Showing all posts tagged education:
The current legislative extremism of the ruling GOP majority is already legendary. And over and over again I hear from the far-left the repeated mantra that Democrats need to move further left to win elections.
The graph above illustrates why -- you don't gain any new supporters by doubling down on the territory you already have. You have to find ways to accommodate something from the center to gain ground. This is the essence of the Median Voter Theorem.
"Ah, but wait!" you say -- "the Median Voter Theorem is so fraught with assumptions. In the real world, these conditions are rarely all true!"
True, true, my astute friend. However, statistics sees to that as well. It allows us to ask what we should expect to see given many many trials and sets of conditions, such that we get an even truer, richer, weighted average than we would from simply measuring a single empirical event. The central limit theorem tells us that with sample sizes large enough, the distribution o...
Regardless of whether or not you agree that slashing spending, fiscal austerity, balanced budgets, and a low federal deficit are good ideas, the fact remains that the Republican Party does not generally live up to its aims of expense reduction and small government.
As hard as it is to believe, there are still some people who think that Reagan cut the size of government, although Reagan was a big spender and laid the groundwork for the immense national debt we live with today.
(even the Austrian School agrees)
Note: Full historical budget tables, FY 2015
Then there was Ol' Dubya with his two disgraceful wars, TARP bailout, auto bailouts, fiscal stimulus, and tax cuts. Not to mention yanking the election out from under Al Gore's popular win via a leg up from Florida governor brother Jeb.
Turns out, not even gridlock is a decent strategy for preventing escalating expenditures, under the theory that not getting anything done would prevent the government from growing. Apparent...
In response to this well-intentioned article defending the absurdity of tricking third-graders into thinking they are bad at math, thanks to the Orwellian imposition of the Gates-led Common Core standards -- and specifically, the exhortation to "Respect the Teachers" instead of questioning them:
"No. Question *everything*. We should be teaching our children to do the same, versus bowing obsequiously to the whims of authority. We should also be teaching them that having respect for people isn’t mutually exclusive with questioning them."
>> Read the rest of this well-intentioned rant against the (hopefully!) unintentionally crushing of our children's souls, complete with a raging case of Excessive Parentheticals -- if you dare!
"A common reaction to the discipline disparities is to suggest that something other than race is at work — that they're a function of poverty, or that black students are simply more likely to misbehave. But analyses of the data have found that isn't true."
-- Vox charts
Tests are evaluating tools that can only act as a diagnostic — they offer no improvement in the actual ability of children to learn. In the so-called "real world" we don’t take tests — we solve problems and tackle challenges that (ideally) resonate with us somehow when we manage to solve them. Unfortunately one of the more important parts of that equation — the passion, and the interest that drives us to ask questions in the first place — is often absent in many a modern life.
In service of stability, in service of family, of practicality, of a grim sort of tradition — for whatever reasons, we find ourselves here. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Moreover, tests are supposedly a heuristic that stands in for “teacher performance." But there are many quite consequential other factors that affect students’ performance on tests, most of which have nothing to do with the teacher and everything to do with the child and his or her life outside of school.
In other words, judging teacher ...
in the jingle jangle hindsight of ~20 years
Taking a rare moment (note to self: decrease rarity) to look back on ~15 years' worth of meandering career path, here are some of the topics i wish i'd gotten a better grounding in way earlier.
statistics -- don't get me wrong, i took a lot of math including AP Calculus which i enjoyed -- but for the life of me i can't remember taking, or even being offered, a stats course in high school
speech (to be forced out of that fear sooner)
programming -- it was 1994, so no harm no foul; but it's truly inexcusable now. Should be a strong track in middle &/or high school imo. (and i did dabble in code and computers on my own all the same, but still.)
time management -- i don't remember anything remotely like the "GTD" movement i'm fond of now back then. You wrote stuff down on paper and called people from telephones affixed to the wall.
personal finance -- seriously. And not in college, either. Escaped all formal training without the slightest w...