Progressives

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Progressives

I write about education and educational data a lot, and I’m always struck by the insistence that the U.S. K-12 educational system is DOOMED! This is a staggering display of willful ignorance that rivals creationism (and, arguably, is more pernicious). Without going through the entire backstory (that’s what links are for), some U.S. states–relatively large…

I’m surprised that this revelation by Democratic Congressman David Obey hasn’t received more attention. Basically, the House Democrats went to the wall for education and managed to get $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs and an additional $5 billion for Pell Grants. To do so, they had to cut Obama’s educational ‘reform’ program, Race to…

By way Atrios, I stumble across a list of ways to combat unemployment put together by progressive wonks–and it explains why the so-called left is so politically impotent (I’ve removed the elaborative paragraphs): 1) Offer bonuses for long-term unemployed persons who find work. 2) Offer bolstered work-search help for the long-term unemployed. 3) Expand retraining…

President Obama has been arguing that if he had tried to regulate the oil industry before the BP disaster, it would have gone nowhere and Republicans would have pissed and moaned about oppressive regulations: In an interview with POLITICO, the president said: “I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill…

Oy. Anyone who thinks Jews are smarter than other people, well, that’s because we gave all of the stupid to Charles Murray (author of The Bell Curve). Last week, in The New York Times, Murray had an op-ed about charter schools wherein he scribbled about the failure to find differences in performance between charter and…

Last week, we looked at how the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” education ‘reform’ legislation screwed over Massachusetts because MA had the silly idea that changing the curriculum (dumbing it down, actually) of one of the most successful educational systems in the world should be presented to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Silly Mad…

(from here) Obama’s kinder, gentler “Drill, baby, drill” is looking very short-sighted. We can only hope he has learned that when you use your party loyalists as foils and adopt a center-right compromise, so that you can claim to have boldly discarded the “the tired debates between right and left”, that there is a potential…

By way of Yong Zhao, we find this Economic Policy Institute report, “Let’s Do the Numbers“, about the false precision in the award process of the Obama Administration’s signature school reform initiative. Anyone involved in a grant award process knows that the design of the scoring metrics can have a huge effect on the outcome.…

Since I’ve raised this issue before, and it doesn’t seem to have taken, the gloves are coming off. Once again, we see the sorry spectacle of blaming scientists for policy failures–all scientists, not a subset (consider this foreshadowing). As always the ‘scientists’ are described as bookish nerds who bore policy makers and reporters with p-values.…

Whatever else one might say about Republican (for now) Florida Governor Charlie Crist, he was absolutely right to veto a bill that would link teacher pay to student performance (italics mine): Mr. Crist said Thursday that his decision was not political. He cited “the incredible outpouring of opposition by teachers, parents, students, superintendents, school boards…