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It has gotten to the point that, were I not literally writing about movies for money, I would never go to theaters anymore. Why would I go watch a muddy picture on a screen showing a dimmed image surrounded by grayish-letterboxed rectangles when I can stay at home in the darkness of my basement and watch a movie in the appropriate brightness on my 60-inch HD plasma a few months after its initial theatrical release? A Blu-ray is often cheaper than a theater ticket anyway, radically so once concessions are taken into account. To say nothing of the price differential for an On Demand rental. If you don’t need to see something upon its initial release, why would you even bother going to theaters?

No wonder AMC stock is down radically. If exhibitors can’t be bothered to exhibit films properly, what, exactly, is their raison d’etre?

So a terrible product, made by people who viscerally loathe middle America, terribly displayed by theater owners who don’t give a damn about their customers. Heckuva job all around, fellas.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Silicon Valley Courts Brand-Name Teachers, Raising Ethics Issues. “Ms. Delzer is a member of a growing tribe of teacher influencers, many of whom promote classroom technology. They attract notice through their blogs, social media accounts and conference talks. And they are cultivated not only by start-ups like Seesaw, but by giants like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, to influence which tools are used to teach American schoolchildren.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Maps show what Harvey’s impact would look like in other U.S. states.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: The Quiet Exodus From Mass Schooling.

If only there had been some sort of warning.

DISPATCHES FROM THE K-12 IMPLOSION. New York City’s school buses are hell on wheels:

Nearly 1,000 city school-bus drivers and escorts were suspended or fired for misbehavior in 2015 — an alarming number that has skyrocketed in recent years, records show.

One driver was seen dropping his pants outside a school, twice in one day. Another urinated in a bottle on a bus with a child aboard because he had a “bladder and bowel condition.”

One carried Coors Light; another reeked of pot. One denied dozing off at the wheel, but was caught on video by frightened attendants.

The city Department of Education listed 760 disciplined drivers and 185 errant escorts. The vast majority were removed without pay for a few days to six months — but then allowed to return.

Read the whole, depressing, thing. Why are Democrat-monopoly cities such cesspits of institutional neglect?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Grade Inflation Is Even Worse Than We Thought:

American high schools are giving out higher and higher grades even as real academic ability stagnates. . . .

The erosion of intellectual standards is worse at the elite level: “the upward creep is most pronounced in schools with large numbers of white, wealthy students. And its especially noticeable in private schools, where the rate of inflation was about three times higher than in public schools.” This is probably explained at least partly by the attitudes of overbearing parents whose children are in the Ivy League rat race: Giving out anything less than an A is likely to lead to email protestations and parent-teacher conferences with mom and dad.

It’s also significant that even as high school grades become less and less meaningful, pressure is building in the educational establishment to de-emphasize or dumb down alternate measures of achievement, like the SAT, which are supposedly unfair to the poor and disadvantaged, and class rankings, which create too much rancor and competition. In the long run, though, this will only help boost the fortunes of elite students even further.

It’s almost as if that’s the plan.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Seventh grader, far ahead of her class, punished for taking too many courses.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Married superintendents indicted in child rape case. “A married couple, both Ohio school superintendents, have been indicted on charges stemming from sexual assault allegations involving a girl under age 13.”

Why are public schools such cesspits of sexual abuse?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: No Students Are Proficient in Math And English At Six Baltimore City Schools.

Six schools in Baltimore have exactly zero students who are proficient in math and English.

WBFF reports Project Baltimore led an investigation and discovered five Baltimore City high schools, along with one middle school, do not have any students who scored high enough to be deemed “proficient” in math and English on state testing.

The schools that did not have a single proficient student are Booker T. Washington Middle School, Frederick Douglass High School, Achievement Academy at Harbor City, New Era Academy, Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High, and New Hope Academy. . . .

WBFF notes Baltimore City Schools spends $16,000 per student per year, making it the fourth highest spending district in the country per student.

The solution obviously involves more funding.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 6 Baltimore schools, no students proficient in state tests.

None, zero.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: After-school staff allegedly locked boy inside ‘torture’ compartment. “A 6-year-old boy was repeatedly jammed into a dark hole in a closet ceiling by sadistic staffers at an after-school program inside a city school, The Post has learned. After being hoisted by the crotch and lifted headfirst into the pitch-black compartment as a form of punishment, the terrified kindergartner would be locked — ‘kicking, screaming and crying’ — inside the tiny classroom closet for ‘God knows how long,’ his mother Porsche Gaddy told The Post.”

K-12 HAS CHOSEN SIDES: High School Takes Back Yearbooks with Trump Quotes.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Everyone graduates? It’s ‘just a fantasy.’

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 5-Year-Old Suspended from School for Pretending a Stick Was a Gun.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Public high-school principal accused of keeping Catholic-school kids off admission list.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Foreign Students Say U.S. High School Classes Are Absurdly Easy.

When the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy surveyed foreign exchange students studying in the U.S. in 2001, it found that they thought that American education was a cake walk compared to secondary education in their home countries. And when it conducted the survey again in 2016, it found that exchange students thought that U.S. education was even less challenging than before. . . .

Foreign exchange students’ perceptions of U.S. education clearly depends on their own educational background and their school placement. Students placed in underperforming Chicago schools, for example, are more likely to say that U.S. education is easier compared with foreign students placed at top-tier high schools in upper-middle class university towns.

The study doesn’t offer details about these alternative variables that might offer a more granular account of where U.S. schools are succeeding and failing; nonetheless, the overall picture—that teenagers from abroad overwhelmingly think that American schools demand less of them than schools in their home countries—is not exactly a ringing endorsement of this country’s educational establishment.

Well, our educational establishment — like most of our establishments these days, really — sucks.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Stanford researchers show we’re sending many children to school way too early.

Parents wondering whether to wait a year to send their kids to kindergarten, take note: A new study from Stanford University shows that Danish kids who postponed kindergarten for up to one year showed dramatically higher levels of self-control.

“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11,” Thomas Dee, one of the co-authors and a Stanford Graduate School of Education professor, said in a release.

Dee did his research with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research, who told Quartz that the impact was strong and lasted a long time: “We were a bit surprised at how persistent the effect was.” The effect of delaying school on hyperactivity and inattention didn’t diminish over time, as they expected, but increased: in fact, waiting one year virtually eliminated the chance that an average kid at age 11 would have higher-than-normal scores on those measures.

Start kids later, start school later in the morning. . . . .

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: How Do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Peter Gray has studied how learning happens without any academic requirements at a democratic school. The Boston College research professor also wrote about the long history and benefits of age-mixed, self-directed education in his book Free to Learn. Over the years, as he encountered more and more families who had adopted this approach at home (these so-called “unschoolers” are estimated to represent about 10 percent of the more than two million homeschooled children), he began to wonder about its outcomes in that setting. Finding no academic studies that adequately answered his question, he decided to conduct his own.

In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education. The respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their unschooling experience, saying it improved their children’s general well-being as well as their learning, and also enhanced family harmony. Their challenges primarily stemmed from feeling a need to defend their practices to family and friends, and overcoming their own deeply ingrained ways of thinking about education. (The results are discussed at length here.)

This led Gray to wonder how unschooled children themselves felt about the experience, and what impact it may have had on their ability to pursue higher education and find gainful and satisfying employment. . . .

Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges.

Several themes emerged: Getting into college was typically a fairly smooth process for this group; they adjusted to the academics fairly easily, quickly picking up skills such as class note-taking or essay composition; and most felt at a distinct advantage due to their high self-motivation and capacity for self-direction. “The most frequent complaints,” Gray notes on his blog, “were about the lack of motivation and intellectual curiosity among their college classmates, the constricted social life of college, and, in a few cases, constraints imposed by the curriculum or grading system.”

Most of those who went on to college did so without either a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED), and without taking the SAT or ACT. Several credited interviews and portfolios for their acceptance to college, but by far the most common route to a four-year college was to start at a community college (typically begun at age 16, but sometimes even younger).

The takeaway here is that people who didn’t go to school at all did as well as or better than people who did. Considering the huge amounts of money, and other social resources, that we invest in K-12 education, that’s kind of a big deal. Of course, you’d want to do a bigger study before taking this too seriously on a policy level, but it ought to spark at least a bit of rethinking.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but Their Schools Probably Won’t).

News flash: Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they’re in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt–maybe getting upset–and getting right back into the physical action.

Except at school, where they’re required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess–and thus they sit still longer.)

It’s not just an American issue. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland recently tried to document whether boys actually achieve less in school when they’re restricted from running around and being physically active.

They studied 153 kids, aged 6 to 8, and tracked how much physical activity and sedentary time they had during the day. Sure enough, according to a report by Belinda Luscombe in Time, the less “moderate to vigorous physical activity” the boys had each day, the harder it was for them to develop good reading skills.

But schools don’t care about raising successful boys. It’s all about grrl power now.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Why heroin and classroom sex aren’t enough to get teachers fired anymore.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Why should elite universities get more taxpayer support than regional public colleges?

Public institutions frequently go begging because they are supported by a combination of steadily rising tuition and declining tax revenue. And state legislatures must publicly balance the share of tax revenue allocated to these colleges against competing budget demands, such as highways, health care and public K-12 education.

In contrast, taxpayers, for the most part, unknowingly support private institutions primarily through tax deductions and exemptions. For example, gifts to university endowments are tax deductible and the earnings on these endowments are exempt from taxation, as are the endowments themselves. For elite private institutions, those with endowments in the billions of dollars, the size of these tax breaks can dwarf the direct subsidies that taxpayers send to public institutions.

These tax breaks are rarely debated because they are hidden in the tax code. Meanwhile affluent private universities, claiming their importance to the realization of the American dream, do everything in their power to silence any questioning of their right to enrich themselves through favorable tax treatment. However, it is important to remember that these tax breaks are not divinely ordained.

No, they’re not. Plus: “Few students attend these elite private schools. In contrast, the vast majority of American students enrolled in four year schools attend regional state universities. These unassuming institutions are the workhorses of American higher education. Yet compared to the level of taxpayer subsidies received by their rich private brethren, these regional campuses are grossly disadvantaged.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Texas Pre-School Teacher Suspended After Call to ‘Kill Some Jews’ on Social Media.

Anti-Semitic remarks made online by Nancy Salem, a teacher for 2 year-olds at the the Children’s Courtyard in South Arlington, Texas, resurfaced after a secretive campus watchdog group, Canary Mission, exposed her together with other 23 anti-Israel activists at the University of Texas. She’s is now subject to a pending investigation by the pre-school and is suspended from teaching, according to The Algemeiner.

On her now-deleted Twitter account, Salem made numerous derogatory comments about the Jewish people, including replying to a question “How many Jews died in the Holocaust?” with “Not enough…HAHAHAHA.”

In another tweet, she openly suggested murdering Jewish people: “Have a safe trip Lulu. I love you baby girl! See you in 3 weeks! Kiss the Palestine ground for me and kill some jews!”


K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 11-Year-Old Docked Points for Not Bashing Trump.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teacher Melts Down in Front of Class, Walks Out—Then Tries to Get Job Back.

AND: Chicago High School Pushes Left-Wing Racist Seminar Despite Parents’ Concerns.

Parents need to remember their position in big city public education, which is to pay their taxes and shut up.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: DeVos Physically Blocked by Protesters From Entering DC School.

Everything old is new again! What is it with Democrats always blocking access to the schoolhouse door?

UPDATE: DC Police tweet that an “Adult male [was] arrested for assaulting a police officer. Report that [Betsy DeVos] was assaulted is under investigation.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Rochester School District to Hold ‘Black Lives Matter’ Day.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Caught on Tape: VA Teacher’s Political Rant.

SO LET’S ABOLISH IT: Why Do We Have a Department of Education? Jimmy Carter’s Debt to a Teachers Union. Public education existed well before 1980, but an unpopular President Carter wanted the nation’s largest union on his side before an election.

I say abolish it, but not until it’s had a year or two to ram through reforms on higher ed and K-12.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: The Kids Can’t Write (or Reason). “Nearly 500 people — all college graduates — applied for a communications job at Marc Tucker’s organization. Candidates were asked to write a one-page summary of a report published last year. ‘Only one could produce a satisfactory summary,’ writes Tucker.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Paper Airplane Toss Could Land SC High School Student In Jail.

The South Strand News reports that the student, 17-year-old David Michael Elliott, was arrested January 10 by Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office deputies and charged with third degree assault and battery. The teacher, Edward McIver, told deputies he had been struck in the eye by the errant paper airplane.

According to the incident report, McIver contacted the school resource officer to report he had been hit in the eye. He was “very upset” about the incident because he had recently had ocular surgery. The teacher said this was not the first incident with Elliott in the classroom, and “something needs to be done.” Deputy Paul Glover asked if McIver wanted to press charges. The teacher said if Elliot was in fact responsible, he did.

The resource officer then met with Elliott, who admitted to throwing the airplane, and said he had intended to hit McIver in the head, but not the eye. Elliot could not give a “logical reason” for throwing the airplane, and he was cited by resource officer Glover for third degree assault and battery.

My seventh-grade English teacher, facing the blackboard, somehow caught one of my classmates launching a spitwad. We learned this when he took the chalk eraser he was holding and beaned my classmate with it.

We had only the one instance of anything like that, and zero police.

SCOTT SHACKFORD: Hey Progressives: You Can Fight DeVos, but You Can’t Stop School Choice: Ignoring this populist movement does not help the left with families.

It’s telling that a lot of criticism of Betsy DeVos as Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Education are about things like the fact that she didn’t send her children to public schools and that she’s not terribly familiar with the vast federal legal bureaucracy overseeing public education.

These are critiques that come also entirely from those who are embedded within the entrenched public education system and who have a stake in maintaining and expanding the status quo. Some senators seem aghast at the idea that DeVos was unfamiliar with all sorts of federal laws about how local schools are required to behave in order to receive federal funding.

But this just puts DeVos on the same footing as everybody outside the education system who have to interact with it and feel little control. While there are indeed parents who are familiar with these federal regulations because they have kids with special needs, this approach on DeVos feels very much like an attempt to keep the Department of Education under the control of insiders.

In reality, many, many parents want to make the same choices for their children as DeVos did, and it has nothing to do with them being rich or overly Christian. School unions and the politicians they bankroll may be able to stop DeVos’ nomination, but they can’t stop the growth of school choice and what it means, because parents love it.

And we’ve got the numbers to show it. The Reason Foundation’s report on school choice and privatization for 2016 shows yet another major increase in the number of families sending their kids into charter school programs.

Progressives depend on teachers’ unions, and giving parents choice will speed up the K-12 Implosion.

SCENES FROM SCOTT WALKER’S WISCONSIN: Wisconsin’s budget picture gets $714 million brighter.

Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang reported tax revenues are expected to be $455 million higher than what the Department of Administration projected in November. Also, spending in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is expected to be $226 million lower — largely due to lower-than-expected Medicaid enrollment — and other revenues are expected to be $33 million higher.

That turns what was thought to be a $693 million deficit for the upcoming budget into a $21 million surplus, including all departmental budget requests.

It also adds more cushion to the state’s bottom line as it closes out the 2015-2017 budget cycle. Previously the net balance was about $40 million. The latest estimate has the state closing out the year with a $362.2 million ending balance.

The additional revenue helps explain why Gov. Scott Walker has been able to promise several additional spending proposals in his upcoming 2017-2019 budget proposal, such as a “significant increase” for K-12 schools, a University of Wisconsin tuition cut back-filled with state taxpayer dollars and $100 million more for local roads and rural broadband.

Wisconsin Democrats, to borrow a phrase, should be thanking him.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Fourth graders in Michigan banned from watching Trump inauguration speech.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teachers Protest “Discipline Reform.”

Under pressure to reduce racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions, schools are turning to “restorative justice” programs that encourage offenders to discuss their actions and make amends.

Earlier this year, Indianapolis and New York City teachers complained about poorly implemented “restorative justice” programs, reported Emmanuel Felton in Ed Week. Now, teachers in Fresno and Des Moines are saying new discipline policies are making it harder to teach.

“As Fresno Unified officials were praising McLane High School’s restorative justice program” at a conference, “teachers at the school were circulating a petition that says those same strategies have led to an unsafe campus plagued with fights and disruptions,” reports the Fresno Bee.

You don’t have these problems when you homeschool.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Maryland School District Employee Fired for Correcting Student’s Spelling.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Mediocrity Lobby Angry Because Grades for Schools Expose Their Incompetence. “When do we begin to talk about the fact that poor and minority children are not held down half so much by mean rich people as by glad-handing mediocrats who earn their livings off the bones of failed childhoods?”

Preach it.

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN: President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary has had a key role with her husband in creating a public charter school in western Michigan.

The nonprofit charter school has grown from 80 students in rundown office space at Gerald R. Ford International Airport to its own building with 600 students from seven counties. Some kids ride three public buses to get to the suburban airport. One teen stays with friends in the Grand Rapids area and commutes 150 miles to home on weekends. A public lottery is held each spring if applications exceed openings.

The school seems to fit Betsy DeVos’ philosophy about education and what she’s pledging to promote in Washington.

If Washington must have a role in K-12 education, it should be in reinforcing successes like West Michigan Aviation Academy.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Officials could lower bar for passing new NY teacher exam.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems.

MITT ROMNEY: Trump Has Made A Smart Choice For Education Secretary. “In 1970, it cost $56,903 to educate a child from K-12. By 2010, adjusting for inflation, we had raised that spending to $164,426 — almost three times as much. Further, the number of people employed in our schools had nearly doubled. But despite the enormous investment, the performance of our kids has shown virtually no improvement. The establishment predictably calls for more spending and smaller classrooms — in other words, more teachers and more pay. But more of the same is demonstrably not the answer.” Public schools nowadays are primarily Democratic Party vote farms maintained with taxpayer money. Any actual education that goes on there is purely secondary.

YES: Bureaucratic Bloat is Eating Away at the American Education System.

Americans have been spending more and more on education—both K-12 and higher ed—over the last several decades, but those investments seem to be delivering ever-more measly returns. Over at Brookings, Jonathan Rothwell offers some grim statistics on “the declining productivity of education,” focusing specifically on one source of the decay: bureaucratic bloat, or the steadily increasing share of education expenditures that flow to managers and administrators. . . .

Rothwell’s post helps illustrate the exhaustion of mainstream policy thinking in the West on both sides of the political divide. The Boomer progressive formula of more spending and more borrowing and more subsidies has done more to nourish rapacious and growing bureaucracies than improve educational outcomes or skill acquisition for disadvantaged students.
And while conservative state and local policymakers have the right instinct about the risks of administrative bloat, few have offered a workable program for actually restructuring and rebuilding these institutions while excising the crud that has accumulated over the years, offering instead indiscriminate cuts and starve-the-beast orthodoxy.

One reason voters delivered such a stunning repudiation of the establishment last month is that elites have stopped offering bold or creative thinking—allowing themselves instead to become complacent in the face of mediocrity and decline—and voters sensed this. Now is the time to turn things around.

Someone should write a book on this.



Well, when you wonder why people aren’t talking about things that you’re really upset about, maybe it’s because they don’t find them upsetting.

I don’t think that any of Trump’s appointments are “disastrous.” Sessions as AG wouldn’t be my first choice (that would probably be Randy Barnett, which is why I’m not the President-Elect) but for Trump he’s an excellent pick and will do what Trump wants — and do it more honestly than Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch, not that that’s setting the bar very high.

Likewise, I’d have preferred John Allison as Treasury Secretary over Steve Mnuchin. But is Mnuchin “disastrous?”

DeVos as Education Secretary, again, not my first choice — I’d prefer someone who was more focused on higher-ed reform, but that’s just my hobbyhorse — but a fine pick with a strong focus on K-12 reform, which to be honest, hobbyhorse aside, probably needs it more. Who else is “disastrous?” Elaine Chao? Please.

As for “Twitter meltdowns,” where have you been for the past two years? This is what Trump does, and it neither hurts him nor forecasts what he’s actually going to do. You’re being trolled and it’s working. Trump has basically lured Democrats (and a few #NeverTrump Republicans) into defending flag-burning, and reminded people of Hillary’s position in 2005. Sure, the idea is dumb and unconstitutional (as I said yesterday), but it’s a tweet, not a piece of legislation. And it also brings attention to the fact that the Dems haven’t been exactly friendly to people’s First Amendment rights on issues they care about. Now they have to publicly argue that you should go to jail for not baking a gay wedding cake, but not for burning a flag. To the surprise of many Democrats, this turns out not to be the popular position.

So who, exactly, is crazy here?

So there you are. And whatever you do, don’t feed me after midnight.


K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Student Suspended For Extra Chicken Nugget. But there’s a happy ending:

Justice has been served for a Farragut High School student after his suspension for buying an extra chicken nugget in the lunch line was overturned.

Carson Koller received the one-day suspension on Monday for buying the extra nugget.

Koller — a senior, Eagle Scout and the captain of the band’s drum line — was suspended for theft of property after he took six chicken nuggets from the lunch line instead of the usual five, to his mother’s outrage.

“How is it theft if he paid for it?” Koller’s mother, Carrie Koller Waller, wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s food. FOOD!!! Not weapons. Not drugs. Not alcohol. Not cheating on a test. … I am shaking my head over this and not sure what to do. Laugh, punish, argue, dress him up as a nugget bandit, or let it go.”

The suspension was rescinded on Tuesday morning after Waller sent a letter to several school administrators and spoke to Farragut Principal Ryan Siebe on the phone.

But who thought suspending someone over a chicken nugget was a good idea to begin with?

GOOD: Washington State Senator Stands Up For Student Due Process.

Colleges and universities seem too quick to want to expel accused students rather than assess the facts and understand that they might not be dealing with incorrigible criminals but rather students who can be saved.

Washington state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, seems to understand this. At a press conference about Barber, Baumgartner criticized WSU for the lack of due process afforded to the student athlete before he was expelled.

“This situation is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to have any students expelled — not just Robert Barber, but any students — with a lack of due process,” Baumgartner said during the event. “WSU’s student conduct board is broken and it has been broken. It lacks the basic tenets of due process, and it’s different from other universities in the state, which are better, and it needs to get fixed and the people of Washington state are going to get it fixed.”

Baumgartner brought up a state bill that banned expulsions and suspensions among students in K-12. Baumgartner said this bill was passed because most of the punishments were affecting minority students. Instead of working with the students, schools were just ending their education and sending them to the streets.

“When you keep someone from getting an education, it’s a great cost to taxpayers,” Baumgartner said. “Higher education should fall on the same lines. It is tremendously costly to all of us to have people like Robert Barber not allowed to graduate from school.”

Baumgartner said that if WSU doesn’t reverse Barber’s suspension, he would hire the student athlete in his Senate office to work on constituent relations and, as a slap in the face to WSU, the overseer of financial requests from universities like WSU.


WHY ARE DEMOCRAT MONOPOLY INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF RACIST HATE SPEECH? “Roberto Orci, a producer for ‘Star Trek,’ says he has a special bond with one of the franchise’s most popular characters. Orci, a Mexican-born filmmaker, likens Mr. Spock to an illegal* alien in modern society, and would refer to the fictional character as ‘Mr. Spic’ when developing the ‘Star Trek’ movies and TV series. ‘I always thought of Mr. Spock as a Latino, he’s an alien, an immigrant,’ the Latino producer said at Variety’s #Inclusion Summit on Tuesday. ‘Just between us, and only I can say this, I personally used to call him Mr. Spic.’”

As with the country itself, the Hollywood institution that Gene Rodenberry built a half century ago is in the very best of hands.

* I don’t recall the backstory where Spock entered the Federation illegally, do you?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: What Politicians Mean When They Ask for More Education Spending.

Per-student spending on K-12 education has risen steadily over the last two decades, but student test scores, and teacher salaries, are stagnant. Why hasn’t this massive increase in investment produced better teachers and better opportunity for students? The short-answer, according to a new Manhattan Institute report by Josh McGee: State and local governments have catastrophically mismanaged their teacher pension systems. The cash infusion to K-12 has been used largely to pay for irresponsible pension promises politicians made to teachers’ unions and justified to the public with shoddy accounting. . . .

In other words, to cover benefits for retirees, states need to dig into education funds that might otherwise be used to attract and retain good teachers or buy better textbooks and build new facilities. So long as state governments are unwilling to reform the blue model pension-for-life civil service system, and so long as teachers unions continue to wield outsized influence in so many state legislatures, this pattern seems likely to continue indefinitely.

Campaigns to increase spending on schools are always popular, and understandably so: Education ought to be a great equalizing force in our society and, in theory, an efficient way to invest in the future. The problem is that in many states, new “K-12 spending” isn’t really an investment so much as a transfer payment to retired employees of the public schools who have been promised untenable lifetime pension benefits.

Well, you can generally figure out which policy elites will favor based on what’s more conducive to graft.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: The Children Have Been Left Behind.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ “Nation’s Report Card” program, private and parochial schools have routinely outpaced public schools in math and reading assessments. But the absence of voucher programs puts this education out of the reach of many underprivileged and minority students, who are most in need of better educational opportunities. Charter and magnet schools are often a more realistic option, with an added layer of accountability as staff are easier to replace and there are real consequences for the school administration if they fail to produce results.

But private schools require tuition, and charter schools have such high demand that they select their students through interview processes and lotteries. This results in these higher-quality educational opportunities drawing away students who are already performing well, leaving poor & underperforming students — the ones most in need of an alternate education method — in the lurch.

Read the whole thing.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Chicago Schools Plunge Further Into the Abyss.

The weight of decades of unfunded pension promises made to Chicago’s teachers’ unions is coming crashing down on the city’s public schools, which are subsisting on junk-bond debt even as students flee the district. . . .

While blue model decay is more advanced in Chicago than any other American city, the problems underlying the crisis in the school district—recalcitrant public sector unions, pliant lawmakers, fiscal incompetence, and an acute drought of ideas—are weighing on municipal governments from coast to coast.

In the short run, we are likely to see more pension-induced crises of governance in big blue cities and states. In the long run, this dynamic has the potential to create tectonic political shifts. Democrats in places like Chicago have historically been able to depend on both the unionized producers of government services (strike-happy teachers unions demanding ever-more generous pension contributions) as well as the people who depend most on high-quality service (the parents of low-income students in Chicago public schools). As the cost of bureaucracy continues to increase and the quality continues to deteriorate, the interests of these two constituencies will increasingly diverge. The Blue Civil War has the potential to scramble our political coalitions in big and unpredictable ways.


K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Lunch Lady Quits, Says School Made Her Shame Poor Kids. Why are lefty-dominated institutions such cesspits of class bias?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 12 year old suspended from school for turning in a knife that wasn’t even his.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Amid Growing Debate About Homework, One School Bans It.

WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION: ACT Scores Drop as More Take Test.

This year, 38 percent of test takers met the benchmarks in at least three of the four subject areas tested (English, math, reading and science), which according to ACT shows that they have “strong readiness for college course work.” That’s down from 40 percent in 2015. The percentage of test takers who did not meet any of the benchmarks increased to 34 percent from 31 percent.

Many educators have worried about the lingering (and in some cases growing) gaps among different racial and ethnic groups on the ACT and also on the SAT (average scores for which won’t be released until next month).

The Wall Street Journal adds:

Sixty-four percent of 2016 high school graduates sat for the standardized test, up from 49% in 2012. The jump comes as more states—including Mississippi, Nevada and South Carolina—require districts to administer the tests, in the hope of increasing students’ awareness of college pathways.

Yet as the pool of test-takers better reflects the population of high-school students across America, and not just a self-selecting group of driven young adults for whom college is an automatic next step, it reveals significant shortcomings in their educational achievement.

Somebody should write a book about the poor performance of our K-12 schools.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Black Families in Georgia Are Rejecting Public School:

During the 1950s and 60s, America’s black families fought a difficult battle to integrate the public schools, hoping to give their children a better education. Because of this hard-won victory, many black parents have been strong supporters of public schools in the subsequent decades.

But that support may be changing.

According to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, an increasing number of black families are leaving public schools for the same reason they once embraced them, and are instead gravitating to homeschooling.

Quoting a former public-school-teacher-turned-homeschool-mom named Nikita Bush, The Monitor explains this movement:

“Despite the promises of the civil rights movement, ‘people are starting to realize that public education in America was designed for the masses of poor, and its intent has been to trap poor people into being workers and servants. If you don’t want that for your children, then you look for something else,’ she says.” . . .

What’s clear is that parents – even traditional public school supporters – are growing tired of their children coming out of the system with subpar educations.

Is it possible that homeschooling – and the higher academic achievement which seems to accompany it – might be more accessible to more families if other states adopted Georgia’s model and enabled parents to band together and lead their children to success and a bright future?

Why yes, yes it is.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Court rules for middle school, officer in teen’s burp arrest.

WHEN THE EDUCATION APPARAT IS JUST A POLITICAL ARM OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET: Washington state schools seek to create safe spaces from Donald Trump.

Officials at Washington state’s K-12 schools received an email last month suggesting they create “safe places” for their students because of 2016 political rhetoric, specifically from presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

The email, sent June 16 from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, opened with a mention of the “Trump Effect” and a link to the “phenomenon.”

“Regardless of one’s politics, the impact of this year’s political rhetoric on K12 schools is huge,” the email, which was provided to the Washington Examiner, said. “It has produced increasing levels of fear and anxiety among students of all ages.”

The email goes on to claim that “Fear levels are becoming especially high among ethnic, racial and linguistic minority and LGBTQ youth.”

The email insists that “Perception is reality.”

Regardless of one’s politics.
That’s rich.

DISPARATE IMPACT: School Discipline Hits Boys Hardest:

Most of our public discourse on gender and education is focused on the way girls are given the short shrift—by being shepherded into non-STEM fields, for example, or by getting passed over in class discussions, or by facing disproportionate harassment and bullying. And while all of these may be real problems, it’s important to remember that classroom inequalities don’t just flow in one direction. The latest example: A new study finds that school disciplinary procedures have a lasting negative impact on boys’ educational prospects that they don’t seem to have on girls. . . .

Commentators like Christina Hoff Sommers have long pointed out that school disciplinary procedures, including discouragement of competitive or rough-and-tumble play, have an unhealthy impact on young boys. (And boys of color are more likely to be disciplined). It’s good to see this problem starting to get attention in the mainstream academic literature.

The overwhelming female-leaning gender disparity in K-12 education is part of the problem. We need civil rights legislation to address this problem.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: New York Teachers union would rather cover up abuse than protect our kids.

EVERYTHING OBAMA TOUCHES: ‘Beating the odds’ model was college dropout.

At the State of the Union address in 2015, Anthony Mendez — the homeless kid who’d made it to college — sat next to Michelle Obama. He was the “poster child” for “beating the odds,” writes Mendez in a painfully honest essay in Vox. A few months later, he flunked out of college.

He’d failed every course in his first semester at the University of Hartford, but got a second chance because of the White House attention, Mendez writes. Despite added support, he couldn’t handle the academics. At the end of the year, he was out. . . .

Mendez is now a full-time student at LaGuardia Community College while working almost 40 hours per week at a coffee shop.

Mendez has plenty of grit. What he lacked was preparation for college-level academics.

Well, that’s part of the K-12 Implosion.

THE NEOCOMS AND THE SOULS  OF OUR CHILDREN: “I’m talking about Neocommunists…the former neocons who’ll now vote for Hillary Clinton, or whomever the Democrat nominee might be. Even Bernie Sanders, the man who brought his wife Jane to honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988. The Neocoms tell us they are fighting for the soul of our country. But the Democrats are more specific. They are fighting for the souls of our children.”

Read the whole thing.

Related: Will California’s Leftist K-12 Curriculum Go National?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: The Tragic Mismanagement of Chicago’s Public Schools.

Chicago’s public school system is on the verge of facing financial insolvency, and it’s not because selfish taxpayers have been starving it of revenue—both the Windy City and the state of Illinois have significantly higher than average tax rates. Much of the school district’s acute fiscal distress can be chalked up to mismanagement, plain and simple—short-sighted decisions by blinkered public officials who chose to mortgage the school system’s future against pension benefits for current retirees. Crain’s Chicago Business reports that CPS is finally drowning under the weight of interest on debt it has accumulated over the last decade. . . .

This kind of financial mismanagement is not unique to Chicago—a recent study found that debt accumulated by teacher pension funds is costing teachers nearly $7,000 per year in salary—but it appears to be especially acute there. If state legislators and district superintendents had managed their resources with an eye to the future, they would have tens of thousands of dollars more to hire better teachers, experiment with new educational programs, and otherwise invest in the well-being of their students. Instead, they have saddled themselves with debt that will be virtually impossible to pay off without severe cutbacks to the city’s underperforming schools.

All is proceeding as I have foretold.


Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: The Self-Sabotage Of The Teachers’ Unions.

What is the biggest obstacle to giving teachers a raise? It’s not, as many Democrats and teachers’ unions suggest, Republican plutocrats looking to cut funding for schools and children. (Per-student spending on K-12 has risen steadily over the last two decades). The real challenge is one of the unions and their political allies’ own making: The debt accumulated by mismanaged public sector pension funds. . . .

The findings represent a typical example of the way outdated blue model governance all-too-often hurts the people it was designed to protect. State legislatures have over-promised pension benefits, and politicized union-backed investment funds have mismanaged the money they do have. The result is that there aren’t enough funds set aside to cover the pensions guaranteed to retired teachers, so states need to dig deep into younger teachers’ pay to cover them. If pensions had been accounted for accurately and managed competently all along, teachers could be making an average of 15 percent more money today.
Meanwhile, teachers’ unions are resistant to any kind of reform that would change the way teachers save for retirement. This means that teachers’ wages will stay low (discouraging talented young people from entering the profession) to the benefit of those few veteran retired-teachers who can collect generous payouts—at least, until the whole Ponzi scheme goes bust.

Needless to say, the current system does not serve the public interest.

To be fair, it was never actually meant to, except in passing. And, yeah, all is proceeding as I have foretold.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 7-Year-Old Writes Excuse Note, Goes Home From School.

“I want Rosabella to go too dus (sic) 131 today!” the second-grader wrote on half a sheet of notebook filler paper in large print, addressing the note to the staff person underneath.

Though the girl was supposed to attend an after-school program on Monday, the note she wrote and delivered to the staff herself worked. The staff excused little Rosabella Dahu, she boarded the school bus and went home.

Charlie Dahu, her father, said Sheldon Elementary in Houston has promised him that “disciplinary action” will be taken against the caretakers from the after school program who excused the girl from school on the basis of her ‘parental’ note.

“Obviously they didn’t have proper procedures in place,” Dahu told ABC News. “This is clearly the school’s fault. How a seven-year-old can trick you, it boggles my mind.”

Public education is in the very best of hands.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: French teacher at HISD school doesn’t speak French.

“Have you ever heard him speak a word of French?”

Nathanial White: “Bonjour, but everybody knows that.”

The teacher, Albert Moyer, said in a brief phone interview that the extent of his French education was just one year in high school.

So why was he hired? To replace Jean Cius, a certified French teacher for more than 25 years.

“It makes me extremely mad,” Cius said. “I feel bad for the fact that the kids are not learning.”

Records show after a dispute in December, the school’s principal removed Cius from campus.

But when he was later declared fit for duty, HISD did not give him back his old job, or any teaching job for that matter.

Cius was sent to another HISD campus, where he said he was assigned to monitor the halls.

“I feel so bad for the taxpayers because they’re paying me for not doing anything at all,” he said.

However, Nathanial White’s report card shows H-I-S-D is still using Cius as the teacher of record.

Houston Independent School District’s Energy Institute High School Principal Lori Lambropoulos would seem to have some explaining to do about why a French teacher with 25 years experience and “declared fit for duty” is functioning as a hall monitor, while his replacement sends students to Google because he doesn’t speak any French.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: U.S. high school seniors slip in math and show no improvement in reading. They’ve probably been taught a lot about “social justice,” though.

If only someone had warned us.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: High School Shames Student for Writing Politically Incorrect Essay It Knew Was Satire: Jonathan Swift “A Modest Proposal” assignment goes awry because everything is offensive.

Sending your kid to public school is pretty much parental malpractice these days.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Homeschooled with MIT courses at 5, accepted to MIT at 15.

All is proceeding as I foretold.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: More Chaos at Chicago Public Schools.

This last comment is telling, because it points to a structural problem that is contributing to this dysfunction (Chicago teachers have been threatening strikes regularly for the last several years): namely, that people who live outside of Chicago, and have no voice in how the Chicago schools are run, must be taxed in order to provide the money to run Chicago schools the way the Chicago city government—or, more accurately, the Chicago Teachers Union—thinks they should be run.

A big part of blue state politics is the effort to equalize school spending across districts; rich Illinois suburbs can afford better schools than poor towns and cities, so they are asked to send extra money to Springfield to subsidize underfunded schools in Chicago. And it’s not just Illinois—state Democratic parties across the country are eager to subsidize schools in poor places with money raised in rich ones. (Incidentally, this may be one reason Democrats are struggling at the state level).

There is nothing wrong with this arrangement in and of itself—money should be redirected to children from poor families. The problem is that there is no countervailing understanding that if Illinoisans at large are going to pay for Chicago’s schools, sooner or later taxpayers will want some say in how the schools are managed. (The available evidence suggests that they are not being managed well, to say the least). But when Springfield tries to impose cuts or reforms, as it is now, political interests in Chicago fight them tooth and nail.

Remember, it has nothing to do with educating kids. It’s about graft and vote-buying.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Feds charge 12 Detroit school principals with bribery. “The announcement comes nearly two months after ex-principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp, who was hailed as a once-rising education star and turnaround specialist in Detroit Public Schools, pleaded guilty to bribery. Snapp admitted she pocketed a $58,050 bribe from a vendor and spent it on herself while working for the embattled Education Achievement Authority, a state-formed agency that was supposed to help Detroit’s most troubled schools.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? St. Paul Schools Seek Disciplinary Equity, Find Chaos Instead.

Some St. Paul public schools are unsafe for students and teachers, writes Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow at the Center for the American Experiment, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Central High teacher was “choked and body-slammed by a student and hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury,” while another teacher was knocked down and suffered a concussion while trying to stop a fight between fifth-grade girls. There have been six high school riots or brawls this school year.

Hoping to close the racial suspension gap, the district has spent millions of dollars on “white privilege” and “cultural competency” training for teachers and “positive behavior” training, an anti-suspension behavior modification program, writes Kersten.

When that didn’t work, “they lowered behavior standards and, in many cases, essentially abandoned meaningful penalties,” she writes. Students can’t be suspended for “continual willful disobedience” any more. Often, students “chat briefly with a ‘behavior specialist’ or are simply moved to another classroom or school where they are likely to misbehave again.”

Behavior has gotten worse, wrote Aaron Benner, a veteran elementary teacher, in the Pioneer Press. “On a daily basis, I saw students cussing at their teachers, running out of class, yelling and screaming in the halls, and fighting.”

Teachers say they’re afraid, writes Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. He quotes a letter from an anonymous teacher, who says teacher are told there are no alternative placements for violent or disruptive K-8 students. . . .

At this teacher’s high-poverty, highly diverse school, “I have many students in my class who are very respectful, work hard and care about doing well in school,” the teacher writes. “The disruptive, violent children are ruining the education of these fantastic, deserving children.”

On March 9, a veteran high school teacher was suspended for social media posts complaining about the discipline policy, when Black Lives Matter activists charged him with racism.

All is proceeding as I have foretold.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: What’s The Largest Number You Can Represent With Three Digits? It’s Not 999.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teachers’ Union Attempts To Strangle Charters:

Teachers’ unions are using the same kind of approach to kill charter schools that abortion opponents use to shut abortion clinics down: pile up expensive regulations that make it increasingly difficult to operate. . . .

There are, however, other ways that school districts can address legitimate concerns about whether charter schools are serving hard to serve children. The unions may hate it because it isn’t punitive, but state and federal education should be topping up the reimbursement that charters get for enrolling kids with special needs or other problems, including poverty and home problems, that put them at risk. Increasing the value of the voucher that parents of such children get, or increasing the per-pupil payment that government pays charter schools will help ensure that charter operators will make special efforts to reach out to these communities.
The hostility between many teacher unions and the charter school and voucher movement is a tragedy of modern American life. What we really need is a proliferation of teacher-owned, teacher-managed cooperative educational ventures—operating either in public school buildings or in churches or in other community spaces. These coops should receive favorable regulatory and tax treatment, and give teachers the latitude to teach in an environment they control. Different coops would cater to different kinds of students, or different age groups, or offer different educational philosophies. Parents would be able to chose among many alternative programs, and teacher assessment could be something that the community would do in a much richer and holistic way—good coops would get good word of mouth.

Developing an education approach that offers more choice, that prioritizes the needs of poor students, that offers rewards for good teachers while setting them free to run their own programs rather than kowtow to administrators: this is something America can and ought to do.

In fact, of course, charter schools are the last hope for public schools to hang onto parents before they’re abandoned entirely — which abandonment, in the numbers in which it’s happening in a lot of systems, is enough to precipitate a death spiral of shrinking enrollment and declining public support.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Hillary Doubles Down On K-12 Status Quo.

Reform-oriented Democrats had once hoped that Hillary Clinton might follow in the tradition of Democratic centrists like Arne Duncan, distancing herself from teachers’ unions and championing modest efforts to shake up America’s underperforming schools. But at last night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton reinforced the surprisingly anti-reform posture she has been taking for most of the 2016 campaign. U.S. News summarizes her disappointing exchange with CNN debate moderator Anderson Cooper on education reform. . . .

If Clinton were facing competition for the Democratic nomination from someone other than a Democratic socialist, her opponent could have pointed out that America’s per-pupil spending on education has been steadily increasing for decades, that it already exceeds that of most other developed democracies, that Americans are spending more years in school than ever before—and that, nonetheless, the productivity of our workforce is stagnating. He or she could also have pointed out that there is abundant evidence that firing bad teachers—who have more job security than any other comparably situated professionals—has dramatically improved outcomes for students, and that teachers unions have a history of resisting educational experiments that have worked wonders for the most vulnerable students. Finally, if Clinton’s rival were feeling especially ambitious, he or she could have reminded viewers that teachers’ unions have essentially captured many cash-strapped state governments, demanding huge pensions that suck resources away from public services that serve Democratic constituencies.

Maybe this would have been too much to expect in a Democratic primary, where unions have major clout (and students and low-performing schools have none). But on the off-chance that the Republicans nominate a candidate who is actually fluent in such pressing policy issues, Clinton will be sure to face such critiques in the general.

Neither Hillary nor the teachers’ unions care about kids actually being educated. But here’s some reading material for those who do.

LIFE IN THE ERA OF HOPE AND CHANGE: Black Wealth Barely Exists, In One Terrible Chart. Well, when people get lousy K-12 educations, and are then steered into low-paying “social justice” jobs, it’s not a big surprise that they don’t end up wealthy. But this pattern does generate a political army for the Democrats, so there’s that. It’s just that footsoldiers don’t get paid that well.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE. Naomi Schaefer Riley explores “How US academia steers black students out of science:”  “The real problem is that too many black students are getting a hopelessly inadequate K-12 education and by the time they get to college, their best bet is to major in a subject whose exams have no wrong answers and whose professors engage in rampant grade inflation.”

Read the whole thing.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Detroit Public School Teacher ‘Sick Out’ Underway While Just 8% of Students Can Read Proficiently.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: California Laws: On January 1st, Students Won’t Have to Pass High School to Receive Diploma. To be fair, now that public schools are about warehousing and indoctrinating kids, why worry about whether they’re learning anything?

If only someone had warned us.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to Newark public schools failed miserably — here’s where it went wrong. Spoiler: He put his money into public schools with unionized teachers and inept administrators.

He should have done some research first.

OF COURSE SHE DOES: Hillary Clinton Moves Left On Education Reform.

On education, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was supposed to be a centrist and a pragmatist, a Democrat who, like Secretary Arne Duncan and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, acknowledged that our public school system was in dire need of reform, and that ensuring the well-being of students, not meeting the demands of teachers unions, should be the overriding goal of education policy. But over the course of her campaign, Clinton has been increasingly adopting a stance in line with teachers unions, calling her reformer bona fides into question. . . .

These remarks may simply represent the type of triangulation and uneasy coalition-building we have come to expect from the Democratic frontrunner, who is, after all, running against a European-style democratic socialist. But they also reflect the reality that the entire Democratic party is in the midst of a pronounced shift to the Left, making it much more difficult for its candidates (at any level) to back changes to doctrinaire blue model thinking.

Our K-12 public education system, dominated by teachers unions and mostly bereft of accountability and meaningful competition, is a textbook example of the way sclerotic institutions favor well-connected insiders at the expense of the people they are supposed to serve—and the way that blue modelers prop them up, always fearful of new arrangements, always fighting the future. That more competition and higher standards would help students—particularly the most vulnerable students—is a no-brainer. Here’s hoping that Clinton’s remarks on this issue are just campaign season posturing.

Well, in her defense, she has no bona fides at all. But the K-12 implosion will happen faster, as a result of this rigidity.

ARIZONA’S END RUN AROUND THE EDUCATION SPENDING LOBBY, as charted by Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Providing more resources to teachers and students is popular with many voters; paying higher taxes to hire district paper-shufflers is not. So Gov. Ducey came up with a clever plan to draw $2 billion over a decade from the state trust lands—a constitutional set-aside, established at statehood to promote public education, that currently holds about 9 million acres and more than $5 billion. The governor wanted to put that additional money directly into the classroom, rather than funnel it through layers of bureaucrats. Even with this outflow, the governor’s estimates showed, the trust would continue to grow in the long term, and its value would be higher in five years than today.

More money for schools with no new taxes: What’s not to like? A lot, apparently. Mr. Ducey’s plan disrupted the usual coalition of teachers unions and public school districts, leading some in the K-12 establishment—those administrators and union officials who have a way of soaking up dollars while doing little for students—to take the unfamiliar position of objecting to new education funding.

The superintendent of Mesa Public Schools, Arizona’s largest district, launched an email and robocall campaign to turn parents against the proposal. He insisted he was fighting for “the children,” but he was less upfront about disclosing that his lobbying effort was funded with school-district money that could have been put into the classroom instead.

Read the whole thing.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Homeschooled with MIT courses at 5, accepted to MIT at 15. “After acquiring his entire elementary and secondary education from OpenCourseWare and MITx, Ahaan Rungta joined the MIT Class of 2019 at age 15.”

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Kindergarten teacher denies Legos to boys in name of ‘gender equity.’

A kindergarten teacher in Bainbridge Island, Wash., actively denies her male students the opportunity to play with Lego blocks in order to encourage her female students to play with them.

Karen Keller bars the boys in her class from playing with the colorful blocks, even going so far as to lie to them about their opportunity to play.

“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” Keller told the Bainbridge Island Review. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”

So she’s discriminating against them — and teaching them not to trust women in positions of authority. Nice job, sister.

Plus: “When you have an axe to grind with 5yr old boys, maybe you shouldn’t teach kindergarten.”

UPDATE: See the update at the link. I find her denials less than convincing, but maybe that’s just me.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Unions suffer loss in teacher tenure court case.

A lawsuit seeking to have New York’s teacher tenure protections ruled unconstitutional will advance, thanks to a judge’s ruling late Friday afternoon.

Teachers unions filed a motion to dismiss the case, but their motion was denied.

New York State United Teachers, along with the state and the city of New York, had argued that legislative changes in April made the suit unnecessary. But Justice Philip Minardo decided those changes were not grounds enough for dismissal. “The legislature’s marginal changes affecting, e.g., the term of probation and/or the disciplinary proceedings applicable to teachers, are insufficient to achieve the required result,” Minardo wrote in his decision.

The legislative changes make it easier for school districts to fire bad teachers and award tenure after four years of teaching instead of three.

The parents seeking to invalidate the teacher tenure protections argue the law robs children of their right to a basic education.

“Teachers in New York City are more likely to die on the job than be replaced because of poor performance,” according to the Partnership for Educational Justice, which is backing the case. Roughly 30 percent of New York students are proficient in math and reading.

Expect to see more lawsuits like this, and more reform legislation, as people catch on to what’s really going on in K-12 education.

WAR ON BOYS: Why Are Boys Falling Behind?

The fact that men are overrepresented at the very highest echelons of American society—the U.S. Congress, Fortune 500 executive suites, faculty lounges at major universities—often obscures the fact that boys at the middle and bottom of the economic ladder are falling further and further behind girls in educational attainment. In recent years, however, a growing number of scholars and commentators have started to pay attention to the particular challenges facing boys. Hannah Rosin, for example, has speculated that girls are inherently better suited to the types of skills required in a post-industrial society, and Christina Hoff Sommers has highlighted the ways the K-12 education system fails to cater to boys’ interests and needs.

An important new study from leading economists, led by MIT’s David Autor, has added a new dimension to this discussion: the way that changes in family structure—in particular, the rise of fatherlessness homes—has done particular damage to boys’ prospects. . . .

The finding that inequality and social decay hit boys hardest poses challenges to policymakers on both sides of the aisle—to thinkers on the right who downplay the obstacles that poverty poses to mobility, and to thinkers on the left who ignore the importance of family structure and assert that the genders are essentially interchangeable.

That’s nicely evenhanded, but which group has had more influence on social and educational policy?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Middle school election results (temporarily) withheld because the winners aren’t “diverse” enough (principal has backed down). But though this is evidence of why sending kids to public schools is parental malpractice, it did teach a valuable lesson about how educrats feel about the voice of the people.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: If You #StandWithAhmed You Should Be For School Choice.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: When Schools Overlook Introverts.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Florida Public College Abolishes Tenure.

A public college in Florida has taken a decisive step to eliminate tenure, putting one of the largest cracks yet in a gradually-crumbling edifice.

Instead of receiving tenure after five years of employment, from now on professors at the State College of Florida will only receive annual contracts the school can decline to renew at any time.

The change only applies to new hires and does not affect currently-tenured faculty, but it still had to overcome a storm of protest from staff. Some said the school will be unable to attract any talented applicants, while others said it would make it too easy to fire faculty who aroused controversy.

Well, that’s true, and non-PC faculty are very grateful for tenure. On the other hand, are there enough non-PC faculty to make it worth it?


Tenure has been under severe attack in K-12 schools by critics who say it mostly serves to protect low-quality teachers. But it’s held up better in colleges and universities, where professors argue tenure is critical for preserving their academic freedom. Still, it’s been an increasingly popular punching bag for reformers who say such protections are simply outdated.

But even in academia there are signs of disintegration. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent budget revoked the state’s statutory guarantee of tenure, and also redefined tenure in a way that makes it far easier to lay off professors even if they have it. At colleges across the U.S., there is a trend of hiring more and more adjunct professors who are ineligible for tenure, while tenured professors who retire simply aren’t replaced.

This is a major issue. If tenure is essential to a university, why are so many people teaching there untenured?

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: 13-year-old boy kissed 14-year-old girl on a dare. Now he faces assault charges.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Walter Hudson: Bullying and Teen Suicide Explained: It’s Public Schools. “We teach conformity, then wonder how we get bullies.”

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high schools. “Kids don’t make a whole lot of gains once they’re in high school. It certainly should raise an alarm.”

It certainly should.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teacher keeps $90K job after being late 111 times. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time.”


The decision is one of dozens issued this year by arbitrators under the state’s Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey, or TeachNJ.

The tenure reform law, signed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2012, is supposed to make it easier to remove bad educators from the classrooms, although most of the arbitration decisions this year have returned teachers to their jobs, favoring job suspensions rather than terminations.

In Anderson’s case, the arbitrator said the district failed to provide the teacher with due process by providing him with a formal notice of inefficiency or by giving him 90 days to correct his failings.

While Anderson was unable to “plausibly” explain his lateness and — in the arbitrator’s words — relied on “micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations” while arguing “even when he is late he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students,” the arbitrator felt that “progressive discipline” was fairer than termination.

It’s like the teacher’s unions don’t really care about the kids’ welfare at all.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Homeschooling in the City: Frustrated with the public schools, middle-class urbanites embrace an educational movement.

Not so long ago, homeschooling was considered a radical educational alternative—the province of a small number of devout Iowa evangelicals and countercultural Mendocino hippies. No more. Today, as many as 2 million—or 2.5 percent—of the nation’s 77 million school-age children are educated at home, and increasing numbers of them live in cities. More urban parents are turning their backs on the compulsory-education model and embracing the interactive, online educational future that policy entrepreneurs have predicted for years would revolutionize pedagogy and transform brick-and-mortar schooling. And their kids are not only keeping pace with their traditionally schooled peers; they are also, in many cases, doing better, getting into top-ranked colleges and graduating at higher rates. In cities across the country, homeschooling is becoming just one educational option among many. . . .

Like other homeschoolers these days, urbanites choose homeschooling for various reasons, though dissatisfaction with the quality and content of instruction at local public schools heads the list. “I got through public school, but it was never something I thought was an option for my children,” says Figueroa-Levin. A native Staten Islander, she is a columnist for amNewYork, a free daily newspaper, and creator of the satirical Twitter account @ElBloombito, which gained 76,000 followers for its gentle skewering of former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s halting attempts at press-conference Spanish. She calls her local public school “awful,” but she’s not interested in moving to a more desirable school zone, as some New Yorkers with small children do. “We like where we live. We have a nice-size apartment. Sacrificing all that for a decent public school just doesn’t seem worth it,” she says.

But even after more than a decade of aggressive education-reform efforts, the “decent public school” remains a rarity in New York and in other American cities. With urban public schools inadequate or worse and quality private schools often financially out of reach, “homeschooling becomes an interesting study in school choice,” observes Brian Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NEHRI) in Portland, Oregon. “You pay taxes, so the public school system in your city gets that money, then you can make the ‘choiceǒ of paying even more to send your kid to a private school, or to a Catholic school. More and more people are saying, ‘I’m going to homeschool.’ It’s not that weird anymore.”

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Make them All Valedictorians. “At Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School this year, there were 117 valedictorians out of a class of 457. At Long Beach Polytechnic in California, there were 30.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Scott Walker crushes college professor tenure.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trailblazing effort to weaken tenure protections at public colleges and universities is now a reality with his signing of a $73 billion budget on Sunday.

The effort has outraged unions and higher education groups, leaving them fearful that other lawmakers will follow suit to unravel labor protections in higher education that have long been considered sacred ground.

Walker downplayed the changes at Sunday’s signing at a valve manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, emphasizing instead that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.

“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said.

Walker signed the budget as he prepared to announce his run for the Republican presidential nomination Monday. The tenure fight could further endear him to conservatives skeptical of what some perceive as the ivory tower of higher education, and it serves to remind voters of his earlier effort to scale back collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions — including K-12 teachers — when he was first building a national profile.

Walker is thinking like the left — in terms of an ecology of taxpayer-funded activism. He’s cutting it off at the source, rather than fighting the apparat on policy. That’s smart.

And, of course, all is proceeding as I have foreseen.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Why are American schools slowing down so many bright children?