Posts Tagged ‘schools’

How Illinois is that?

A very Illinois situation: “An Illinois union lobbyist can keep the public pension windfall he qualified for by spending one day as a substitute teaching, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled.” [Ray Long, Chicago Tribune via its Twitter]

More on Illinois public employee pensions: “More than 19,000 Illinois Government Retirees Receive Pensions Over $100K” [Janelle Cammenga, Illinois Policy] “Mapping the $100,000+ Illinois Teacher Pensions Costing Taxpayers Nearly $1.0 Billion” [Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes 2016] “Top 200 Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Pensions as of 2017” [Taxpayers United (park district employees score highly in $150K+ annual pension listings)] (via @TwoBoysCapital on Twitter)

Meanwhile, so delightfully Chicago: “JUST IN: Lawyer for ex-Ald. Willie Cochran ask for six months home confinement, saying ‘”since sending previous aldermen to jail has not done anything to curb Chicago’s tidal wave of aldermanic corruption cases, there is no reason to think that sending Mr. Cochran to jail will.'” [Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner on Twitter]

“Calgary-area mom served with cease and desist letter after going public with classroom concerns”

Alberta, Canada: “A Calgary-area mother who spoke out to CBC News over concerns about a large combined Grade 2 class at Red Deer Lake School has been handed a cease-and-desist letter by a law firm on behalf of the school board….Other parents have also received the letter and are not willing to be interviewed as a result.” [Jennifer Lee, CBC]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • Stop active-shooter drills in schools: “Preparing our children for profoundly unlikely events would be one thing if that preparation had no downside. But in this case, our efforts may exact a high price.” [Erika Christakis, The Atlantic] “Lockdowns and active-shooter drills have led to officers firing blank rounds to simulate live fire, mock executions of teachers, and students tearfully writing out wills while hunkered down. …Last year, The Post reported an estimate that the odds of a child being fatally shot while at school any given day since 1999 was 1 in 614,000,000.” [Jonathan Blanks, Washington Post/Cato]
  • After ordeal with Child Protective Services based on drug test fluke, Western New York mom “is certain of one thing, she’ll never eat a poppy seed again.” [WROC]
  • Answer: no. “Should access to a public education be a constitutional right for all children?” [Jessica Campisi, Education Dive; Mark Walsh, Education Week, covering AEI debate on holding of 1973 Supreme Court case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez against such a federal right]
  • Pay attention to the politics of schools of education, because they help determine what you’ll see in the classroom down the road [Jay Schalin, Martin Center] More: University of Washington’s Secondary Teacher Education Program “is a 12-month immersion in doctrinaire social justice activism.” [Quillette]
  • “The Regressive Effects of Childcare Regulations” [Cato video with Ryan Bourne]
  • “Court revives Obama-era rule that incentivizes racial quotas in special ed” [Liam Bissainthe]

Some costs of teacher tenure

Citing a study by Stanford University researcher Eric Hanushek, Howard notes that bad teachers have a much greater negative effect on student performance than good teachers have a positive effect. Based on student-performance data, Hanushek’s study concluded that dismissing the worst 8 percent of American public school teachers would put American students on par with those of Finland, which has the highest-scoring students in the world. Yet it’s nearly impossible to fire tenured teachers. In Los Angeles, an effort to fire just seven notoriously bad instructors cost the city $3.5 million, and only got rid of four of the teachers.

Jonathan Leaf, City Journal, reviewing Philip K. Howard’s new book Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left.

Schools and childhood roundup

  • “It also highlights the shortcomings of federal education [privacy] laws that protect even admitted killers like [the Parkland, Florida school gunman] who are no longer students.” [Brittany Wallman, Megan O’Matz and Paula McMahon, South Florida Sun Sentinel]
  • Germany forbids homeschooling and the European Court of Human Rights has just upheld the removal of four children from their parents’ home over the issue [BBC] Is there a constitutional right to homeschool in the U.S.? [Eugene Volokh]
  • By contrast, claims of a federal constitutional right to education tend to amount to a contemplated way for courts to order spending hikes for public schools, as many already do under state constitutions, a bandwagon the U.S. Supreme Court declined to join in San Antonio v. Rodriguez [Alia Wong, The Atlantic on Rhode Island suit]
  • Read and marvel at a waiver and indemnity form for letting an 8 year old walk home a block by herself [Let Grow] “Nine-Year-Old Boy Leads The Way As Colorado Town Legalizes Snowball Fights” [Bill Galluccio, iHeartRadio]
  • Texas school district settles case of student expelled for not standing during Pledge of Allegiance [Massarah Mikati and Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle via Sarah McLaughlin and Popehat (“Alternative headline: Expensive, Uncertain, Stressful Federal Lawsuit Required To Force Texas School To Acknowledge Right Unequivocally Established By Supreme Court In 1943; Taxpayers To Pay Costs Of Lawsuit; Lawless Administrator Will Face No Consequences”)]
  • Latest leave-kid-in-car-for-a-few-minutes horror: mom arrested, charged with contributing to delinquency of minor (to whom nothing had happened) [Lenore Skenazy]
  • “The Trump administration got it right on school-discipline policy” [Hans Bader letter, Washington Post]

Justin Driver, The Schoolhouse Gate

The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, The Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind, a new book by Justin Driver of the University of Chicago Law School, is a cross-cutting look at the constitutional law of American public schools — a change from the usual format of broad constitutional law scholarship, which tends to stick closely to doctrinal categories such as criminal procedure or equal protection. Introduced by Will Baude, Driver guest-posted at the Volokh Conspiracy in September on why the Supreme Court has made a difference; the high-water mark and retreat of student speech rights; corporal punishment; Plyler v. Doe on the education of undocumented minors; and transgender student restroom cases. He also summed up some of his work in a New York Times op-ed.

Schools roundup

  • Social justice education: on the march and coming to a school system near you [Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison, National Review]
  • New wave of institutional reform litigation aims to replace democratic oversight of public schools with governance by courts, lawyers, and NGOs [Dana Goldstein, New York Times]
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, trying to force a student to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, ignores 75 years of Supreme Court precedent [Scott Shackford] “My Daughter’s Middle School Plans to Teach Her Meek Compliance With Indiscriminate Invasions of Privacy” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “The Regressive Effects of Child-Care Regulations: More strenuous requirements raise child-care prices but have little apparent effect on quality” [Ryan Bourne, Regulation and Governing]
  • “Denver Schools Stopped ‘Lunch-Shaming’ Kids Whose Parents Didn’t Pay. The Results Were Predictable.” [Hess and Addison]
  • Wisconsin public union reform: “A school district’s implementation of Act 10 is associated with an increase in math proficiency on average. The positive impact … is consistent across small town, rural, and suburban school districts.” [Will Flanders and Collin Roth, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty]
  • “Look to the Dutch for true educational pluralism” [Charles Glenn, Acton Institute]

“The pros and cons of ‘mandated reporting.'”

Advocates are pushing for laws much expanding the ranks of private actors required by law to inform to authorities on suspicions about child abuse (“mandatory reporters”). Naomi S. Riley quotes some of my misgivings: “As Walter Olson of the Cato Institute notes, increasing the number of mandated reporters could ‘incentivize’ people ‘to resolve uncertain, gray areas in favor of reporting.’ It will multiply “investigations based on hunches or ambiguous evidence which can harm the innocent, traumatize families, result in CPS [child protective services] raids, and stimulate false allegations,’ he says.” [Weekly Standard]