Max Eden joins Seth Barron to discuss recent mass shootings in American high schools and how misguided approaches to school safety can play a role.

In the aftermath of horrific shootings at high schools in Florida and Texas, the political debate has focused largely on the role of guns in American society. Mostly ignored is how school districts fail to take action on students with documented histories of threats, violence, or mental illness.

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Long-term, persistent joblessness is the great American domestic crisis of our generation. In our 2017 special issue, “The Shape of Work to Come,” City Journal grappled with the problem, and our writers continue to explore it.

City Journal recently convened a panel of experts to talk about the future of work. Audio from their discussion is featured in this episode of 10 Blocks.

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Public Education: Trapped by the Progressive Agenda

 

For years we’ve been talking about the poor state of education. For conservatives, it’s even worse: our children are learning propaganda with a Progressive agenda; the government and teachers control the curriculum and textbooks to the detriment of the students; and there is no indication that anything will change soon.

It’s time that we took back education, and we can already see strategies that are beginning to support a balanced agenda for authentic learning.

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The False Allure of Libertarian Paternalism

 
Prof. Richard Thayler.

One of the great academic debates of our time revolves around how people make choices. On the one side, neoclassical theory assumes that individuals generally act in sensible ways in order to advance their individual self-interest. They are motivated to control aggression and monopoly, and to let private parties in competitive markets strike what bargains they like. In recent years, this neoclassical approach has come under attack from the field of behavioral economics. Its proponents argue that the neoclassical model of behavior, premised on the fact that human beings are rational decision-makers, does not sufficiently account for the many false heuristics and biases that lead people astray as they make decisions.

The two most prominent leaders in this movement are Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics, and the Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, who have advanced—most notably in their book Nudge–what they problematically call Libertarian Paternalism. This involves using both public and private institutions to “nudge” people to improve their lives without forcing them to do so, supposedly preserving their personal liberty. Resting on the foundational scholarship of Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky, Thaler and Sunstein deny that individuals are as rational as neoclassical theory holds: People often operate under the influence of systematic cognitive biases that prevent them from making sound decisions. In order to nudge people in the right direction, Thaler and Sunstein propose that the legal system set its “default” rules to induce them, without coercion, to act in ways that better advance their own welfare. In some cases, the switch is as simple as a move from “opting in” to “opting out.” People are permitted to reverse the default position if they prefer, so that their freedom of choice is thereby preserved.

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This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar Nat Malkus joins the show to discuss the DC Public Schools graduation scandal. After posting a record graduation rate in 2017, an audit revealed that one-third of graduates received diplomas in violation of the District’s attendance policy. If the District’s attendance policy had been followed, the graduation rate would have fallen from 73 percent to less than 50 percent. What implications does this have for education reform and what systems should be developed to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future? Read more about the scandal at the links below.

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When $63 Million Doesn’t Buy Working Toilets

 

When 450 students arrived at Anacostia High School in the District of Columbia’s southeast neighborhood on April 4, they found that few of the sinks or toilets were functioning and the cafeteria was flooded. They were advised by the Department of General Services to use the facilities at a middle school two blocks away until repairs could be completed.

Exasperated teachers organized an impromptu, hour-long walkout to protest, which is why this particular dysfunction made the news. A casual reader might note the plumbing fiasco and chalk it up to neglect of poor students and poor neighborhoods. That is the interpretation urged by DC Council Member Trayon White, Sr. who attended the walkout and declared that “The students and teachers need support from the leaders of the city because of the constant neglect happening at Anacostia.”

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The Teachers Are Revolting

 

Last week, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin gave each Oklahoma public school teacher a massive 15 to 18 percent pay raise funded by the largest tax increase in state history. To show their appreciation, teachers went on strike demanding even more money. Today, 200 Oklahoma school districts are shut down, with students going uneducated and parents scrambling for daycare.

Similar protests have been taking place in Kentucky, Arizona, and West Virginia. What do all these states have in common? Republicans hold the governorship and both legislative chambers. But it’s totally non-partisan and for the children … or something.

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Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, Jonathan V. Last and Michael Warren talk about the Pennsylvania special election, the Blue Wave, political happy talk, and the wisdom of children.

The Daily Standard is sponsored by Tripping.com. Did you know that the average family visits 5 websites before booking a vacation rental? With Tripping.com, one search lets you filter, compare and sort over 10 million available properties on trusted sites like VRBO, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and more. Don’t wonder if you’re getting the best deal – you’ll save an average of 18 percent per night by booking your vacation with Tripping.com.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are not all surprised by President Trump firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson given their distant relationship and they hope Mike Pompeo can be effective as America’s top diplomat. They also unload on Hillary Clinton after her ugly overseas explanations that Trump won the red states by appealing to people who don’t want blacks to have rights or women to have jobs and that white married women backed Trump because they did what their husbands or bosses told them to do. And they slam liberal school administrators for actively supporting Wednesday’s National School Walkout to push for gun control.

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This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar and deputy director of AEI’s Education Policy Studies Nat Malkus joined the show to discuss how a ruling in favor of Janus might affect unions in states where agency fees apply. Malkus’s work at AEI focuses on K-12 education, specifically school finance, charter schools, school choice, and the future of standardized testing. Before joining AEI, Malkus was a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research. Learn more about the case and explore the potential effects of the expected ruling using Malkus’s interactive tool at the links below.

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Does Texas Need Campus Free Speech Legislation? A Look at the Goldwater Institute Model Bill on Campus Free Speech

 

The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee Chair recently held hearings at Texas State University on whether Texas should enact legislation protecting free speech on state college campuses. The Senate Committee asked fourteen speakers to testify on registration requirements of student organizations and obstacles for students to invite speakers to appear on state campuses, such as arbitrary security expenses. In addition, the Goldwater Institute submitted written testimony explaining the Goldwater Institute’s model bill called the “Campus Free Speech Act.”  The model bill was co-authored by the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The Basics of the Bill

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Someone to Have on Your Speechwriting Team

 

I’m recuperating tonight from two and a half days of subbing in a fourth-grade classroom. There were some struggles, but it mostly went well. There were lots of vivid moments that are satisfying to remember. For example, the students were assigned to take a position on an issue from an argument feature of Scholastic News, then give reasons to back up their claim. They completed this in teams, and voted on one team member to go up to the front and present their conclusions. (It was cute to see one team that kept raising their hands. I’d go over there, and then realize that they were just voting.) The kids elected to speak did a great job, for the most part standing up straight, looking at the audience, and speaking in complete sentences.

One reserved little girl gave an unexpected argument in defense of keeping the penny that charmed the socks off me. I asked her if she had seen it in the Scholastic issue, since the “for” and “against” items are written by kids. Nope, it was her own, she corrected me in her quiet way. See, Ricochet members, if we get rid of the penny, we are losing out, because finding a penny is good luck. We won’t have these serendipitous discoveries anymore if we coldheartedly pull these one-cent pieces out of circulation. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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Teen Responses to School Shooting – More Evidence of the Failure of Modern Education?

 

The teen responses I have heard in response to the school shooting in Florida provide no indication that they have applied any critical thinking or analysis, nor that there are any teachers encouraging critical and analytical thinking. I recognize that teen brains are still developing, and that teen hormones mean that emotions often overtake thinking. […]

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Things I’ve Already Learned In 2018

 

This turned out to be much longer than I expected. In case you are disinclined to read it in full, here’s an above-the-fold summary. The correct answers are “A Full Moon Ought To Do It,” “Hold It Gunmanfully,” “There’s Middle C And Then There’s Middle C,” and “Somebody From Ankara Said It But Also It […]

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This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.