Tuesday assorted links

1. Does the Canadian trade deal with the EU provide a good model for the UK?

2. How to teach the teachers, believe me they need it.  And the movement for data analytics on students is considered promising but dangerous.

3. China nude pictures as IOU and collateral, link is safe for work…”…the lender would send the photo and her naked video footage to her family members if she could not pay back her 10,000 yuan borrowed on an annual interest rate of 24 percent within a week.”

4. “This is the sound of Britain breaking.

5. “Man finds 22-pound chunk of butter estimated to be more than 2,000 years old in Irish bog.”  I enjoyed this paragraph:

In her article “Bog Butter: A Two Thousand Year History” in The Journal of Irish Archaeology, Caroline Earwood wrote, “It is usually found as a whitish, solid mass of fatty material with a distinctive, pungent and slightly offensive smell. It is found either as a lump, or in containers which are most often made of wood but include baskets and skins.”

Then there is this:

Given that level of preservation, most of the butter is actually edible. Irish celebrity chef Kevin Thornton, who owns the Michelin-starred Thornton’s Restaurant in Dublin, claimed to have tasted a 4,000-year-old sample of bog butter.

Some of you may recall James Farewell’s 1689 poem “The Irish Hudibras” — “butter to eat with their hog, was seven years buried in a bog”.


3. There is also an episode of "Nathan for You" where he does this for people trying to lose weight.

For those unfamiliar with the work of Mary Louisa "Polly" Toynbee - here is my favourite website reviewing her work:http://factcheckingpollyanna.blogspot.com/

If you eliminated the NYT, WaPo and the Guardian, Tyler's news sources would vanish.

"3. China nude pictures as IOU and collateral, link is safe for work…”…the lender would send the photo and her naked video footage to her family members if she could not pay back her 10,000 yuan borrowed on an annual interest rate of 24 percent within a week.”"

Wouldn't this be considered extortion in most countries?

Nah, a 24% APR is less than 15 times what an American forks over to a typical payday lender.

Oh wait - you weren't talking about the APR, you were talking about the threat.

Unlike in the U.S., where a debt collector's threats are rarely considered extortion.

You mean 1/15 (one-fifteenth), not 15 times.

I really don't get it. Brazil's interest rates are way higher and no one asks for nud pictures of me, why people want Chinese nude pictures? It seems racism at play.

4. The Labour Party flooded the country with millions of immigrants in the name of Multiculturalism and are now complaining that they have to pay the price

The Conservative Party also "flooded the country" with millions of immigrants. British voters kept on voting for parties that let in millions of immigrants to stimulate economic growth without increasing labour productivity, then they turn around and whine that there are immigrants around.

It doesn't really matter which party did that, though, does it? What matters is that mass immigration has been a miserable failure and will have to be reversed.

But it was a deliberate polity of the British Labour Party to flood the country with millions of Third World voters so the Conservatives could not win any elections again and Britain would be fundamentally changed.

The Conservatives have also been pro-immigration but not to the point of trying to destroy the British population.

I really love the "we do the same, but it is different" approach.

Imagine Brexit wins and two years later prime minister Boris Johnson is still embroiled in quarrelsome EU exit talks. These Barking and Nottingham people will see no change, same migrants, same sense of powerlessness. Recession-hit, facing worse cuts, voters won’t blame themselves for their own folly. Old problems are unresolved – an economy reliant on City and property bubbles, low skills, low productivity, atrophied public services, hopes raised and dashed. Gove and Johnson risk losing control of the furies they have unleashed.

That moment is fertile for some yet-worse demagogue who calls for throwing out migrants already here. Expect the volume to be raised against “elites” – anti-parliament, anti-politics, bored of democracy itself. Ignite hatred against Europe, blame Brussels for deliberately impoverishing us in revenge, stirring centuries-old enmities.
National socialism will no doubt carry a new name – but it’s there in the making.

Right there it is: a vote for Brexit is a vote for Hitler. Couldn't have said it better myself. That's the kind of reasoned, even-handed, dispassionate analysis that makes The Guardian such an important voice in European politics.

Explain how it's wrong. Instead of whining that the mean girl called you a name, use reason.

I don't have time for that. We must all begin girding ourselves for the coming WWIII.

Not wanting a German Chancellor to set to your immigration policy is plainly Nazi thinking.

Well played, sir.

The proper response to a Godwin-style argument is mockery. Not to waste time explaining why it is wrong.

The Guardian also made a big stink over this innocent cartoon: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/14/leave-eu-cartoon-racist-nazi-brexit-antisemitism-1945

If I could vote I would Remain, but I secretly hope that Leave wins, since I like chaos. The worse, the better, as Lenin would say.

I second Ray. I like the UK but....the CHF keeps going higher. Brexit is good.

I hope Brexit wins just to see if there's some lessening of immigration. I would like to see if this actually benefits the native population. They can always rejoin orbit doesn't work out. Somewhere there needs to be an experiment with restricted immigration.

Yes, Japan is clearly the obvious counter-example. Twenty years ago, I bought into the rhetoric that Japanese 'racist' anti-immigration policies would wreck their economy. However, it doesn't seemed to have happened yet and I don't see that it's imminent either.

Years ago I visited London and saw a PR campaign urging people to vote in elections for the European Parliament. The theme was, "Why should you bother, since the the Parliament doesn't have much power? Because It regulates all kind of minutiae, even the size of your pint glass," followed by more examples of things that most people would be dismayed to learn are regulated by Brussels. This is how the pro-Europe side argues when it's not calling people Nazis.

2. Reducing class size is well down the list of techniques for improving teaching. High on the list are collaborative teaching techniques (feedback to pupils, group learning, etc.), the Socratic method being the favored method in many law schools. Teaching and learning are reciprocal endeavors, requiring active participation by both the teacher and the student. It doesn't cost much (reducing class size does), so why don't schools (i.e., teachers) apply the technique? I suppose it's easier to give a lecture. Do celebrity economics professors actually engage in collaborative teaching techniques in the classroom?

I'm referring to the list in the article linked by Cowen.

"Teaching and learning are reciprocal endeavors..."

Learning does not require teachers/teaching.

Focus should be on the learners and what they want to learn. Most formal teaching is a waste of time for individual learners -- most of its context is unnecessary to the learner's actual life, is poorly taught over a highly excessive time period, and conducted in a generally authoritarian atmosphere.

Ask the learners about learning , not the "credentialed" teachers

Most people are actually incredibly bad at self-directed learning.

Ah, but if teaching can be taught so too should self-directed learning be a teachable skill.

Yes, "if teaching can be taught." I think the jury is still out on that one, Economist articles aside.

Still, "self-directed learning" has some specific challenges:

1) how to find motivation
2) procrastination and progress
3) building domain confidence
4) ...

You'd think that such things are not unique person to person, that perhaps even knowing that they are universal could help people who haven't been through the self-learning cycle before.

"Ah, but if teaching can be taught so too should self-directed learning be a teachable skill."

That's what a liberal arts education is for on a lower level, and a PhD program on a higher level. Someone who goes through a PhD program is supposed to be ready to be an independent scholar, able to do research on their own and to keep up with their field without teachers or professors holding their hands. I.e. they are fully capable of self-directed learning.

Some people of course can do this without having to go to grad school, or even college. Those people are rare. Most people need a college education as a base before they can go out and be effective lifelong learners, and if they're going to be learning truly high-powered stuff they need to go through a doctoral program.

I think we should at least try in High School. When you have them in a room, "how to learn later in life, you'll need it."

High on the list are collaborative teaching techniques (feedback to pupils, group learning, etc.),

Benefits slackers and teachers bored with ordinary teaching or ideologically opposed to competition and fixed standards.

One of the Swedish voucher schools made a simple change where each week the teacher would meet one on one with a student to discuss their progress, where they should be working, etc. No additional cost, but it makes sense, right? Some kids could just drift through a year and never know they were "behind" or whatever.

This is what competition would create: actual new ideas. not endless curriculum seminars.

Reducing class size doesn't help the students, but reduces teacher workloads. Now you know why this is always trotted out as the metric by teachers.

You are very correct that often truly useful changes don't actually add any cost: they are simply better uses of resources, but school organization often prefer moar budget to better results.

Smaller classes are better for students.

The USN manages to take a average sailor who might not even have any college credits and turn them into an instructor in 20 days (4 weeks, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day)

You then go to your training command and have to demonstrate your ability to teach the classes assigned before being allowed to go solo

Note, These sailors often both attended classes on the subject matter and have hands on practical experience in the subject matter but the instructor training itself is just 20 days.

I'd put parental support at number one. My kids have gone to school in four countries and our friends' children in more. The common denominator for success is parents who prioritise education along with a good work ethic.

Vigorous critical thinking is my personal second priority. They should have a weekly course called Why Everything You Know is Wrong, just to dismantle unthinking assumptions, even if they are correct.

As a high school teacher, I can tell you that lots of teachers try to do a lot of "collaborative learning." I don't know anyone who just lectures. But it can be very hard to get "active participation by both the teacher and the student." Most high school students do not have intrinsic interest in most of the things they are supposed to learn. Much of what we do is trying to get them to participate. The cost in money is low but the cost in effort is sometimes infinite.

If we are talking about grade school then three words - Project Follow Through.

So goes Brexit, so goes Trump. There is a tide.


Well, perhaps, and Duerte won the Presidency in the Philippines, and his rhetoric makes Trump look normal. The tide is turning against Globalization. Good, say I, less competition for me.

It's funny to read that article and then look at all the other Trump articles that are linked with it. It reinforces Scot Adam's point.

#4: One of the benefits of Brexit is that it upsets British opinion journalists, a repulsive subset of humanity of which Polly Toynbee has long been one of the worst. Maybe if Britain leaves, the twits will decamp to Brussels.

Yes if the nepotists at the Guardian are in favour of something it is usually better to be against. Probably no bunch of people can have been more wrong on any major issue than that lot.

Screw the Guardian. I prefer to get my news from media owned by ultra wealthy families who encourage reporters to break laws and bring the heavy hand down on anyone who reports on their manipulations of the news.

God #4 was just terrible. Is someone only somewhat familiar with Brexit, i feel i know less now having read that pile of crap. Poorly written, incoherent, just a series of disconnected rants that happen to appear in the same article.

5. stop and pause moment/ haven't read the article yet.

Most entertaining story of the day. Better then even the nude picture one. I kind of want to try peaty butter now.

2. Teaching went off the rails as soon as teacher colleges were created. Teaching is a craft, and the apprenticeship model of development, just like craftsmen like woodworkers and metalworkers of old, makes the most sense.

The Dewey model of education is pretty much where things went wrong, and that occurred very early in the development of teacher colleges.

Cool story bro

I really wish people using my name wouldn't post stupid comments. This is about the opposite of a "cool story," although it would be nice if the commentor clued us in to the Dewey model of education

Wikipedia John Dewey. Compare to what you've read here.

Teacher's colleges have been around for a long, long time - approaching two centuries in the U.S. I think teaching went off the rails when, around 1970, women began to have substantial economic opportunity outside the traditional fields of teaching, nursing, and social services, so the number of smart women attracted to low-paying teaching jobs plummeted. You now have to be fairly dull to find teaching an attractive opportunity.

4. The British working class fought hard for a vote in a Parliament that governs them. Surprisingly, they don't want to lose that because people with post-graduate degrees think democracy is gross.

I say I hope Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland finds its way out of this entangling and strangling alliance with continental mongrels. We need to get back to basics - selective alliances that suit our needs: supporting the Dutch against the Spanish, the French against the Dutch, the Austrians against the French, and the Prussians against the Austrians. It will be just like old times!

Pip pip Commodore, time to tell the blighters that Blighty is back.

The EU is marked by an absence of tactical alliances between member states....

Yes Germany rules, everyone else obeys.

"Some of you may recall James Farewell’s 1689 poem ..."

An English professor once termed this a "Macauley's Schoolboy", but I never found a cite. His example: "As we all recall from Paradise Lost ...."

Every schoolboy worth his salt knows it is from Macaulay's Critical & Historical Essays: http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2332/pg2332.html Just use Ctrl+F.

Re #2, I used to always take it as fact that good teachers (however measured) had large positive effects and the inverse for bad teachers. However, this Scott Alexander article makes me question that proposition and for all the articles I've read that support the view of good teachers having large positive effects, I have not seen any that really grappled with the studies showing that the effect is relatively small and decays quickly.


Arnold Kling talks about the "null hypothesis in education": So far, nothing has been found that is replicable and has substantial long-term positive effects. After years in the business, I fear he may be right.

Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford University, has estimated that during an academic year pupils taught by teachers at the 90th percentile for effectiveness learn 1.5 years’ worth of material. Those taught by teachers at the 10th percentile learn half a year’s worth. Similar results have been found in countries from Britain to Ecuador. “No other attribute of schools comes close to having this much influence on student achievement,” he says.

Rich families find it easier to compensate for bad teachers, so good teaching helps poor kids the most.

It is hard for me to imagine why that would be true.

He adds that if the average American teacher were as good as those at the top quartile the gap in test scores between America and Asian countries would be closed within four years.

The above is also hard to believe does he assume a cumulative effect without diminishing returns?

I had some bad teachers but I doubt that better teachers back then would make me smarter or significantly more knowledgeable now. I think that the low hanging fruit in schooling is to focus on what is taught, teaching the most important stuff, rather than trying to get students to learn more. Most of what is taught currently is only a signal for further schooling. Case in point the article seems to imply that in 4 years of college teachers are not taught how to teach! And that Ed majors are not flunked out if they do not show good ability to teach before graduation! That is alarming!

So if everyone were just in the top 25% things would be better. Signed, the Lake Woebegone School Board

"And that Ed majors are not flunked out if they do not show good ability to teach before graduation! "

It's purely anecdotal, but I had a couple of friends who were education majors. They bristled at the idea that the classes were nothing but fluff. However, they readily admitted that no one failed who at least bothered to show up to class regularly.

#4 "National socialism will no doubt carry a new name – but it’s there in the making."

Just a reminder of the kind of rhetoric people who say Trump is bombastic resort to.

2. "Relay is applying lessons from cognitive science, medical education and sports training to the business of supplying better teachers."

What have Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell wrought? You don't need lessons from any other fields to know this stuff. On her way to getting her teaching degree, my wife took a semester at what is essentially a four-year trade school in our state. You can get a four-year degree in education there or a two-year degree in HVAC. She had been attending one of the state's main teaching programs, but registered too late for any of the classes she needed and had to go down the road for her last semester in the classroom. She said the trade school's approach was far superior because it focused on practical matters, such as classroom management. But the students were of a far lower quality.

Education programs can do this. They don't need to be shown the way. They just won't, probably because there is no reward.

#2 The article is self refuting. If schooling is signaling then the raising the quality of all teachers will have little/no impact, but if schooling is about human capital formation, how is it that after 4 years of college focused on teaching, teachers have not taught bee adequately taught how to teach!
That Ed majors are not flunked out if they do not show good ability to teach before graduation would be considered alarming if college were about human capital formation! It would seem that that fact would be devastating to the human capital formation theory of schooling.

I enjoyed #5. Good link.

#3) It seems like there should be some adverse selection here, where the most immodest among the uncreditworthy are the most likely to borrow. The more immodest, the less the collateral is actually worth.

The EU agreement is a classic example of how politicians sneak everything including the kitchen sink into their legislation. The EU is killing Britain and other EU countries but the pro-EU forces ignore all of the harmful crap in the agreement and point to the handful of useful things they hope will seduce the British people into staying in this disaster. What should have happened is a straight forward mutual trade agreement but what they got was SO much more and all of it deadly.

2. Oh, lord, Relay? What a joke. I wrote about them a couple years ago: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/education-schools-prescriptive-training-and-academic-freedom/

Relay isn't teaching teachers. It's a very prescriptive form of training, for a very specific sort of wannabe teacher, teaching a very specific sort of student, in a very specific type of school. So if you're a high-achieving organized person who thinks teaching is easy, and you are going to be teaching low ability high poverty black or Hispanic kids from grades 4-6, in a no-excuses charter that the kids' parents don't want to be kicked out of, then Relay will allow you to read from their script long enough to get a credential, provided you do the really creepy finger waves. They might be getting master's degrees, but Relay isn't a university, and it sure as hell doesn't offer anything in the way of academic freedom.

No one who comments on this blog would ever submit their kids, grandkids, or any other relatives to the sort of charter school madness that Relay trains these TFA'ers to inflict on the kids who won the lotteries to those charter schools.

And Tyler isn't the guy to decide what teachers require.

#4 The author would do well to remember that, Leave or Stay, the EU still sucks in a big way. Equating "Stay" with an endorsement of the EU--and the EU membership with all that is good in governance--is risky politics, leaving members of the majority "Stay but Resist" faction a tough choice.

"Stay and Resist" have been trying to reform the EU since at least 1991 and the Lisbon agenda. It's been explicit UK policy through all governments. How's it working out, you think?

There's a point where honest men just have to say they have failed. Or do we want to give it another 25 years of failing competitiveness and languid productivity?

#2: "Leaders at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg came under fire this year for administering a survey to incoming freshman in an attempt to predict which of them were unlikely to succeed. They planned to encourage them to drop out."

I don't think it's bad to discourage incoming freshmen who are unlikely to succeed. They aren't going to be better off with 2 years of college and a lot of student loan debt.

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