March 29, 2016

Friedrichs’ 4-4 Split, Is Giving The Poor Choice A Bridge Too Far For Today’s Facebook Social Justice Warriors? Emory Chalking, ACT, SAT, And Native Ed, Catholic School Comeback? Charters, Diddy’s Charter, School Boundaries, Grade Inflation, Volcanoes!

By Bellwether

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As expected ruling just came down, Friedrichs is a 4-4 split (pdf). Stay tuned for new justice…

Kelly Robson and Andy Smarick on a renaissance for Catholic schools:

But over the last decade or so, some corners of Catholic education—a field long wedded to traditional ways—have embraced a series of innovative reforms. New approaches to instruction, governance, and technology, combined with the utilization of burgeoning public-voucher and tax-credit programs, are helping to revitalize the sector. Although much remains true to form, Catholic primary and secondary schooling is also exhibiting more entrepreneurialism and energy than it has in decades while at the same time preserving its commitment to the religious formation of boys and girls.

Yesterday it was Duckworth, today Karin Chenoweth: Please don’t use my work to justify segregated school boundaries.

And it is true that I have spent the last decade of my life documenting that schools with large concentrations of students of color and students from low-income families can achieve at high levels. I have written two books, co-written a third, and written many columns with evidence from actual schools.

But the idea that any high-poverty school is doing well because it has a high concentration of children from low-income families is a big leap of logic. [Bold from original]

Gail Collins and Arthur Brooks discuss education, it’s a little painful:

Gail: Obviously there are some good charter schools. As long as they operate within the regular school system and don’t get any advantage in public funding, I don’t have any problem with them — even though I do think a lot of the success stories are due to the fact that the students tend to have motivated parents. Some disadvantaged kids get a big boost and succeed; those who don’t do so well often get nudged out the door.

But my real concern is the charters run by for-profit companies. The whole idea of mixing profit and public education is terrible.

Obviously, she hasn’t heard,  two things can be true at once! Yes, there is some informal and formal skimming that happens (and charter leaders and policymakers should address) but charters are also getting impressive results despite that. There’s, you know, research! And the success isn’t random, there are a few – very politically inconvenient – things the top performing ones do when it comes to governance and management. That’s old news though and at this point a political problem not a substantive one, except apparently in Manhattan. On the for-profit issue, it’s a small fraction of charters, many charter leaders are concerned about them, I have my reservations, but the fact is we mix public interest and private good all the time – with mixed results — inside the education sector and around the public sector more generally. Not as simple as you may have heard!

Jim Ryan, ed school dean at Harvard, on the tension in progressive circles around education – ‘I care about social mobility and inequality but school choice? No way, I’d get thrown off the mom’s list!’

But notice that most debates about choice are really only about limiting or expanding the choices of poorer families.  No one is suggesting that we outlaw private schools or tell people where they can and cannot live.  (Can you imagine the latter?  Or even the former?)  Which means that, regardless of the outcome of myriad debates about expanding or contracting formal school choice plans, families who can choose where to live or who can afford private schools will always have school choice.  When these families choose to leave a school or a district, or to never enter into one in the first place, they too are depriving the school and district of resources.  But no one is forcing, or even really asking, them to stay in particular schools or districts that they dislike in order to make those schools or districts better for everyone else.

The only group currently asked to shoulder this burden are poorer families who, absent a school choice plan, have no options.  Why we would single out this group, and this group alone, is hard for me to understand.  Which is why, again, to me, the key question in school choice debates is simple:  Are you comfortable denying school choice solely to poorer families? [Bold from original]

Emory chalking is still going. Glenn Reynolds wants more Winklevoss but ignores that Larry Summer’s ideas of what the academy should be cost him his job! College presidents don’t get those jobs by being stupid about the politics. Connor Friedersdorf gets at the nub of why this is all ultimately counterproductive to its avowed goals:

Already, other damage has been done. Earlier this week, I noted that a black student at UC Davis suffered a hate crime near campus. Three men were later arrested for the assault. Previously, I’ve highlighted the horrifying affects of NYPD spying on innocent Muslim students and the UC Berkeley riot police that turned batons on students. There is sometimes good reason for college students to be concerned about their physical safety on campus, and there are incidents of racism that do not threaten physical safety but are nevertheless abhorrent and understandably upsetting. When students react like this to the mere appearance of the name of a leading candidate in the middle of a presidential-election year, treating the most commonplace political advocacy as if it makes them unsafe, they create perverse incentives for invoking victimhood and deflate the currency of claimed trauma and offense.

The Cav Daily editors at UVA make the same point. I’d add that more immediately when everyone is talking about the food at Oberlin or Trump written in chalk at Emory they’re not talking about these more serious issues…

Marilyn Rhames on charters and discipline.  Asia College Board security problems. ACT looks at college readiness for Native American students (pdf). College grade inflation is probably worse than you thought. Three new education ideas from the Hamilton Project. Diddy’s charter opening in NYC.

Sturgill Simpson covers Nirvana. Crowdfunding meets science. Alaska volcano.

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