"Libertarian Bob Luddy’s Contribution to Education Reform"

Bob Luddy is the founder of the Thales Academy schools here in Wake County and he sounds like an amazing man. Here's one tidbit:

In 2013, the town of Rolesville, North Carolina got a new public high school that cost $76 million. A year later, Thales opened a $9 million high school two-and-a-half miles away. Though much smaller, when divided by the number of students each building can accommodate, the Thales school cost half as much.

In addition to the video in the piece linked above, here's another worthwhile look at Thales (7.5 minute video).

"The Myth of Cosmopolitanism"

This piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times is over a year old, but seems just as relevant now.

But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe. 

They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups (evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home.

"Raw Numbers: Charter Students Are Graduating From College at Three to Five Times the National Average"

There are some measurement problems, but the KIPP system, probably the largest charter system reporting, and the only network that tracks students from the 9th grade instead of just from the 12th grade, has a rate about 2.5 times the national average. And while such a number doesn't reflect the selection of students into charters--put another way, we'd like to have a comparable control sample--it could well be a quite encouraging sign.

Link via my older daughter.

Related: "Charter Schools Help District Schools".

"Newark Terrorized by Whole Foods"

Kevin D. Williamson does his usual excellent job. This is especially good:

Let’s recap the slate of urban worries on the left. “Food deserts,” meaning a lack of availability of fresh food (or a lack of market demand for it), are bad. The opening of a gigantic store dedicated to selling healthy comestibles and produce, though, is also bad.

When large corporations don’t invest in urban communities, that’s shameful. Investment? Also shameful. White flight by people moving to suburbs in the 1960s? Racist. Their grandchildren’s return? Also racist. Increased disorder that leads to garbage-strewn vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and declining property values is troubling, but increased order that leads to refilled buildings, cleaned-up neighborhoods, and rising rents is also troubling. Segregation? Bad. Integration? Bad.

"Hold On To Your Wallets: Light Rail Edition"

I thought light rail was dead in the Triangle. But no . . . .

The N&O today is celebrating because there was a step forward in the process to soak Triangle taxpayers for a wildly inefficient, crony boondoggle: the proposed Durham-Orange light rail. . . .

$2.47 billion cost?  Just last spring, the estimates for the project were $1.6 billion. That’s more than a 50% increase in cost estimates – before the project has even broken ground!


"Is the AER Replicable? And is it Robust? Evidence from a Class Project"

I think having graduate students try to replicate published papers is a simply excellent idea. I tried it with my students a few times with some success.

The profession, as is widely recognized, needs more replications. The graduate students may well get started on research topics that interest them. And the students will probably learn more about the limitations of the much-vaunted "peer review" than most journalists seem to know.

"Who is winning with the fiduciary rule?"

Tyler Cowen:

Remember the fiduciary rule, the one that “requires brokers to act in the best interests of savers and went into partial effect in June”?  Who could be opposed to such a thing?  But of course when a regulation sounds so very good, there is usually some other consideration around the corner, perhaps involving secondary consequences.  And, as some of us had predicted, it is not working out so well.