De Condimentis (4) | HiLobrow
Hopefully this will serve as a warning as well as an aid — hot sauce has gotten enormously more popular in recent years, and the opportunity to misuse it has grown exponentially. So recognize your humor and recognize that you can’t, like an 1880’s baseball player going from 1st to 3rd across the pitcher’s mound, go across the square — that’s your antithesis. And, even more dangerous, avoid the Scoville scale (the muy macho chile heat rating system) and any of the crazy super “chiles”. They’ve been overbred and are loony and dangerous like a perfectly-spotted Dalmatian. Start eating peppers that have been cross-pollinated with other pepper families for a few generations and you’ll be lucky if all you end up with is a world-class case of Montezuma’s revenge — which, most of the time, is actually a case of incompatible humor reaction.
32 minutes ago
Municipal Solvency: How to Not Go Broke | Granola Shotgun
But here’s the truth. Even if you fired everyone on the government payroll and dissolved all social programs most jurisdictions would go broke in the long run anyway. The tax revenue that comes in from low value private development is simply inadequate to cover the ongoing costs of the very expensive public infrastructure that holds it together. Full stop.
4 hours ago
Can't Stop The Bleeding » Capital Crisis : Nats Need To Rectify Go Go No No
Hey, at least they didn’t opt for No Trend Egoslavia! The Washingtonian’s Benjamin Freed reports Chuck Brown’s 1979 Go-Go classic “Bustin’ Out” has been replaced as post HR celebratory music at Nationals Park by “Bang Bang,” the timeless collaboration between Jessie J., Ariana Grande and Niki Minaj, and sadly, the team has refuse to explain their actions.
11 hours ago
Austerity in the EU—in Rap | Ian Welsh
The entire video is worth watching, but if you want to skip to the meet, go to 3:37.  This is one of the most accurate portrayals of Lagarde (in charge of the IMF) and Merkel I’ve seen.  Better than most written analysis.
11 hours ago
Comb Jelly Neurons Spark Evolution Debate | Quanta Magazine
After years of study, he thinks he knows why. According to traditional evolutionary biology, neurons evolved just once, hundreds of millions of years ago, likely after sea sponges branched off the evolutionary tree. But Moroz thinks it happened twice — once in ancestors of comb jellies, which split off at around the same time as sea sponges, and once in the animals that gave rise to jellyfish and all subsequent animals, including us. He cites as evidence the fact that comb jellies have a relatively alien neural system, employing different chemicals and architecture from our own. “When we look at the genome and other information, we see not only different grammar but a different alphabet,” Moroz said.
12 hours ago
Providence School Board approves $353.5 million 2016 budget proposal - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI
Per pupil spending has actually gone down since 2009. Had it remained the same, Lusi said the district would have an additional $4.1 million. 
14 hours ago
Can Los Angeles Teachers Push Back the Corporate Education Reform Movement? - In These Times
Union Power has stuck to its vision of social movement unionism and in so doing won converts. “People are proud to be UTLA members again,” says Scott Mandel, a PEAC member and sixth-grade teacher of 30 years. “[Union Power] started a campaign of organizing that was basically unheard of. They have done more in the last eight months than UTLA has done in the last eight years.”
yesterday
Inklings : Student Editorial on SBAC
Students know more about quantum mechanics, William Shakespeare’s personal life and the culture of Burma than they know about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
No one is giving us straight answers about SBAC. And it’s pretty hard to take a test if you don’t know anything about it.
yesterday
Pretty Good Partisan Differentiator by Ed Kilgore | Political Animal | The Washington Monthly
So the House went ahead and voted to totally repeal the federal estate tax yesterday. But something was missing from similar votes back in the day: widespread Democratic defections. Used to be a standard push-off-the-left Blue Doggy thing to oppose the “death tax,” particularly for Members with big agricultural producers in their districts. But this time around only seven House Dems voted for this abomination, while three Republicans defected from their own party.
3 days ago
Meanwhile, in a secret base beneath the Walmart …
Chris Morran of The Consumerist reports on a mystery: “Walmart Raises Suspicions After Closing 5 Stores in Same Day for ‘Plumbing’ Problems.”
5 days ago
Looks like the Neocons won themselves a big one - Hullabaloo
These are the flag-waving hyper-patriots -- the one's who yell "love it or leave it".  I get that Israel is a major ally and one to which we've pledged our support. But since when do patriotic Americans believe that our government should put the interests of any foreign country above the interests of our own? WTH? That used to be called treason.
5 days ago
It’s Not Your Money | Ian Welsh
So let’s bring this back to our typical Libertarian with his whine that he earned it, and the government shouldn’t take it away. He didn’t earn most of it. Most of it is just because in global terms, he was born on third and thinks he hit a triple. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to work for it, but it does mean most of the value of his work has nothing to do with him (and Ayn Rand aside, it’s almost always a him).
6 days ago
The Valley And The Upstarts: The Cities Creating The Most Tech Jobs
But all the new tech jobs have not been evenly distributed across the country. To determine which areas are benefiting the most from the current tech boom, Mark Schill, research director at Praxis Strategy Group, analyzed employment data from the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan statistical areas from 2004 to 2014.
6 days ago
White Men Can’t Reach - Taki's Magazine
Much of the fun of watching sports is seeing who will triumph: the gifted goofs or the diligent grinds.
7 days ago
The Sheer Idiocy of Helicopter Parenting | Ian Welsh
Oooh.  A mile.  I used to spend all day wandering around by myself.  I went to the downtown Y in Vancouver, far more than a mile away, by myself.  My school was about a mile away, and I walked there and home by myself.  I went out and played street hockey, and my parents had no idea where I was: it was usually at least half a mile away.
8 days ago
Pasi Sahlberg: Finnish Teachers Are Not “the Best and the Brightest” | Diane Ravitch's blog
A good step forward would be to admit that academically best students are not necessarily the best teachers
If Finnish teacher educators thought that teacher quality correlates with academic ability, they would have admitted my niece and many of her peers with superior school performance. Indeed, the University of Helsinki could easily pick the best and the brightest of the huge pool of applicants each year, and have all of their new trainee teachers with admirable grades.
11 days ago
The education model that fell apart | Capital New York
The failure in Albany has shown the disruption that charters can cause to public school systems and surrounding neighborhoods. The Brighter Choice middle schools set to close were built just a few years ago, near the foundation’s headquarters. Half of a city block was leveled and residents were displaced from their homes.

The closure of those schools has created an administrative nightmare for the Albany city school district, which must now establish an entirely new middle school in the next six months to handle the almost 400 charter school students who were enrolled in the failed Brighter Choice schools.
11 days ago
No Clarity Around Growth Mindset…Yet
It’s unnatural, is what it is. A popular psychological finding that doesn’t have gruff people dismissing it as a fad? That doesn’t have politicians condemning it as a feel-good justification for everything wrong with society? That doesn’t have a host of smarmy researchers saying that what, you still believe that, didn’t you know it failed to replicate and has since been entirely superseded by a new study out of Belarus? I’m not saying Carol Dweck has definitely made a pact with the Devil, I’m just saying I don’t have a good alternative explanation.
12 days ago
Some Sad truths about RSD’s Grad Rate and Dropout numbers | Crazy Crawfish's Blog
If the cheating stayed the same (which is almost would have had to since this takes place over 4 years and can’t be stopped in just one) the graduation rate for RSD in New Orleans could be as low as 45% or probably the worst in the nation. What’s more is this is only half of the story, but I will have to document the rest in future posts . . . but it’s bad. Really bad. When I realized just how messed up this situation was, I admit I lost it when I was communicating with the department. I demanded they tell me what they were doing to find these kids, to help them, why they didn’t audit the rest of these numbers. I talked to Darryl Purpera, the legislative auditor, to notify him of this situation, and found myself withdrawing and recoiling in horror. My background is in accounting and auditing, and Darryl and I both know what it means when you do an audit and find 100% failure rate, and then don’t increase your sample size. You already know the answer and don’t want to confirm it.
12 days ago
LDOE’s Graduation and College Enrollment Statistics in Context | Crazy Crawfish's Blog
So over the past two years graduate counts may be overstated by over 1600 students.  LDOE did not tie their numbers to the Student Transcript System.  We are showing quite a few more graduates in SIS (which only requires LEA’s to submit a single value of 04 on an exit record to identify a student as a graduate.)  Like the miracle workers before John White in Atlanta and Washington DC, LDOE does not audit or verify numbers they want to see increasing.  They don’t care how schools get those increases, as long as they get them so they have the pleasing numbers to back their Reform initiatives. 
12 days ago
Poor Stories from Brooks and Douthat - The Baffler
This world receded, not because post-war Americans suddenly acquired morals, but because they achieved prosperity, not to mention a social safety net through such innovations as Social Security. It was an uncomfortable part of our family and national memory, and not something many wanted to remember. So we allowed ourselves to forget.
12 days ago
DownWithTyranny!: Philadelphia Mayor's Race-- Meet Jim Kenney
The first thing you need to know about Philadelphia is that it’s Ground Zero for the charter schools agenda. It’s the first city where charter schools took over, and it’s been “a miserable failure,” according to Democratic mayoral candidate and former City Councilman Jim Kenney.

The second thing you need to know is, Jim Kenney is the only Democrat running in the May 19th Democratic primary who is not a charter school supporter.
13 days ago
This is the Point of Progressive Challenges - Hullabaloo
Progressives will always have a hard time competing with people like Rahm, who has access to vast amounts of money. Sometimes they will win, nonetheless, and that's great. It's the goal. But these races are important regardless because they create progressive organization, experience and have the capacity to become a real opposition and at least dilute the power of the plutocrats.
13 days ago
Daring Fireball: The Apple Watch
You’re 16. You’re in school. You’re sitting in class. You have a crush on another student — you’ve fallen hard. You can’t stop thinking about them. You suspect the feelings are mutual — but you don’t know. You’re afraid to just come right out and ask, verbally — afraid of the crushing weight of rejection. But you both wear an Apple Watch. So you take a flyer and send a few taps. And you wait. Nothing in response. Dammit. Why are you so stupid? Whoa — a few taps are sent in return, along with a hand-drawn smiley face. You send more taps. You receive more taps back. This is it. You send your heartbeat. It is racing, thumping. Your crush sends their heartbeat back.
13 days ago
Quote 'o the Day: Rand Paul
"I support the Reagan approach to the Iran negotiations."
14 days ago
Bake for them two « Ten Thousand Places
Christians, our Jesus said to not only follow the law, but to rise to a higher standard of love. Christians should be the FIRST people baking cakes — for everyone who asks us. We should be known for our cake baking. People should be saying, “There go those crazy Christians again, baking cakes for everyone. They just won’t quit!” Then, when we share the reason for our wild, all-inclusive love, people will want to hear it. “Let your light shine before others,” said Jesus, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
14 days ago
Union Fear, Betrayal and Decline | Ian Welsh
If you won’t fight when your life is on the line (and card check was and is an existential issue for unions), then you will die.  Unions have chosen, again and again, not to fight: or, more accurately, enough of them have chosen to collaborate.  The first, second, and last rule of unionization is solidarity.  Union members must negotiate and fight together and so must unions.  Their failure to do this internally or externally is why their decline continues. It will continue, virtually irreversibly, until they learn the elemental lessons of solidarity and that you don’t collaborate with your oppressors.
14 days ago
House leaders look to restore assistance for private school students - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — House leaders intend to restore about $240,000 in funding to pay for the transportation and textbooks of private school students, according to the chairman of the House Finance Committee, state Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
14 days ago
Schooling the Highway Advocates
Essentially, accepted practice is to take small amounts of time saved by each individual driver, aggregate them together over a long period of time and then convert all that saved time into dollars. So if a project will improve your commute by 60 seconds, and there are 40,000 cars per day that travel that route, then the project will save 40,000 minutes of time each day. In a year, the savings is 243,000 hours and, if the project is expected to last 50 years, then the total savings will be 14.6 million hours. If we assume a person's time is worth $25 per hour, then we've just saved $365 million dollars. By this math It's really that easy to save tons of money.
14 days ago
jwz: Idoru
Oh, and in answer to the rhetorical question of why my bar isn't already carrying QT, it's because we have an exclusivity agreement with Red Bull.

And the Ouroboros chomps down just a little bit tighter.
15 days ago
Success Academy Charter Schools will never, ever scale | Fredrik deBoer
But it is possible in the relatively small number of Success Academy schools — in New York. Because New York is the destination for precisely the type of young overachievers that these schools churn through. Because New York is a place full of desperate people looking to latch on at all costs. Because New York offers vast cultural and social riches to balance the long hours and brutal evaluations. Because New York offers many aspirational economies for these young teachers to dream of eventually entering, once they have had their fill of playing drill sergeant to poor brown children. Now: recall that, in order to achieve the kind of change that ed reformers say they want, this system will have to be scaled up to the tune of thousands upon thousands of schools, and hundreds of thousands of teachers, almost half of whom we can assume will follow the general trend and drop out of the teaching profession within five years. Does this sound like a plan, to you?
15 days ago
World Economy Heading For Recession
The standard answer to the situation we’re in now would either be very high corporate and individual marginal taxation (if private actors won’t spend, take the money from them); and/or to break up oligopolies; and/or to heavily regulate them so that they aren’t sopping up all the excess cash in the economy. (Why are app stores still allowed to take 30%?)
16 days ago
Chicago’s Chuy Garcia Has a Vision: Progressive Mayors Fighting for Public Education | The Nation
Garcia has been equally unapologetic and energetic—and specific. With a vision of "progressive mayors across the country" working with teachers and parents to strengthen neighborhood schools and services, the Chicago challenger sees his run as part of a broader effort to reframe the debate over public education in America.
16 days ago
mostly sisters
But I am left to point out that whatever the reasons, Twitter storms have a funny tendency to leave the reputations and well being of women strewn throughout their wreckage.
20 days ago
A major ebook announcement - Charlie's Diary
Dirty Reader uses advanced NaughtyWords™ artificial intelligence technology to scan a corpus of text and detect the optimum location in which to insert a metric fuckton of cuntybollockspoofacefucknuggets to enliven your reading experience and bring it closer into line with the author's state of mind after spending 180 consecutive working days alone in the office except for a sullen, intermittently incontinent cat, wrestling with a buggy word processor while fending off dumb-ass editorial emails and bloody inane suggestions from Marketing. It's enough to drive anyone to drink, and indeed, "novelist" is right up there with "farmer" and "quality assurance engineer" in the alcohol consumption career stakes.
21 days ago
Hild’s eye salve kills MRSA | Nicola Griffith
Both the BBC and Archaeology picked up the story from the University of Nottingham about the so-called miracle eye salve in Bald’s Leechbook, an Old English book of remedies most probably written down in the ninth century. The researchers at Nottingham were amazed at the efficacy of the salve, which uses two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and ox-gall (bile from a cow’s stomach), made in a brass vessel, strained, and left to cool for nine days before use.
21 days ago
Hullabaloo
I will say this: if it's all about work and nothing but work I think a really good idea for an internet business in the next couple of decades will be something that deals with midlife crisis. It's going to hit these people like a ton of bricks.
22 days ago
Minor Threat at CBGB's 1982 (horrible quality video) but great photos!
While the best of these Minor Threat photos are printed HUGE in my latest book MY RULES, several of them have never been published anywhere before -
24 days ago
one after another | Fredrik deBoer
We were on the blacktop and one of the other boys, I’m thinking Kevin Hickman but I don’t really remember, accidentally kicked a playground ball deep into the woods by the blacktop. So he ran in to get it. It seemed like he was in there for ages, and then there was this shout of glee, and he came barreling out pushing a very different ball, a far larger one, a giant earth ball. It was literally taller than he was, but otherwise looked identical to the dull red playground balls we always had, and as he emerged the look of pure joy on his face was impossible, and every other kid let out this absolutely brilliant scream to see a ball that big, and we all ran to touch it. To this day I don’t know how it could have happened that the ball could have been lost in the woods– how could you just forget about a ball that large? — or how long it might have been out there, or how it stayed perfectly inflated for however long it was. But It doesn’t really matter. To this day, the feeling of communal exultation, that pure, unexpected joy, the look on his face as he tore out from the woods, and the fact that I can remember the look on his face but not whose face it was, these things are indelible, things I will remember forever.
25 days ago
Regulatory Capture, Captured on Video | Rolling Stone
All of which is a complicated way of saying the following: Takeover Artist Jerks use hidden fees to rip investors off.
26 days ago
State spending $1.7 M. to fight school funding challenge | Capital New York
A Capital review of the testimony reports found they were strikingly similar to each other, in some cases using identical phrases or sentences, despite that they were written by different experts about different school districts.
27 days ago
Charles C. W. Cooke, labor activist
It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates. They had the protection of the tenure system and often the benefit of faculty unions that could agitate on their behalf. But with so many instructors in a state of minimal institutional protection or authority, lacking long-term contracts, benefits, or collective bargaining, the risk of angered students multiplies. Adjuncts don’t even need to be fired; they can just not get any classes the next semester. Grad students don’t even need to be fired; they can just have their job applications placed on the deny pile.
27 days ago
We visited 18 schools in 90 days in D.C., and this is what we learned. — Medium
Through all of our visits and research, I kept coming up against the whole idea of the “school choice” movement. Yes, we did make choices about which schools to put on our list. Yes, with the charters and publics taken together, the city offers a variety of different models and philosophies. (We really liked the Montessori schools, for example, but they aren’t for everyone.) And yes, there are some truly excellent schools in the District. But ultimately, our ability to get into those schools is mostly due to chance, not choice.
28 days ago
First day early voting. Take it easy, but take it. | Fred Klonsky
The city recorded an unofficial total of 7,914 ballot applications as of 5:04 p.m the city’s best first day of early voting since it started in February 2007, according to Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen.
28 days ago
Marie Corfield: Can God save the children from #PARCC?
At the station where Jesus carries his cross children were to reflect on their burdens. The cross is a symbol of man's imperfections. When Jesus carried it, he was carrying the sins of all mankind. Any burden from which a child wanted relief could be written on a sticky note and placed on the cross. My friend said that there were approximately 100 notes on the cross, and written on about a quarter of them was one word: PARCC.
4 weeks ago
David Petraeus Does D.C. - The Baffler
People across the political spectrum agree that the surge was a failure. In FM 3-24, Petraeus wrote what amounts to a high-word-count fortune cookie. Then, he betrayed classified information to a civilian, lied to the FBI about it, and escaped prison time for any of it. Now he’s making millions and advising the White House on how to deal with a problem that he most likely contributed to in the first place.
It’s incredible, the number of chances some elite figures are given to fuck up. Some people are never allowed to step up to the plate. Petraeus keeps swinging and missing, ad infinitum.
4 weeks ago
Zoning Out The Poors
The real gentrification concern isn't that some neighborhoods will get too pricey, it's that when they do, the poors simply won't have anywhere to go.
4 weeks ago
SRA Cards: A History of Programmed Instruction and Personalization
Me, I don’t share that fondness. I remember thinking mostly that the reading passages were incredibly dull. The behavior I learned: burn through the cards as quickly as possible and once you finish the last color – was it purple? – the teacher shrugs and lets you choose your own reading.
4 weeks ago
The Philosohy of Populist Change
We need $100 trillion in investments over the next two decades to entirely replace fossil fuels. Of what use is Marxist analysis in getting that done? But Veblen’s producer / predator analysis – that the major struggle in modern economies is the one between industry and business – is immensely valuable. Capitalists who want to build the 1.7 billion home solar power systems we need? Good – even if they are still capitalists. But, capitalists who want to stymie the move to renewables, like the Koch brothers, in order to continue profiting from fossil fuels? Or capitalists who want to identify and buy up emerging companies in renewables and add them to their already immense corporate empires, such as General Electric, and cartelize the industry? Bad.
4 weeks ago
“Solutions”
I asked the cafe owners what they wanted from local government. They didn’t hesitate. “Trash cans.” That’s it. Simple stuff like trash cans, public benches, promotional banners, and some street plantings would go a long way to improving the business district. How hard could it be to get bike racks? I asked if the shops couldn’t just get together and purchase these things themselves. They already looked into it. The regulations pertaining to public infrastructure are ungodly. You can improve your own private property, which many shopkeepers have already done, but you can’t tamper with public property without engaging the most horrific and expensive political process. “Specifications Pertaining to Refuse Receptacles in the Public Right of Way, Volume Six.” It simply isn’t worth it.
4 weeks ago
DownWithTyranny!: Climate Change, the "Free Market" & the California Drought
It's only a matter then of what solutions will be considered. When people stop letting the rich say, "Well, we can't throw money at it," we'll be on our way to solving this. We can throw money at it, the money of the wealthy first, and throw Robert "free market" Rubin out of the room while we discuss how to spend it. At that point, if we're lucky, the question will be, do we want to solve the problem or keep the rich folk happy?

In that sense, the political problem is just an intimidation problem — and it's one we face today on many issues, like "school reform" or NAFTA-style trade agreements. Can we throw Robert Rubin out of the discussion? Sure. Will we? Only if we think we have that choice.
4 weeks ago
In cash-strapped Philly school district, a hidden treasure trove of books
There are thousands more unused books - and other things city kids badly need, including pianos and other instruments - piled up in the hallways and classrooms of the shuttered Bok High School in South Philadelphia.
5 weeks ago
Spellings Remains Steadfastly Wrong
Spellings also likes the tale of how, pre-NCLB, nobody knew anything about how schools that served poor and minority students were under-served, under-resourced, and under-funded. Once test results came out, minority children could no longer fall through the cracks. Perhaps you remember that year that state and federal government unleashed a wave of financial support, delivering on the promise that our poorest schools would be funded just as well as our richest ones. Oh, wait. That never actually happened.
5 weeks ago
CURMUDGUCATION: Big Security
The Big Standardized Test has a million points of vulnerability. BS Tests face an inherent contradiction-- security is maintained by letting as few people as possible actually see the product, and yet the product can't be used without being viewed. This means (in a relationship dynamic repeated throughout the world of education reform) that the clients are also the enemy.
5 weeks ago
'You eat what you kill': Wall Street bonuses keep soaring as profits decline | Money | The Guardian
Wall Street prefers to look at bonus payouts as a function of revenue. Even so, that still means that banks like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are handing over about 40 to 50 cents out of every dollar of revenue they generate every year in bonuses. The argument is that they need to do this to keep their top performers in place, and to provide them with an incentive to keep bringing in more revenue. “You eat what you kill” is the motto on many a trading desk.
5 weeks ago
Answer to Job | Slate Star Codex
“YOUR LIFE CONTAINS MUCH PAIN, BUT MORE HAPPINESS. BOTH YOU AND I WOULD PREFER THAT A BEING WITH YOUR EXACT LIFE HISTORY EXIST. IN ORDER TO MAKE IT EXIST, IT WAS NECESSARY TO CREATE THE SORT OF UNIVERSE IN WHICH YOU COULD EXIST. THAT IS A UNIVERSE CONTAINING EVIL. I HAVE ALSO CREATED ALL HAPPIER AND MORE VIRTUOUS VERSIONS OF YOU. HOWEVER, IT IS ETHICALLY CORRECT THAT AFTER CREATING THEM, I CREATE YOU AS WELL.”
5 weeks ago
The Quick and Clean Guide to Fixing the Economy (Keynesian Stimulus #2) | Ian Welsh
How would one do a Keynesian stimulus properly today?  Remember, the preconditions for it to work are that it not overly aggravate bottlenecks (not send oil to $150/barrel, for example); that it not aggravate overused sinks (carbon); and that the money not pool uselessly at the top.  Keynesian stimulus must create widespread demand.  Further, in a world with bottleneck constraints, sink problems and overuse of even renewable resources, it should help resolve those problems.
5 weeks ago
Too Good To Be True
The second study results work only on a complex statistical manipulation and disappear when you do basic correlation; further, although the manipulation is supposed to work by increasing trait growth mindset, the correlation between trait growth mindset and academic achievement when correlated directly is actually negative across all variables and in some cases significantly so (!)
5 weeks ago
Big Box Urbanism
The idea that a town can repeatedly offer tax abatements to the same property in the short term in order to create tax revenue and prosperity over the long haul is a bad economic model. In fact, having neighboring towns race to see who can repeatedly impoverish themselves the most in an attempt to grow rich on new business is also a bad plan. Both towns know private corporations actively game the system, yet they can’t seem to help themselves. They still wet their pants at the thought that the next town over might get the new Applebee’s or Jiffy Lube instead of them. It’s a form of institutional insanity.
5 weeks ago
Girls of lost subcultures | Nicola Griffith
In the summer of 1981, when I was 20, I went down to London with my partner, Carol (we lived together for ten years before I moved to the US to be with Kelley), for the first UK Lesbian Conference. It was academic and political. Carol and I were there, though, to party. And at the social we got seriously wasted on magic mushrooms. If I recall correctly (and that’s a big if—in those days I took a lot) Carol began to freak out a bit—those of you who are familiar with the psilocybin  cycle know that this can happen to some people; it generally doesn’t last long—and I led her to a dark wall and put my arm around her to shelter her from the worst of the noise and light until she found her equilibrium. Just as she was breathing and calming down (but was not quite out of the woods) a woman with a camera appeared and asked if she could take our picture. I was a bit fretful behind my euphoria—mushrooms are like that—worried about Carol, feeling super-protective, and was about to say no when Carol beamed and said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”
5 weeks ago
Charter Investors’ Conference: Your Tax Dollars at Work:
“Join us for this one day symposium on charter school credit worthiness. Hear inside perspectives from investors, authorizers, academic experts, nonprofit lenders, rating agencies, and charter school borrowers. Learn and understand the value of investing in charter schools and best practices.” Here is the program lightly edited, without names.
6 weeks ago
Why Do We Do This?
This is actually the premier high-end public high school in Quartz Hill, California. Families move to Quartz Hill specifically because of the quality of the schools. Yet the physical building stock is composed of a few core brick and mortar structures and a flotilla of portable “temporary” glue box classrooms. This isn’t an impoverished community. In fact, Quartz Hill is an area where the slightly better off families migrate to when they feel that older neighborhoods in the region are beginning to decline. So why does the most desirable public school in this respectable outer suburb look like an insecticide factory in a ghetto?
6 weeks ago
Celtic Necropolis Near Troyes
There is news of a major archaeological find in France, at a site near Troyes. Researchers are sifting through a large neolithic necropolis, containing the resting place of a Celtic prince buried in the 5th century B.C. The extensive funerary complex, covering an area over two hectares, contains remains of men, women, and children buried over a period of about 1,600 years.
6 weeks ago
Swinging Modern Sounds #63: It’s Supposed To Be Bad - The Rumpus.net
But then we reach the law of unintended consequences. Postmodernism cut the foundation out from under us—killed the idea that the arts and literary were something holy or transcendent—leaving culture entirely exposed to the logic of the marketplace. I used to love those thinkers and their audacity—it reminded me of punk rock. But I realize now that postmodernism is just another word for neoliberalism. Reagan and Warhol were secret lovers, and Jeff Koons and Lady Gaga are their nasty little millionaire children.
6 weeks ago
The case against private education: Why we put our kids in public school - Salon.com
We left the private school system because we were stressed, in all kinds of ways.  As soon as we stopped paying two private school tuitions, I was able to quit my second job and we stopped constantly worrying about money. We stopped driving half an hour twice a day, cursing rush hour, to get kids to school.  Our neighborhood schools are minutes away. We were also able to step away from the activities arms race that seems part of the fabric of private school culture and that contains its own vocabulary of essentials for success: Suzuki, Kumon, Parkour, au pair.

Public school means that we, as a family, can relax.
6 weeks ago
CURMUDGUCATION: What Does It Take for Teachers To Lead?
Hess suggests (not for the first time) that the ed reform wars have been about communication and trust, but they have also been about power (and money) and there is only so much power that teachers can claim before the people who have the power and insist on keeping the power simply get to building a bigger cage.
6 weeks ago
A negative interest rate world? Why? | Ian Welsh
US broadband profits are almost 100%-annualized.  Every app store takes a 30% cut (a level which would have been shut down by regulators of the post-war liberal period.)  Copyright law makes it difficult to impossible to create generic alternatives to common items.  These have all led to very high profit levels, and those profits have largely been plowed back into stock buy backs (most corporate borrow is matched by stock buy backs).  But much of the economy is not available to be bought on the stock market, many large investors can’t invest on the stock market by law (they have to invest in high-grade bonds), and much of those profits are now priced into stock prices anyway.
6 weeks ago
This is how the American system of government will die - Vox
The best-case scenario is that we wind up with an elective dictator but retain peaceful transitions of power. This is where I'd place my bet. Pure parliamentary systems, especially unicameral ones, give high levels of power to the prime minister and his cabinet, and manage to have peaceful transitions nonetheless. The same is true in Brazil, where the presidency is considerably more powerful than it is in the US.
7 weeks ago
American democracy is doomed - Vox
As Vox's Andrew Prokop has argued, the pattern is actually much broader. Obama's handling of K-12 education policy is in some ways an even more paradigmatic example of constitutional hardball. The George W. Bush-era education law No Child Left Behind laid out penalties for state education systems that didn't meet certain, rather unrealistic, targets. The law's authors assumed that when the law came up for reauthorization, the targets would be changed. In case Congress didn't act in time, the Secretary of Education also had the authority to issue waivers of the penalties. Since Congress no longer really functions, there has been no reauthorization of the law. So the Obama administration has issued waivers — but only to states that implement policy changes ordered by the Department of Education.
7 weeks ago
My libertarian vacation nightmare: How Ayn Rand, Ron Paul & their groupies were all debunked - Salon.com
In Honduras, the police ride around in pickup trucks with machine guns, but they aren’t there to protect most people.  They are scary to locals and travelers alike.  For individual protection there’s an army of private, armed security guards who are found in front of not only banks, but also restaurants, ATM machines, grocery stores and at any building that holds anything of value whatsoever.  Some guards have uniforms and long guns but just as many are dressed in street clothes with cheap pistols thrust into waistbands.  The country has a handful of really rich people, a small group of middle-class, some security guards who seem to be getting by and a massive group of people who are starving to death and living in slums.  You can see the evidence of previous decades of infrastructure investment in roads and bridges, but it’s all in slow-motion decay.
7 weeks ago
Signs of Intelligent Life in Economics Profession | Al Jazeera America
“The core problem is that there aren't enough jobs,” said the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and top economics adviser to Barack Obama. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won't get the jobs. Unless you're doing things that have things that are affecting the demand for jobs, you're helping people win a race to get a finite number of jobs.”
7 weeks ago
Skating the City | northmodern
Skateboarding and architecture go hand in hand, but only recently have Danish city planners begun including skateboarders in the big decisions. What began as an obscure and overlooked subculture is now finding support from public and private actors at an increasing rate.
7 weeks ago
Coleman's CCSS Writing Style
One of the most remarkable features about his work as a public education policy scholar is that he never cites the work of another authority-- Coleman's ideas presumably spring full-blown from his own fertile mind without the need for any other scholars, writers, thought leaders, or researchers.
7 weeks ago
Moxie Marlinspike >> Blog >> GPG And Me
These are deep structural problems. GPG isn’t the thing that’s going to take us to ubiquitous end to end encryption, and if it were, it’d be kind of a shame to finally get there with 1990’s cryptography. If there’s any good news, it’s that GPG’s minimal install base means we aren’t locked in to this madness, and can start fresh with a different design philosophy. When we do, let’s use GPG as a warning for our new experiments, and remember that “innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1000 things.”
7 weeks ago
The simple reason Walmart & TJ Maxx are handing out raises — people are quitting - Vox
One reason the policy conversation has been dominated by speculation about education and artificial intelligence rather than business-cycle management is that it feels more prestigious to worry about profound long-term problems than superficial short-term ones. But the long-term is, in a sense, just an endless series of short-term spells. And for about a generation, business cycle management in the United States has been dominated by NAIRU paranoia in a way that's led directly to sluggish income growth (NAIRU is sometimes called the "natural rate of unemployment" and refers to the jobless rate below which economists think inflation will start to take off).
7 weeks ago
Shutting Schools
But aside from the specifics of that, one thing that's long confused me in this whole "school reform" conversation is that forcing a kid to go to a new school is really traumatic. I thought we knew this. The "new kid in school" trauma trope is a pretty standard thing. I moved around some as a kid, and showing up at a new school was really really hard. You don't know anybody and every institution has their microcustoms and behavioral expectations that aren't easy for a 9-year-old to grasp.
7 weeks ago
CURMUDGUCATION: PARCC Loves Monsanto?
PARCC has been criticized for including "product placement" in its testing, with brand names and logos included in the questions. But this is even creepier-- a selection that includes a whole corporate philosophy. The issues here are huge and difficult and complex-- Should a corporation own a life form, or the DNA of a life form? Should the legal system let itself be used as corporate cops? Does our need for plentiful food justify extra protections for food corporations? And that's before we get into How the Justice System Works questions.
8 weeks ago
CURMUDGUCATION: No National Test
So we can't compare the students of Idaho to the students of Florida. We can't stack-rank the schools of Pennsylvania against the schools of Texas. We cannot measure how the Common Core is doing in every corner of the nation. There is no national, common assessment, and there never will be. On this point, at least, the reformsters have failed.
8 weeks ago
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