"Don’t eat the marshmallow: Students from a ‘no excuses’ charter grow up to tell the tale"

A story every advocate and opponent of charter schools should read. It beautifully makes the point that charters aren't for everybody: there will be students who don't like them, teachers who don't fit, and charters that don't succeed.  

But for the students who a charter is right for, the results can be glorious. 

I maintain that charters are not solely about test scores or college acceptance. They are about choice. Why shouldn't parents/guardians have the choice to send their children to a charter school?

Link courtesy of my older daughter.


"Asset Backward: State pension funds keep increasing risky investments—as pension debt mounts."

At the risk of being monomaniacal here is yet another link to a discussion of government pensions. (It may be the last one for a while; I'll try.) And call me a crazy pessimist, but I don't think this ends well:

Since 2001, the study found, most government pension funds have boosted their share of investments in riskier financial vehicles, from volatile stocks to real estate. During this period, pension funds achieved median annualized returns of just 6.4 percent, well below the goal of 7.5 percent to 8 percent returns. Only one pension system has met its investing goals since 2001. No wonder, then, that the indebtedness of state systems increased from $33 billion to a staggering $1.5 trillion.

It's not a big deal, but Andrew Yang's "contest" is overstated

How many stories are out there about how Andrew Yang's $1000/month Freedom Dividend is going to have ten winners? Here's one: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/us/politics/andrew-yang-debate-payments.html?searchResultPosition=3.
But here's the "prize description" in the contest rules on Mr. Yang's campaign site: 
"PRIZE DESCRIPTION: One (1) winner will receive one thousand dollars ($1000) per month for twelve (12) months.

"The total approximate retail value of the Prize is $12,000, and the provision of the Prize by Sponsor will comply with federal election law."


(I note in passing that the contest rules state that 10 "potential winners" will be identified. Call me cynical, but the specifcation of how the ten winners will be narrowed down to one single winner leaves plenty of wiggle room to allow a suitably impoverished and grateful person to be the winner. It wouldn't do to have a millionaire win, now would it?)

Would a Republican candidate get away with this? No need to reply; I know the answer.

"Big Labor’s Minimum-Wage Remorse"

You just can't make this stuff up:

Big Labor has had big success getting politicians to raise the minimum wage, despite warnings that it could lead to more automation. Well, what do you know, now the Oregon AFL-CIO wants voters to limit self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores. . . .

The draft initiative claims “grocery stores provide many people with their primary place of social connection and sense of community,” but self-service checkouts add “to social isolation and related negative health consequences” for shoppers. It claims the kiosks “contribute to retail workers feeling devalued” and heighten the risk of everything from shoplifting to underage drinking. Oh, and self-checkout stations also intensify “efficiency pressures on workers.”

"Surprised by CTU’s Venezuela visit? Then you haven’t been paying attention."

One reason why K-12 education doesn't function as well as it should:

Four representatives of the Chicago Teachers Union, including a member of its executive board, visited Venezuela in July and returned with high praise for the socialist polices of President Nicolás Maduro, whose corrupt and dictatorial regime has sparked rebuke from some 50 nations around the world.

"End Student Evaluations of Professors"

Two excellent paragraphs:

Getting good teaching evaluations is not difficult. Teaching well is a complicated enterprise involving professorial expertise (students cannot measure this), articulation (students cannot measure this), judgment (students cannot measure this), the ability to measure what students apprehend (students cannot measure this), and fairness (only a minority of students can measure this).

Students can assess how much they enjoy classes in the near term; they cannot assess how much a class will mean to them in five, 10, or more years. How often I have heard university alumni declaim on how much a professor they had in years past meant to them without their realizing it at the time.