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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Video of the day: Minimally Invasive Education

 

One of the individuals that inspired me on the way we educate our children is Sugata Mitra. Here’s one of his talks that conveys his ideas – Minimally invasive education. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svWynGmBQb0 More

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Bryan Caplan: Education is a Waste

 

Bryan Caplan is an economics professor at George Mason University and a Libertarian’s Libertarian. In fact, he’s an anarcho-capitalist, which makes him a member of one of America’s most elite hyperminorities. Caplan is consequently unafraid to tell people where he stands, being as this is where he sits. Consequently, he is in favor of radically […]

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The Portuguese Future Subjunctive

 

I said I would write about this, and now I shall. Consider the following two sentences: “If it rains, you get wet” vs. “If it rains, you’ll get wet.” That’s how they come out in English, but in Portuguese, it’s more than just a change of tense. In Portuguese, the first is Se chove, você […]

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Defensive Womaning and Navigating Missing Stairs

 

My husband and I met a potential new landlord yesterday, and without either of us realizing it, each of us walked away with very different impressions of what had happened during the meeting. The meeting was an ambiguous image, like the rabbit-duck or old-woman-young-woman illusion. Many human meetings are like that, particularly between the sexes.

Those of us who occasionally follow what feminists are saying, if only as reconnaissance, may have heard of the “missing stair problem” (warning: link not entirely SFW). Imagine a house with a poorly-lit stairway containing a missing stair. Everyone who lives there knows to step over the missing stair. Everyone who visits regularly knows about the stair, too. But a new visitor would not know, and if not told in time, might stumble and fall. Some people, the analogy goes, are like that missing stair – others must carefully work around them to avoid getting hurt, and the hazard they pose is simply taken for granted by those in the know. Sexual predators, in particular, are likened to the missing stair, especially sexual predators who aren’t “lone wolves” but who have ingratiated themselves into a community, where they become a fixture, and others take on the duty of attempting to protect innocent members from the predator (while also protecting the predator from social ostracism or having to change his ways) rather than “fixing the stair” by refusing to tolerate his predatory behavior.

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This week on Banter we’re joined by Mike McShane for a discussion on education reform in the Bush and Obama administrations. Dr. McShane is the director of national research at EdChoice and a former research fellow in education policy studies at AEI. He cohosted a public event on the history of education reform in the Bush and Obama years, which featured a keynote address from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. You can watch the full event video at the link below.

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