TFA’s Diversity Paradox
What bothers me is that we have a national rhetoric about wanting diversity when at the same time we’re actually manufacturing the lack of diversity in the way in which we craft our policies. And we mete them out in a racially discriminatory way. So in many ways we’re creating the problem we say we want to fix.
21 days ago
Eschaton: Headlines
No, they ruled against the School District of Philadelphia, which is a corrupt and evil organization run by the state, not the city. It's not a ruling against "Philly Schools."
26 days ago
Snapshot of a broken system: How a profitable company justifies laying off 1,400 people & moved their jobs to Mexico - Salon.com
Things like free trade and opening the doors to competition with China are the tools by which shareholders are satiated with hefty corporate profits. But the cause is the philosophy of shareholder value, the idea that a corporation exists solely for the benefit of its investors. While this may sound intuitive, that’s just because it’s been drummed into our heads by every business page and CNBC shouting head for decades. The thing is, shareholder value is actually a relatively new phenomenon.
5 weeks ago
Why Do Poor People 'Waste' Money On Luxury Goods?
In contrast, "acceptable" is about gaining access to a limited set of rewards granted upon group membership. I cannot know exactly how often my presentation of acceptable has helped me but I have enough feedback to know it is not inconsequential. One manager at the apartment complex where I worked while in college told me, repeatedly, that she knew I was "Okay" because my little Nissan was clean. That I had worn a Jones of New York suit to the interview really sealed the deal. She could call the suit by name because she asked me about the label in the interview. Another hiring manager at my first professional job looked me up and down in the waiting room, cataloging my outfit, and later told me that she had decided I was too classy to be on the call center floor. I was hired as a trainer instead. The difference meant no shift work, greater prestige, better pay and a baseline salary for all my future employment.
5 weeks ago
Despair Fatigue | David Graeber
Twenty-first century problems are likely to be entirely different: How, in a world of potentially skyrocketing productivity and decreasing demand for labor, will it be possible to maintain equitable distribution without at the same time destroying the earth? Might the United Kingdom become a pioneer for such a new economic dispensation? The new Labour leadership is making the initial moves: calling for new economic models (“socialism with an iPad”) and seeking potential allies in high-tech industry. If we really are moving toward a future of decentralized, small, high-tech, robotized production, it’s quite possible that the United Kingdom’s peculiar traditions of small-scale enterprise and amateur science—which never made it particularly amenable to the giant bureaucratized conglomerates that did so well in the United States and Germany, in either their capitalist or socialist manifestations—might prove unusually apt. It’s all a colossal gamble. But then, that’s what historical change is like.
6 weeks ago
c’mon, guys | Fredrik deBoer
Look, the world has changed. The relative military capacity of regular people compared to establishment governments has changed, especially in fully developed, technology-enabled countries like the United States. The Czar had his armies, yes, but the Czar’s armies depended on manpower above and beyond everything else. The fighting was still mostly different groups of people with rifles shooting at each other. If tomorrow you could rally as many people as the Bolsheviks had at their revolutionary peak, you’re still left in a world of F-15s, drones, and cluster bombs. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that establishment governments in the developed world can rely on the numbing agents of capitalist luxuries and the American dream to damper revolutionary enthusiasm even among the many millions who have been marginalized and impoverished. This just isn’t 1950s Cuba, guys. It’s just not. In a very real way, modern technology effectively lowers the odds of armed political revolution in a country like the United States to zero, and so much the worse for us.
6 weeks ago
Why Not Say What Happened? | Online Only | n+1
To point this out does not require an opposition to radical violence—I remember talking to an anarchist who spoke favorably about a conservative historian’s book on Haymarket because it took anarchist politics seriously, even if only to damn them. If you can’t acknowledge radical violence, radicals are reduced to mere victims of repression, rather than political actors who made definite tactical choices under given political circumstances. You might find their choices understandable or lamentable.2 But you will learn nothing from the past unless you are willing to consider the unvarnished details, like those presented by Burrough’s interview subjects.
6 weeks ago
The Rise of Trump Shows the Danger and Sham of Compelled Journalistic “Neutrality”
Imagine calling yourself a journalist, and then – as you watch an authoritarian politician get closer to power by threatening and unleashing violence and stoking the ugliest impulses – denounce not that politician but, rather, other journalists who warn of the dangers. That is the embodiment of the ethos of corporate journalism in America, and a potent illustration of why its fetishized reverence for “objectivity” is so rotted and even dangerous. Indeed, Roberts herself agreed that it was justified for her to speak out only because she’s in the role of NPR commentator and not reporter: “If I were doing it in your role” as a reporter, Roberts told Greene, “you should be disappointed.”
6 weeks ago
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN SKATE PLAZAS | Jenkem Magazine
The city of Philadelphia presents a microcosm of skateboarding’s shift from outsider activity to mainstream culture. Love’s ultimate demolition and the creation of Paine’s Park, a skate plaza opened in 2013 on the outskirts of the city center, are two moments in a long narrative that demonstrate that change. But before we get into the park’s historicity and the greater social and economic forces that played into its destruction, it’s important to understand just what exactly made Love Park such a gem to skateboarders everywhere.
7 weeks ago
Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes | Jeff Noonan: Interventions and Evocations
1. Teaching at the university level is not a practice of communicating or transferring information but awakening in students a desire to think by revealing to them the questionability of things. The desire to think is awakened in students if the teacher is able to reveal the importance of the discipline as a way of exposing to question established “solutions” to fundamental problems of human experience, thought, activity, relationship, and organization. Teaching does not instruct or transmit information, it embodies and exemplifies the commitment to thinking.
7 weeks ago
The Body Politick: Uncovering the Bad Math and Logic (and the Bias) at the New York Times
Once we understand what Friedman is doing, the next sentence becomes clear. His is a view of the economy according to which government spending can encourage private investment, which can increase productivity, which increases output levels. The increase in output levels which results from higher productivity (from higher private investment) remains after the temporary government spending which encouraged that investment - substantial spending on badly neglected core infrastructure - ends. And the evidence for that view of the economy is good.
7 weeks ago
what Thomas Hardy taught me | Fredrik deBoer
Never mind that the idea of salvation through technology is the hoariest old cliche in the history of education, stretching back to the fear among the educated classes that the invention of the printing press would render education obsolete. Never mind that the radio was sure to change teaching forever, or that the television was too, or that the VCR was, as was the personal computer. Never mind that I still hear people talking about what the internet will surely do for the schools of the future, despite the fact that we had the internet in our classroom when I was in junior high school 21 years ago, the school of the past. Never mind that one of the most easily predicted outcomes in educational research is that a highly-touted educational technology will result in no meaningful difference in learning gains. Nope: it’s the same old shit. We’re better and smarter than those other guys who told you that they were better and smarter than the guys who came before them. Our jargon is newer and better. Gamify the cloud with synergistic flipped classrooms that take an active learning approach to emergent technologies and the internet of things. Our app has flavor crystals. Rinse and repeat, now and for forever.
7 weeks ago
DownWithTyranny!: Progressives Betrayed By The Establishment... Again
One more thing before I get into the why of the Obama endorsement. By 2008, no one considered reactionary Georgia Blue Dog John Barrow an actual Democrat. He was voting with the Republicans more frequently than a dozen Republicans were! That year progressives in Georgia felt they had finally found a candidate who could beat him in a primary, highly respected and accomplished state Sen. Regina Thomas, once Deputy Majority Whip of the Georgia House and in synch-- unlike Barrow-- with every issue Obama was presenting to the American people. When Obama endorsed Barrow and recorded a radio spot for black radio stations heralding him as a hero of working families, it was a knife right into the heart of Regina's campaign-- the ultimate betrayal. Of course, no one who remembered Obama's fulsome endorsement of Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont could have been that surprised.
8 weeks ago
Is Sanders Done? | Ian Welsh
The constant refusal of people and groups (like unions endorsing Clinton) to get behind and work for candidates who actually would act on their behalf is one of the reasons that one can often only shrug at what is happening in America.  Clearly, based on actions, not words, this is what too many Americans want.
8 weeks ago
The rise of American authoritarianism - Vox
Together, those three insights added up to one terrifying theory: that if social change and physical threats coincided at the same time, it could awaken a potentially enormous population of American authoritarians, who would demand a strongman leader and the extreme policies necessary, in their view, to meet the rising threats.
8 weeks ago
LBO News from Doug Henwood | Insta-punditry on political economy.
Not mentioned here: race. Hillary clearly has a huge base of support among black voters, and it would be ugly and unproductive of me to type out a lecture on how they’re mistaken in that preference. I don’t understand it, but it’s not my business to second-guess it. What I will say, though, is that the Democratic establishment is playing a cynical game, relying on that “firewall” of support while they court moderate Republicans in the Columbus suburbs by running against social democracy and amping up the fear factor. Because as the man from Uber says, “Hope and change, not so much. More like hate and castrate.”
8 weeks ago
Democrats always prove the commies right | Fredrik deBoer
In 2008, the record will show that I wrote dozens of blog posts supporting Barack Obama, that I had the campaign sign, that I went to the rallies. My Democrat friends said “hope and change!” I believed them. I said it as well. The financial crisis happened; people said politics would never be the same. My commie friends said it was all a smokescreen for business as usual. Obama immediately proceeded to give people like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, who had a hand in the creation of the financial crisis, seats of power in his administration. That’s the definition of business as usual. I pushed hard for Obamacare, arguing against left-wing critics that the reforms were worthwhile even while they were inadequate. My Democrat friends assured me that we would get a public option in through the back door. My commie friends said that the bill was a way to give even greater control over our medical system. Today reforms that go beyond Obamacare look less possible than ever. My Democrat friends said that 2016 would be the year of a truly emboldened left-wing within the Democratic party, that even if Bernie Sanders didn’t win, Hillary would feel such pressure to move left that we’d win either way. The commies said that Hillary was the epitome of the Democrat’s embrace of the affluent and powerful. Hillary has spent the primary denouncing cherished left-wing goals like single payer health care, universal access to higher education, meaningful reform of investment banks, and similar. Her campaign has also worked tirelessly to drive a wedge between the traditional constituencies of the left, engaging in vicious smear tactics against Sanders and his supporters, playing feminism against the campaign for economic justice and treating any concern for class as ipso facto racist and sexist. All of this before her inevitable hard-right turn in the general election.
8 weeks ago
Current Affairs | Culture & Politics
It’s easy to see that Trump has every single advantage. Because the Republican primary will be over, he can come at her from both right and left as he pleases. As the candidate who thundered against the Iraq War at the Republican debate, he can taunt Clinton over her support for it. He will paint her as a member of the corrupt political establishment, and will even offer proof: “Well, I know you can buy politicians, because I bought Senator Clinton. I gave her money, she came to my wedding.” He can make it appear that Hillary Clinton can be bought, that he can’t, and that he is in charge. It’s also hard to defend against, because it appears to be partly true. Any denial looks like a lie, thus making Hillary’s situation look even worse. And then, when she stumbles, he will mock her as incompetent.
9 weeks ago
Can Sanders Do It? | J. W. Mason
If you believe that any demand-induced acceleration of nominal wage growth will be passed to higher prices, or if you think that price stability should be the sole concern of macro policy, then there will be a hard floor on unemployment, which may not be much lower than where we are today. But if you think some appreciable fraction of faster nominal wage growth would go to an increase in the wage share (or faster productivity growth) rather than to inflation, and if you think some acceleration in inflation is acceptable (or even desirable), then “full employment” becomes a broad region rather than a sharp line. (I wrote a bit about these issues here.) In this case there will even be an argument — made by plenty of mainstream people, including some of the ones criticizing Friedman now  — that a period of “overfull” employment would be desirable to bring the wage share back up from its current historically low levels. To believe that a 3.8% unemployment rate is ruled out by price stability considerations is to claim that faster wage growth cannot raise the wage share, which I don’t think is well supported either theoretically or empirically. (Or that raising the wage share is not desirable.) Also worth recalling: In the debates around the NAIRU in the 1990s, the general conclusion was that the idea of a hard floor to unemployment below which inflation will rise uncontrollably, is not in fact a useful guide for policy.
9 weeks ago
The FBI wants a backdoor only it can use – but wanting it doesn’t make it possible | Technology | The Guardian
The thing about this controversy is that it isn’t one. Independent cryptographers are virtually unanimous in their view that you can’t properly secure a system while simultaneously ensuring that it ships with a pre-broken mode that police can exploit.
9 weeks ago
Problems We Don't Really Want to Solve — Strong Towns
I have a lot of conversations with people about the challenge of doing fill-in-the-blank: improving public schools, building affordable housing, replacing corporate chains with local mom and pop shops, getting public infrastructure expenditures in line with the local tax base… And here’s my general response. We, as a society, don’t want to solve these problems. Not really. So we won’t.
10 weeks ago
KIPP – spottedtoad
On the other hand, when I visited a Harlem Success charter school, Eva Moskowitz told me and the other visitors that the problem with education was that too many people with classroom experience were in charge, and that the reason for the achievement gap was that teachers were all racists, including all her teachers at the Success Academy schools. That was about five minutes after meeting us.
10 weeks ago
“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.
11 weeks ago
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.
11 weeks 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.
january 2016
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.
january 2016
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.
january 2016
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.
january 2016
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.
january 2016
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."
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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." 
december 2015
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%.
december 2015
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.)
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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.
december 2015
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!"
december 2015
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.
november 2015
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.
november 2015
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.
november 2015
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.
november 2015
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.
november 2015
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?
november 2015
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
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