“Where to Invade Next” Is the Most Subversive Movie Michael Moore Has Ever Made
You’ll also perceive clearly why we’ve built these prisons. It’s because the core ideology of the United States isn’t capitalism, or American exceptionalism, but something even deeper: People are bad. People are so bad that they have to be constantly controlled and threatened with punishment, and if they get a moment of freedom they’ll go crazy and ruin everything.
yesterday
Why the Pundits Ignore the Truth About Sanders Youth Support – MattBruenig | Politics
I think part of the answer is that, for many of these pundits, being leftist (nay “very liberal”) is a big part of their self-identity. They cut their teeth being the “very liberal” bloggers and pundits of the 2000s. And they just cannot stand the idea that they are more conservative than the generation coming up behind them. Even though their politics have not changed, they are now the lamewads because the youth are actually more left than they are. They cannot countenance this and so they refuse to countenance it.
4 days ago
Transactions and Transformations
But advocates of education reform have, intentionally or not, worked to redefine teachers as transactional coaches. We are supposed to be there just to get that good test score out of each kid. We should use test prep, rewards, threats-- whatever works to get the student to make the right marks on the Big Standardized Test so that we can have that easily measured, numerically-coded win. Charter schools have the additional freedom to sort students based on which ones can best complete the transaction and which ones need to be benched. And since the transaction is a fairly simple, we have no shortage of ideas about how to have it broken into short, simple competency-based transactions that can be handled by a computer.
21 days ago
How Will History Handle Herr Trumpf? Or Is He Already Destined For The Trash Heap Of History?
This is not a man who is planning to occupy the White House. This is not the man who personifies the rage that is rippling through our culture. When you talk with Donald, you get the distinct impression that he's enjoying this other person, this fellow named Donald Trump, out there tuning up the rubes.
5 weeks ago
Time for Education Advocates to Get Behind Bernie Sanders? - Living in Dialogue
Our students and schools have suffered as the concentration of wealth has accelerated over the past decade. President Obama has not confronted or curtailed this trend, and, sadly, there is little to indicate that Hillary Clinton will either. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who has rejected support from super-PACS and spurned Wall Street. His education platform could be stronger, but he is not captive to the wealthy donors that have controlled both parties for years. Our students need a president who confronts the scourge of poverty, and I believe Bernie Sanders is the best for that task.
5 weeks ago
How One Whistle-Blower Saved NYC Schools $727 Million
It's encouraging that this contract was cancelled and substituted with a far less costly one; but it should never have been approved by the DOE and the PEP in the first place. To propose awarding up to $2 billion to a contractor found to have engaged in a kickback scheme just a few years before is evidence of either extreme incompetence or corruption. In either case, the people in charge of contracting at DOE should have been replaced.
5 weeks ago
Free and Prosperous Societies Occur Only When the Basis of Power Is People
Most people are superfluous. As such there is no reason for elites to allow them freedom, power, or prosperity.
5 weeks ago
One Wrong Move
Instead, what they hear over and over is, "You are balanced on the edge of disaster, and if you make one wrong move, you will topple over into the pit, and knowing you, you're probably going to make that one wrong move."
6 weeks ago
Mast Brothers: What Lies Behind the Beards (Part 1, Taste/Texture) – DallasFood.org
Let’s turn the spotlight towards the elephant in the room. The fine chocolate community scorns the Mast Brothers because they are thought to have launched their business with a fundamental fraud: that of pretending to be a bean-to-bar chocolate company.
7 weeks ago
yes Virginia, there is a left-wing reform movement | Fredrik deBoer
In fact, I critique that practice because I am on the left. I’m part of a small but growing collection of people who feel that the left has lost its way, and that it must be steered back to its traditional roots: in materialism, in class solidarity as the basis of political organizing, in recognizing that racism and sexism can only be meaningfully addressed through structural economic change, in privileging the material over the symbolic or the linguistic, and in defining our purpose as building a mass movement — and thus necessarily reaching out and convincing those who are not already convinced. This tendency is not a moderating or rightward-bearing tendency. In fact, most of the many people I know who participate in this reformist push believe that they are the true inheritors of the left-wing tradition, because they prefer the economic, material means of change common to historical socialist movements.
7 weeks ago
Schools Are Incredibly Segregated, But Teaching Kids In Two Languages Could Help
Still, there are concerns. Nelson Flores, an assistant professor in the Educational Linguistics Division at University of Pennsylvania, is an advocate for dual-language programs, noting that "they're really the only programs when implemented effectively to close the achievement gap" for ELL students. However, he worries that these programs are only going to become prevalent in affluent areas, at the expense of disadvantaged schools. 
"There seems to be a trend that’s beginning to emerge where dual-language programs are starting to pop up in areas where parents are well-connected and middle-class," said Flores. "My concern is not about the program per se, but that they are widely available to all students." 
7 weeks ago
Glum job prospects, say officials
Graphed below is the educational distribution for the decade’s projected occupational growth. Just over half, 51%, require no more than a high school diploma for entry, and another 14% some post-high school education short of a bachelor’s. Just 35% require a bachelor’s, and 9% an advanced degree. The educational distribution of the workforce will change little from today. For example, 25.6% of today’s jobs require a bachelor’s or more for entry; in a decade, that will rise 0.6 point to a dizzying 26.2%. Today, 63.6% of jobs require no more than a high school diploma; in 2024, that will plummet by 0.8 point to 62.8%.
7 weeks ago
The Late (Internet) Telecom Revolution Is Not So Big a Deal | Ian Welsh
Now none of this is to say that the Telecom revolution is not important.  It is, and it has had vast affects on our lives.  It will continue to do so as the logic of it is run thru.  But as technological revolutions go, it is neither the most important in recent history, nor is it the most beneficial.  It is nowhere near as beneficial as the revolution in sanitation in the 19th century, for example. It does not change how we live nearly as much as automobiles and trains did, or washing machines or air conditioners.  (When asked how Singapore’s succeeded, Lee Kuan Yu said it would have been impossible without air conditioning.)
8 weeks ago
CEO Martin Shkreli Arrested For Securities Fraud | Ian Welsh
Securities arrests don’t happen by accident, and they don’t happen just because someone has committed securities fraud.  There is so much securities fraud that practically anyone involved the markets beyond the retail investor level could be charged with something.  Many investigations are ongoing at any given time, only a few can or will be prosecuted and prosecuting someone as rich as Shkreli is always a political decision.
8 weeks ago
dy/dan » Blog Archive » Marbleslides Is Here
Purposeful Practice. Picture two students, both graphing dozens of rational functions. One finds the experience dreary and the other finds it purposeful. The difference is the wrapper around that graphing task. If the wrapper is no more purposeful than a worksheet of graphing tasks, your student may fatigue after the first few graphs. In our Marbleslides classroom tests, we watched students transform the same function dozens of times – stretching it, shrinking it, nudging it up, down, left, and right by tiny amounts. That’s the Marbleslides wrapper. Students have a goal. Their pursuit of that goal will put you in a position to have some interesting conversations about these functions and their transformations.
8 weeks ago
I Think It Could Be Trump
Like two zen masters facing off in a martial arts classic or perhaps two wizards do battle in The Lord of the Rings, we have an epic confrontation between two master who have trained for decades in the arts of assholery and bullying. But their powers equally matched, it is a stand off.
8 weeks ago
The Weak Hillary Case | MattBruenig | Politics
The ultimate burying of Hillary Clinton’s political career by a lifelong independent socialist would carry many positive symbolic gains. It would embolden discussion and pride among the left about how, in America of all places, we ended an establishment “inevitable” neoliberal warhawk welfare cutter’s career by running a self-proclaimed socialist of all things. That would be a beautiful symbolic experience, even if gridlock in Washington greatly limited its practical importance. It’d also send a message to Democratic politicians about the need to be less garbage going forward.
9 weeks ago
The strangely muted response to RI's PARCC test scores
Finally, if our schools were truly as bad as PARCC says, our leaders have no plausible plans to fix them. They believe in the course which has led us to this point and have no intention of turning in a different direction. But that's ok, "it's just a baseline!"
10 weeks ago
Pinboard on the Next Economy Conference (with tweets) · bnwlfsn · Storify
Middle aged white dude here, watching panel of four middle-aged and one elderly white dude discussing the revolutionary future.
11 weeks ago
Wisdom From Josh
Next time Donald Trump says something outrageous, offensive, ridiculous or demonstrably unconstitutional and you find yourself saying he's now going to decline in the polls, let me help. No. That's not going to happen.
11 weeks ago
Eschaton: Soak The Rich
Denying government benefits to rich people just makes it that much harder for less than rich people to qualify. You know, eligibility, forms, a bureaucracy to determine that eligibility, etc. The way to not give Donald Trump's kids free college involves increasing his taxes. Then give the kids "free college." Democrats really need to get rid of their obsession with means testing everything. There's a simple way to means test everything: increase taxes on rich people. It isn't welfare. It's what the government provides, to everyone, and the price of that is taxes.
12 weeks ago
Are Students Workers or Nonworkers?
In my view, this framing has it entirely backwards. If you are going to argue for student benefits, you should not do so on the grounds that students are workers, but rather on the grounds that students are nonworkers. That is, instead of rhetorically grouping them with the workforce and justifying their entitlement as quasi-paychecks, they should be grouped with other nonworkers receiving social benefits like the elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed. The argument should be that all people whose life circumstances make it difficult or impossible to work should be receiving generous welfare benefits, including students.
12 weeks ago
The Philanthropy Hustle | Jacobin
Eisenberg, a well-known philanthropy scholar, calls for legislative limits on the size of foundations: reducing their endowment size to no more than $10 or $15 billion. Gara LaMarche, a former executive at George Soros’s Open Society Institute and Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies, suggests that so little philanthropic money is actually trickling down to the global poor that we need to consider whether tax deductions are warranted at all.
12 weeks ago
Hardball Questions For The Next Debate | Slate Star Codex
So my question for you is – what do you think happens to that person who is in an empty hemisphere, locked out of all sensory input and motor control? Do you think they’re conscious? Do you think they’re wondering what happened? Do you think they’re happy that the other half of them is living a happy normal life? Do they sit rapt in unconditioned contemplation of their own consciousness like an Aristotelian god? Or do they go mad with boredom, constantly desiring their own death but unable to effect it?
12 weeks ago
EngageNY Math, now Eureka, A Common Core Dropping | IGNITE! … Fire is Catching
My school district approved this program at a school board meeting in December 2013. It did not go through a review process with a group of math experts in the district. In fact, the math committee reviewing math curricular materials was disbanded in the Spring of 2013. Why? The reason given was there were no “viable math curricular materials to review that align with Common Core”.

Bye Bye Math Committee.

Yet, in November 2013, a person downtown (hired for one year in a .5 position) was instructed to put together a binder of EngageNY sample materials. This binder was presented to the Spokane School Board in December 2013. Parents were in the audience with letters from New York State teachers with recommendations to avoid this math program. It still was approved.
november 2015
David Cameron hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
Have you ever wondered how the prime minister sleeps at night? How can he live with himself after imposing such gratuitous pain upon the people of this nation? Well now, it seems, you have your answer: he appears to be blissfully unaware of the impact of his own policies.
november 2015
Daring Fireball: The iPad Pro
We’ve now reached an inflection point. The new MacBook is slower, gets worse battery life, and even its cheapest configuration costs $200 more than the top-of-the-line iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is more powerful, cheaper, has a better display, and gets better battery life. It’s not a clear cut-and-dry win — MacBooks still have more RAM (the iPad Pro, in all configurations, has 4 GB of RAM, although Apple still isn’t publishing this information — MacBook Pros have either 8 or 16 GB), are expandable, and offer far more storage. But at a fundamental level — CPU speed, GPU speed, quality of the display, quality of the sound output, and overall responsiveness of interface — the iPad Pro is a better computer than a MacBook or MacBook Air, and a worthy rival to the far more expensive MacBook Pros.
november 2015
Bald Eagles nest in Providence County, Rhode Island
I will not reveal the exact location of this nest publicly nor privately. If you know the location, I ask that you please do not mention it when linking to this blog or any of my photos. While some people do know the location, they did not hear it from me – and I am proud of that. It’s not an easy secret to keep.
november 2015
Lack of good order, discipline and supervision - Hullabaloo
Isn't the whole point of training to teach officers to perform professionally in a crisis in spite of  the tunnel vision produced by fear and adrenaline? If police academies were public schools, we would blame the teachers and their unions, amirite?
november 2015
Re: Congrats to Helen Gym
The iconoclastic Helen Gym is digging in. So I ask her: Helen, have you turned into an advocate for the educational status quo?

Her eyes widen.

"That's such fucking bullshit," she says.
november 2015
The Tech Elite's Quest to Reinvent School in Its Own Image | WIRED
Unlike many progressive schools, the Lab School is a firm believer in standardized testing—students are evaluated three times a year, the better to measure their progress and make sure the school is living up to expectations. “It’s not acceptable for even one student in this school to not grow as expected,” Khan says, “and hopefully all of them are growing two to three times as expected.”
november 2015
TFA Effectiveness | 34justice
The study showed a difference between TFA teachers and all comparison teachers of 7% of one standard deviation.  To put that number in context, a difference of 7% of one standard deviation in home runs between two baseball players in 2012 would be a difference of less than one home run over the course of the entire 162-game season.  Or, if you aren’t a baseball fan, a difference of 7% of one standard deviation between two students on the math section of the SAT in 2012 was equivalent to a difference of less than one correctly answered question.  The authors of the Mathematica study and just about every article quoting the study claim 7% of one standard deviation in this context is equivalent to 2.6 months of learning, using this 2007 research paper as justification, but that number is invalid and based on an inappropriately applied heuristic.  The average student in a non-TFA classroom scored in the 27th percentile on the tests administered while the average student in a TFA classroom scored in the 30th percentile; moving from the 27th percentile on a test to the 30th percentile does not represent, on average, 2.6 months of learning.  Furthermore, 40% of classrooms with TFA teachers scored lower than comparison classrooms taught by non-TFA teachers.  The study’s results were statistically significant, sure, but the advantage they show for TFA teachers is remarkably slight at best.
november 2015
Green office environments linked with higher cognitive function scores | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA – People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores—in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy—than those who work in offices with typical levels, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.
october 2015
Grand Forks goes to Copenhagen — Strong Towns
Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to meet with and learn from a diverse group of people in Copenhagen: city leaders from different departments, architects, bicycle program coordinators, parks department employees, and many others, who all took the time to explain to us what they’ve done to build one of the most desirable cities in the world.  And, not surprisingly, there was a theme. It was quite simple: “We just focus on what people want and what makes them happy.  We start all discussions with that premise.” 
october 2015
three vignettes on diet and personal and public pressure | Fredrik deBoer
However: I couldn’t deny then, and can’t deny now, that drinking that much soda every day is probably terrible for you, and despite the endless back and forth about the effect of caffeine, drinking a lot of coffee probably isn’t. A coffee addiction is simply much healthier than a soda addiction, especially if, like me, you take your coffee without milk or sugar. And so as much as I distrust the motivations of my feeling of disgust at drinking that much soda, and as sure as I am that there is an ugly class element to that disgust, that disgust is good for me, and it would probably be better for other people if they felt similar internal emotional pressure to avoid soda.
october 2015
The Inside Story of How Chicago Built the Dearborn Street Bike Lane | Streetsblog USA
We sent a note to our friends at the state, knowing that they were ruffling our feathers at the behest of the governor’s office for political reasons, rather than disagreeing with the decision based on any sound engineering or planning basis. We notified them respectfully that we were charging ahead with the project, the reasons why we were justified, and that they were invited to the press event to unveil the project if they so chose. We came from a strong position, and did not back down. Basically, we were saying, “Go ahead and sue us.”
october 2015
an assumed admixture
At Strong Towns, we value transparency, clarity and accessibility. That means we try to avoid jargon as much as possible, but there are a few phrases that crop up in our writing and speaking now and again that we wanted to make sure are clearly defined. Whether you're new to Strong Towns or you've been with us for years, we hope you'll find these definitions to be a helpful reference when reading our posts and listening to our blog.
october 2015
Strong Towns Lingo
At Strong Towns, we value transparency, clarity and accessibility. That means we try to avoid jargon as much as possible, but there are a few phrases that crop up in our writing and speaking now and again that we wanted to make sure are clearly defined. Whether you're new to Strong Towns or you've been with us for years, we hope you'll find these definitions to be a helpful reference when reading our posts and listening to our blog.
october 2015
Eschaton: Who Could It Be
I think there is! His name rhymes with "shite," and he believed a firm paying minimum wage equivalent could provide acceptable substitute teachers, transferring the "savings" to the firm's profits. So the company makes money, the substitutes aren't hired, and the kids get shafted. Probably their test scores will go down, so then their schools will "fail," and we can scale up to transferring it all to more for profit charters. Everybody wins! Well, not everybody, but, you know.
october 2015
Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble. - Vox
The Democratic Party is in much greater peril than its leaders or supporters recognize, and it has no plan to save itself.
october 2015
no one doesn’t know what’s happening right now | Fredrik deBoer
Now, people are falling on their fainting couches. They’re calling this argument conspiracy mongering, saying it’s ridiculous, that I’m a crank, etc. But if you took any of them — any of them at all — out of the context of this particular moment, and you said, “do political journalists trade positive coverage for access?,” they’d laugh out loud at the obviousness of the answer. Of course they do, they’d laugh! That’s one of the things that compels them to say “this town!” when they’re in their DC-skewering moods. And yet they can’t countenance the idea that this is happening right now, because right now, they’re in election season, and they’ve got business to attend to. Which just leaves me asking: what happened to those cynics that were, in the recent past, so devastatingly cutting and open about the fundamental corruption of our political media? Where did those people go?
october 2015
It could be worse - Charlie's Diary
The special social network magic comes into play when you learn that if your friends do this, your score also suffers. You can see what they just did to you: are you angry yet? Social pressure is a pervasive force and it's going to be exerted on participants whether they like it or not, by friends looking for the goodies that come from having a high citizen score: goodies like instant loans for online shopping, car rentals without needing a deposit, or fast-track access to foreign travel visas. Also, everyone's credit score is visible online, making it easy to ditch those embarrassingly ranty cocktail-party friends who insist on harshing your government credit karma by not conforming.
october 2015
Do you want to call out privilege, or do you want to fight the police state? | Fredrik deBoer
As you know, I’m part of a nascent but growing movement within the left to question the efficacy of current left political and rhetorical tactics, particularly concerning the privilege frame that now frequently seems to be the only discourse we take part in. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe privilege is real; it certainly is, and it has many harmful effects on our society, and deepens racial and gender and related inequalities. But the privilege frame is a deeply limited way to look at the world, and at times it leads to perverse consequences. To see the way in which they can really screw up political analysis, check out this Daily Kos piece by Shaun King.
october 2015
Op-Ed: Philly's Charter School System is Falling Apart - Citified
As a charter founder myself, I believe there is a discrete and limited role for charters within a vibrant public school system. But maintaining two massive school systems simply isn’t working in a state that ranks the worst in the nation around funding equity — and hasn’t worked anywhere in this country. This isn’t just the viewpoint of activists. Financial analysts, academics and watchdog organizations are raising concerns about economic sustainability, deepening racial segregation, democratic input and erratic academic performance.
october 2015
Tempest on a coffee cup: either a teachable moment or erosion of trust
While the whole thing seems silly on its face (some within the police department say it was mostly driven by an upcoming union election, though current union president Manzotti, who isn’t running for reelection, dismissed that theory) this incident has brought much valuable information to light. Providence police officers, it seems, resent the Black Lives Matter movement. We can reasonably assume the Black Lives Matter movement similarly resents the Providence police, and that it probably resents them at least a little bit more now, we need to bring these two communities together. This all matters.
october 2015
Is the Los Angeles school board speaking truth to power, or was that Pope Francis? — PS connect
A retired principal, Schmerelson's folksy remarks sounded typical at first: "I think it's very important that we model good behavior."
But then, like in a Catholic funeral mass, when a crescendo lifts the deceased into the heavens, Schmerelson led the charge: "There is to be no bullying anywhere in LAUSD. And that is not just for kids. We need to expose those bullies and embarrass them. And there is a big bully running around and his name is Eli Broad. And he will not bully us."
october 2015
Eschaton: City Boy
Having a non-clusteruck open streets event whch doesn't paralyze the city or local businesses isn't simple. The best ideas I've heard involve expanding a zone around an existing street festival/block party type event to create a bigger box. Those events are generally too crowded and having more pedestrian overflow space away from the vendors/food trucks/etc. really is desirable anyway. But I really don't need suburban boy who thinks the exciting hustle and bustle of his urban theme park is due to all the cars driving around in an exciting hustley bustley way lecturing city dwellers on their arrogance for occasionally wanting to restrict his ability to drive down their streets.
october 2015
Don't Let The Door
Ted Kennedy made a deal with the devil for more education funding, and it's pretty clear the devil won that round.
october 2015
DNA Lounge: 1-Oct-2015 (Thu): Wherein the planet has been sufficiently hacked.
At the last minute, my crew tried to talk me out of building the skate ramps, on the grounds of them being difficult, expensive, dangerous and just a monumentally stupid idea, and they probably would have succeeded if I hadn't just read Steve Albini's screed on punk and capitalism that morning. "A bakery opens because a guy wants to make bread." Why are we here? We are here to do shit like building skate ramps down the stairs.
october 2015
Transport Providence: Don't Get to Know Your Farmer.
Take farmers' markets. I go to the farmers' market almost every week. I love the farmers' market, by the way. But think about the logistics of a farmers' market: they're kind of absurd. A farmer, who works all week doing very difficult and financially precarious work has to come personally to the farm stand so that you can get to know him/her? That makes sense? And then, at the end of the farmers' market, when some of the stuff is inevitably not bought, the farmer has to take all his/her stuff back to the farm? That makes sense? Didn't we invent stores so that farm goods could be transferred once, instead of back and forth on the same day? Didn't we develop careers in train, truck, and boat transportation so that farmers could focus on farming?
october 2015
DownWithTyranny!: What Sanders Can Accomplish by Not Acting
Consider how much time and energy was drained from the progressive community in fighting against Barack Obama's wrong-headed neo-liberal initiatives. Think of the enormous effort to stop Fast Track (which failed). The long effort to stop the Keystone Pipeline (which may succeed, but with a huge expenditure of energy). The effort to constantly, year after year after year, block cuts to Social Security and Medicare (which have so far succeeded, but the fight is far from over).
october 2015
Want to Fight Poverty? Expand Welfare. Always Expand Welfare. | MattBruenig | Politics
I’d submit that we should want to be more like the high-income European countries with much lower child poverty rates. Getting there would mean increasing family welfare benefit expenditures by as much a 470%. In dollar terms, we should be talking about increasing outlays on family welfare benefits by over $400 billion per year. Done well, such a welfare expansion would dramatically cut poverty and, by making child-having universally affordable, actually give all women the genuine capability to make the family choices that the Sawhill/Rampell position claims to be interested in.
september 2015
College Students Have Forgotten How to Fight the System | The New Republic
The Argus controversy is a perfect example. Once upon a time, Wesleyan students would have responded through grassroots organizing, not through supplicating at the feet of administrators and committees, asking them to do their protesting for them. The radical students I remember from Wesleyan’s past had a do-it-yourself ethos, understanding that they could not expect to change structures by working within them. Today’s Wesleyan students could have reacted to the piece in question by writing a response in the Argus. They could have started their own radical newspaper. They could have leafleted, or invited speakers, or used any other means to respond with better, more enlightened speech. By going straight to authority, they have instead embraced establishment power and asked it to be part of a liberatory struggle. That is folly. Institutions like Wesleyan may be made up of radicals, but they are by their nature conservative entities; that’s the nature of self-protective institutions. I’m sure many Wesleyan activists are familiar with Audre Lorde’s wise advice that we will never tear down the master’s house with the master’s tools.
september 2015
Jersey Jazzman: Common Core Testing: Who's The Real "Liar"?
The changes in the construction of items may have dismayed parents, teachers and students. But when it comes to reporting outcomes, the only things that changed that really matter are the proficiency rates. And those can be set wherever those in power choose to set them.
september 2015
“Weeks/days of learning” is well-intended bad interpretative factoid
My other complaint — yes, there’s another one — is that we don’t know that weeks of learning is the right measure. Should we stop the unit conversion with weeks of learning? Let’s see what else we could do.3 A week is a unit of time, and we know that light travels at 186,282 miles per second, so a week is equivalent to 1.9 billion miles of learning. That’s not very useful to children, but I know that the average home run in the big leagues is 397 feet, so a week of learning is also equivalent to 24.6 billion home runs of learning. Not bad! Let’s imagine that we’re asking what performance pay means in New York City — I mean, if an intervention or policy can make it in New York, it can make it anywhere, right? Everyone in New York loves Manny Rivera, and he allowed only 71 home runs in his career. So a week of learning is equivalent to 346 million Manny Riveras of learning. Or, for this study, 935 million Manny Riveras.
september 2015
What About Beauty?
Developer R. John Anderson always says, “We don’t have to build Paris on the Sein. We just have to build a slightly less crappy version of America.”
september 2015
Generic drug price gouging: How Shkreli and other monopolists cornered the market on essential medications.
With that in mind, Shkreli’s blustery defense may yet offer help to those interested in making essential medications more accessible within the borders of the United States. Turing’s decision to raise prices is only the logical extension of a pharmaceutical marketplace that allows firms with monopolies the absolute right to set their own prices with no constraints. Unlike many other countries, including Canada, France, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the United States has resolutely refused to give our government the ability to negotiate drug prices. Instead, we continue to pay what firms ask and hope that the invisible hand of the market will match supply and demand—and eventually bring prices down. We trust that generic firms remain an efficient private sector solution to the public health problem of drug access. In return, we are confronted with market failures, drug shortages, and price increases.

How may more essential medicines will become inaccessible before we revisit this equation?
september 2015
Gates Plan Crashes, Burns School District
Public schools make an institutional commitment to educate students in their community for, well, ever. Businessmen make a commitment to spend money on something as long as it makes sense to them. This does not make businessmen evil, but it does mean that they are bad candidates to become involved in the institution of public education.
september 2015
#IStandWithAhmed and the Criminalization of the American Schoolyard - Pacific Standard
If this boilerplate response sounds all too familiar, it's because police and school administrators use it all the time after arresting students for completely moronic reasons. A 12-year-old girl was taken into custody in Texas for spraying herself with perfume. Another student in Texas was arrested for throwing paper airplanes in class. In New Mexico, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for burping in class; another student was ordered to strip down to his underwear with five teachers watching because he had $200 on his person. A 12-year-old girl in New York was arrested for doodling on her desk, while an eight-year-old boy in Massachusetts was administered a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus in class. And let's not forget the Oklahoma math teacher who made a citizen's arrest on a student for possessing a permanent marker, which apparently came in violation of "an obscure city ordinance."
september 2015
CEO Ya!
How I wish that low expectations were the main difficulty in education. It would be so easy to improve. Teachers would just raise their expectations: Teach a little faster, assign a little more homework, make the tests a little longer, a little more difficult — more ‘rigorous’ if you will. While I’m certainly not an advocate for low expectations, I think it is definitely naive, and even a bit dangerous, to too blindly believe that the act of just having high expectations will cause students to learn more.
september 2015
Seattle Teachers’ Strike A Win For Social Justice
“It’s a win for public education in many ways,” says Jesse Hagopian, a prominent spokesperson for the striking teachers. In a phone conversation, Hagopian – a Garfield High School teacher, editor of the book More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing, and recipient of the 2013 “Secondary School Teacher of Year” award – tells me in a phone conversation, “For the first time, our union was able to make social justice the center of the debate. We took a huge step forward.”
september 2015
Some Initial Thoughts
Even if Trump collapses over the next few weeks, when we look back on this race, I think it will be clear that in various ways over several weeks, Donald Trump destroyed Bush's candidacy. If that's true it's a big, big deal because in Republican primaries the establishment guy with the money always wins. And Jeb's that guy. If he's out, the whole contest has no clear structure and it has to be one of the other candidates, each of whom have basic weaknesses as general election candidates. All bets are off.
september 2015
The Success And Controversy Of #CampaignZero And Its Successful, Controversial Leader, DeRay Mckesson - BuzzFeed News
Campaign Zero has also become a source of contention within the broader Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the increased prominence of Mckesson, the Bowdoin graduate who left behind a six-figure salary as the senior director of human capital with the Minneapolis Public Schools system to protest in Ferguson. Critics say the plan is marked by a lack of transparency — who helped formulate the plan, they ask. More importantly, some critics argue Campaign Zero might be interfering with other activism and, therefore, lacks accountability. Campaign Zero’s willingness to participate in the question of “Where do we go from here?” has created — and even exacerbated — the tensions that exist between the sprawling factions of the Black Lives Matter movement.
september 2015
Yale's $40K Wet Kiss Anoints #BlackLivesMatter's Deray McKesson Their Kind of “Transformational” Leader | Black Agenda Report
The bottom line is that corporate shot callers at Yale are gifting Deray McKesson because he's their kind of leader, of their kind of movement, a movement based on what the owners of Twitter, Facebook and the like want us to call social media, but which are really online corporate marketing tools. Deray can probably use the money, having left his six figure a year job in the Minneapolis school system, the kind of school administration gig Teach For America grads who stay in education typically end up with.

Though it happened just last week, the fact that Yale Divinity School is taking Deray on as a visiting professor of black twitter, or whatever isn't new news, it's old news, part of an old pattern. McKesson is the latest in a long line of black “leaders,” so-called movement leaders who emerge not from the people's struggle, but from the gut of their corporate sponsors, leaders put in place by our rulers to speak not for us but to us, with their sponsors' mouths.
september 2015
breaking: the radical black left exists | Fredrik deBoer
Today I shared this post from Bruce Dixon at Black Agenda Report on social media. As he has done often, Dixon critiqued the coziness of someone associated with #BlackLivesMatter, Deray McKesson, with an institution of establishment power, here Yale University. (McKesson’s relationship to BLM is controversial.) Dixon, a longtime activist and organizer himself and a harsh critic of black political leadership in this country, particularly took McKesson to task for his connections to the corporate ed reform movement, pointing out that McKesson is a graduate of Teach for America who advocates for charter schools. There’s nothing surprising about that criticism, if you know Dixon’s radical politics and opposition to neoliberal ed reform. (An opposition I share, by the way.)
september 2015
Lafayette Pipes and Hydrants — Strong Towns
Cities can experience growth and job creation today quite easily if they are willing to take on a disproportionate amount of long term liabilities. In other words, I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for growth and jobs today. Well, now it's Tuesday, in Lafayette and in cities all over this country. Cities cannot continue to grow this way and remain solvent.
september 2015
The New History Wars Part 3: The College Board is the Real Problem - Living in Dialogue
Rather than focusing their concern on the nuts and bolts of the College Board History curriculum, teachers, students, and parents should be more concerned about why the College Board has such a big influence over national curricula in general. The College Board should not set the standards for the entire country. The recent revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has demonstrated widespread concern about the Federal Government acting too strongly to shape curricula. The College Board, similarly, has shaped the most challenging courses and the popularity of AP as a moniker of school excellence is like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. But despite its nonprofit status, the College Board is out to make a buck.
september 2015
Study: Area Union Membership Can Predict Children’s Advancement
As unions in this country continue to come under assault, a new study coming out of Harvard, Wellesley (of all places) and the Center for American Progress, finds that unions are key in enabling children from low-income families to escape poverty.
september 2015
Steve Albini Shows That Punk Rock Ethics Are Good Business | Psychology Today
“If you start from the premise of refusing to be an asshole, then a lot of other decisions kind of make themselves.”
september 2015
Dear Milwaukee, Learn from the mistakes you didn't make
We are told that if we do not subsidize certain areas of town that there will be no future; some predictions even sound apocalyptic. Turns out, it's not true whatsoever. Why is this important? Well, Milwaukee needs to learn from its successes, as unintentional as they may have been.
september 2015
Albini on Punk and Capitalism
"There are kind of two perspectives on business. One of them is that a business exists to make money for the investor class that has a stake in that business. That's one perspective. So, from a stock-market perspective, from a shareholder perspective, from an investor perspective, that from any publicly held company's perspective, the company's reason to exist is to make money for those people," he explained. "And if you're not making money, you're a failing company. If its share price doesn't go up, then the company's failing, whether you're making a profit or not. The idea is that the fundamental reason for that company to be there is to make money."
september 2015
Los Angeles: The Scandal-Plagued Legacy of John Deasy | Diane Ravitch's blog
“Deasy, who was paid $350,000 a year as superintendent, took more than 100 trips, spent generously on meals as he lobbied state and national lawmakers and wooed unions, foundations and educational leaders, according to credit card receipts, calendars and emails obtained under the California Public Records Act.
september 2015
Middle of the Road Kentucky | Granola Shotgun
It also happens to embody all the tenets promoted by the Smart Growth “coastal elite”. Except Bellevue was founded in 1870 by some profoundly conservative market oriented families. Bellevue isn’t New Urbanism. It’s just plain old fashioned regular urbanism like every other town built before World War II. Its form was dictated by practical considerations based on what worked well on a tight budget. From the beginning there was a good balance of taxable private property relative to the public cost of providing quality municipal services.
september 2015
In the Contest for Worst Automobile-Driving Species, the Winner is Homo Sapiens
This, by the way, is why I'm so generally bullish on artificial intelligence. It's not because I have such a high opinion of computers, but because I have such a low opinion of humans. We really are just overclocked chimpanzees who have convinced ourselves that our weird jumble of largely Pavlovian behaviors—punctuated by regrettably rare dollops of intelligence—is deeply ineffable and therefore resistant to true understanding. Why do we believe this? Primarily for the amusingly oxymoronic reason that we aren't smart enough to understand our own brains. The silicon crowd should be able to do better before long.
september 2015
The Man With Perfect Poop
The perfect poop is type three, which is "like a sausage but with cracks on its surface;" type four, which is "like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft;" or type five, "soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily)." [...]
september 2015
trauma | Fredrik deBoer
So it’s true: I’ve never experienced trauma. I will go on owning every sad step of this sad journey, I will preserve a space within myself that is known by no one but me, and is for no one but me, and I will have the courage to be human though everyone and everything around me tempts me to be otherwise, and I will keep my own counsel on the meaning of suffering, and I will not serve.
august 2015
Chicago Principal Tells Civic Leaders Why Schools Are in Crisis
“Interestingly enough, CPS recently hired Ernst and Young to do an analysis of their structural deficit. That analysis shows that pension costs are projected to rise only 32% over seven years, while debt service is projected to rise 350% from $119 million to $421 million. THIS is the debt that’s driving up costs. This debt is not owed to teachers. This debt is owed to financial institutions like the Pritzker Group, Goldman Sachs and Northern trust—all Emanuel Campaign contributors; and his administration wants to ensure they get paid what they’re owed.
august 2015
That time Jimmy Carter walked into a nuclear reactor
So Lt. Carter and the rest of his team ran through a radioactive flood with hand-tools and stopwatches and carried out an incredibly technical feat of nuclear engineering in 89-second intervals fully expecting that it would mean they’d all soon be dead from some horrible form of radiation sickness. And they did it. They shut down the reactor and saved the day. Jimmy Carter is a quiet, gentle man who teaches Sunday school. But don’t forget that he’s also a quiet, gentle, Sunday-school teaching badass.
august 2015
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