Monday assorted links

by on February 29, 2016 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Don Reba February 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm

2. Ugh, awful punctuation! Give me my grammar nazi gasoline.

2 cheesetrader February 29, 2016 at 5:52 pm

I’m thinking that’s fake – couldn’t find anything in the Big Google Machine – and reads like something from the Onion

3 kimock February 29, 2016 at 11:29 pm

It is definitely satire. Probably from the same people who brought us the chicken pet sitting service. http://laughingsquid.com/qoopy-luxury-day-care-service-for-pet-chickens-in-brooklyn-san-francisco-and-portland-oregon/

4 rayward February 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm

4. I suppose the question is where does that disruptive student go? The annual incarceration cost per inmate is almost $30,000, so simply locking him up would more than offset the additional earnings of the non-disrupters. Disrupters are usually though not always boys. The problem with boys is that for many the typical classroom is torture, requiring high energy boys to sit quietly and listen. It’s an unnatural act for many boys. The three basic ways of learning are by listening, seeing, and doing. For the high energy boy, he learns little or nothing by listening, a little by seeing, and the most by doing. Yet, the listening method is by far the most common for teaching children. Of course, the listening method is the cheapest, the doing method the most expensive. But the additional investment would pay off for everyone, everyone except the private prison companies.

5 Dan Weber February 29, 2016 at 1:14 pm

With a NPV payoff of $100,000, it seems like there is a Coasian solution where everyone wins.

The disruptive kids break into two camps: those who have a socialization or self-control problem that they will eventually grow out of, and those who are just assholes. The first set just need to be temporarily handled until they mature enough to handle things.

6 Dan Lavatan February 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Well the report is only part of the story. It turns out removing everyone from a classroom also raises everyone’s future earnings by 100k each since schools are traumatizing and a complete waste of time. It also reduces their taxes by thousands per year. So we just need to ban schools and rather than incarcerate people let them work.

If you add four working years, the savings per year isn’t even that much. I’m sure I would have cleared an additional half-million easily, and my worst day at work was far better than my best day at school.

7 yo February 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

If that person’s so “disruptive”, an entrepreneurial career might be in order.

8 Nathan W February 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Anecdotally, I find that many of my most disruptive students aspire to be CEOs (it’s good to know about these things because you can tailor lesson plans towards the motivations of students). I’ve try to reason with them on a few occasions that the subject matter could prove very useful as a CEO, but this line of reasoning doesn’t seem to work with them.

9 yo February 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

I’ve had about the same experience with real-life CEOs. I mean who cares about reasoning when you can just tell people that they HAVE to cut payroll costs in half?

10 Engineer March 1, 2016 at 7:19 am

> but this line of reasoning doesn’t seem to work with them.

I suspect that they have already learned to dismiss your lines of reasoning, just like the readers here..

11 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 10:07 am

it is entirely predicable that people here who disagree with my political perspectives will use any tidbit of information they can glean about me to engage in some personal attack or another. It discredits you enormously in so doing.

12 required March 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Juvenile hall cost $100k more than incarceration cost per inmates, so age matters. Also, Juvenile halls may keep the kids there until they reach 25 years old under certain circumstances.

Say in a class of 30 students, locking up one disruptive kid cost 130k per year for a few years, but the other 29 students each gain 100k, so as long as that kid is lock up less than 56 years, the break even amount, then society has more to gain.

13 required March 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm

That is, as long as they are released before their 70th birthday, then society has made a gain.

14 albatross February 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm

I suspect the teachers don’t have much more luck getting the disruptive kids in their class to learn algebra by doing it (say, working problems).

I wonder how much of the disruptiveness of a student is predicted by just not being academically or intellectually capable of learning what he’s being taught. Drop an average-bright, well-behaved high school student into a graduate-level math class, require his attendance, and he’s probably going to be kind-of disruptive, because the stuff going on on the board will be completely incomprehensible to him, He’ll just be stuck in a room listening to gibberish that makes him feel stupid, staring out the window wishing he was outside playing baseball or something. Perhaps a lot of the disruptive kids in high school are in the same position, just with algebra 2 or shakespeare or something.

15 bluto February 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm

In my experience, the most disruptive students tend to be the ones who learn the material quickly and are then utterly bored while the teacher spends the rest of the class trying to explain the concept to the slower students. They have the creativity to come up with much more disruptive activities than the kids who find the material incomprehensible.

16 So Much For Subtlety February 29, 2016 at 6:01 pm

My experience is the most disruptive students tend to be the ones who come from farming families, have no desire to be anything other than farmers and can’t understand why anyone would want to torture them like this or have parents with serious substance abuse problems.

But your mileage may vary. What is your experience?

17 education realist February 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm

On the disruptive students: I wrote a semi-serious proposal called White Elephant Students and Charters

Namely, since charters brag they can educate all kids, let publics dump a small number of disruptive kids on charters in exchange for a lifted cap. Charters can’t dump those kids, full stop. Have to educate them, same constraints as publics for those kids. Win win for everyone. Charters can prove they can educate all kids. Publics get rid of some of their most disruptive kids, leaving more resources for motivated kids. Disruptive kids get smaller classrooms and tougher behavior requirements.

Of course, charters wouldn’t take that deal, because they know full well they aren’t doing a better job–just getting the easier educate kids.

18 Patrick M February 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

I’ve never seen a charter school brag about being able to educate all children. If anything most go out of their way to note their schools, as alternatives for families in poor school systems, are best for those desperate for a decent education, not necessarily for the disruptive students uninterested in learning.

19 Lord Action February 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm

There are many private schools that specialize in schooling people who have had serious trouble in other school systems. I have friends who’ve worked at several of them, and I know kids attending them. ER is off base. It’s a significant business.

20 education realist February 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm

“I’ve never seen a charter school brag about being able to educate all children.”

Then you aren’t paying much attention. Charters routinely denounce the charges that they are cherrypicking or skimming. There’s lots of research dedicated to showing that they aren’t. Which few believe.

“There are many private schools that specialize in schooling people who have had serious trouble in other school systems.”

Yes. Private schools. Public schools can’t dump really troublesome kids in these schools. I’m sure it’s a significant business, but not because they are taking in lots of inner city unmanageables.

21 Patrick M March 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm

ER wrote “Then you aren’t paying much attention. Charters routinely denounce the charges that they are cherrypicking or skimming. There’s lots of research dedicated to showing that they aren’t. Which few believe.”

Nice try at a bait and switch. You originally accused them of bragging about taking all kids. Now it’s about charters denouncing charges of cherry-picking. The two aren’t the same.

Which is probably why your statement that charters brag about taking all students is false.

22 education realist March 2, 2016 at 12:27 am

This is silly.

Me: Charters brag they can take all students, even though they know that’s a lie. They cherrypick, even though they deny it.

You: Charters cherrypick. They don’t brag they can take all students.

Me: Yes, they do. It’s a big debate between charter supporters and their opponents.There’s been a lot of research purporting to show they don’t cherrypick. But it’s widely acknowledged that they do.

You: You’re baiting and switching!!

Me (new): No, you’re a dilettante.

Focus hard: 1) I have a proposal that would require charters to take a limited number of white elephants. 2) I predict that charters would refuse the deal, even for a lift on caps, because they are well aware that they are lying about their ability to educate all students.

23 Lord Action February 29, 2016 at 1:41 pm

In my public school system they take the disruptive kids, put a black bag over their heads and throw them out of a helicopter over the sea. Ha ha, no, just kidding! They pull them out of the school and send them to the one town school with an emotional special needs program. It just seems like they’re black-bagging them.

Seriously, though, there seems to be some benefit to concentrating the kids that need special attention in a program equipped to provide that attention. All the schools in town have some kind of special needs specialty. Ours is physical special needs, which is exactly the kind of special needs you want in your school if you aren’t special needs yourself.

To other posters who wonder if it’s just brightness that’s at issue, I suspect not. Poor emotional control seems to be much more a problem than mental retardation or autism or anything like that, although I gather there are often comorbidities.

24 Dan Weber February 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

For physical issues, there are big advantages to concentration, and not many disadvantages.

For emotional or mental issues, there are big disadvantages. Quoting Scott Alexander, you might have a kid who is perfectly fine as long as everything is quiet, at which point he melts down. And you have another kid who screams constantly at the top of his lungs whenever he encounters the slightest frustration. Putting them in the same room isn’t the best thing, although it does let the neurotypicals get about their day.

25 Lord Action February 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

That’s a fair point. I’ve coached a baseball team with three of those kids on it, and you really had to watch out for interactions.

But in this particular case, the school program for kids with emotional special needs is well regarded and lavished with resources. You can do a lot with fifty grand per kid per year.

26 John February 29, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Parents are free to pay for whatever special snowflake education their little brats need. Public school is supposed to be about positive externalities, remember?

27 Nathan W February 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Public education is supposed to be about opportunity for everyone. Positive externalities is merely an economic rationale to defend it against those who hate the notion of the government (taxpayers) helping people who are not in a good position in help themselves.

28 John February 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

If it were about helping people not in a good position to help themselves it’d be means tested. Other than positive externalities how in the world could you possibly justify taxing someone that makes $50,000 a year to pay for school tuition for someone making $200,000?

29 So Much For Subtlety February 29, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Nathan W February 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Public education is supposed to be about opportunity for everyone.

Public education is not. It is about defending Union jobs and nothing else. No one cares that the public school system is failing. No one has a solution. But touch tenure and you will hear about it.

So the system is geared to providing safe Union jobs. There can be no streaming because they would mean selecting good teachers and paying them more. All schools must be the same because the Unions demand it.

30 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 7:12 am

Harding – I didn’t propose 100% redistribution of income, I proposed that everyone should have a chance. What’s your definition of “communism”. Any sort of social endeavour whatsoever?

SMFS – Public education preceded union jobs. There may be certain inconveniences to public sector unions, and they are not naive as to their collective self interest, but in reality the existence of the union cannot occur until there is FIRST a social demand for a service, THEN there is a union. Also … ever heard of charter schools? You doth protest too much.

31 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 7:12 am

SMFS – Public education preceded union jobs.

From what I can see you have not respond to a single thing I said. What relevance does that stream of consciousness have to my post?

May I ask what you were trying to say?

32 Nathan W March 2, 2016 at 12:40 am

“What relevance does that … have to my post?”

You argue that “public education is about defending union jobs”. You make as though unions conspired to force public education on the public, whereas public education preceded the unions. I point out that public education preceded the unions. Ergo, public education is not about protecting union jobs, although it is undeniable that unions would like to protect their jobs.

33 education realist February 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

These aren’t “special needs” kids. These are otherwise normal kids who don’t want to be in school, who are disruptive beyond what you apparently can imagine.

34 Lord Action March 1, 2016 at 9:48 am

Of the three kids on my Little League team, one had Tourette Syndrome and was legitimately special needs. Two were kids of divorcing families who would not have been called special needs in another time and in a school system less flooded with money. They were quite difficult to manage.

35 Adrian Ratnapala March 3, 2016 at 12:29 am

Well then. An obvious solution presents itself. If they don’t want to be in school, let them be somewhere else instead.

That way, everyone’s happy.

36 Dan Lavatan February 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Who is “disruptive” is 100% function of the political allegiances of school administrators.

37 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 7:13 am

There is also a monster under your bed. A Democrat monster, I’m guessing.

38 So Much For Subtlety February 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Is this sour grapes? The education system is what it is because the education Unions have made it so. If private schools sensibly respond to what parents actually want by skimming off the cream of the students, well, good for them. The public education system could do this too if they want to. Most of the developed world runs selective public schools. They could enforce discipline too if they wanted to. They don’t want to do either.

So I really have no sympathy for people who cannot run a credible system complaining about the inevitable results of parents wanting the best for their children – something the Unions clearly do not.

By all means, let’s send all the disruptive students to a Charter school. That would make life better for everyone. Better yet let’s send all the students to charter schools. With competition parents could find the appropriate level of security and discipline that suited them. And the Unions would lose their feather bedding. Win-win really.

39 Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

There’s something you need to understand about selective public schools in the developing world – it benefits the rich, who are politically active. Wealthier families are better positioned to get their kids better learning opportunities from the get-go, and hence nearly all children in the better schools are from the upper crust. Also, it is common for the better schools to allow fees additional to the public contribution, which both excludes the poor from the schools and provides additional resources for these same privileged children. The other schools have less funding and are full of students whose parents already lacked resources to give them a good head start. The main reason that this situation is not addressed well is due to a sheer lack of resources – given few public resources, the government may decide that it’s a better investment to ensure that there is at least SOME highly educated talent coming out of the system, but unsurprisingly this is identical to the outcome you would predict if wealthy people were better at extracting public benefits than the poor, which is most often the case in the developing world.

And the argument that unions don’t care about the children demonstrates a generally ignorant hate on for teachers. Yes, teachers are not naive as to their self interest. But, many strikes resolve around issues like class size. You might argue that the union secretly just wants more members, which comes with smaller class size. But the teachers themselves couldn’t care less about that – it is unquestionably easier to deliver higher quality education to 25 students at a time than to 40, most especially at younger ages, and most people who go into teaching actually care about the students and are really and truly not greedy-minded people – just observe how in many jurisdictions teachers are shelling out loads of cash every year for additional supplies that the system is not paying for.

It is not clear to me whether you hate the teachers themselves or just the unions, but you vastly overstate the case. Legislators still enjoy broad unilateral ability to dictate many relevant things about the learning environment, curriculum, etc., without getting into matters related to unions, such as the nature of the employment contract.

40 So Much For Subtlety March 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

Nathan W March 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

There’s something you need to understand about selective public schools in the developing world – it benefits the rich, who are politically active.

And yet Finland has selective public education. So did Britain – and every Prime Minister between Hume and Blair went to one. The fact is selective education is common in countries with higher rates of social mobility than the US. They don’t benefit the rich. They benefit the smart – who are often middle class.

And the argument that unions don’t care about the children demonstrates a generally ignorant hate on for teachers.

You are a teacher who is the son of two other teachers. I don’t think you are impartial on this subject. But we have done this experiment time and time again. The most famous example was Michelle Rhee’s efforts to reform the DC education system. Fought every inch of the way by the teachers’ Unions. The Unions don’t care that schools are failing and that children can’t read. They only care about their members’ feather bedding.

But, many strikes resolve around issues like class size. You might argue that the union secretly just wants more members, which comes with smaller class size. But the teachers themselves couldn’t care less about that

This is such a classic piece of misdirection and obfuscation. Brilliant. You don’t know what teachers think. You made that up. Nor can you claim that strikes revolve around class sizes. You want to think that is true. But actually everyone agrees class sizes should be smaller. Vastly more money has been poured into the system to make it happen.

Results have not improved at all. Class size is irrelevant.

You are in East Asia. Results are generally better. Classes are huge.

It is not clear to me whether you hate the teachers themselves or just the unions, but you vastly overstate the case.

It is ironic you accuse others of playing the person and not the issue.

Teachers have shown time and time again they do not care about results. That many schools in the English speaking world turn out functional illiterates bothers them not at all. They oppose any and all measures to do something about it. This is a fact. Whether you like it or not.

41 Adrian Ratnapala March 3, 2016 at 12:34 am

The fact is selective education is common in countries with higher rates of social mobility than the US. They don’t benefit the rich. They benefit the smart – who are often middle class.

To be fair, Nathan was talking about the developing world. My father went to an elite state school in Sri Lanka, admitted because his father went there. Family legend holds that grandad got in because he was very, very, good at cricket.

But you are right that the comparison to Finland and (until recently) the UK is more apt. But then again, elite state schools in France seem to entrench the class system there.

42 Jane Gray March 4, 2016 at 8:38 am

Malcom Gladwell’s most recent book (David and Goliath) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15751404-david-and-goliath actually talked about the issue of class size. No study has been able to prove that smaller is better, and below a certain size it may start to get worse. (For perhaps adolescent social reasons).

I won’t comment on the active selfishness or not of the teachers union. I think there are additional factors in play, like activist parents that don’t want their kids being removed from mainstream classrooms despite severe and distracting deficits.

43 skeptic February 29, 2016 at 1:14 pm

#3

So, Russians are fundamentally illiberal–but Syrians are gonna make great immigrants. Good one, Tyler.

44 Jan February 29, 2016 at 5:48 pm

#3 No, I think Tyler is right. The liberal and democratic slice of the population has mostly left.

45 Widmerpool February 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Of course Russians are not fundamentally illiberal, Russian culture is. Taken out of Russia most Russians become just as liberal as anyone else.

46 So Much For Subtlety February 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Lenin live in Western Europe from 1900 to 1917. I did not notice him becoming significantly more liberal. Trotsky even longer.

For that matter Dostoyevsky spent a lot of time in Germany. Not what I could call a liberal.

47 Roy LC March 1, 2016 at 3:45 am

Lenin was in exile plotting his return, of course he didn’t change, he was Lenin. Dostoyevsky was a semi mystical Russian nationalist who wavered between intense periods of Orthodox piety and intense bouts of destructive behaviour, of course he didn’t change because he never did anything to stop being Russian.

I could point out James Joyce never quit his nationality even after decamping and neither did Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Roth remained until death the loyal subject of an Empire so dead it was already quaint and fantastical before it actually ended. Yet the Jews who left it were still making sentimental movies about the people who drove them out decades later.

You can’t pick nationalists, intellectuals, and artists and say if they don’t assimilate who will, though Nabakov and Joseph Conrad are counter examples.

48 Alain February 29, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I figured #4 would cause more of a dust-up than we’ve seen so far. The headline number is quite large and will be strong fuel for future policies especially if parent gets their hands on the number.

I foresee this paper being relentlessly attacked by the left. Scott E. Carrell, Mark Hoekstra, and Elira Kuka were very brave to post it, but I wouldn’t bet on their future in academia.

49 Nathan W February 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Because academia is actually like that …

50 Art Deco February 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Scott E. Carrell, Mark Hoekstra, and Elira Kuka were very brave to post it, but I wouldn’t bet on their future in academia.

They’re economists, not on the teacher-training faculty. It could be a problem if their tenure application was reviewed by a super-departmental committee which included someone from the teacher-training faculty. Not sure how often provosts come out of the teacher-trainng faculty.

51 Alain February 29, 2016 at 7:33 pm

We’ll see.

If this research has impact and causes some kind of backlash within education that doesn’t fit within liberal dogma, then I would wager that they will strike back at the authors.

52 Art Deco February 29, 2016 at 10:48 pm

I wouldn’t confuse the American Economic Association with the American Psychological Association, much less the American Sociological Association or the American Anthropological Association.

53 MC February 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Disparate impact! Segregation! Apartheid! Racist! Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Carrell, Hoeskstra, and Kuka have got to go!

54 Heorogar February 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm

#6 – I missed Ben. I figured Sheldon was buzzed and waved for no reason. Have to catch it in the re-run.

We’re not assuming that Dr. Cooper has any respect for economics, are we?

55 Pacemaker February 29, 2016 at 3:14 pm

4) Another part of the paper calls it “classmates’ combined total future earnings.” Dividing by 20 classmates means about $5000 per child. Not familiar with the literature, but would the cost per child of an effective intervention be less than that?

Elsewhere in the paper, the authors note that the effects “correspond to the same change in earnings as a roughly one-half reduction standard deviation in teacher quality,” implying that a standard deviation change in teacher quality has a bigger impact–but that is not to say that interventions in both areas will be just as cost-effective.

56 Attila Smith February 29, 2016 at 3:49 pm

“How much of downloaded data is made up?”
27.14%

57 Kass February 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Ben’s working on the 2nd edition of “The Courage To Act”

58 Adrian Turcu February 29, 2016 at 7:11 pm

#5 That’s funny. Data duplication is a source of error. Reaction? Comments replicating the identical re-tweet “How much of the data you download is made up?”

59 efim polenov February 29, 2016 at 8:26 pm

If Sheldon were real (he is not of course – he is little more than an updated Felix Unger fictional character, subjected by successful comedy writers to an amusing and, at times, inspired encyclopedic gallimaufry of the various intellectually greedy failures of time management envious people imagine very smart people are, from their common sense point of view, comically prone to), he would read Lubos Motl’s blog – take my word for it, he would. Motl has mentioned Bernanke several times as someone he personally knows and has allied with on obscure intellectual battles from back in his Harvard days (Motl is a high-energy physics theorist who the writers of the Big Bang theory have in the past plainly utilized as a basis for parts of their characterization of Sheldon). Maybe I am mixing Bernanke up with Summers, treasury, fed, what difference does it really make – but I think I am being fairly accurate here.

60 Art Deco February 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm

‘Felix Ungar’ was a divorce with several children. He was an episodically annoying fuss-budget, not an obsessive-compulsive autism-spectrum case.

61 Roy LC March 1, 2016 at 4:00 am

But it is the same character, just zanier, and with science stuff, and a hot blonde chick who practically moves in on them and mooches because it is a Chuck Lorre show.

It didn’t need to be pitched because Lorre was owed a show, but if they had needed to you can just imagine it.

62 efim polenov March 1, 2016 at 8:23 am

While Sheldon goes beyond an “episodically annoying fuss-budget” (nice phrase), I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “case” – unless that word has more of a neutral connotation than I think it does. And Tony Randall would have done very well as Sheldon, if someone besides the current actor plays Sheldon in a future stage adaptation, they should analyze Randall’s acting style for hints. Then again maybe Jack Klugman or Walter Matthau would have done well as Sheldon too. Matthau in particular looked like a Caltech/MIT physics professor.

63 Sam Penrose March 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm
64 Jane Gray March 4, 2016 at 8:42 am

#5: Worked in market research a few years ago. A LOT of data is made up (or otherwise useless, such as a phone survey of a specific kind of business in a specific foreign country instead being offered to tens of thousands of random people-maybe in that country, the IPs say probably not–on a generic survey mailing list). If not at your level you find a company below you that can mysteriously do the phone survey for cheaper and don’t ask too many questions.

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