Wednesday assorted links

1. 7 year olds solve coordination problems over 80% of time, 5 year olds less than 20% of time -finds Grueneisen

2. Claims about wages in southern Brazil.  (Better link here)

3. “”Socialists who think charter school success can’t be scaled” occupy an interesting ideological space” — Adam Ozimek.

4. NYT profile of CBO head Keith Hall.

5. WeChat vs. Apple, bet on WeChat.

Comments

3. LOL.

If a charter school turns out to be the best, then competition would make it the number one choice for every student. Thus the best charter school would be the single public school.

You can only advocate for charter schools, school choice, if you argue either schools will be bad schools for some, or you advocate for denying school to some large number of students as too hard to teach.

But if a school can be bad for some students, then you must deal with the likelihood ALL school will be bad for many students.

Poor people do not find a any good choices in reliable cars. Blind people do not find a any safe cars to drive. Thus liberals provide public transit, but they do not argue public transit must be so bad that the wealthy and healthy will find it so bad they will spend any amount of money and personal effort for an acceptable alternative. Conservatives have now moved to arguing that eliminating public transit and punishing being poor and blind will eliminate poverty and disability.

Likewise, the charter school advocates are arguing that their solution will eliminate all poverty and disability in children because the free market will solve every problem cheaper than public schools that charter advocates are harmed by being required to serve the poor and disabled.

"If a charter school turns out to be the best, then competition would make it the number one choice for every student. Thus the best charter school would be the single public school."

In the real world, there is no chance you would have one "best school" so your argument is a fallacy. But even if you were right, the best school is not something that remains forever. A private monopoly would still be exposed to competition and eventually a new comer would disrupt that monopoly. The real problem with public monopolies is that they are protected from challengers (the charter debate is actually proof of that).

"Thus liberals provide public transit, but they do not argue public transit must be so bad that the wealthy and healthy will find it so bad they will spend any amount of money and personal effort for an acceptable alternative."

You are right, they do not advocate for bad schools. Bad schools are merely a side-effect of their preference for teachers' unions dollars over minority students' success.

Helices conchoids epycycloids Albrecht Duerer May 21st, 1471

Praxis.

Link for 3?

Searching around, Tyler's Twitter, retweeting Modeled Behavior.

3. Success of charter schools is a function of selectivity; the best students for the best schools. Shifting all the students from a "public school" to a "charter school" is equivalent to shifting the furniture on the deck of the Titanic; it's till the deck of the Titanic. The better question is what's the target student in schools? Is it the exceptional student, the underachieving student, or the average student? It can't be all three at the same time. I've commented before that when I was a child the target was the average student. That's not surprising since most every student was average. That's not surprising since we all looked alike. Today, not so much. As to the correct answer to my better question, I don't know the answer. For Cowen and most readers of this blog, the answer is average is over - and underachieving is, well, gone.

I guess that's what makes Ozimek's "interesting ideological space." He imagines "blank slaters" who should believe good schools "scale" average students into "the best."

If you believe good students, good teachers, good schools are going to be a little more randomly sorted you probably wouldn't make (or enjoy) such conceit.

Not all socialsts are blank slaters.

Very few are. They tend to recognize that social and economic situations influence the development of individuals.

The statement of equality of all men (and women) may be related to some biblical concepts, but it`s also strongly related to the concept of equality of all before the law. And in another sense, the equality refers to all humans as having inherently similar/equal worth, something that is not always upheld in a given market context, but is a value that helps to keep those who are off the ground by still low from feeling good about beating down on those yet further below them.

"Equality" in this/these sense(s) is not an inherent property of the universe, but an ideal that is worth upholding, that no matter if the price of your labour in this market is worth ten times that of another man, it would be equally wrong to, say, punch either of you in the nose (assuming that neither had done anything to motivate that).

"They tend to recognize that social and economic situations influence the development of individuals." That is blank slatism (steel manned)

I said "influence", not "is 100% determining".

The charters in my city are on a lottery system. They can't choose their students. Every charter system I'm familiar with uses some variation on this. What systems are you talking about where charters get to select the best students?

Is every child in the lottery? If a child is picked in the lottery for the charter school, is she automatically enrolled or do the parents have to enroll her? If a child is enrolled, does the charter school provide transportation to and from the charter school? How far from the charter school are students transported? Does the charter school have an athletic program? Who pays for the athletic program? The point of my questions is that the charter school includes a selectivity process whether it's acknowledged or not. Again, I don't have the answer to my better question. I'm nearly old so this isn't an issue for my child. But it is an issue for America and its future. Should we spend our resources on the very best so they can create a better future, or do we spend our resources on the average and underachieving so they can be part of a stable and prosperous nation.

For my city (DC):
Is every child in the lottery? Yes, although every child has the right to attend an in-boundary traditional public school. You can also use the lottery for out-of-boundary public schools.
If a child is picked in the lottery for the charter school, is she automatically enrolled or do the parents have to enroll her? Parents must enroll; but parents also must enroll if in public school. No difference in procedures.
If a child is enrolled, does the charter school provide transportation to and from the charter school? How far from the charter school are students transported? Neither the public nor the charter schools provide transportation, except for students with disabilities who get transportation regardless of the type of school they attend. All students are given free passes for the public transit system. i assume your point is that parents have to provide for transportation to charters but not publics, but in fact many kids are assigned to "in-boundary" schools that are located much further away then a number of charter options.
Does the charter school have an athletic program? Who pays for the athletic program? This may vary by charter, and I'm most familiar with the elementary school options, but I'm not aware of any that have an athletic program. The charters tend to have much less in the way of facilities than the traditional public schools, so they don't have the fields, gyms, etc. If this provides for selection, it is in favor of the public schools.

Sounds like charters provide school choice like all the lotteries provide the choice of how big a millionaire you will be.

But the students entering into the lottery are presumably ones who are doing so in the belief that this will yield a better education. Which means that those who intend to perform academically are more likely to end up there.

Say, there are 10,000 students and 5 charter schools and 15 non-charter schools. If there is only space for 2,500 students to go to the charter schools, but 3,000 applications, then the lottery is one way to allocate those positions.

Is it your belief that this pool of 3,000 applicants would have similar intention and/or capacity to succeed academically?

1) In many cases every child is in the lottery

2) Studies measure the 3,000 against each other, not the 2,500 against the 10,000

Do you really believe that the quality of instruction has zero effect on student performance? I'm certainly willing to believe that some students have natural and/or social advantages that make them better learners and others won't do very well no matter how good their teachers are, but the idea that school quality is completely meaningless strikes me as absurd. You'd have to believe that a student would perform equally if he sat in front of cartoons all day as he would if he went to Stuyvesant.

The point is that charters will not provide solutions for all students just like the free market in cars has failed in a hundred years to deliver a car for poor blind people. And if self driving cars do appear on the free market, they still won't be a solution for poor blind people.

and it follows, mulp's solution would be to ban cars.

"just like the free market in cars has failed in a hundred years to deliver a car for poor blind people."

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that since a small sliver of the population can't afford or drive regular cars, we should socialize the whole industry. Is that right? How would this make the world a better place? Would socialized car industry come up with cheaper cars or self driving cars more quickly than the current market? Also, where do buses come into this? If you were concerned about the poor having access to transportation, would subsidizing their income so they can either afford cheaper cars or take buses or trains be a better route than socializing the car industry?

I have so many more questions.

mulp, are you claiming that current schooling "provides solutions for all students"? And what does "solutions" mean in this context? Also, are you aware your car analogy makes no sense? Plus do you

OK I just caught myself engaging mulp. Dangerous game, that.

mulp is an objective demonstration of the failure of our public school system.

The average velocity of June divided by 30 is .001464 ...Year 1464 (MCDLXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday, or 4160 by the Tibetan calender or 4160 by the Chinese Calender

during the Ming Dynasty; a subsequent rebellion springs up in Guangxi, where a rebellion of the Miao people and Yao people forces the Ming throne to respond by sending 30,000 troops (including 1,000 Mongol cavalry) to aid the 160,000 local troops stationed in the region to crush the rebellion that will end in 1466.

April 23
Robert Fayrfax, English Renaissance composer

Back to 417

February 23 – Zhengtong Emperor of China (b. 1427), Died in 1464

1461:
François Villon, Le Grand Testament, lyric poem; France[1] consisting of 173 stanzas

It's not really the end of the world if poor blind people can't drive cars, or don't get as good of an education.
Really, it's not.

The free market in cars has delivered cars for poor blind people, they are often passengers in cars (not to mention buses = really big cars).

I don't see how having more charter schools would increase the overall supply of these better teachers, unless the overall spending on labour (teachers) increases.

Robert Nesta Marley 5/11/1981
Jack Roosevelt Robinson 10/24/1972
5/13/-9
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain and sat down. His disciples came to Him

Spending is the only input to attracting good teachers? How many good teachers quit because they have to put up with bad teachers, undisciplined students or just from poor administration? Public schools have all of these in spades.

In my experience as a teacher, very much the opposite.

Private schools are full of rich brats who complain if you don't manage to stuff enough knowledge into their heads, with hardly being willing to try. Administration is haphazard. Serious pain in the butt around every corner. In public schools, expectations are clear on day one and there's minimal BS. Also, parents don't come into public schools threatening to take their money elsewhere if you don't make Bobby happy, when you're trying to focus on getting stuff in their head.

Maybe things are different in some other place (e.g., the USA, the case being presently discussed).

And, back to the point of thinking system level, I don't see how the total level of discipline of students across a system would be higher or lower as a result.

"undisciplined students"

"In my experience as a teacher, very much the opposite.
Private schools are full of rich brats who complain if you don’t manage to stuff enough knowledge into their heads, with hardly being willing to try."

Spoken by someone who has never stepped foot in a dangerous part of town. "The students complain!!!!" Try the students assaulting you, which are the type of schools that Republicans are attempting to allow minorities who want to succeed to escape from.

Well I'd better bring out the bravado about how many of which dangerous parts of which towns I've ever been in to try to counter the notion that I couldn't possibly know anything about teaching from the position of a teacher unless I'd spent lots of time in dangerous parts of towns.

The better question is what’s the target student in schools? Is it the exceptional student, the underachieving student, or the average student? It can’t be all three at the same time.

Couldn't there be some schools for each group?

Your question seems almost a perfect set up for the answer "school choice."

#1 - you gotta love a tweeted graph with absolutely no documentation or explanation. But I'm convinced. Of something.

Why, were you about to undertake some major business that relied upon the coordination abilities of 5 year olds?

It's an interesting factoid of when children learn certain things. Most of us will forget it by tomorrow. Those who care can follow up. Not everything needs to be a master's thesis.

I'd also like a little more background. Is there no middle ground between no explanation of what a graph means and a masters thesis that I use to do "major business"?

#1: is number 1 about this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordination_game

Link for the "2. Claims about wages in southern Brazil":
http://cerdi.org/uploads/sfCmsContent/html/464/Ehrl.pdf

All the conference papers are available at:
http://cerdi.org/Programme.html

It seems likely that an area with rapidly growing wage growth will tend to attract a higher proportion of relocating workers than the norm. Recent immigrants will naturally have a higher propensity to be willing to relocate than those with long standing roots (associations) in a given area. So, areas of rapidly growing wage growth will tend to attract a more diverse population than a static area.

How do you attempt to resolve the cause and effect ?

2. That's an awful lot of words to tell us that Germans are highly productive, even when they emigrate from Germany, and even after several generations. That applies to Brazil, as per the paper, but also to the USA.

3. It is probably important to remember the arch-lIbertarian position. That is, charter schools are better because parents can choose them. This is even true, as Tyler has argued, when their performance is below par. Choosing is a utility in that arch-libertarian world. Happy choosing parents should be respected even if education and society were to suffer.

This is basically a "Coke is best because it is the most purchased beverage in America" argument. So it has to be good for you. Or if it isn't, it might have utility somehow, by circular logic.

"Choosing is a utility in that arch-libertarian world."

So, is choice a negative utility in the non arch-libertarian world?

It is a utility, but it should be subordinate to quality of education. Education, after all, is for the kids first. It is for general prosperity second. It is for parents who can't prioritize their kid's education last.

I personally would feel better if all these discussions were about how to create "good schools," and centered on teaching methods, administration, general efficiency. Who owns the school is really independent of that, and it only becomes a political argument when someone makes the extreme claim that "good schools can only be [insert 'public' or 'private']"

Fair points. I think the school choice crowd believes you can't improve schools dominated by teachers' unions.

"Education, after all, is for the kids first" No crap. I don't think it's too hard to figure out that most parents believe that they have the kid's best interest at heart and know their kids better than the administrators. Choice solves these issues. School A may be better for my kid, and school B for yours. I know this better than anyone as a parent. For the smaller number of kids whose parents do not care - they can default to admin's choice (which still may be made better by having a choice of schools to pick)

Too much choice (too many options) can generate negative utility...

"You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country."

Bernie Sanders

"It is a utility, but it should be subordinate to quality of education."

In most cases (nearly all), having multiple choices leads to higher quality. It's nearly axiomatic that monopolies lead to lower quality products.

I have yet to see someone make a persuasive case that the public school monopoly leads to a high quality service.

I'm not sure that "monopoly" would be the right word for the theoretical constructions, since the government does not have a profit motive and rather tends to prefer to spend less money if it can on a given thing in order to be able to claim successes in meeting other expectations/demands of the public.

The union aspect to the labour supply can obviously be assumed to shape that in the direction that you expect, but in the meantime recall that you have individuals who generally care if children get educated (even if they refrain from complete selflessness and also prefer a higher paycheque to a lower paychque), which is theoretically different from assumptions of professionally managed corporate actors representing shareholders whose nearly-sole basis of evaluation is profit.

Probably theoretical constructions would not possibly be sufficient to demonstrate that having a 100% public system and illegality of private schools (I don't think this situation actually exists anywhere except maybe North Korea) would result in "a high quality of service". However, the results from public schooling in many advanced countries does not suggest that the private sector has any special ability to achieve "high quality service".

The main benefit of sending kids to a school that costs $30k a year is that all their friends will also be from families that can afford to drop $30k a year on something they could otherwise have for free (right?). Which might result in higher future income, but that is not evidence that the quality of education is better.

"The main benefit of sending kids to a school that costs $30k a year is that all their friends will also be from families that can afford to drop $30k a year on something they could otherwise have for free (right?). Which might result in higher future income, but that is not evidence that the quality of education is better."

Is this the subject of your PhD thesis? Please link me to the basis for this statement. If true, wouldn't it be powerful evidence that the school hardly matters at all?

I'm not suggesting that school doesn't matter .

I'm saying that two equally educated children, one where no family in their peer network at annual income over $50,000, and a second where six figures incomes are considered almost poor, the second will tend to earn higher income regardless of similar education and/or talent.

For which reason, in order to make effective use of talents in a society, it is not desirable to have such exclusive selection mechanisms which effectively serve as barriers to advancement of those with skills and interest in whatever is valued in the market (the focus being on market income) these days.

There are probably thousands of articles on the subject already, but I don't know what the keywords are.

e government does not have a profit motive and rather tends to prefer to spend less money if it can on a given thing in order to be able to claim successes in meeting other expectations/demands of the public.

LOL. I wish that was true.
In reality, because taxes are spread throughout society and not tied to consumption of any specific service, the incentives are to expand services, not to cut services back. School administrators hear from parents who want more services daily, and only very indirectly from taxpayers who want to spend less on them. One election every couple of years in which there are multiple issues at stake, not just school funding. Besides the individual career paths of bureaucrats incentivizes them to get expand their personal empires by spending more money and administrating more programs.

You're including taxpayers as individuals (who are diffuse) and considering the interests of individuals within public organizations to want to have higher pay and probably will tend to think it's a good idea to increase budgets of stuff they work on.

But you've excluded the elected decision makers who decide about budget sizes. That's more who I was thinking of.

"In most cases (nearly all), having multiple choices leads to higher quality."

This is what I went after with the Coke example (or cigarettes). A theory of market welfare certainly would be easier if we were shown to be effective in our choices.

I read recently that the US has spent a cumulative trillion dollars on weight loss. Are you ready to call that money well spent by the same theory? That is, valuing the choices and carefully ignoring the outcome?

Weight loss leads to better health outcomes. Nothing wrong with that.

"valuing the choices and carefully ignoring the outcome" Looks from here JWatts has a better handle on outcomes than you do regarding schools.

Coke should be banned because I don't like it! Other people are FAT. FAT COWS I SAY

Was there weight loss? I see a trillion spent and ever increasing obesity.

And no, I did not ask to ban soda, I just asked you to consider the wisdom of the purchase.

I have never even asked for cigarettes to be banned, though sometimes I step back and wonder why that isn't a more popular idea. Is it that we don't really believe markets are beneficial, that we believe free markets are worth some level of self harm? Cigarettes but not heroin?

Maybe because freedom is worth someone else occasionally making a decision that you disagree with?

I wonder why we allow people to vote for Trump. I guess we just love people self-harming. Let's ban the TV, everyone knows it's junk. We'll replace it with public operas and bottled mineral water. People would love it if only we could make their choices for them.

Perfect illustration. A silly argument about self harm as self harm.

It would be more mature to acknowledge the tradeoff. We prefer freedom, and try to balance that, in law and custom, with self harm. We do not pretend that self harm never happens, or that it is a "utility."

Again, why heroin is commonly illegal around the world, across quite diverse cultures and governments.

if my kid was gay I'd like to be able to look around and choose a safe space for her. kids' feelings might b an important boon of choice

Or maybe choice creates competition, which creates incentives for improved performance? Not saying it actually works that way, but I believe that's more the reasoning than the simplistic caricature you've offered.

Utility is subjective.

Why is "utility" measured by whatever happens to be in the standardized tests right now? What if in 20 years, STEM knowledge is useless because computers do all the math and science work and the highest paid occupations are artistic and creative fields?
What if I want my kids to be well rounded, classically educated, polymaths rather than specialized robots?
I mean who decides what counts as "good" education?

Ignore quality of students. Ignore quality of teachers.

School choice should still allow more experimentation in administration, management, etc.

See Speed-Dee System for McDondalds vs. other hamburger stands.

McDonalds didn't have "better cooks" or cherry pick "better customers."

The systemic advances we miss in education and other fields due to regulation should never be underestimated.

Do you mean this as a theoretical statement, or can you provide some examples where the cost side of regulations in education is underestimated?

3) How do you scale something if it turns out that filtering (self selection) was the main causal factor for the apparently good results?

So you think the dumb kids can't be helped?

They could start by learning the meaning of the word "if", and having the attentiveness to notice it is there.

So in other words, you are trolling and taking a contrarian position that you do not believe in?

I guess you don't know what the word "if" means either.

People around Marginal Revolution have low trust.

is filtering so bad?

I confess I'm kinda with Robin Hanson and Bernie on the oodles of consumer choices

#1 is why Twitter sux. You can take some B.S. deviation from a modeled average of a small sample, proclaim a fundamental law of nature has been discovered, and wind up getting your fanny publicly kissed by Tyler. Sad! At least our robot overlords will be smarter than us.

#2

Weren't most non-Iberian immigrants to Brazil circa 1900, Germans? Couldn't the paper just as easily be re-framed from being about diversity to being about having a high Teutonic population.

At this point, a lot of Italians had already arrived also, probably more than germans. And by 1918, I believe a relevant number of polish, russian and other eastern europeans, some odd french or dutch or other western european, japanese were already there, summed up they probably had a relevant share.

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