UARK Study Shamelessly (& Knowingly) Uses Bogus Measures to Make Charter Productivity Claims | School Finance 101
The acknowledgement of my critique, highly selective misrepresentation of my critique, and complete failure to respond to the major substantive points of that critique display a baffling degree of arrogance and complete disregard for legitimate research.
Yes – that’s right – either this is an egregious display of complete ignorance and methodological ineptitude, or this new report is a blatant and intentional misrepresentation of data. So which is it? I’m inclined to believe the latter, but I guess either is possible.
4 hours ago
One more time: The Republicans have no incentive to moderate
The Republican Party run by the modern conservative movement is the most effective and successful minority party in history. They fully exploit every flaw in our system for their own advantage and then skillfully demonize their opponents if they try to use the same techniques. They are well funded by billionaires with a strong interest in paralyzing democracy and have a bunch of followers whose worldview is organized around discontent and hatred of "the other" which makes a government system full of veto points a perfect vehicle for their agenda. Oh, and they revel in shamelessness which is their way of flexing their power and ensuring that everyone knows who's really in charge. And everyone does.
20 hours ago
Education Outrage: E-learning has failed. Time to get rid of it (or at least do it right).
The web made it possible for training departments to spend much less money and yet appear as if they were doing something new and modern.
yesterday
Progressive movement that thrived in NYC coming to Chicago | Early & Often
Groups here have been training on how to encourage new candidates to run and what kind of instruction to give them, including teaching them about the budget and other levers of power that would allow them to advocate once they’re inside.

Part of what was so successful in New York was that the Working Families Party ran a slate of progressives in a host of communities,   all echoing the same message.
2 days ago
GOP’s highway robbery: How self-styled patriots choke future growth, ensure American decline - Salon.com
Among the public at large, that bipartisan consensus endures. In 30 years of polling since 1984, the General Social Survey has found that roughly four times as many Americans think we’re spending too little, rather than too much, on the nation’s highways and bridges, and the difference between Democrats and Republicans has only been 2.9 percent on average, with Republicans slightly more concerned that we are spending too little. Democrats have been more concerned than Republicans just three times out of 18, with one tie.
2 days ago
Mario Lanza, Fuck Off : A Doc On Our Country’s Greatest Vocalist
“At an early age, I was gonna fuck shit up.” Long before the advent of the much beloved, award-winning Twitter account, John Brannon was scaring the shit out of folks, peeling-paint, etc. To say he’s not lost a step some 3 decades down the line doesn’t really sum it up —NATIONAL FUCKING TREASUE.
3 days ago
Game Changer
Europe and even America never cared that much about Crimea. It is difficult to dislodge an annexation when a majority of the population likely really did support it. And the Europeans, as long as the big red lines weren't being crossed, are too tied to Russian fuels and their myriad other concerns to care that much about mischief on Ukraine's eastern border. But having a passenger plane, filled with EU citizens, shot out of the sky above what is presumed to be the bubble of first world safety that is "Europe" is a game changing event not only in the Ukraine crisis but much more broadly about Putin's role in Europe generally.
5 days ago
Sabbatical? Take one if you can
Many UFTers think that sabbaticals no longer exist. Wrong. Think that most applications get rejected. Wrong. Think they can’t afford one. Wrong.
5 days ago
How “Reformers” Lie About Graduation Rates | Diane Ravitch's blog
It is now clear what New York City was doing during the Bloomberg era. Given the humungous size of the district they were able to play a shell game with students by passing the buck. Instead of figuring out how to reach the most challenging students and helping them succeed, the students were passed from school to school. This inevitably led to a domino effect of school closures. A shell game like this can be played in a district with almost 500 high schools, over two and half times as many as the next largest school district. Since there is a very long chain of dominos the “bad apple” students can be isolated into a specific group of schools making the remaining schools, which don’t accept those students, look good. But, as smaller districts have found out, it is not a workable long-term strategy when there is not an endless supply of schools to be used as sacrificial lambs.
6 days ago
Microsoft study: Weak passwords are fine for low-risk accounts that don't have sensitive information.
Instead, the group argues that people should use weak, memorable passwords or the same password for low-importance accounts. That way they can focus on memorizing a few strong, diverse passwords for their most sensitive accounts, like email and banking. This seems especially appealing since password managers are difficult to use properly in the first place. (For instance, they make it harder to use a friend’s computer to log into your Gmail account.)
6 days ago
Sweden school choice: The country’s disastrous experiment with Milton Friedman and vouchers.
To the extent that Americans think about Sweden at all, it usually conjures images of gibberish-speaking Muppets, Ikea furniture, and, when it comes to government policies, the welfare state. So it’s something of a surprise that more Swedish students go to privately run (and mostly for-profit) schools than in any other developed country on earth. The system was put in place in the early 1990s by a center-right (by Swedish standards) government, inspired by the ideas of the godfather of free market economics, Milton Friedman. In a 1955 article titled “The Role of the Government in Education,” Friedman advocated for a system in which governments would issue vouchers to parents that would be redeemable toward tuition payments at a private school of their choice. This voucher system would allow market pressures to work their magic, as schools would be forced to improve their quality in order to compete for students and their voucher dollars. (Even if governments remained in the education business, public schools would face the same market pressures to maintain enrollment as private schools.)
7 days ago
Debra Harrell arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter go to the park alone.
If every parent who let their fourth-graders go to the park unsupervised were arrested, all the moms from 1972 would have been behind bars.
7 days ago
How Does Anybody Manage
When I go back to the neighborhood where I spent some time growing up, I'm always struck by the fact that I never see any children outside, ever. Maybe that's just changing demographics and there aren't any children. But when I was a kid we'd wander around, ride our bikes, go into the "woods," go down to the creek, play street hockey in the middle of the road, etc. This was all normal. I didn't usually walk to school - there was a bus - but I would have been allowed to. It was about a mile.
7 days ago
Libertarian plutocrats still have to govern. They just don't want to, by @DavidOAtkins
It's just another reminder that Republicans aren't really "conservative" anymore. These are radical economic libertarian ideologues as wild-eyed and unrealistic about human nature and economics as any Bolshevik. What they want is a society that has never existed before in modern history, testing an already-discredited economic theory that has never been pursued to its full extent because it's too demonstrably crazy, with social order enforced by a code of morality and institutional hierarchy most voters have already rejected.
8 days ago
The Reformers
One simple thing which always stands out to me is the concept of "closing failing schools." Not just firing the principal, or bringing in new teachers, but literally closing them and pushing the kids out to other schools. I moved quite a bit as a kid, and also transitioned from elementary to middle school to junior high to high school, and moving to a new school for a kid is a big fucking deal. It's traumatic. How constantly shuffling kids between schools is supposed to be good for their education mystifies me.
8 days ago
Exclusive poll: Karen Lewis could give Rahm run for his money | Early & Often
If the mayoral election were held today, the lightning rod union leader who was the architect behind a 2012 teachers’ strike would beat Emanuel by 9 percentage points in a head-to-head contest, the survey found.
9 days ago
Joyce Murdock Feilke: What Are We Doing to the Children?
“What many of us in Texas schools originally thought to be soaring rates of High Functioning Autism (HFA), which also has symptoms of regression, dissociation, and constriction, is now thought to be stress related rather than HFA. For young children who still have a developing brain, being forced to function in a chronic state of hyper vigilance and/or hypoarousal or hyperarousal, will become “hard wired” into the personality. It changes their brain chemistry. CCSS is creating Anxiety Disorders and Depression that many children will suffer for a lifetime.
10 days ago
Employment rates for STEM Ph.D.s: It’s a stagnant job market for young scientists.
With a little cleaning up, however, the federal data do tell a pretty clear story: The market for new Ph.D.s in the much obsessed-about STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—is stagnant. Over the last 20 years, employment rates are either flat or down in each major discipline, from computer science to chemistry. It’s not what you’d expect given the way companies like Microsoft talk about talent shortages.
11 days ago
Pinboard Turns Five (Pinboard Blog)
I see my role much like a small-town praire banker in the 1880's. My job is to project an aura of calm, solvency, and permanence in an industry where none of those adjectives applies. People are justifiably risk-averse when it comes to their bookmarks, and they are looking for stability. This means several things at once:
12 days ago
A Fragment of Muonionalusta | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
This little chunk of crystalline metal is a tiny slice of a meteorite — a rock that fell from the sky. When one says that, the next natural question is, “how do you know it’s a meteorite?” (We will get to that.) But what is really staggering is not just that we know, but how much we know about it and its history. And what a long history it is.
14 days ago
The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060 | Paul Mason | Comment is free | The Guardian
Now imagine the world of the central scenario: Los Angeles and Detroit look like Manila – abject slums alongside guarded skyscrapers; the UK workforce is a mixture of old white people and newly arrived young migrants; the middle-income job has all but disappeared. If born in 2014, then by 2060 you are either a 45-year-old barrister or a 45-year-old barista. There will be not much in-between. Capitalism will be in its fourth decade of stagnation and then – if we've done nothing about carbon emissions – the really serious impacts of climate change are starting to kick in.
14 days ago
Oysters: the Ocean State’s aquaculture cash crop
There are 52 oyster farms in Rhode Island spread out over 176 acres – a little more than half in Narragansett Bay (one as far north as Warwick) with the remaining 82 acres in one of four South County salt ponds.
14 days ago
Karl Hendricks Needs Your Help
(EDITOR’S NOTE : for nearly 25 years, the quality songwriting and guitar-craft of Pittsburgh, PA’s Karl Hendricks Trio has been a big part of the reason why US underground rock doesn’t deserve instant disappearing by Criss Angel or perhaps a less gothy illusonist. Upon hearing of Hendricks’ recent health woes, I immediately decided to donate all of CSTB’s ad revenues for the month of July to the fund-raising initiative quoted below. When it was pointed out that we don’t actually have any ad revenues for the month of July, I instead bounced a check to my cat’s psychologist. Karl’s that special – GC)
14 days ago
Jason France: The Data Crises in Louisiana
“There is a data crisis at LDOE. Almost all of the data collection systems are failing. The data, statistics and reports being generated are garbage. Data is being ferried back and forth between the department and school districts using Excel worksheets and through e-mail correspondence. This leaves many students at high risk to data theft and privacy violations. Because the systems impacted are numerous and core to much of the reporting and analysis performed by the Department, it is impossible for LDOE to claim they are reporting accurate or reliable numbers for dropouts, graduates, TOPS scholarship awards, school performance scores, test scores, student counts and breakdowns for MFP funding, program counts. . . the list goes on and on. The situation is really serious and probably just about hopeless at this point.
15 days ago
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum: Morning File, July 3, 2014
The city is finally getting around to fixing the Common pool and the adjacent Pavilion. Those facilities call back to an earlier time of promise, when there was the collective will to spend tax money to build nice things. Caring about kids, the future, and common purpose seems so retro nowadays. It’s good to see that someone on city staff still gives a shit.
18 days ago
Harris v. Quinn Decision: Supreme Court's Undercuts Union Dues-Paying | New Republic
Toward the end of its peculiar analysis, the majority articulates a new and dangerous standard or test, which surely will open the doors to future problems. “The agency-fee [or fair share] provision cannot be sustained unless the cited benefits for personal assistants could not have been achieved if the union had been required to depend for funding on the dues paid by those personal assistants who chose to join.” In effect, the Court is requiring unions to prove a counterfactual, that the workers could not have achieved the same benefits it received from the union through any other means. The Court concludes that “no such showing has been made.” However, it is not clear how anyone could make such a showing. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for herself and three other dissenting justices, proclaimed that the good news with this case is that the majority did not overturn Abood. However, if the majority’s new test is a prerequisite for fair-share agreements, it may have done irreparable damage to the balance created by Abood.
21 days ago
The Hobby Lobby Decision: A Summary & Explanation
It’s very important to remember: RFRA is a STATUTORY standard. It’s not constitutional. A victory for Hobby Lobby under RFRA does not necessarily mean that the First Amendment requires Hobby Lobby to win. RFRA provides more protection for religious exercise than the First Amendment does. RFRA can be repealed by Congress. A Supreme Court decision interpreting the First Amendment can only be overruled by the Supreme Court.
21 days ago
John Courtney Murray is still dead
The reference to “blood transfusions” hints at one possible basis for this distinction in Alito’s mind, but it suggests something rather ugly and tribal, and something flagrantly unconstitutional. Blood transfusions, you see, are religiously forbidden for Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is to say, in Alito’s apparent way of thinking, the religious scruples against blood transfusions do not involve a legitimate religion. Concern about abortion, however — even when that concern has no factual basis — is a legitimate religious scruple because, well, it’s Catholic. Just like Sam Alito. And just like John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas — the only justices who agreed with Alito’s inexplicable assertion that this alleged concern about alleged “abortifacients” is self-evidently different from other such claims.
21 days ago
Chafee on Testing Bill: We're Looking at It | Rhode Island Public Radio
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he is still considering whether to sign a bill that halts a controversial policy linking test scores to high school diplomas.

"We're still looking at it and talking to advocates on both sides," Chafee told RIPR on Friday, as he signed a bill making calamari the state's official appetizer.
23 days ago
Free college narratives
The amount put aside comes to you, not as some hyper-individualist right, but as a humbling gift. Working class people who never get to use the colleges toil for you while you study. Accordingly, you are deeply indebted to them for that gift. Without it, you would not have been able to get your degree and all of the market benefits it generally comes with.
23 days ago
Facebook Manipulated Users’ Feeds for a Psychology Experiment
This is hugely controversial, but I’m only surprised that anyone is surprised. Yes, this is creepy as hell, and indicates a complete and utter lack of respect for their users’ privacy or the integrity of their feed content. Guess what: that’s Facebook.
24 days ago
These Ages of Shoddy - NYTimes.com
One thing is clear: there has been a shocking and inexcusable decline in public investment at a time when we should be doing far more investment. Construction workers are suffering high unemployment; public borrowing costs are at record lows; the economy is essentially awash with excess labor and capital, begging to be used. And here’s what’s happening to public construction:
25 days ago
Rebel with a Cause | EduShyster
Madeloni: This is a critical moment in our history and we have to protect public education or we’re going to lose it. There’s an incredible sea change that’s coming from the rank and file in teachers unions, not just in Massachusetts but across the country. Teachers understand what’s happening. They have a much better analysis than they had even a year ago. They’re moving past *I just have a bad principal,* or *I just have a bad superintendent* and seeing the larger picture. So now what are we going to do about it?
26 days ago
West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more): Understanding McKinsey
At the risk of putting too fine a point on it, Coleman approach to Common Core follow this template exactly. He had a set of radical (and by some standards rather flaky) changes he wanted to make in American education. Instead of building support through research or grassroots lobbying, he approached one of the world's richest and most powerful former CEOs and, having secured his support, mounted a tremendously effective charm offensive on the press.
27 days ago
Why Amazon vs. Hachette should have news publishers quaking
But there is an actual doomsday on this timeline. We know this because not that long ago Facebook pulled this same act with the entire world of consumer-facing business (or “brands,” as they’ve been dubbed in this arena). Facebook sold the “brands” on using its platform to connect with Real People, and brands leapt at the opportunity, pouring money and effort into building brand pages and huge followings, and everything was great until Facebook turned around and said, “Now we are demoting your posts — if you want to reach people you’ll have to pay us.”
27 days ago
“Don’t Eat Healthy”Our Carb Confusion | Michael Ruhlman
We need to begin talking about nutritious food or we will cease to be nutritious when the bonobos come to feast on our fat, diseased selves strewn across the scorched earth we leave behind. Dr. Sukol recommends that if you see anything actually labeled “healthy,” throw it into the next aisle of the grocery store, which I hope is near the cleaning fluids. Actually she just said to put it back, but I would urge you, as an act of protest, to throw it into the cleaning fluids lane.
27 days ago
Vergara vs. California: Are the top 0.1% buying their version of education reform? - The Washington Post
Put another way, the decision, the course of the trial, even the very existence of the case were largely the result of actions of a small set of very wealthy men. What’s more, this is true for almost every major education reform initiative from Common Core to L.A.’s billion-dollar iPad program to endless charter school pushes. Though the list of names does vary somewhat from story to story, the same figures keep popping up. For instance, it is rare to find a major reform initiative that does not involve someone who has worked for or received support from Eli Broad or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
28 days ago
YAPC::NA 2014 keynote: Programming Perl in 2034
Speaking from 1914's perspective, it is apparent that if the current rate of improvement in the technology can be maintained, then steam locomotion has a bright future ahead of it! We can reasonably expect that, by 2014, with improvements in signaling and boiler technology our 200 mile per hour passenger trains will constitute the bedrock of human transport, and we, as boiler engineers, will be the princes of industry.
28 days ago
Michael Johnston’s Education Hero Principal Hammered by Johnston’s ‘Growth’ Metric
The most controversial thing about Johnston’s education politics is his firm belief in the accuracy of the Colorado Growth Model. This model is used to compare different schools based on ‘growth’ rather than just ‘achievement.’ Colorado has quite a good website for exploring data like this. So I thought I’d see how the Odyssey School did on their ‘growth.’
28 days ago
SHOGO KUBO R.I.P.
Shogo Kubo, for those who do not know, was one of the most stylish and flowing pool and half pipe riders you'd ever see. To me Skaters like Ray "Bones", Steve Caballero, and Christian Hosoi, to name a few, were cut from his cloth. Shogo was an original, an innovator, and a competitor like none of the other "Z-Boys", and he was radical too. We created a lot of cool images together during that hey day. All the images you see above and below come from a few of our outings... he will be missed by many.
28 days ago
These are the world’s rejected guests
• I already knew this, but it’s good to be reminded of this every once in a while, just to remember again that the world is always a bit more delightfully strange than we sometimes settle for: When Andre the Giant was a little young boy, he was driven to school every day by his neighbor, Samuel Beckett.
29 days ago
Why Personalized Learning Fails
I often warn about overgeneralizing across disciplines but let me overgeneralize across disciplines here: if there is one thing that almost all disciplines benefit from, it’s structured discussion. It gets us out of our own head, pushes us to understand ideas better. It teaches us to talk like geologists, or mathematicians, or philosophers; over time that leads to us *thinking* like geologists, mathematicians, and philosophers. Structured discussion is how we externalize thought so that we can tinker with it and refactor it.
29 days ago
Seriously, What if Music Streaming Doesn't Work Out? michaelstjames
Not one of the music streaming companies has made a profit yet, not one. Most are involved in corporate growth quarterly suicide, driven by large sums of VC money, or public pressure to return shareholder value. That's fine, but that's no way to nurture a creative company. I wish them all well, but honestly, that doesn't seem like a good situation for the industry or consumer, maybe the VCs and shareholders, and money managers, but not us.  
4 weeks ago
Casey Kasem, Ronald Reagan and music’s 1 percent: Artificial “popularity” is not democracy - Salon.com
(Compare the top songs of 1981 — which we’ll use randomly because it’s when “Bette Davis Eyes” came out — from Billboard magazine and from the Village Voice critics poll, and decide for yourself which list is more interesting, diverse and what you actually might want to hear today. Hint: I’ll take the list without Kenny Rogers’ “Lady” at No. 3, REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You” at No. 10 and the “Greatest American Hero” theme at No. 11.)
4 weeks ago
Andrew Cuomo must be a true believer. Nobody can think this is good politics.
Everyone seems to assume that Andrew Cuomo is a cynical politician who's positioning himself for higher office by walking a centrist path in order that he not alienate any moderates of even possibly conservatives he might need in the future. The conventional wisdom among progressives is that he's out of touch with current politics and is caught in a Clintonian time warp. But I'm beginning to think he's not out of touch or cynical. I think he might just be a real centrist who truly believes what he believes and that it's foolish not to take him at his word.
4 weeks ago
Links: Twitter trolls, data doppelgangers, Obama anon
Data Doppelgängers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization is a provocative argument by Sara Watson, in the Atlantic, about the imperfection of personalized ad-targeting and the creepy feelings it induces, with a nod to Freud:
4 weeks ago
Are Teacher Tenure and Seniority Really Unconstitutional? | JD Supra Perspectives - JDSupra
No California court has ever said that before and, in fact, the same theory was rejected by another trial judge a few years ago when a coalition of education groups argued that the whole system of school funding was constitutionally inadequate to meet the academic performance standards established by state law and state board policy. (Robles-Wong v. California, Alameda County Superior Court No. RG10515768.)  If adequacy is the test, how many of the factors affecting student achievement are going rise to constitutionally guaranteed status?  And if every child has a constitutional right to a competent teacher, are parents going to be able to sue to enjoin individual teachers from teaching their children?
4 weeks ago
‘School Deserts’ Hit Chicago’s Black Neighborhoods | Labor Notes
Black students and Black educators have shouldered the weight of nearly 20 years of school closings, as many of our neighborhoods turn into “school deserts,” with no traditional neighborhood schools left.
4 weeks ago
A “Good” Common Core Lesson?
In a recent NPR article titled “What Does a Good Common Core Lesson Look Like?” Anya Kamenetz takes the reader through a “good” lesson as explained by Kate Gershon, a research fellow at EngageNY, which develops Common Core instructional materials for New York State. Unfortunately, this lesson exemplifies curricular confusion, misunderstanding of the nature of intellectual work, and a dogmatic approach to pedagogy. Kamenetz picks up on none of this; her reporting is unskeptical and cheerful
4 weeks ago
Avoid any book with ‘leadership’ in the title
I don’t trust books about “leadership.” Such books invariably include lots of anecdotes about great leaders and the things that inspired them to become great leaders, yet none of those anecdotes ever seems to recount any of them having read a book about leadership. And that ought to tell us all we need to know about such books.
4 weeks ago
Gonzalez: Students of much-touted Success Academy charter school score too low on entrance exam for top city high schools - NY Daily News
None of the 32 grads, however, will be attending any of the city’s eight elite public high schools, even though Harlem Success Academy 1 ranked in the top 1% on state math tests this year and in the top 5% in reading — a fact Moskowitz herself proudly highlighted.
4 weeks ago
Knowledge Ventriloquism | EduShyster
EduShyster: You introduced me to one of my favorite new concepts—*knowledge ventriloquism.* The release of the National Council on Teacher Quality *review* of the nation’s teacher prep programs seems like an appropriate time to share this concept with the world. So what is *knowledge ventriloquism*? Break it down for us.

Ken Zeichner: It’s a particularly useful concept these days. Basically what you have is an echo chamber effect where think tanks and other advocacy groups just keep repeating each other’s claims until they are thought to be true. There’s a research component too, except that the research isn’t independent. In fact, you can usually predict what the findings are going to be be based on who is doing the research. Cherry picking is another essential component of *knowledge ventriloquism.* Advocates of a particular position or program will selectively choose certain findings and ignore others. The problem is that by the time any of this reaches the mainstream media and the headlines, any nuance or complexity is lost.
5 weeks ago
Creative Destruction Yada Yada
And in trade, as in business competition, it’s far from clear that the big rewards go to those who trash the past and invent new stuff. What’s the most remarkable export success story out there? Surely it’s Germany, which manages to be an export powerhouse despite very high labor costs. How do the Germans do it? Not by constantly coming out with revolutionary new products, but by producing very high quality goods for which people are willing to pay premium prices. So here’s a revolutionary thought: maybe we need to do less disruption and put more effort into doing whatever we do well.
5 weeks ago
When nature fights back: How environmental disaster could swallow our cities - Salon.com
Mikael Stenqvist, a partner at White Arkiketer and one of the lead architects on the Kiruna master plan, has likened it to the movement of a millipede. The town will crawl east across the tundra as it evolves into a dense, linear city linked by a gondola line. It will fold over itself.
5 weeks ago
Flipped Classroom, 1972-style (and early visions of the Home Internet)
Of course, it’s a restatement of the dream since Pressey — remove the burden of the repeatable so teachers can focus on the sort of personalized tutoring they do best. But the difference here is that these people know that. No one is wandering around claiming to have invented “flipped classroom”. It’s been invented. The question, as always, is how to make it work.
5 weeks ago
Ken Previti. My Grandfather, the Great Depression, and today’s teacher wage theft. | Fred Klonsky
One day he turned the check over to see the amount is was made out for. It was for more cash than he had ever received. After he endorsed the check and handed it back to the man, the clerk at the counter handed him cash – a smaller amount than he had seen printed on his check. My grandfather complained; the clerk told him he had not seen the correct amount and could not return the endorsed check to him.
5 weeks ago
Our Deadly Culture of Overwork | Blog | The Baffler
Americans began agitating for the right to an eight-hour workday over 200 years ago. Countless workers fought and died for that right before it was institutionalized under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. But, sadly, it looks like this is one battle that we all must continue to fight.
5 weeks ago
Death of a libertarian fantasy: Why dreams of a digital utopia are rapidly fading away - Salon.com
But what’s missing here is the realization that those ever-so-convenient platforms are actually far more intrusive and potentially oppressive than the incumbent regimes that they are displacing. Operating on a global scale, companies like Airbnb and Uber are amassing vast databases of information about what we do and where we go. They are even figuring out the kind of people that we are, through our social media profiles and the ratings and reputation systems that they deploy to enforce good behavior. They have our credit card numbers and real names and addresses. They’re inside our phones. The cab driver you paid with cash last year was an entirely anonymous transactor. Not so for the ride on Lyft or Uber. The sharing economy, it turns out, is an integral part of the surveillance economy. In our race to let Silicon Valley mediate every consumer experience, we are voluntarily imprisoning ourselves in the Panopticon.
5 weeks ago
Eschaton: So You Say You Want A Revolution
Let me just echo the fact that when The College Kids Today attempt to exercise the one bit of power they potentially have - influencing the actions of college administrators - they're generally mocked and derided. Divestment campaigns and improved sourcing policies might not save the world - they might not even be particularly helpful! - but they're the one way students can actually draw attention an issue and have a clearly defined and potentially achievable goal.
5 weeks ago
“Democracy has been hacked”: Al Gore channels his inner Thomas Piketty - Salon.com
Later in his discussion, Gore said that “democracy has been hacked” by moneyed interests. Then, in response to a question about tech billionaires spending big on allegedly philanthropic enterprises, he said: “That’s a good thing, as long as the rest of us don’t ever fall prey to the illusion that charity is going to do the job of what democracy needs to do.”
5 weeks ago
Warwick Mayor Puts the Breaks on New Mayoral Academy
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian has halted public hearings on a proposed Mayoral Academy Charter School. Avedisian, who is the mayor sponsoring the proposal, says numerous issues including West Warwick's potential to pull out of the proposal, preceded the request.
5 weeks ago
The Ridiculous Incompetence That Slows Down America’s Best BRT Route | Streetsblog USA
“I recall hearing a line from the city that ‘important people in cars’ were pissed that they had to wait for a bus to make their left turn into work,” he said. “The city’s course of action was to turn off all the expensive sensors so one man could control the whole thing so as to be accountable to the needs of these very important people.”
5 weeks ago
Advice to the 2014 TFA Corps Members
All kidding aside, I really do think that with all the honest negative press TFA has been receiving lately, the new corps are going to be the weakest yet. And though this is sad for the kids that they will teach, it will start a chain reaction where there will be even more on-line criticism of TFA and then next year the 2015 corps members will be really less ‘best’ and less ‘bright.’ Ultimately, it will likely be the downfall of TFA.
5 weeks ago
A Practical (and Selfish) Vision of a Sustainable Food Future | Michael Ruhlman
Barber wants us to recognize that we are our soil. What we put into it ultimately goes into us. Our current model of pumping petroleum-based fertilizer into depleted soil to feed plants that would otherwise starve cannot go on indefinitely. He shows that organic farming is not something we should choose because it’s the morally and self-consciously “right” thing to do, but rather because it’s the selfish and self-serving thing to do, the way to create truly delicious food, tastes and pleasures and nutrients that we rarely experience. Read his excellent book for the details.
5 weeks ago
RPNPS Voices: FBI Raids, Concept Charter Schools, and Rahm
You have to admit, the political outreach arm of these charter schools--- and the larger Movement of which they are a part--- is amazing. They make UNO look like a train station dice game. Which it sort of is.
6 weeks ago
In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide - The Washington Post
Options for dealing with the water are limited, and expensive. The city could protect itself with more barriers. Williams lamented, for instance, that a new $318 million light-rail system — paid for primarily with federal funds -- was built at sea level. With a little foresight, he said, the tracks could have been elevated to create a bulwark against the tides.
6 weeks ago
Here comes the sun (and it's trying to kill you)
Wow. That's just awesome in its bold malevolence. Not only are they saying that fossil fuels don't cause climate change --- they're killing two birds with one stone by blaming it on solar energy, the oil industry's competition.
6 weeks ago
Smallest Federated Wiki as an Alternate Vision of the Web
But after three weeks of using Smallest Federated Wiki, a reimagining of the wiki (and really, of the web) by wiki inventor Ward Cunningham and a cadre of incredibly talented coders, I’m struck by how SFW undermines some of the basic premises of the web.
6 weeks ago
Rahm's new kind of patronage with a new 'partner'
Patronage is no longer mainly about hiring for city jobs, but rather privatization and dishing out city contracts to the politically connected, including charter operators, "turnaround" and alternative school companies like AUSL and Camelot. Let them do the Shakman-free hiring.
6 weeks ago
We ignore people who don't vote. We stop caring about you. So vote. - Hullabaloo
Do you know what happens to 0x3 voters? We just don't care about you. You're not worth the time. We don't read your facebook posts or internet comments about how much you hate both parties for the NSA or Afghanistan or whatever. You're a cipher. You have far more impact on us if you're a 3x3 conservative Democrat who threatens to leave the Party and start voting for Republicans, because then we both lose your vote and our opposition picks up a vote. You would have far more impact by being a regular voter and threatening to leave and vote Green Party, but since the Greens aren't exactly going to pick up any seats, all we've done is lost your one vote. Which sucks, but not as badly as losing someone to the Republicans does.
7 weeks ago
The real story behind drop in scores on N.Y. Regents exams
As we did our analysis of New York State data for this blog post, we did notice one anomaly.  There was one group of schools whose passing rates tumbled on all five required Regents exams.   On the English Language Arts Regents the passing rate dropped by 12 points!  Passing rates even dropped on the Algebra Regents, where there was a 10-point increase in the passing rate across the state. How did the reporters miss this story?
7 weeks ago
How Higher Ed Contributes to Inequality?
What’s surprising to me about the higher education and inequality stuff is just how weak the arguments for it actually are. The idea that increasing college completion will reduce inequality is so pervasive that, for a long time, I worried that I was missing something extremely obvious and that one day I’d find myself very embarrassed because of it. But as time has gone on, I have become increasingly convinced that this is just one of those bits of cultural ideology that people just repeat because they hear it and nobody contests it.
7 weeks ago
Nominal Illusion
I graduated from a mediocre (in reputation and ranking, not knocking it) state school in 1993. Damn straight students expected that they could earn TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS annually at their first jobs, which is what $40K today would have been then. I'm not saying all students did. We graduated into a recession, and things don't always work out as they should, but nobody at that time thought TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS was some absurd amount of money for someone just out of college to earn. It was pretty much the minimum of what people expected. 40 hours/week 50 weeks/year is 12 bucks per hour.
7 weeks ago
Led Zeppelin: Their very first time on TV, 1969
There’s only so much hyperbole one can use when describing music (“rip-snorting,” “mind-blowing,” “tearing-up the house”) before the reader becomes inured and thinks, “Yeah, well, okay…” and moves on to something with more nouns and verbs and fewer adjectives (or just plays the music). However, this early Led Zeppelin concert recorded for Danish TV just six months after their first gig (where they were billed as “The Yardbirds”) deserves every hyperbolic phrase going, as it gives a powerful intimation of why Zeppelin were set to become the greatest live band of the 1970s.
7 weeks ago
It would be three times cheaper to house the homeless than leave them on the street, by @DavidOAtkins
There is a far cheaper option though: giving homeless people housing and supportive services. The study found that it would cost taxpayers just $10,051 per homeless person to give them a permanent place to live and services like job training and health care. That figure is 68 percent less than the public currently spends by allowing homeless people to remain on the streets. If central Florida took the permanent supportive housing approach, it could save $350 million over the next decade.
7 weeks ago
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