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Last night FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) hosted an event here in Silicon Valley.  President and CEO Greg Lukianoff appeared and as usual shared humorous remarks.  He was joined by Antonio García Martínez, a well known tech executive with deep insights into the industry and target of cancellation at Apple who similarly shared […]

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu joins Jim and Greg to explain why he turned down persistent GOP efforts to get him to run for U.S. Senate this year and why he strongly prefers to run for governor again. Gov. Sununu also talks about where he sees the Republican Party heading, and what it will take to win in swing states this year and in 2024. In addition, they discuss what the Republican agenda ought to be for fighting inflation and dig into Gov. Sununu’s record on school choice and abortion. Finally, Jim and Greg ask whether New Hampshire should always get to bat leadoff in the presidential primary season.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Cass Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, and the author of The New York Times best-selling book, The World According to Star Wars. He shares what drew him to this topic, and why, after 45 years, these movies have become a $70 billion multimedia franchise and continue to have such wide intergenerational appeal. They review some of the classic myths and legends that influenced George Lucas, the brilliant creator of the films. Prof. Sunstein explains some of the larger civic educational lessons found in the space epic, including the war between the democratic Republic and the autocratic Empire, in which the Jedi Knights rebel against imperial tyranny. They also discuss the story of Anakin Skywalker, and his turn to the Dark Side; and the supernatural “Force,” that imbues a series classified as science fiction with a transcendent quality.

Stories of the Week: In England, university and student groups are opposing government plans to set minimum eligibility requirements for student loans. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams is seeking an extension of mayoral control of the school district, which for the past 20 years has meant important oversight authority over the schools chancellor and most of the governing panel.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Dr. Hanushek shares how he first became interested in the economics of education, his plans for the nearly $4 million in funding from the prestigious Yidan Prize, which he received in 2021, and where he sees the greatest need for additional research in education. He shares findings from a recent Hoover Education Summit panel, focusing on educational performance among high- and low-performing countries, and how the U.S. compares on global measures. They explore why U.S. reading and math results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have remained flat, despite $800 billion spent annually, and the impact of persistent achievement gaps on individual social mobility and global competitiveness. They discuss his February study on some of the ways parents influence the “intergenerational transmission of cognitive skills,” and how this impacts the lifetime outcomes of children and K-12 education policymaking.

Stories of the Week: In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a sweeping change designed to standardize and streamline the funding formula for the state’s K-12 education system. National polling from NPR and Ipsos finds high rates of parent satisfaction with their children’s schooling, despite contentious K-12 culture wars.

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with education financing expert Mark Kantrowitz about the $1.6 trillion in U.S. public student debt – who owes it, who stands to benefit from the Biden administration’s recent promise for across-the-board student debt reductions, and what strategies are available to target only those most in need.

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Join Greg and Rob Long as they hope reports of major downsizing at public schools over shrinking enrollment means public schools will need to compete for students and provide a much better education. They also cringe as Biden official Samantha Power seems happy that farmers are getting crushed by much higher fertilizer prices because it will accelerate the government’s green agenda. And they shake their heads at the administration’s latest COVID hypocrisy at the border.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome what appears to be the Biden administration’s grudging admission that there won’t be a new Iran nuclear deal. They also hammer President Biden for reportedly getting ready to pander to his base through massive student loan forgiveness and explain who will really benefit. And they find the timing curious as Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey demands “algorithmic justice” after Elon Musk buys Twitter.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Wilfried Schmid, Dwight Parker Robinson Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, who played a major role in drafting the 2000 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and served on the U.S. National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) in 2008. Dr. Schmid shares how he became interested in mathematics, and how it was taught and encouraged in the German schools he attended. He also talks about his academic career at Harvard, his teaching experiences there and at other elite universities, and the wide disparities in the level of academic math preparation between students from America and other countries. Professor Schmid explains how he became interested in K-12 mathematics, and his work with education expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky in drafting Massachusetts’ nation-leading math standards. They discuss the “math wars” that occurred across American K-12 education, and why, even after the landmark NMAP report, this country continues to struggle with teaching students basic mathematics.

Stories of the Week: In Texas, teachers who choose to resign during the school year are being stripped of their professional certification. US News & World Report’s annual ranking of top high schools is out, and the latest list features several from Massachusetts, including Boston’s exam and charter public schools, as well as wealthy suburban districts.

Join Jim and Greg as they review the latest predictions out of the Cook Political Report and  UVA Crystal Ball, which shifted 11 house races toward the Republicans. Many races were updated from ‘Likely R’ to ‘Safe R’, but it casts an ominous shadow over the Democrats’ chances of keeping the House in a critical midterm election. They also cringe at MSNBC host Nicole Wallace for calling Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education bill “dehumanizing” and comparing him and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian children. And despite being even older than Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is considering running for president in 2024, according to a leaked memo.

Join Jim and Greg as they congratulate the Virginia legislature and Gov. Glenn Youngkin for passing common sense, bipartisan bills that outlaw formal or informal quotas on arrests and tickets by Virginia police. They also continue to be surprised at the messaging failures of the Biden White House, often with the President himself out of the loop, with transportation masking as the latest example. And despite no obvious constituency or hope of beating Donald Trump or Governor Ron DeSantis, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger floated his name as a potential candidate in the 2024 presidential race.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of the landmark three-volume book, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary. As Jews around the world celebrate Passover this week, Dr. Alter shares why the Hebrew Bible is probably the most influential book in human history, and the larger lessons 21st century teachers and students should draw from its timeless wisdom. They also discuss the text as a record of the Jewish people, and vital historical lessons of persecution, resilience, and survival. Professor Alter describes how the Psalms and the Book of Exodus’ stories of liberation and Moses’ leadership inspired several of the major figures of the Civil Rights Movement. The interview concludes with Dr. Alter reading from his trilogy.

Stories of the Week: In California, K-12 public school enrollment has declined below 6 million for the first time in over two decades, with COVID accounting for only some of the loss. New Brookings research explores whether major federal aid packages directed to schools during COVID, and after the 2008 Great Recession, have been used for the intended purpose.

Join Jim and Greg in breathing an unobstructed sigh of relief as U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle finds the federal mask mandate for public transportation unconstitutional. They also cover the fallout from Washington Post tech reporter Taylor Lorenz trying to expose the operator of the Libs of TikTok Twitter page, despite publicly condemning online harassment aimed towards herself just weeks ago. And Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke changes his mind again on the Remain in Mexico policy, now saying it needs to end.

Join Jim and Greg as they dive into billionaire Elon Musk’s proposal to buy Twitter and why it makes the left so angry. They also dissect a new report quoting multiple officials alleging California Sen. Diane Feinstein is quickly losing her mental acuity. And Joy Behar of “The View” bizarrely claims that the Supreme Court is poised to “pass a bill” to allow open carry in New York despite the high court having no such power.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice. She shares her experience of receiving a Step Up for Students education tax credit to attend the Esprit de Corps Center for Learning, a small private school in Florida, and how it differed from her public school experience and changed her life. They delve into the organization she founded in 2020, Black Minds Matter, “a national movement to celebrate Black minds, support excellence, and promote the development of high-quality school options for Black students,” and Denisha explains the group’s long-term goals.

Stories of the Week: Results from a survey of 1,788 teachers in England revealed that 44 percent plan to leave the profession by 2027, citing the stressful workload and lack of public trust. Harvard is receiving criticism for its decision to end its undergraduate teacher education program and instead require candidates to enroll in the Graduate School of Education’s new Teaching and Teacher Leadership master’s program.

Join Jim and Greg as they encourage Republicans like Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Sears to continue to push against the Democrat’s radical education agenda and speculate that the left’s decision to insist upon controversial subjects in classrooms will culminate in a ‘Red Wave’ in November. They also scratch their heads at a floundering Biden administration that seems unable to find a way to curb the rising inflation. And after lambasting Tulsi Gabbard for putting her political career before her constituents in the 2020 presidential race, Hawaii Rep. Kai Kahele has not shown up on Capitol Hill since January.

Join Jim and Greg as they cover President Biden’s latest all-time low approval rating. Despite delivering a Supreme Court Justice and the waning of the COVID-19 virus, Biden’s approval percentage sank to just 42% in the latest CBS New/YouGov Poll.  They also analyze the host of factors contributing to increasing despair and hopelessness in the American teenager including social media, COVID-19, and the media. And in a desperate attempt to appease his increasingly dissatisfied base, President Biden is taking steps to counter “ghost guns” this week.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Abul Islam, immigrant from Pakistan and founder, President and CEO of AI Engineers. America needs solid infrastructure to grow the economy, to ensure we can get to work, ship supplies, and travel freely. But who’s doing the rebuilding? AI Engineers is a Connecticut-based consulting firm that builds and rehabilitates bridges, transportation systems and building systems throughout the U.S. Since 1991, Abul has created nearly 1,000 jobs and today leads a $50 million company. He talks about the power of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to uplift urban centers. While we draw talent from international students and H-1B workers, he believes the U.S. must create a homegrown pipeline of skilled workers, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” as the nation prepares for the likely confirmation of its first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice, Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. G. Edward White, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and author of the three-volume book, Law in American History. Professor White draws on his experiences clerking for Chief Justice Earl Warren to share information about Warren’s character, and how his landmark Brown v. Board of Education opinion has shaped America’s legal culture and access to education in our era. They explore Professor White’s legal history trilogy, and talk about what teachers and students today should know about the Civil War and ending slavery, from the Dred Scott decision of 1857 through the Thirteenth Amendment. They delve into the second volume, from Reconstruction, industrialization, and immigration, to the rise of Jim Crow; and the third volume on massive legal changes since World War II. The interview concludes with a reading by Professor White from his trilogy.

Stories of the WeekU.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is fielding criticism from the left on loan forgiveness, and the right on mask mandates and hot-button curriculum issues. The Washington Post editorial board calls out the Biden administration for proposed new federal rules that will likely hamper charter schools’ growth.