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I’ve been a big fan of This American Life for a few years now. They are master storytellers and even though it’s an NPR show they manage to stay largely a-political. Even when they occasionally do wade into the realm of partisan tinged policy topics, the hosts and reporters mostly manage to keep their biases out […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Is Educational Choice Conservative?

 

School ChoiceYesterday, Texas lawmakers held hearings about expanding educational choice in the Lone Star State. Perhaps the most prominent proposal was an education savings account (ESA), which would allow families to take a portion of the state funds that would have been spent on their child in their assigned district school and instead use them on private school tuition, tutoring, text books, online courses, homeschool materials, and more. Parents could roll over unused funds from year to year to save for later educational expenses, including college. Because ESAs offer spending flexibility and the ability to save–which creates an incentive to economize–they are an improvement on traditional school vouchers.

However, a Republican member of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff, offered the following objection to the proposed ESAs:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Well, That Didn’t Take Long!

 

shutterstock_65361118My son entered high school last week. In his American History class, the teacher wasted no time with the indoctrination: The very first assignment was a selection from the work of Howard Zinn. Before you suggest I summarily withdraw him from the school, let me say that I think this is a good thing. I want him to be exposed to progressive thought, the more ridiculous the better.

Furthermore, the assignment required the students to assess Zinn’s biases, which my son did with gusto. He told me it was absurd for Zinn to judge Christopher Columbus by modern standards. I couldn’t have been more proud.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump Wants Dollars to Follow Students

 

-a97c8b5d79899838Donald Trump unveiled several policy specifics Thursday during a visit to an Ohio charter school. At the inner-city Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, Trump said, “As President, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty.”

He added, “If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Special Snowflakes Run Amok

 

shutterstock_204017278The New York Times recently published an article that provides a glimpse into the microaggression movement currently infecting college campuses. The article profiles Sheree Marlowe, the chief diversity officer at Clark University, where she teaches incoming freshmen how to identify and avoid microaggressions. Here are a few tips Marlowe provided to the students attending one of her recent “training” sessions:

  • Don’t ask an Asian student you don’t know for help on your math homework.
  • Don’t say “you guys.” It could be interpreted as leaving out women.
  • Don’t randomly ask a black student if he plays basketball.
  • Don’t’ show surprise when a “feminine” woman says she is a lesbian.
  • Don’t say “Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough.” (This is a microinvalidation.)

Marlowe knows her stuff. Just ask her. Or does she? Consider this exchange she had with a student:

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Member Post

 

Brown University (Annual Cost of Attendance: $68,000 per year) is, like most universities these days, an insane asylum. Brown University’s student body president will be hand-delivering menstrual products to all nonresidential bathrooms on campus, including men’s rooms, with the help of 20 other students. More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Competition Will Not Be Tolerated

 

HigherEdFellow member Dave S. posted a short note this morning about the government forcing ITT to shut down its technical school operation. In it he asks “Do they actually hold other private ‘not-for-profit’ institutions to the same standard or I am just falling in to the trap of ‘this administration can do no right?'”

The reality is that Progressives really do not care whether an organization is “for profit” or not. What they care about is getting their cut, both of control and money. They have turned the Federal government into an organized crime extortion ring. The Department of “Education” goes after trade schools and charter schools. The Department of “Justice” goes after churches and other religious organizations who don’t play ball on abortion or ObamaCare. The IRS harasses conservative political organizations.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad some of the worst names in media won’t be moderating debates this fall and they are pleased to see Chris Wallace on the list. They also sigh as more evidence emerges showing the entanglement of the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary was secretary. And they shudder as the speech police invade the Univ. of Nebraska but cheer as the Univ. of Missouri suffers in big ways after surrendering to campus radicals last semester.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Graduate Students as Protected “Employees”

 

shutterstock_244570738Last week, the National Labor Relations Board held that the graduate students of Columbia University who work as teaching assistants, including any research assistants “engaged in research funded by external grants,” are statutory employees protected under the National Labor Relations Act, and thus entitled to join an elected union of their own choosing. The three-member Democratic majority held in Trustees of Columbia University v. Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC that graduate students were employees under Section 2(3) of the NLRA. This section provides, most unhelpfully, “the term ‘employee’ shall include any employee,” with exceptions irrelevant to the issue at hand.

The Board’s decision was notable in part because a long list of research universities, led by Yale University, had filed a strong amicus curiae brief, warning against the undesirable consequences that could follow if the Board overruled its 2004 decision involving Brown University that came out the other way because “the services being rendered are predominantly academic rather than economic in nature.” These include coursework, individual research, and teaching under the close supervision of their professors, as part of an integrated program leading to an advanced degree.

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A previous post described how the first steps to a decent day of substituting involved embracing your teacher identity and knowing your territory. Now keep in mind a third step when it’s nearly time to drive to the campus and begin your assignment. Step 3: Prepare for the students.  More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. John Oliver Destroys Underprivileged Students

 

John Oliver Charter SchoolsWe all know John Oliver’s shtick. Each Sunday he goes on HBO to inveigh against some progressive bogeyman — DC lobbyists, big bankers, Donald Drumpf, etc. — replete with out-of-context clips, snarky rebuttals, and lots of F-bombs. And the left-leaning press heralds his brilliance with viral videos insisting he “destroyed,” “eviscerated,” and “disemboweled” his quarry. But last Sunday, he took a break from snarking on the rich and powerful to focus on a new target: kids who attend charter schools.

On the most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver took on the 6,000 charter schools in the US and everyone involved with them. (Content warning on that link, natch. When he thinks he’s losing the studio audience, Oliver says a curse word which makes them giggle.) By attacking this popular K-12 option, he isn’t just hitting the few bad operators in the segment, but is setting his sights on the parents, teachers, and students who’ve decided that charter schools are their best option.

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Member Post

 

After our treks to the mountain carvings we planned to spend the next day making short trips. It did not work out. Early that morning I received a call from work with some irritating news. I ended up spending the entire day at the camp fighting the dodgy wifi and the sporadic cell service, just […]

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Member Post

 

Li’l Skinner, all 6’-3” of him, is registering for college this fall. He’s decided to do the Community College route, which for him is a very good move. He wants to get a two-year degree in programming, and then work his way through the rest of a four-year program. I got to thinking about me […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Reality Behind the Student Debt “Crisis”

 

072116WHCEALost amid all the political news this week is a new White House report on student debt in higher education. One thing I was curious to see was what conclusions it drew about the macroeconomic impact of high debt levels. Politicians, especially presidential candidates, sure seem to think it’s a pretty big problem. From the report comes a different view:

The rise in student loan debt has created challenges for some borrowers with lower earnings, but has not been a major factor in the macroeconomy.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The New York Times Misrepresents Charter School Research

 

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a front-page story purporting to show that “betting big” on charters has produced “chaos” and a “glut of schools competing for some of the nation’s poorest students.” (One wonders how many of those low-income families are upset that they have “too many” options.). However, the article’s central claim about charter school performance rests on a distorted reading of the data.

The piece claims that “half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools.” This is a distortion of the research from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Although the article actually cites this research – noting that it is “considered the gold standard of measurement by charter school supporters across the country” – it only does so to show that one particular charter chain in Detroit is low performing. (For the record, the “gold standard” is actually a random-assignment study. CREDO used a matching approach, which is more like a silver standard. But I digress.) The NYT article fails to mention that the same study found that “on average, charter students in Michigan gain an additional two months of learning in reading and math over their [traditional public school] counterparts. The charter students in Detroit gain over three months per year more than their counterparts at traditional public schools.”

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review are ecstatic about Darryl Glenn winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Colorado. They are enraged at new evidence revealing the IRS broke federal law by sending sensitive records of conservative groups to the Justice Department. And they are furious at a New Jersey school district for having police and child services involved in every case of misbehavior.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Is the Purpose of Public Education?

 
to-sir-with-love
Sidney Poitier in To Sir, with Love.

“How would you like to spend your life preparing the next generations for adulthood?”

The question came from a nice, smiling woman who looked just like most of the teachers in my high school, and while I had absolutely no desire to get into teaching, those words stopped me. There I was in the middle of my school’s college fair, hearing someone refer to the process of public education as preparation for adulthood. Maybe someone called it that before, undoubtedly in the classroom when students were acting up, but that would have been bordering on an insult — “you’re supposed to be acting like adults.” I smiled, took the pamphlet the nice lady was offering, and moved on thinking that she was absolutely wrong.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can High-quality Teachers Be Made?

 

twenty20_b4a10816-d287-49fb-b495-30e05b496ba9_teacher_classroom_school-e1465838764964-1The Economist’s new cover story makes a pretty strong case that teacher quality is really important. Among the many studies cited: a University of Melbourne review of more than 65,000 papers on the effects of various classroom interventions. It concludes that what matters most is teacher expertise: “All of the 20 most powerful ways to improve school-time learning identified by the study depended on what a teacher did in the classroom.”

Another paper found that students taught by teachers in the top 10 percent for effectiveness learn 1.5 years’ worth of material in an academic year, three times as much as those taught by teachers in the bottom 10 percent. And this:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can High-Quality Teachers Be Made?

 

twenty20_b4a10816-d287-49fb-b495-30e05b496ba9_teacher_classroom_school-e1465838764964The Economist’s new cover story makes a pretty strong case that teacher quality is really important. Among the many studies cited: a University of Melbourne review of more than 65,000 papers on the effects of various classroom interventions. It concludes that what matters most is teacher expertise: “All of the 20 most powerful ways to improve school-time learning identified by the study depended on what a teacher did in the classroom.”

Another paper found that students taught by teachers in the top 10% for effectiveness learn 1.5 years’ worth of material in an academic year, three times as much as those taught by teachers in the bottom 10%. And this:

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and David French of National Review applaud Judge Andrew Hanen for excoriating Justice Department lawyers for repeatedly lying to the court about Pres. Obama’s executive immigration actions. They also slam NBC’s Andrea Mitchell for saying Juanita Broaddrick’s rape allegation against Bill Clinton has been “discredited.” And we shake our heads as a North Carolina school district plans to eliminate valedictorian and salutatorian honors because it creates “unhealthy competition.”

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