Friday, September 30, 2011

Up the pyramid...better but sloppier

We did the Mark Twain on Gadgets plays.  As you can imagine, not great theater, but I think the work of creating (highest level on the updated Bloom's taxonomy--of learning processes) a Twain interaction with contemporary gadgets did help students think about themselves and their gadgets a little bit.

If you look at the taxonomy you'll notice that the higher up you go the more interpretive and debatable we get.  You may remember that Twain wrote Huck Finn.  You probably understand that there were significant literary aspects that made Huck a great novel (and Twain a great writer).  You might be able to use the understanding of Twain's social critique to think about issues in contemporary life (like communication patterns).  But even here--only half way up the taxonomy--we veer into thoughts inflected by the particular disposition and values of the the one doing the thinking.  As we move up to evaluation, the whole question gets even more diffuse.  (Remember the debates in the academy a while back about whether Twain even belonged in the canon of great American authors.)

Think of it this way.  Those first two tasks--remembering and understanding--were things your teacher could basically provide.  Moving up, you're more and more on your own.

So, creating a play about Twain texting is fraught with ambiguity and weakness (as a lesson plan), because it must be, if it has any chance of working.  Too much direction on a task at the top level and you stifle the process that's supposed to yield the learning.  And I, therefore, must surrender my desire to closely control the learning outcome.

That's what I mean when I say, "education is a sloppy endeavor."

Mark Twain on Gadgets

Shortly after the phone was invented, Twain satirized its impact on the character and quality of human interaction.  Overhearing just one end of a phone conversation, Twain says, is the solemnest curiosity in modern life.  We've gotten a lot better--or at least a lot more accustomed--at listening to one side of a conversation, so now we think little of it.

But we're not much deeper into the texting/tweeting/Facebooking age than Twain was into the telephone age in 1880.  (The digital tools are far more widespread today than the phone was then, of course.)  And I'm the age Twain was when he wrote "A Telephonic Conversation."  And I'm about as befuddled by the digital communication tools as Twain was by the telephone.

For the last few days my 8th graders and I have been reading about our brains on gadgets and the effect excessive electronics use has on not only our attention and performance, but brain biology as well.  Nearly all the research shows that we don't multitask nearly as well as we think we do, excessive use of gadgets tires out our brains and diminishes performance even while we think we're being more 'efficient,' gadgets can become bio-chemically addicting, and gadget use is rewiring the circuitry of our brains.

What in the world would Twain make of that?  We'll find out today!  We've written and will today perform brief plays in which Twain time warps into a contemporary scene, replete with teenagers conducting their multi-level interactions.  They will, for instance, talk to Twain while they are texting each other about Twain...all in presence of each other.

My hope is that they will be at least a little more mindful of the ways in which they communicate so that they might be a little bit more aware of how and what they're communicating in their interactions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Assessment Culture

This year, we have an early release (for students) on Wednesdays in full 5-day weeks.  Instead of seemingly countless half-days with professional development, we're getting an hour a week for about 26 or 27 of the weeks.  I prefer this....1/2 days are much less than half the value of a full day, whereas 5/6 of a day is just fine.

We're spending the first several ACE days (we call them) developing, re-working, aligning and evaluating our power standards, the set of 10 or 12 über-standards that serve as an umbrella for our subject area grade-level-specific expressions of the state requirements (written as Essential Academic Learning Requirements, with appropriate Grade Level Expectations--at least they were called that; now that we signed on to the Common Core State Standards those names might change).

From these power standards we devise intermediate grade-level specific expressions of them.  From these we craft the daily learning targets, which we post everyday, along with the power standards...and with the intermediate standards...?  Wasn't clear to me.

Or, wait.  Another group was writing very specific power standards that weren't umbrella-like at all.  They were developing very specific power standards that already looked more like daily learning targets.  Boy, I don't want to have to figure out their intermediate standards.

We better hurry up and decide which it is, though.  We've got to get to work on the mini-assessment procedures we're going to undertake with these standards.  We must create some pre-assessments to establish a baseline and determine needs of students, and post-assessments to see whether the students gained.   In between we teach material in the standard we're assessing, and rely on a 3 or 4 question mini-test to give an accurate account of whether a student can, for instance, 'make a point clearly and effectively when writing.'

And just what do I have to post in my room?

(Yes, I understand the above could be a tangle of EdSpeak for those not accustomed to the hope was to give you a sense of the Byzantine reality of education.)

All that to say, there's a lot of assessment going on.  Some, but not all, of it is helpful to stimulate instruction, motivate students (some do like to challenge themselves to do well), identify needs, etc.

We do a lot of assessing, though.  Math takes it the hardest.  We have a district-wide test that we do 3 times a year.  Takes 2 days for math.  MSP has been cut back to 4 days, which is nice.  End-of-course exam--a new state requirement, a couple days.  Chapter tests.  10-12 mini-assessments.

That's 12 full days lost for state and district tests.  I don't know how many--8 or 10?--days for class tests. 20 days partially disrupted for mini-assessments.  (A 10 minute disruption has to be planned for.)

40 days? with some sort of assessing going on.  1 day every week.  That's a lot of assessing, and a lot of 'data.'  And all that data doesn't even match up (not expressed in compatible ways), or--sometimes--corroborate other data.  Just what are we to think of a student who fails math class, passes the end of course exam (probably the hardest of the 3), and fails the math MSP?

I'm sure there's an über-standard for that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Kentucky's (among others) school performance dropped--13% fewer schools were making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), so they want a waiver from NCLB requirements.

Says, the Commissioner of Education, "This is a signal that the NCLB system is no longer fair, valid or reliable."

Hmmm.  I wonder if it would be a signal of unfairness, invalidity and/or unreliability if scores rose 13%.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dept. of Ed.

I spent a few minutes on the Department of Education website, reading about its least as far as the Department sees it.  Interesting stuff.


The original Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. While the agency's name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 130 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues down to the present day.
Despite the growth of the Federal role in education, the Department never strayed far from what would become its official mission: to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

Fascinatingly modern language, revealing perhaps a slight revision.  The 'what works' notion is particularly revealing.  It feels too contemporary, confirmed by the Department's own project called the 'what works clearinghouse.'  

As for the the first sentence of the Department's mission, it doesn't make sense, even internally--within the sentence itself.  The department never strayed far from what would become its mission?  You mean to say it had that mission before anybody ever knew it would be the official mission?  So, they were preparing students for global competitiveness from the beginning?  And ensuring equal access (to what they don't say--presumably to education)?  Really?  That's the contemporary mission?  Historically, though?  And what in the world does "despite" have to do with the first phrase?

It all reads like an effort to legitimate and bolster the Department by showing its historical presence and merit.  The ruse unravels when modern notions of the Department's work and identity are generalized backward in time.

All the Republican candidates want to drastically cut or eliminate the department.  We'll see.  That kind of thing doesn't happen all that often.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

School Board, where are you?

The strike's over.  I wonder if the School Board now needs to resolve to take back the responsibilities they granted to the superintendent.  Or do they just assume they have them back.  It would be too much a cliche for me to say that one about 'you know what happens when you assume."  But nothing is particularly clear at the moment...except that everything is still charged with contentiousness.  (See the disagreement about teacher pay.)

THAT rebuilds trust!

The News Tribune reports that the Tacoma School District is doing some creative math with the teachers' pay.  The administration is saying that teachers will be paid for days worked in the last period.  And then they'll correct the difference in the next period.  Not exactly a trust-rebuilding act.  Doesn't make sense--to me, either.

Since teachers get paid in 24 installments throughout the year, why is it ever about the days they work in that pay period?  They won't work any in the latter part of December, but they still get paid.  

They'll still be working those days that they were striking...just at a different time.  If they're only paid for the days worked in this latest pay period, it's as if the strike days don't when Pope Gregory skipped over those 10 days in 1582.

Now, if they agreed not make up the strike days, then teachers would need to take less pay.  But they're going to work the same number of days as a non-strike year, so they should get the regular 24 pay installments.

Bitterness at (or delight in) one side or the other doesn't grant license to change (violate?) the rules.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Strike is over!

Finally, the strike is over.  I don't know that I'd say everything is 'settled,' but school is back in session in Tacoma today, Friday, September 23.

The issue of reassigning teachers has been deferred.  A committee--of teachers and administration--will continue to work to develop a procedure for reassignment.  Word is, any plan coming out of the committee has to have 2/3 agreement of the committee, but will not go before the union membership for a vote.

This means, of course, that the composition of the committee is all the more important.  Let's pay attention to what that committee looks like.

There are several questions to which we can now return.

Achievement Gap

  • How do we prioritize all the suggestions the consultant’s report makes?  What evidence suggests that cultural training supports student achievement?  The district has undertaken several cultural awareness initiatives before, why haven’t those generated more success?
  • What is the best evidence about causes of and solutions to the achievement gap?  The consultant’s report contains the following two sentences--about a page apart.  

The Advisory Committee found that the achievement gap for African American students is caused primarily by: 
     Inequitable distribution of skilled and experienced teachers (p. 13)


The degree to which quality teachers are available to African American students in Tacoma schools could not be determined with the available information (p. 15)

  • How do we make sense of the “primary cause” of the achievement gap?

  • Why has there been so much less mention of the Hispanic achievement gap?

Balancing Objectives

  • The Tacoma schools have the responsibility to get students to standard, and get them college ready, and close the achievement gap.  Sometimes these objectives are at odds.  Getting a nearly-at-standard student to standard is much different from making them college ready.  How shall we reconcile these sometimes competing responsibilities?

Teacher Evaluation

  • What connection can we verify between student test scores and teacher effectiveness?  How confidently can we use test scores to evaluate teachers?

Candidate Dexter Gordon has written, rather awkwardly (what are "generative contractual arrangements"?) about this.  In a statement on the strike, in which he first professes that a candidate shouldn't interject his views before he proceeds to give his views, he subtly but clearly comes out in favor of teacher evaluations based on student scores.  

He is sure that the ability "to get rid of bad teachers" will close the Achievement Gap.  He said so in the TNT endorsement interview we participated in last June.

But, as his statement points out, it's time to rebuild trust in Tacoma.  With views like those, I doubt he's the right candidate for that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teacher World vs. Real World?

I read and hear a lot (about the strike in Tacoma) along the lines of 'Why do teachers think they should be able to be in charge of where they work?  That's not how it is in the business world.'

Seems like something of a shibboleth, if you ask me.

First of all, schools do have an amount of the 'you go where we tell you.'  It's just the most recently hired teachers who suffer that the most.  After the first days of school, when student counts become accurate and reliable, shifting takes place.  Since Tacoma's student numbers can shift significantly--especially downward, that can mean a lot of teacher movement. 

Second of all, the business world has its norms and customs.  Employees may not have the binding authority of a contract to back them up, but there are various cultural and company expectations about reassignment.  And if you're high enough in a business firm, you may well get all kinds of perks as a payoff for your reassignment. 

I'm worn out of the idealization of business and demonization of government, and vice versa.  Neither one is as good [or bad] as their proponents [or opponents] say, so let's be fair about our comparisons.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where's the Tacoma School Board?

And where's the resolution?  The one in which the Board delegates all its authorities to the Superintendent.

I don't hear much chatter about this.

I remember seeing the article on The News Tribune website and facsimiles of the resolution on the district web site.  They might both still be there...hard to know; both web sites are somewhat Byzantine.

The only place I can still find a mention of the school board delegating its responsibilities--as elected leaders of the schools--to the un-elected Superintendent is in an article on the World Socialist Web Site.

So School Board, and resolutions of delegation, where are you?

Is it true, Board, that you didn't want to have meetings where the public came in and gave you grief about the strike?  I hope not...that's part of your job, isn't it?

I'm not going to raise the political comparisons that are so obvious here.  You know, the times when elected leaders surrender their responsibilities to a lone executive actor.  They don't usually turn out all that well.

Ready, set, let's evaluate schools and teachers

After running for school board and reading a lot of somewhat strident public comments about the teachers strike in Tacoma, I got to thinking that a lot of people--especially many who want to issue diktats about necessary "reforms"--may not really be aware of the kinds of strategies and directives schools are implementing in order to improve their work.

School isn't what it used to be...even in the 6 years I've been involved.  It has become ordered by a lot more protocol and procedure aimed at squeezing more learning improvement out of every class and every student.  I don't think everything we have to do is great or even good.   One has to know how to attend to these procedural details without having them impinge on the greater project.  Once comfortably incorporated into your routine, though, they do make instruction a bit better.  (For instance, as I fit the learning target--below-- into my day, I got comfortable pointing it out in the flow of the day's instruction...and I believe it does help some students keep a better focus on what they're doing.)

Herewith, a few questions to give a little taste--I'm sure it's little, as the education bureaucracy and regulation is utterly Byzantine--of some of the organizing principles of teaching.  You could think of it as a quiz, if you like.  I wrote the quiz, and I don't know all the answers.

What is the ESEA?  (It's what we all know as NCLB.)  Describe the "highly qualified" requirements for teachers.

Name any two of Marzano's High Yield Strategies.  Bonus—How many strategies are there?  Extra bonus--name the highest yielding strategy.
What's the highest level skill/competency on the updated Bloom's taxonomy?
What are Power Standards?  (Here's a set for a school district, not mine--ours are under review)
Explain the importance of a daily learning target.  From/on what are learning targets based?
What is an EALR?  What is the CCSS?  What is the connection between the two?
Which of these (GLE, EALR, CCSS, Learning Target, Power Standards, Marzano's strategies) are required to be posted in classrooms in the district where you live?
Name the content categories (strands) on the various MSP tests.  (See the very bottom of this sample score report.)
What is a CBA?  Which subjects administer these?   What data does the state record from these?
On what material, information, data, etc., are the School Improvement Plans in your school district based?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Decision-making in Tacoma

The authority and procedure for decision-making over reassigning teachers is part of contract language.  The "flexibility" movement wants to change the procedure by moving that authority to principals--read, district office.

The abstract alternative to which we turn always sounds more appealing than current mixed reality.  That's why we need to be clear that flexibility is not the only thing we'll get from the proposed change in the reassignment procedure.

We'll also get recentralization of the process--this time at the district office instead of in the contract language.  As I've opined before, centralization is tightening, and tightening usually invokes a variety of risks.

Politicizing the process is the biggest risk.  By that I mean several things.  People--at all levels--are more subject to social pressure than contracts are.  Vesting authority in a few people means the mechanisms of pressure can be more easily applied.  It doesn't take a masters in education to see how that trickles down to incentivize teachers to 'make people (principals, parents, but probably last of all, students) happy.'

Retaining this authority in a few people also gives them excessive power over such a crucial decision.  And, to be frank, too many people in district administration are unhappy or unsuccessful teachers.  Or, at least, they have something of an antagonistic relationship with teachers.

To put a finer point on it, the switch proposed by the district would work best the higher the trust among all involved.

I think we're headed the wrong way in that area.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


For the sake of full disclosure, I have invited several people--most of whom are named somewhere in this blog--to respond to the request in the post called Strike:

I hope somebody who supports the 'flexibility' movement will articulate just how that generates better outcomes, and how abuses will be prevented. 

So far, none has answered my request.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I texted a Tacoma teacher friend to ask what had happened Monday night at the union meeting.

I got a one-word response.


With 87% of the membership voting for a strike, Tacoma will not be having school tomorrow, Sept. 13.  The superintendent says he's going to court to get an injunction to stop it.

The sticking point is 'seniority,' in a subtle aspect.  The district wants the flexibility--as Board Member Kurt Miller says--of letting principals reassign teachers as they see fit, without seniority getting in the way.  Flexibility would be great, but don't think it comes without negative and unintended consequences.  

In an environment where hiring and placement preferences (of principals) can be driven as much by who can/will coach a sport as on teaching/content area abilities, I wouldn't want to have to play the 'satisfy the principal' game and wonder every year whether I'd be reassigned to a new position.  

In fact, for the last two years I've had an unusual and new class added to my schedule just days before school starts.  I was qualified for these classes, but they were not my first choice, and they were not what I had signed on to do.  One class added to my 'regular' routine is manageable.  Being completely reassigned to a new subject area or building, that's different.

So, whence comes the big push to create this 'flexibility'?  Apparently, the Achievement Gap movement (see Vibrant Schools Tacoma--about 2/3 the way down this link-- and candidate Dexter Gordon) has latched on to the current seniority arrangement as the source of the achievement gap. 

They rely in part on the consultant's report, which says

The Advisory Committee found that the achievement gap for African American students is caused primarily by:
  • Inequitable distribution of skilled and experienced teachers
This is the first reason listed under the primary causes, even though one page later the report says,
The degree to which quality teachers are available to African American students in Tacoma schools could not be determined with the available information. 

The obvious question, then, is by what reasoning do the anti-seniority advocates think that eliminating seniority for the sake of flexibility will help close the achievement gap?

Is it that principals and the district are more responsive to social pressure than the contractual language on seniority?

Or do they think that principals are going to single-handedly discern the best reassignments?

Certainly, the seniority system needs some adjustment, but the district's proposal is a lot more than adjustment.

'Flexibility' sounds great.  It's always better than rigidity, I guess.  But locating authority in one individual is also problematic (to say the least), especially when those individuals do not always have the full trust of their own staff.

So, I hope somebody who supports the 'flexibility' movement will articulate just how that generates better outcomes, and how abuses will be prevented. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tropes about Education

David Brooks, the venerable (or maybe merely venerated) New York Times columnist, authored these words in a recent piece evaluating the claims of an America in decline:

The United States became the wealthiest nation on earth primarily because Americans were the best educated.

Ahhh, truer words were never spoken or written, you say?  A trope, I say.

It seems like an obvious correlation.  We are wealthy and we (were) well-educated.  We seem to be declining in "wealth" and we all know our education is worsening.  It seems further sensible that education is the thing causing the wealth, not vice versa, particularly in this story of only two factors.

But just how well does this assertion hold up?

First, we need to define our terms, in this case two variables that we think are causally related to each other.  We are indeed wealthy, for I am certain we are all talking about a measurement of GNP or GNP/capita, or some such.  That's clear enough.

"Best educated" is much less clear.  By that do we mean, we have the highest standardized test scores?  We have the most interesting classes?  We have the freest thought in our class rooms?  We provide a high quality education to everybody in the society?  We have good math skills?  We have a wonderfully flexible education system (especially at the university level)?

To some of these we have to answer No.  To others, Yes.  But we answer thusly and can still make an argument that we are the best educated.  We don't have the highest standardized test scores, but it remains clear that those American students in the upper reaches of the standardized test outcomes are doing quite well.  And by plenty of measures, student performance has been improving.  SAT scores have been swinging upward for 20 years.  (Before you dismiss that test for bias or lack of control across time, remember that it's the longest standing standardized test, and we've always put plenty of faith in its measurements.)

Brooks' claim has another difficulty, historically at least.  It's not clear we were ever "best educated"   in any sense that we just talked about.   As I mentioned last week, the 1931 standardized test for passing 8th grade in West Virginia had some serious weak spots.  But those kinds of artifacts are most often held up to show (even if implicitly) that kids know and can do less today than they could then.  Such is the anecdotal evidence of "better education back in the day."

Education wasn't so widely available to all Americans at the time we were becoming "wealthiest," either.  That 1931 test was a bar that a student needed to surpass in order to gain entry to high school.  I don't know how many students there were that didn't pass so didn't go to high school, but presumably there were some.  

And, of course, 1931 (and some years beyond) was well within the Jim Crow years.  African-American students had far less opportunity to go to school, and far fewer school resources available if they did go.  "Best education" was not extending across the social landscape, and we answer in the negative another of those variable-defining questions.

(Most historians, economists, political scientists and the like agree that the US was ascending to world dominance, leadership, wealth, etc., in the first half of the 20th Century.)

Look at the story from another angle.  Our per capita GNP is high, our GNP is high, our share of global GNP has remained at a whopping 25% for years, our productivity growth rate (the source of real gains in well-being) has been healthy--or, sometimes, less unhealthy than similarly developed economies.  

In other words, we're still wealthy.  The dependent variable hasn't changed as much as it is supposed to have changed.  Or perhaps Mr. Brooks is reading the future....Current bad education is about to cause losses of wealth.  We've heard such claims for some time, though.  And, like I say, there is evidence that in some ways education is indeed getting better in the US.

Mr. Brooks' assertion was tossed off too easily....I assume he was embracing the trope.  

When history is too hot to handle

I don't think anybody in our school is doing anything about 9/11, in class that is.  One explanation might be that it's not part of the state standards.  My explanation--for me-- is that it's too difficult for me to imagine doing what I think really needs to be done (would take much more than a couple of one hour class sessions).  Too difficult without invoking significant risks of covering it in a way that bothers somebody.  And I don't want to cover it in a way that ends up bothering me--for the brevity and incompleteness.

Too petty of me, you say?  It all happened last spring in my school....

Our social studies teachers were close to securing a small Civil War Re-enactment group for our school when "risk management" intervened. They said no guns, no explosives, no horses.

Fine enough...the ever-trumping "safety issues" come into play with these factors.

But then they suggested that we "may also want to think about how [we] will address the issue of allowing the civil war troops bringing Confederate flag on your property as it could (as it has done in other sites) cause issue w/ local NAACP, etc."

This apparently--I don't know for sure, as we get very abbreviated summaries of the decision, but not the thinking--set in motion some anxiety at the 'district level.'

The leadership decided no guns, no explosives, no horses, no Confederate flag.

This touched off disappointed response from the history teachers. It looked like this....

Colleague 1
I totally understand on the no horse, no live ammo and actual firing. I totally understand that those are safety issues. But the part I have a big issue with is the Confederate flags part. Is having the Confederate flag for historical presentations against board policy? If not, I think we should allow it. If a confederate flag isn't acceptable at a historical presentation, why is it acceptable in the classroom? This doesn't make sense. I understand that the Confederate flag sometimes creates controversy, but only for those who don't understand history. We are not going to celebrate the Confederate flag and what it represents, but it is part of history. I shouldn't water down history to appease ignorant people. Can we all get together (administration and history department) and discuss this part.

Colleague 2
Can we mention slavery as part of the Civil War….or is that out too?

Your blogger

That's an interesting question. I remember my visit to Monticello (Jefferson's home) in 1978 included extensive discussion of slaves' lives and conduct. In my 1991 visit I don't remember hearing the word slave or slavery once.

I sincerely hope we can use the Confederate flag, as the absence of too many elements of the story leaves blanks that end up diminishing the complexity of the history. The gravity of the Civil War is partly derived from the intensity of the social, political and emotional meanings bound up in these details. For instance, Americans will likely never stop arguing over whether the war was about slavery…unless after long enough time of banishing the right symbols, ideas, images, etc., from the discussion we collectively forget those fundamental aspects of the story.

Might I suggest considering this situation in the other direction? Europeans talk a lot of remembering. 'Don't forget what things have been done.'

That's why Occupation (Soviet and Nazi) museums, Oppression (Soviet and Nazi) museums, Holocaust museums and Concentration Camp museums abound. I've visited a half dozen of these myself, from Auschwitz to the KGB prison in Vilnius, Lithuania to a two-room memorial maintained by one person as a 'labor of love' (in order to remember the Soviet genocide of Lithuanians) in a tiny town on the Baltic Sea. (Sorry, I don't think he has a web site. But there is this.)

Barring the Confederate flag may not seem like that big of a detail, but then again, it's a surrender of one more small portion of the story. Enough small cuts and you bleed to death.

Subsequently, Colleague 1 mused about whether we should discuss things like the 3/5th Compromise, which legalized the counting of slaves as only 3/5th of a person, and other such potentially offensive historical realities.

This is no fusty academic discussion. If you google "3/5 compromise," you might get an auto-filled "for kids" at the end of it. One of the first options on this list is a piece at, whose motto is "intelligent life on the web."

If you read the buzzle summary of the compromise, you'll encounter this, by an author who has "done my Post Graduation in Political Science as well as i hold a Journalism and Mass communication degree. I have worked for a Pune-based Tabloid as a reporter and copy editor for a year."

Fundamentally, although it was 'all good' and slaves did appear to be valued and held as fellow beings, the 3/5 compromise ultimately augured well for the Southern states as they started dominating the House and the governmental agencies. It had a major impact on pre American civil war politics in the USA.

The 3/5 compromise for kids, specifically, can be simply put as a method to sort the deadlock between Southern American states and Northern American states over the issue of counting slaves in connection with taxes. There! This is all I have about 3/5 compromise which now seems like a political
 gimmick to appease the slaves superficially, now what we would have called as minority. (Emphasis added)

I don't even know where to begin, so I won't.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Infectious Disease and IQ

An argument that infectious disease correlates with IQ...regionally speaking.

More infectious disease in a region, lower IQ.  That makes them inversely related.  Look at me, I can sound sciencey.

I do wonder about the causal relationship.  Is it infectious disease generally, or is it specifically in the teachers?

I assume it's the latter, else it wouldn't be something we could fix by breaking the union, or creating more cultural training, or revamping the teacher evaluation system.

Okay, seriously, the author uses his theory to weigh in against the 'genetics causes IQ variation' argument.  Along the way, of course, the claim also adds weight to the idea that situational factors can matter in educational outcomes.