Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tubs of Tabs

Here are the latest from my dissheveled pile of tabs.

LIFO isn't the culprit in poor student achievement by a veteran Minnesota teacher (from MinnPost). LIFO = Last in First Out (when teacher layoffs are needed). "There is a teacher shortage in Minnesota ... and North Dakota ... and South Dakota. The problem isn’t getting rid of experienced teachers who performed for many years and show commitment to the school system and community. The real problem is finding any teacher at all. When a new teacher showing great ability and dedication leaves a school system it is rarely because of classrooms occupied by deadbeats; it is because of a lack of funding, and/or declining enrollment, or a choice."

This Long-Lost Constitutional Clause Could Save the Right to Vote (from The Nation). "According to Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, any state that denies or abridges the right to vote for any reason must have its congressional representation reduced in proportion to the number of citizens it disenfranchises. Arguably the most radical clause in the Constitution, it was designed to remake the government and the country. It has never been enforced."

Something to keep on hand: a chart of median incomes by education level.

In which you can see notable facts, such as: An African American person with an advanced degree makes less money than a white person with just a bachelor's degree. And the gap between men and women with advanced degrees is larger in dollars than any of the other gaps between men and women. As I have learned in reading The Long Shadow (a post is coming soon about the book, I promise), this tendency to break data into male vs. female vs. each racial group (which misses out on the interaction of race and gender) is less helpful than it could be, but still.

In school discipline, intervention may work better than punishment (from the Seattle Times). New research correlates zero-tolerance punishment with lower academic outcomes, even for kids who never step out of line. What works instead? Restorative justice programs. But they take -- guess what -- resources.

Why Rand Paul Is Wrong About Social Security Disability by the great Dean Baker. It's not back-aches and anxiety that drive people to apply for disability support, Rand.

The Real Education Crisis? by Paul Thomas. "Impoverished children have overwhelming life conditions that inhibit their ability to learn at the same rates and in the same ways as their more affluent peers. Children in poverty do not need harsh and intense educational experiences (harsh and intense often characterize their lives, and are thus the conditions muting their learning); they do not need high-stakes tests and punitive consequences."

What's the trade-off in tax dollars? What could we fund with the amount of federal money that goes to oil and gas company give-aways? This interactive infographic gives you facts like: 561,000 children could get health insurance through the CHIP program for the amount we spend on the Manufacturing Tax Credit, which was meant to keep jobs from being off-shored, but which instead has become a subsidy for oil and gas companies.

Did you hear about the woman who sat in a bathtub full of milk and Fruit Loops, yet who was selected to interview President Obama after the State of the Union address? Conservative friends got their dander up about that on Facebook. He's undermining the dignity of the office, they moaned. Yeah, not so much. As Hank Green says in that piece: "Legacy media isn’t mocking us because we aren’t a legitimate source of information; they’re mocking us because they’re terrified."

If you ever hear a millionaire or billionaire education-reformer claim that "throwing money at poor schools doesn't fix the problem," remember this: "Increases in per-pupil school spending lead to higher graduation rates and, when the students become adults, greater earnings and fewer cases of poverty. The benefits were particularly large for low-income students." From recent research on school funding and outcomes, written up on fivethirtyeight.com. The results are from longitudinal data on more than 15,000 children born between 1955 and 1985 and followed into adulthood, called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

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