September 23, 2020

September 22, 2020

Student Voice, Props To CA, Breathe In The Air…History Debate, Dual Credit, More…

Here’s some student voice.

Max Boot on the critical middle ground on the increasingly strident history debate.

Air quality. An article questioning HVAC as a Covid mitigation strategy, with implications for schools. And here’s one asking questions about why we are not focusing on air more. Consumer version here.

Two statewide referendums in California with educaiton implications – a split roll tax plan and a rollback of the state’s affirmative action ban. Both seem to be in trouble given where they are polling but California voters will be energized and mobilized this year.

Does dual credit have education’s perennial quality versus quantity problem?

Unexpected online learning byproduct: Fire safety.

Happy fall!

Breathe in the air.

September 21, 2020

Ginsburg, Trends, Not Going Greek, 2020 Political Demographics…More

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a remarkable career and life, here she is in her own words.

In our part of the world, seniority gave her the lead dissent in Espionza but she did not write on Janus or Zelman, the other really pivotal cases of the past 20 years. However, she was a key voice on issues involving gender discrimination, not only in the 1996 VMI case but other less high profile cases that came before the court during her time. She generally supported a stricter separation of church and state than many – for instance she dissented in Rosenberger v. Rector.

The vacancy she leaves does seem consequential for education, and of course more generally, given what it would mean for the composition of the court. Pre-2016 there was some talk of “revisiting Rodriguez” and trying again to establish a constitutional right to education via litigation. A long shot anyway (a 5-4 and more liberal court said no in 1973), a 6-3 conservative court with originalist inclinations would almost certainly slam the door on that idea.


College students seem unhappy with fall 2020. In my experience so far this semester teaching a 100 percent virtual class that is usually live: they appreciate effort and creativity and have thoughtful feedback, but it’s obvious this is suboptimal.

College students are also voluntarily ending Greek life affiliations. As opposed to Harvard’s heavy-handed approach on single gender clubs, which however well meaning backfired for women, the student-led nature here is worth watching.

Over the years around here we’ve talked about the unbundling of school. OutSchool is thriving during the pandemic signals one way that this experience, especially the longer it goes on in 2021, may change education appetites.

2020 political demographics.

September 18, 2020

Friday Fish Pic: Goldstein Goes Largemouth

Mike Goldstein is an educational polymath and one of the original guestbloggers here and a returner many times since – where he goes wild.

But I think fish pics is a first. He took some family time in New England and this picture of a largemouth bass is a pandemic-era trifecta: time outside, smiling kid, and PPE.

If you did a frequency analysis I think fish porn here turns up more trout than anything else, but largemouth make a good showing. They’re also a hoot to catch on a fly rod.

Summer is in the rearview mirror but you can still see hundreds of education types with fish by clicking here and here. We’ve been doing fish pics and porn for a long time.

Fall is a great time to be outside, tips on how take a kid fishing are here. Send me yours. And now that it’s fall, we’ll take hunting pictures, too.

September 15, 2020


Via The New Yorker:

Though returning to school is a project of a scale vastly larger than the one Taveras and other supervisors pulled off this summer, Goldmark says she has learned a lot about room capacity and building flow, lessons that she will apply over the next year as more children return to school. Goldmark talked to Department of Health officials every day, and kept fine-tuning the enrichment centers as new guidance arose. She discovered the best way to begin the school year is to admit that she doesn’t have every answer yet. “We did not say upfront, ‘We have figured everything out,’ because we didn’t have time, and nobody knew anything,” she said. “We said, ‘You’re going to have a thousand questions. Just ask the questions.’ Just having a way to take the question as it comes up, and answer it really quickly, and share that answer with everybody, is one of the best ways to develop policy when you’re in this setting, where you can’t anticipate everything. If you wait until you anticipate everything to actually go, you’re not going to go.”

September 14, 2020

“Yes, you’re reading that right: studies that replicate are cited at the same rate as studies that do not.”

Whoo boy…

Over the past year, I have skimmed through 2578 social science papers, spending about 2.5 minutes on each one. This was due to my participation in Replication Markets, a part of DARPA’s SCORE program, whose goal is to evaluate the reliability of social science research. 3000 studies were split up into 10 rounds of ~300 studies each…

Interesting take on research production, including RCT’s in education. 

September 11, 2020

Virginia Homeschooling

Interesting analysis on homeschooling in Virginia – makes the point that homeschoolers would be the 7th largest school division if they were a contiguous group.

And Covid is going to have an effect. Homeschooling will rise regardless, and may especially in the wake of the pandemic.

Here’s the thing, the public school establishment and homeschoolers don’t get on all that well. There is some local option policy so individual divisions have better or worse relationships but overall it’s not great. Sports are a big – and in my view needless – flash point. Some mutual contempt, too, if we’re being honest.

But in an increasingly constrained resource environment – which is the forward looking view given budget pressures – you want all the allies you can get when it comes time to finance education. So a little less antagonism and a little more cooperation might be the smart long term play?

Put differently, if the 7th largest school district in Virginia was totally at odds with the state, we’d pay more attention right?