quarter of American eighth graders scored at or above the “proficient” level in civics, according to a National Assessment of Educational Progress exam in that subject. I guess that jibes: In a world in which a carpenter has no need for biology, why would he need to know how a bill becomes a law, or the role of the Supreme Court? Or why it’s good when the candidate with the most votes wins an election?

The US spends more on education than other countries. Why is it falling behind?

“Since 2020 – the start of the pandemic – Children’s has seen a 50% increase in the number of children requiring hospitalization for mental health reasons and a 30% increase in emergency room visits for mental health needs.”

Apxap:

Minnesota’s St. Paul Children’s Campus will soon close one of the eastern subway’s only pediatric intensive care units, even as the same hospital prepares to add a new 22-bed inpatient mental health unit for children aged 5 to 18.

Children’s Minnesota – which was established in the capital in 1924 – manages some 380 beds between the St. Paul and Minneapolis sites of its nonprofit hospitals. These hospitals and their state-wide network of clinics, specialty care, and rehabilitation sites form one of the largest stand-alone pediatric health systems in the country, and fundamental changes are underway as that system. is approaching the century.

Civics: “Inappropriate Political Influence”: Chief Justice John Roberts Responds to Threats Against the Court

Jonathan Turley:

Now Roberts appears to have responded. His report is striking in its measured and deliberative tone in comparison to the often reckless rhetoric of these politicians. He waited to address the year in review for his court and the 107 district and appeals courts across the country. However, he included the following lines that are clearly directed toward Congress and extreme Democratic groups like Demand Justice:

“Decisional independence is essential to due process, promoting impartial decision-making, free from political or other extraneous influence. The Judiciary’s power to manage its internal affairs insulates courts from inappropriate political influence and is crucial to preserving public trust in its work as a separate and co-equal branch of government.”

The criticism comes after new polling shows that Roberts is the most popular government official in the country, a fact that led some on the left to express almost apocalyptic alarm.

He is not the only justice who is speaking out to blunt the attacks on the Court. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer chaffed at the claim that this is a “conservative” court and noted “The chief justice frequently speaks on this subject as well and says, no, no: we don’t look at our rulings from the point of view of our personal ideology.”

Justice Thomas criticized those who seem intent on diminishing the authority or respect for the Court: “the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference…They think you become like a politician. That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently told an audience that “My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

These Food Items Are Getting More Costly in 2022

Jaewon King:

Food prices are estimated to rise 5% in the first half of 2022, according to research firm IRI, though the level of increases will vary by grocers and regions.

Mondelez International Inc. MDLZ 0.55% said recently that it was raising prices across cookies, candy and other products sold in the U.S. by 6% to 7% starting in January. General Mills Inc. GIS 0.19% and Campbell Soup Co. CPB -0.32% said their price increases also would take effect in January. Kraft Heinz Co. KHC -0.14% told retailer customers that it would raise prices across many of its products including Jell-O pudding and Grey Poupon mustard, with some items going up as much as 20%, according to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The increases follow others that food manufacturers imposed in 2021, and are part of what businesses and economists call the highest inflation in decades. Higher wage, material and freight costs are prompting industries from manufacturing to retail to raise prices of goods, creating an environment in which some executives say they have room to charge more.

Colorado’s Marshall Fire: Has Funding Needs Corrupted Climate Science?

Jim Steele:

Having studied fire ecology for 30 years and knowing her published science, I could only believe she had been corrupted by the need to attract large amounts of funding, and these days that comes to those who blame the climate crisis. And here’s why I now hold that opinion so strongly.

Colorado’s Marshall Fire was a grassfire that happened with temperatures hovering around freezing. All fire experts and fire managers know grasses are 1-hour lag fuels. That means in dry conditions grasses can become flammable within hours. Attempting to link CO2 global warming, she and other alarmists were now blaming the Boulder area’s grass flammability on the warm dry conditions from July through November. But dry conditions in the past months are totally irrelevant. Those months could have also been cold and wet, but just one day of dry conditions is all that is needed for grasses to burn.

Here’s Why California Is Losing Population for the First Time

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox:

California is suffering a major demographic reversal, one that threatens both the state’s economic future and the durability of its progressive model.

The numbers speak for themselves: The Golden State’s population has started declining for the first time, with new data from the state Department of Finance showing a population loss of 173,000 for the year ended July 1, 2021—a number that includes more than 56,500 pandemic related deaths, mostly of older Californians.

Net domestic migration hit a decade-long low, ballooning from a loss of 34,000 in 2012 to 277,000 in 2021. Over the last 10 years, California lost more than 1.625 million net domestic migrants—more than the population of Philadelphia. Altogether, 2.7 million more people—a population larger than the cities of San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim combined—have moved to other states from California than the other way around over the last 20 years, and immigration is no longer making up the difference.

Many in the state’s media and political establishment insist that the demographic decline is a “myth” concocted by red-state haters. It’s not. The state that attracted America’s domestic migrants through the 20th century is losing millions of them in the 21st century.

This isn’t the Rust Belt of the 1970s, but the exodus out of the state and especially its metropolitan areas seems to be accelerating. From 2000 to 2020, Census Bureau estimates indicate that metro Los Angeles has lost 2.2 million net domestic migrants, metro San Francisco 400,000, metro San Diego 200,000 and metro San Jose 400,000—even as the rest of the state saw a net gain of 600,000.