We’ve got a winter storm parked over our house. Two feet of snow are projected to fall in the next day. Fueled with coffee, waffles, and bacon, the boys are shoveling out the cars. I think. I might have to go upstairs to yell.
Now that waffles and bacon are done, I need to hunker down to the freelance work. Interviews need to get scheduled. Tracking down the right people, and then going back and forth, back and forth to set up the appointment is a loathsome chore. So, let me procrastinate with some links.
The second daughter got a modeling contract, after the inauguration. “Ms. Emhoff throws a crocheted grenade at the image of typical D.C. political offspring, with a style that could be termed Wes Anderson chic.”
As part of our on-going challenge to find a new place to hike and eat within an hour of our house every weekend, we drove to New Hope in Bucks County, PA yesterday. Had a lovely lunch at the restaurant/hotel at The River House. Then we walked on the towpath along the old Delaware River canal. (Before the railroads, crap was hauled between NYC and Philadelphia with canals dug along the side of the Delaware River.) We couldn’t hike for too long, because the blizzard began. We might have to change the rules of this game and go back here soon. More pictures here.
The teachers in Chicago are about to go on strike. I’m growing numb to horror of all of this, but I shouldn’t be. Those kids are so totally screwed. I thought we had convinced more lefties that schools should stay open, but then David Brooks opened his mouth, which lead to a predictable backlash.
Watching: WandaVision and Babylon Berlin. Cooking: Roast Chicken Reading: Hearing Happiness and Rereading: Julia Quinn’s Rokesby Series.
21 thoughts on “SL 821”
This is a very interesting (no doubt preliminary) piece on the demographics of people arrested at the Capitol Jan. 6. To summarize:
–“The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump’s orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner.”
–“Second, a large majority of suspects in the Capitol riot have no connection to existing far-right militias, white-nationalist gangs, or other established violent organizations.” And by large majority, we’re talking 89%.
–“Third, the demographic profile of the suspected Capitol rioters is different from that of past right-wing extremists. The average age of the arrestees we studied is 40. Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs.” Only 9% were unemployed.
–They’re not from especially red areas.
–As the author notes, if the participants were predominantly older, employed, non-affiliated people, a lot of proposed interventions are not going to work, because they assume younger, unemployed people who belong to a recognizable structure.
In related news, it turns out that the leader of the Proud Boys has a long history as an FBI and local law enforcement informant and (conveniently!) was arrested before Jan. 6.
“David Brooks opened his mouth… predictable backlash” Yah, the campers are not happy at the Gray Lady. Here is an article on that theme, which kind of suggests to me why I am on the wrong side of history: https://www.city-journal.org/journalism-advocacy-over-reporting
“The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump’s orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner.”
This is what makes them A problem for every Republican as long as Trump controls the Republicans.
The article is providing data against the early hypothesis that the insurrection isn’t invaders aren’t drawn from the disaffected but among those who think it is their right to be in charge (or in charge of who is in charge).
Oops, me, bj.
bj said, “This is what makes them A problem for every Republican as long as Trump controls the Republicans.The article is providing data against the early hypothesis that the insurrection isn’t invaders aren’t drawn from the disaffected but among those who think it is their right to be in charge (or in charge of who is in charge).”
Bear in mind that just about everybody who charged the Capitol sincerely believe that the election was stolen from Trump. And a large subset of those believe in the existence of a huge global pedophile cannibal Satanist conspiracy that Trump is (always) just days away from closing down.
Note that the woman fatally shot at the Capitol was a QAnon believer, as is of course the QAnon Shaman guy.
QAnon may sound crazy–but consider how many true data points there are for believing that there’s a huge elite pedophile conspiracy. Jeffrey Epstein alone provides a whole constellation of them. I personally believe that his death wasn’t murder, but just the culmination of indifference and incompetence–but it actually requires more than a bit of faith to hold that position. I totally understand how people come to the conclusion that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t hang himself–because it is a more economical explanation.
How do you fight weird paranoid conspiracy theories that occasionally flare up in violence? While I see that a lot of people’s instincts are in the direction of censorship and suppression, it seems like censorship and suppression would be (surprise!) yet another data point demonstrating that the conspiracy is real and QAnon is correct. I can’t say how social media ought to handle this (because it is a genuinely tricky issue), but I am quite certain that there’s a role to play for media and public officials with regard to cleaning up their act. The more transparent, trustworthy and competent they are, the less traction conspiracy theories are going to get. It’s not an accident that paranoid conspiracy theories flourish when the media is dishonest and incompetent and won’t hold the government to account, and when the government itself is opaque and incompetent.
“The teachers in Chicago are about to go on strike. I’m growing numb to horror of all of this, but I shouldn’t be. ”
Seems to me as though these teacher unions are demonstrating zero leadership. They are acting solely in the short-term interests of the teachers.
Negotiation needs to include the goals of all parties. If only one is paramount, then it’s not a negotiation it’s blackmail.
Translating this to the business world.
If I were unable to do a substantial part of my job from home, or the quality of my work was significantly less working from home, or the impact on our customers was substantial if I was working from home – then my boss would either cut my salary (to employ additional staff to cover the bits I can’t do), or fire me (assuming that he can get someone else who can do the job and is prepared to work in person).
I don’t get to dictate to my employer what hours I want to work in the office, or unilaterally change the way I do my job when that has a direct impact on our customers. [I can negotiate, sure, and if I can demonstrate neutral or positive outcomes, it’s likely to be approved – but I don’t get the final say]
It is really, really clear that: most teachers are less effective teaching remotely; most students don’t learn well remotely; and that a significant proportion of students don’t engage in remote learning at all. Remote learning is not an effective way for teachers to assist groups of students to learn (their number one job).
Question: What would happen if the public schools in Chicago (or any other large town) – simply went private? (Education department pays for private schooling from 3rd party – is that the equivalent of your charter schools?). Private schools seem to have no problems in running in-person schools – their teacher turn up to work.
I can’t see that it could be worse than what’s happening now…..
Ann wrote, “It is really, really clear that: most teachers are less effective teaching remotely; most students don’t learn well remotely; and that a significant proportion of students don’t engage in remote learning at all.”
You’d be surprised how much denial there has been on that point. Here’s a (pretty darn white) Chicago teacher arguing against school reopenings:
“Additionally, remote learning is not a lost cause! My coworkers and I have been working harder than ever to deliver high quality instruction to our students. Not only is the “learning loss” argument incredibly flawed, but also I and other teachers are still holding all students to the highest expectations. Students can still learn remotely and have an engaging, rigorous curriculum. As an instructor, that is what I’m doing for my students, including focusing on research-based student choice activities. As a parent, that is what I am witnessing for my own children.”
That is a really annoying piece, but by far the least honest (or stupidest–it’s hard to tell which it is) bits of it are the parts where he is asserting that the kids themselves are in awful danger if schools reopen. Some quotes:
“I do not want to risk my students’ lives or my own.”
“Are we really at a point where not wanting our students to die, and not wanting to die ourselves, is a point of debate?”
“As a parent, I am terrified for the life of my child. As a teacher, I fear for my own life and the lives of my students and their families. I can’t teach from the grave, nor can kids learn from there. If we do not speak up, nice white parents will get us killed.”
That guy teaches 7th and 8th grade science.
As I’ve said before, I am actually sympathetic to waiting for vaccines for teachers, given that it’s so close at this point. This spring, there’s a very high return on the time investment. Within a month or so, you could potentially have all older teachers vaccinated, with little additional learning loss for kids.
However, reading pieces like this (and stuff from the more militant teachers’ unions), it’s clear that there is no finish line for reopening. Reopening is a constantly receding mirage, and there’s always going to be an excuse not to reopen, even after teachers are fully vaccinated. I admit that the new variants are a great excuse. The problem is, that the return on investment for waiting to beat the variants is very poor. We may be looking at years of races between new variants and new booster shots. The kids can’t wait 2-3-4-5 years for us to finish mopping up COVID–particularly since (with very few exceptions) their lives aren’t on the line. That may change, of course, but that’s all the more reason for kids to go back to school while conditions are relatively favorable.
There’s rumbling in Oregon, where teachers have been prioritized for vaccines over 80 year olds, of still not wanting to return to schools. My reason for being unwilling to *wait* for vaccines. Teachers should be prioritized for vaccines if they are working in schools (or have committed to do so).
My kiddo tells me his teachers want to return to in person teaching. I think they might not be willing to say otherwise to kids who are so clearly desperately desiring in person school, so I don’t consider his impression definitive. But, I think there are complicated dynamics happening with teachers unions, individual teachers who really don’t want to return (for example, a MS teacher in WA state who is currently teaching while simultaneously caring for his baby; just being able to do that is probably saving him 12K a year, and so is effectively a salary increase) and missing voices of students.
I think public schools should be developing an online model for those who desire it. I find the “nice white parents kill black and brown families” argument to be toxic and there are black voices speaking out against it — for example, Nikole Hannah Jones.
“What would happen if the public schools in Chicago (or any other large town) – simply went private? ” We have a version of this, the “public” charter school system. In New Orleans, the public system effectively disappeared with hurricane katrina and New Orleans is now an all charter sytem in which the public school is a charter authorizer.
Private schools in the US have had struggles, too, negotiating with their teachers (who they don’t want to get rid of), with teachers retiring/resigning, and some have relied heavily on using their greater resources (paying for testing, assistant teachers to teach physically in classrooms while vulnerable teachers teach from home), . . . But, yes, they are opening more consistently than public schools in progressive areas with strong teachers unions (like Chicago, Massachusetts, Washington, California, . . . .).
Interesting – so New Orleans is sort of a test case which other public schools can be measured against.
I’ve found their re-opening plan online – where they say they are guided by public health advice (not sure how true that is, or if it’s just bureaucratese)
Agree that private schools have had challenges – but they’ve at least tried to meet them from the perspective of what’s best for the kids. (I know that it’s also best for the school, since parents don’t want to pay private school fees for remote education unless it’s essential)
We had charter schools in NZ about 5 years ago. Mostly specialized, and focusing on ‘difficult to educate kids’ (ones slipping through the cracks of the current education system, for whatever reason).
On the whole, quite successful – as always, there’s a range in these things. But the good ones were very good, and made a big difference to the kids attending.
Current Labour government is philosophically opposed to anything but standard public-school education (teachers union is a big financial supporter of the party). They don’t even like single-sex schools (though there is a lot of research showing that boys (in particular) do a lot better educationally in single sex high-schools.
They shut down the charter schools; or folded them into the school system as ‘integrated schools’ – same model used for catholic schools [Integrated schools are allowed special character criteria, but have to have the same standards for teacher qualifications and same curriculum as state schools – with the addition of tuition matching their special character, and preferential enrolment matching the special character criteria]
Currently there is a flutter in the education dovecot over dropping (plummeting) standards for maths in NZ – our international rankings have dropped drastically over the last 20 years.
So far, there has been a total absence of leadership from the Ministry of Education – and a complete unwillingness to even examine if the official teaching methods are contributing to the problem.
Those of us with kids in the front line are continuing to pay for private tutors to remedy the fact that most primary school teachers can’t teach maths, and that the official teaching methodology works for very few children.
AmyP said ” all the more reason for kids to go back to school while conditions are relatively favorable.”
AmyP said “all the more reason for kids to go back to school while conditions are relatively favorable.”
It’s really clear to me that science and relative risk have no place in the teacher union arguments. There will always be risk and it can never be *absolutely* eliminated.
I guess it comes down to how much appetite the government (state, local, and I assume federal as well) has for a battle with teacher unions. Kids don’t vote (and so aren’t a strong motivator for politicians), but their parents do and are.
Just how militant are parents going to have to be? Or how many of them vote with their feet to move to private schools (and then vote down all education funding for the next generation).
And, I would *love* for the school district to release the class achievement rates for the science teacher spouting off about how great his online classes are. Oh, but they can’t, because they’ve done no measurement….
Ann said, “And, I would *love* for the school district to release the class achievement rates for the science teacher spouting off about how great his online classes are. Oh, but they can’t, because they’ve done no measurement….”
Heck, I’d love to know how many of his students are even Zooming in every day or how many have their cameras on.
Related: Sis tells me that one of the charms of Zoom kindergarten is that when one of the kids is having a “moment,” the teacher can just mute them and go on.
A lot of US schools (including public schools) have been open for nearly the entire school year. It helps to be in a red state and ideally outside of a major city. On the other hand, there’s also been a noticeable difference between the NE (lots of hybrid) versus the West Coast (predominantly no in-person school). The West Coast version has been especially damaging in terms of kids’ well-being.
The natural experiments are everywhere, just waiting to be picked up and studied.
My kids’ private school has been open normally since August 19, 2020. The lower school is still open normally, but the upper school is about to go remote for 5 instructional days (ending right before a 4-day weekend), due to a bunch of teachers getting contact-traced out. Leading up to that, nearly the entire 11th grade and nearly the entire 8th grade got contact-traced out. I have every expectation that they’ll be back in school Feb. 15, as community COVID has been plummeting for the past 3 weeks.
I was confused by the combination (lots of cases at School, plummeting cases in the community), but my husband pointed out to me that Hometown U.’s aggressive weekly testing regimen this spring is probably picking up a lot of cases that would previously have slipped by.
If systems lie LAPD or Chicago went private I think they would have a difficult time finding enough teachers, enough at all, even if no standards were applied to the teaching force. In WA, which has had “pubic charters” for only a short time, several charters haven’t met standards and have had to close.
Um. Inadvertent obscenity?
Surely, pubLic charters.
On the point, though, there are surely quite a few public schools which should close, too. I know that Massachusetts did that back in the early days of testing. I think it’s one of the reasons the state’s ranking soared, relative to other states. Another factor in it was the requirement that every school system must meet an adequate level of funding, set by the state for that district. The state does chip in to help districts with lower property values meet the mandated level.
In particularly, the biggest reason that the tax-payer-funded charters have been closed here is because they turn away (or don’t serve) students.
bj said ” several charters haven’t met standards and have had to close.”
I reckon plenty of public schools haven’t met standards – but no one is making them close…..
Another (more critical) perspective on the failings of the NZ education system
Mr 13 – is beginning Year 9 this week (equivalent to your Grade 8). And the first topic in social studies (a combination of history/geography/economics) is Nazi Germany.
His teacher started with a pop quiz – just to see what the kids already know.
Hilariously, he was the only kid in the class who knew what a panzer was (don’t blame me for that one – it’s the WW2 themed tank-battle computer games he plays).
But, more concerningly, he was one of the few kids in his class who knew who Hitler was, had heard of concentration camps and knew that the Jews were the primary target.
Now, I know that educated is what you are coming out of school, not what you are going in. But, I would have expected these factoids to be part of general knowledge. But apparently not.
This level of knowledge isn’t the result of a concerted effort from me (though I suppose it does help to have a mother who’s a history nerd). It’s rather the outcome of discussions which have just come up over time – especially in relation to our ANZAC Day (public holiday to remember the fallen in the wars) and remembering those family members who never returned (my Grandad was killed in North Africa), or who served.
So the discussions about why wars happen, why people fight, the difference between a ‘just’ and ‘unjust’ war, the ethics of foreign intervention in wars; as well as the details of just which countries were on each side, and where the battles were fought, etc. – have just happened piecemeal over time. Our car conversations on the way to school are…. eclectic….
I’d thought that other families also had these conversations…. but perhaps not.
Comments are closed.