The physical bars and restaurants and being ordered to close in many places but the Three Martini Lunch remains open. Come in and join us! Today, Jim and Greg react to the CDC urging Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks and mayor and governors forcing bars and restaurants to close. They also discuss the awkwardness of the Biden-Sanders debate in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and highlight how Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have pushed Biden into extreme liberal positions on energy, immigration, guns, abortion and more. And they discuss the stunning political fall of Andrew Gillum, who came less than a percentage point from becoming Florida’s governor in 2018.

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Anna Egalite, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. They discuss Anna’s experiences as a student growing up in Ireland and teaching at Catholic schools there and in Florida. She was inspired to pursue education policy after observing the differences between the two countries’ views of “public” and “private” education, and was surprised to find that families here didn’t have the same range of school options available to them as those in Europe. She also shares her research on the benefits of school voucher programs in India, which allowed students to attend private schools with longer days and lower rates of multi-grade teaching, with positive impacts on English language skills, especially for females. Lastly, they explore the role of family background on students’ long-term outcomes and intergenerational economic mobility.

Story of the Week: As the nation deals with COVID-19, Cara and Gerard discuss the implications for K-12 and higher education. Students across the country are shifting from campuses and classrooms to virtual learning; how prepared is our education system to deliver quality, online instruction? Are we doing enough to maintain community ties and minimize the disruption for low-income students and families, who have fewer supports?

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kevin Chavous, President of Academics, Policy, and Schools of K12, Inc. They talk with Kevin about how his background and experiences visiting local state prisons and schools as a D.C. City Councilor led him to become one of the first Democrats to support charter schools. Kevin describes his work with other education reformers on behalf of the Opportunity Scholarship Program for D.C.’s low-income children and the “three-sector” system of combined federal support for public, charter, and private school scholarships that has resulted in 90-percent graduation and college attendance rates. Kevin calls for reframing public education from a robotic, factory approach to a model that is more responsive to the diverse needs of kids and parents. He discusses his current work in digital learning, promoting an innovative, state-of-the-art online learning curriculum now used in 100 schools, in over 30 states, to engage students unable to thrive in a traditional setting.

Stories of the Week: In Tennessee, the ACLU and other organizations have filed suit against the state over an Education Savings Account program that expands school choice for families in Memphis and Nashville, claiming public schools will be “irreparably harmed” by so-called “illegal spending.” In New Hampshire, some lawmakers are again pushing the state to accept $46 million in federal grant funding that was rejected by Democratic legislators because it was designated for charter school expansion. Are politics getting in the way of what’s best for the Granite State’s 1,300 children on charter school waiting lists?

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard engage in a candid conversation about education policymaking with Chris Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Brightbeam, known to many by his popular Twitter & blog feeds as “Citizen Stewart.” Chris shares his background as a student, parent, school board member, and longtime activist, and how those experiences have shaped his outlook on the challenges facing school reform. They delve into the obvious and lesser known barriers to changing the status quo, including the lack of involvement among rank-and-file parents in policy decision making and the disproportionate influence of labor unions in politics and the media. Chris voices concerns about the Democratic political candidates’ growing hostility toward ensuring African-American schoolchildren have access to better learning opportunities, and how the focus on class warfare has misdirected attention from the reality of our public schools graduating individuals who cannot participate in the economy. They also discuss the relationship between education and other issues such as criminal justice reform.

Stories of the Week: This week, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the inspirational icon featured in the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures,” passed away at 101. All schoolchildren should know her story, unacknowledged for so long, of struggle and triumph in the face of race- and gender-based segregation and discrimination. In Ohio, a new plan from the state superintendent would reduce the minimum scores on the graduation assessment so that students could qualify for a diploma if they demonstrate basic competency, rather than proficiency, in math and ELA. What impact will the lower bar have on graduates’ preparedness for options in higher education and employment?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lunch Shaming, Pros and Cons

 

The topic of “lunch shaming” has gathered lots of interest on social media. I’m particularly interested since I sit on my local school board. A quick recap: the feds fund lunches for families who qualify (just over half of our families with a total student population of just over 1,300 kids, K-12). The rest of the parents can send a lunch or put money into an account with the cafeteria service. An important thing to note is that kids in the lunch line can’t tell if someone else is getting a free meal or not.

Some other factors: if the free meal population reaches a high enough threshold, the school can provide all meals for free at federal expense. During the summer, the feds fund free meals for entire families. This is a program of which I suspect most people are completely unaware.

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This week, Cara and Gerard talk with Margaret “Macke” Raymond, President of Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Macke describes CREDO’s unique role and methodology in analyzing a wealth of data from state education departments to quantify the effect of charter schools on the amount of learning a student receives in a year’s time. They discuss charter performance on average, as well as in pockets of excellence; the performance of urban charters, including Boston; the types of charters that are succeeding consistently and replicating; and the formula for quality both in instruction and policymaking. They also delve into the waning policy support for charters despite favorable public opinion; what the data show about whether charters select or “counsel out” students; “diverse-by-design” charter schools; and the federal role in the charter movement.

Stories of the WeekThe New York Times highlights renewed interest in teaching phonics, a long-debated approach, especially in the wake of recent NAEP results showing only a third of American students are reading at proficiency. In Maryland, to address students’ declining academic performance and teacher retention issues, a state commission is proposing sweeping reforms – but the billion-dollar price tag is raising concerns about accountability for results.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Education and the Jews

 

“Remember for good the man Yehoshua ben Gamla, because were it not for him the Torah would have been forgotten from Israel. At first a child was taught by his father, and as a result orphans were left uneducated. It was then resolved that teachers of children should be appointed in Jerusalem, and a father [who lived outside the city] would bring his child there and have him taught, but the orphan was still left without tuition. Then it was resolved to appoint teachers in each district, and boy of the age of sixteen and seventeen were placed under them; but when the teacher was angry with a pupil, he would rebel and leave. Finally Yehoshua ben Gamla came and instituted that teachers be appointed in every province and every city, and children from the age of six or seven were placed under their charge.”
— From the Talmud, Bava Batra (Yehoshua ben Gamla lived in Jerusalem 1st century CE)

If you’re Jewish, the importance of education is emphasized from a very young age. Our history has taught us about the many benefits of education: maintaining a connection to G-d’s laws; having the tools to function in the greater society; developing a commitment to learning, discipline, and dedication to our roots; and devoting ourselves to the future of the Jewish community.

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After a fun Presidents Day special, Jim and Greg are once serving up good, bad, and crazy martinis. Join them today as they celebrate Virginia Democrats failing to pass a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” suppressors, and magazines holding more than 12 rounds. They also dive into more offensive comments from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, this time contending that people need a more gray matter to work in the information economy than in farming and that old people diagnosed with cancer shouldn’t receive treatment because it costs too much money. And they react to the criminal convictions for attorney Michael Avenatti and again scold the liberal media for turning Avenatti into the media just because he was an adversary of President Trump.

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Member Post

 

Academics at state schools tend not to recognize that they are public servants; or at least they don’t see their position the way I do. That is, (1) I write them and (2) they don’t write back. But a professor at UT Austin’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese did write back, promptly and informatively. He […]

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Special thanks to Bob Bowdon & Choice Media for helping us launch “The Learning Curve”! 

On this episode of “The Learning Curve,” Cara welcomes new co-host Gerard Robinson and guest Neal McCluskey, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. They discuss America’s growing interest in school choice, with 500,000 children now attending private schools through vouchers, tax credits, or Education Savings Accounts, and another three million enrolled in charter schools. They also review President Trump’s federal tax credit proposal, its questionable constitutionality, and its prospects in Congress. Neal describes his public schooling “Battle Map” project that catalogues social conflict in K-12 education, and demonstrates the merits of greater school choice as a mechanism for ensuring government remains neutral in disputes between religious liberty and civil rights. Plus, the avid grillmaster shares his BBQ tips!

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” guest co-hosts Alisha Thomas Cromartie & Kerry McDonald talk with Julie Young, Deputy Vice President of Education Outreach and Student Services for Arizona State University and CEO of ASU Prep Digital High School. In 2019, 2.7 million K-12 students had an online schooling experience, an 80 percent increase since 2009, with 32 states offering fully online schools. Julie explains the wide appeal of online education for students of all kinds, especially those with learning differences, who are seeking a positive academic experience and more flexibility. They also discuss which states are leading the way and lagging behind, the variety and growth of digital learning programs, and how they enable students to accelerate their learning and contain the costs of higher education.

Stories of the Week: In his State of the Union Address this week, President Trump called on Congress to pass a tax credit scholarship program for low-income students to attend private and religious schools. But is this the proper role of the federal government? Where are the administration’s other proposals for improving public education, and is the rhetoric around school choice becoming politicized? A new report finds that 21 states have made it a high school graduation requirement that students pass a financial literacy course. Is this a welcome opportunity to help young people develop responsible budgeting skills and habits, or is it a form of state-mandated intrusion into subject matter that should be covered at home?

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Member Post

 

Once of the things touted by universities and other institutes of higher learning is that the best education is a broad-based education. Apparently this education does not have to take place in the classroom, as Indiana University has included BDSM as something its students should become informed about: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=14332 More

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State of the Union, Pelosi ripping up the speech, the Senate impeachment vote, and the ongoing incompetence of Iowa Democrats. We’ve got it all for you today on Wednesday’s Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they applaud the amazing number of record-low unemployment statistics cited by President Trump in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. They’re also big fans of conservative policy ideas espoused in the speech and note the impressive guests Trump invited and highlighted in his address. In contrast, they also assess House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of the speech right after Trump finished and what is says about Democrats nine months before Election Day. Finally, they have plenty more to say as Iowa Democrats release more than two-thirds of the caucus results but aren’t sure when or if the rest of the votes will be announced.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I went to Foxnews a while ago and found this headline: Schumer, Pelosi signal they won’t accept a Senate vote to clear Trump after ‘sham’ trial Really? They won’t accept it? More

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Bob Bowdon & guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Susan Wise Bauer – writer, historian, homeschool parent, and author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, as well as numerous other books. They explore the impact of technological innovation, online tools and social media, and the plethora of resources now available to the increasingly diverse and growing population of American homeschool families. They also discuss Susan’s approach to writing and teaching about major world historical figures and eras, and why classical education’s developmentally appropriate approach to instruction in grammar, logic, and rhetoric is a model worth preserving.

Stories of the Week: Despite widely covered teacher strikes this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ newly released data on union membership shows a decline – but will this reduce organized labor’s power? In Maryland, a school desegregation proposal that would redistrict over 5,000 children to address educational inequity is meeting parent resistance. A tweet-up timed to counter National School Choice Week, using the hashtag #ILovePublicSchools, backfired when 8,000 public school students posted overwhelmingly negative comments about their experiences.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Remarkable Auto Repair

 

Victor Davis Hanson made an effort to explain working-class people to his colleagues who inhabit the institutions where he spends half of his life as a scholar in California’s institutions of higher learning by drawing on the experience of the other half of his life as a farmer. He recounted watching a man repair a hydraulic machine without having to look at a repair manual – the depth and detail of specific knowledge the man had at his disposal was impressive.

I used to work on cars back when they had carburetors and distributors, points to adjust and coils to replace. Cars still have coils, although I can’t recognize them anymore, but the points have joined the dinosaurs. In short, I found out that I don’t understand the cars they are making these days at all.

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Chad Benson grabs a stool for today’s Three Martini Lunch while Jim is away. Today, Chad and Greg briefly discuss the significance of President Trump becoming the first sitting president to address the March for Life. Then they get a kick out of learning that the House impeachment managers are successfully alienating the group of senators they can least afford to lose – GOP moderates. They also richly enjoy watching a dad who scrimped and saved to pay for his daughter’s college education dissect the progressive lunacy of Elizabeth Warren’s college debt forgiveness plan right to her face. And as Democrats and their media allies dig for dirt on a strengthening Bernie Sanders, they brace for a riveting fight over whether Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders was more racially insensitive in the 1970’s.

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