This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Melvin Urofsky, Professor of Law & Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of several books, including Louis D. Brandeis: A Life and Dissent and the Supreme Court. Professor Urofsky shares insights on Justice Brandeis’s jurisprudence, and why he consistently ranks among the three most influential Supreme Court justices in American history. They discuss his understanding of American constitutionalism, and how he interpreted the law to diminish consolidated financial and federal power, what he called the “curse of bigness” – big banks and business monopolies, as well as big government. They also explore Brandeis’s dissenting opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, perhaps the best-known 20th-century articulation of the role of the states as “laboratories of democracy” under our federal constitutional system. They delve into some of the most influential dissenting opinions in U.S. Supreme Court history. For example, Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in the Court’s infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, offered legal views that would later lead to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision overturning “separate but equal.” Professor Urofsky also offers thoughts from his 2020 book, The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today, on one of the thorniest political and legal topics of our era. He concludes the interview with a reading from Justice Brandeis’s concurring opinion in defense of free speech in Whitney v. California.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard discuss National Charter Schools Week, and this education sector’s success in improving opportunity for underserved students. In Florida, nearly 95 percent of seniors enrolled in the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship program graduated from high school during the 2019-20 school year, the second highest graduation rate since they began tracking it in 2015. A new study of admissions at 99 colleges shows that despite adopting test-optional policies to increase diversity, the share of low-income students or students of color at these colleges has risen by only a percentage point.

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If you wish your children to be educated instead of indoctrinated with evil bullying, you should pull them out of Washington State public schools.  Dictator Jay Inslee has just signed a bill, passed by the Majority-DemocRat legislature, mandating Critical Race Theory Training for all public school teachers.  The so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” training is […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they get a kick out of President Biden celebrating a very meager goal in getting kids back in the classroom.  They also fume as Biden sides with the WHO in wanting to “pause” the patents for the companies that developed the vaccines in order to boost production. And they react to Democrats debating whether to remove Iowa and New Hampshire as the first caucus and primary states because they’re too white.

The entrepreneurial spirit among immigrants and refugees allows them the flexibility to pursue unexpected courses of action, adapt, accept risk and make the most of opportunities they didn’t even know of before. For Dr. Amar Sawhney from India, that started at the University of Texas at Austin with 30 job rejections out of 30 applications. But he charted a path that would see him go in directions hitherto unknown to him: getting a PhD, helping found a company, journeying to Boston, and starting a string of new companies, using his chemical engineering background to save lives through remarkable local therapy innovations. To date, he has founded eight companies accounting for 4,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in revenue. He’s been named a “Champion of Change” by The White House, one of the “five most innovative Medical Device CEOs” by MassDevice, the EY regional entrepreneur of the year, The Immigrant Learning Center’s own Immigrant Entrepreneur Awardee for Life Science Business. But his influence extends well beyond that space into environmental conservationism, safeguarding refugees, mentoring and promoting STEM education, and building public understanding of America’s Sikhs, as you’ll hear in this week’s episode of JobMakers.

Guest:

The Best of the Great Courses

 

I listened to my first Teaching Company courses, now known as The Great Courses, over 20 years ago. A dear friend suggested that I listen to The Great Ideas of Philosophy by Prof. Daniel N. Robinson. It was magnificent, and I soon had finished ALL of Prof. Robinson’s courses: The Great Ideas of Psychology, Consciousness and Its Implications, Greek Legacy: Classical Origins of the Modern World, and American Ideals: Founding a “Republic of Virtues.” Every course was incredibly illuminating.

In college, I could count the number of Great professors on one hand: my Trig/Statistics/Calculus professor, an American History professor, and the great David Bell, an English professor. Daniel N. Robinson had all the qualities of a great teacher, primarily the ability to present a survey class, like The Great Ideas of Philosophy, which included the Western philosophers from the pre-Socratics into the 20th century, as if he were a full believer of the philosopher on whom he was lecturing.

I have since listened to (and occasionally viewed, but I much prefer listening while driving or walking) dozens more. Here is a list of some of the other professors I find to be great, “great” meaning I will listen to their courses again and again with unfailing pleasure.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation. They discuss the growing popularity of learning pods, an education innovation propelled by K-12 public education’s failure to meet the COVID-19 moment. With as many as three million children enrolled in learning pods, 35 percent of parents participating in them, and another 18 percent interested in joining one, Butcher shares findings from his report on the role of pods in expanding parent-driven educational choice options. He reviews states’ responses to learning pods, as well as school choice legislation in some states that can help expand educational opportunity to families in need. The conversation then turns to the key findings from a spring 2020 report co-authored by Cato, Heritage, Pioneer Institute, and others, Rightsizing Fed Ed: Principles for Reform and Practical Steps to Move in the Right Direction, which provides a blueprint for restoring K-12 schooling authority to states, localities, and parents. Butcher also offers thoughts on how states and districts will spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, and be held accountable, the record of federally driven early childhood education efforts, and the Biden administration’s recent call to expand federal early childhood education and care.

Stories of the Week: President Biden announced the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion plan to expand America’s K-12 system, from two years before kindergarten to free community college. In South Carolina, a bill passed by the House of Representatives expands the state superintendent’s authority to remove local school boards and take over struggling schools in chronically low-performing districts.

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with constitutional scholar and CATO Institute Research Fellow Thomas Berry about the recently heard U.S. Supreme Court case, Mahanoy Public School District v. B.L., and its implications for free speech, school control, and the integration of social media into the rubric of first amendment protections.

Guest:

Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate two Republicans reaching the runoff for an open congressional seat in Texas and parents fighting back against the “anti-racism” push in school board races. They also applaud Sen. Joe Manchin for opposing the lefty push for D.C. statehood. And they discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to ban menthol cigarettes in an effort to protect minority communities and the fierce opposition from the ACLU and others who argue it will only create more criminals.

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Is this controversial? Female consciousness tends to be internally oriented, circular and diffuse, indirect and implicit in expression, with an emphasis on subtext. Life is full of variety, more than we know or recognize. Female consciousness tends to manifest in female bodies, and male consciousness tends to manifest in male bodies. But both can exist […]

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1.) My dad taught me that when you’re in the bathroom and someone knocks, the proper response is to heartily intone, “BUSY!”  2.) We learned from our mom that the apex of contentment was sitting on a bamboo couch in the evening with a book and a giant bowl of popcorn.  Preview Open

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From ‘No Child Left Behind’ to ‘No Child Gets Ahead’

 

A slippery slope no longer, our public schools are in a disastrous tumble. Every time we think it cannot get worse, it does.

With disbelief, I saw recent headlines about the public schools in Virginia potentially delaying advanced courses in mathematics until the eleventh grade. Headlines give false pictures, so I read on, hoping to find a shred of redemption in the story.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome 6.4 percent economic growth in the first quarter of 2021. They also hope President Biden will keep his word that schools should be fully open in the fall. But they have no idea why Biden insists on social distancing and wearing masks around other vaccinated people. Oh, and there may be a bit of NFL Draft talk in there too.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Marguerite Roza, Research Professor and Director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. Professor Roza describes the three distinct phases of how American K-12 education has been funded over the last 40 years, and implications for equity and overall student achievement. She offers perspectives on the productivity of America’s $800 billion annual spending on K-12 education, with 90 percent funded by state and local governments. Professor Roza shares thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of federal K-12 spending and policymaking, given that NAEP scores and achievement gaps remain largely unchanged after Race to the Top and ESSA. With only about half of total K-12 spending allocated to student instruction, she shares concerns about the growth of bureaucracies and non-instructional staffing at all levels – especially in larger urban school districts, where per pupil spending surpasses $20,000, yet achievement gaps and low graduation rates persist. Lastly, they explore the role of philanthropy in K-12 education’s ongoing struggles to deliver better results for schoolchildren, and criticisms by Diane Ravitch and the teacher unions.

Stories of the Week: Harvard Professor Cornel West laments Howard University’s decision to dismantle its Classics Department, noting the influence of ancient thinkers on Frederick Douglass and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Private schools have remained open for most of the past year while their public counterparts have stayed closed – is that a sign of the imbalance in power between parents and teachers unions?

On Male Consciousness

 

Is this controversial? Male consciousness tends to be externally oriented, linear, and focused on a goal, direct and explicit in expression.

Life is full of variety, more than we know or recognize. Male consciousness tends to manifest in male bodies, and female consciousness tends to manifest in female bodies. But both can exist in each. Often, one predominates. But the potential is there.

If you think about it, you have seen female consciousness expressed in a male body, and male consciousness expressed in a female body. Furthermore, sometimes even strong males display a female side to their consciousness, just as occasionally females display a strong male side to their consciousness.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Arizona Democratic Sen.  Mark Kelly opposing expansion of the U.S. Supreme Court under any circumstances. They also wince as Virginia announces there will be no accelerated high school math classes until the 11th grade. And they have very different reactions to the news that Caitlyn Jenner is running for governor in California.

 

Being an End-Result Thinker

 

To overcome blind spots and achieve extraordinary goals, you must become an End-Result Thinker. Once you set a Goal, then your Reticular Activating System (RAS) lets through the information you need to achieve your goal. Let me give you an example of that last principle. The RAS only lets through what you value or see as a threat. When you set a goal, you tell your RAS that you now value anything associated with achieving that goal.

This is why you: Do not wait for the resources first before setting out to achieve a goal.

Sorry for yelling, but this point is crucial.

Covid Debacle Should Spur Education Reform

 

The Arizona legislature failed this year to pass a bill that would have required third-grade students to be held back if they failed to learn to read adequately. The unsuccessful bill uncovered some unhappy truths about the state of education.

Third grade is recognized as a critical progression point for reading proficiency. Students through third grade are taught to read, after which they are expected to read to learn. Those unable to do so suffer a lifelong handicap in today’s knowledge economy with enormous economic and social consequences.

In 2019, 60 percent of Arizona’s third-graders failed to meet our own reading standards. Unfortunately, nothing really new here.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Arnold Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in Humanities at Stanford University and recipient of the National Humanities Medal for his books including The Life of Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison: A Biography. They discuss what teachers and students today should know about Langston Hughes’s celebrated literary life and poetry, including his influence on African-American literati during the Harlem Renaissance, and how his works, such as “Harlem (A Dream Deferred)” and “Mississippi –1955,” impacted the Civil Rights Movement. They then turn to Ralph Ellison, whose 1952 novel, Invisible Man, is among the greatest works of 20th-century American fiction. Professor Rampersad shares the major formative experiences and intellectual influences on Ellison’s life and writing, including his Oklahoma upbringing, Tuskegee Institute education, and interest in literary figures such as Dostoevsky, Hardy, Melville, Twain, and Faulkner. He also offers insights on the connection between the writings of Hughes and Ellison, and blues and jazz music, with its complexity and exploration of suffering. Professor Rampersad concludes the interview with a reading from his biography of Ralph Ellison.

Stories of the Week: In an effort to stem COVID-related learning loss, more than 230 public schools in Hawaii will offer summer school on campus for free, using federal relief funds. In Baltimore, high school students started a mentorship program to help younger peers on topics such as financial assistance, standardized testing, and course selection.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Hilda Torres, an immigrant from Mexico who runs My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center in Malden, Massachusetts. One of the most successful businesses in the city, the center enrolls over 100 students whose parents come from more than 25 different countries. In this episode, Hilda shares how she used the tools of education, and her own grit and determination, to make her mark in the land of opportunity.

Guest: