Friday, January 25, 2019

Harvard’s policy against fraternities and sororities was intended to protect women. It seems to be doing the opposite

The usual destructiveness of authoritarianism.  Leftist meddling in other people's lives never stops.  They live for it

“Ijoined [the Delta Gamma sorority at Harvard University] because I was looking for a group like my high-school friends that shared the same values and would come together regardless of major or extra-curriculars,” says Becca Ramos, who was chapter president of Delta Gamma in 2016. “There were so many nights when we studied together into the small hours. We’d go to each other’s thesis presentations. I went to one of my sisters’ presentation on volcanoes. I knew nothing about volcanoes except that they exploded, but I was so proud of her.”

That support network is no longer available. Under new rules, introduced in 2016, members of what Harvard’s administration calls “unrecognised single-gender social organisations” are no longer eligible for campus leadership positions (such as captaincy of sports teams) or for dean’s letters of recommendation for scholarships. If the organisations went mixed, their members could escape these sanctions. Delta Gamma has closed; all but one of the other sororities have either followed suit or, in a few cases, gone mixed. But the remaining single-sex organisations have not given up. Last month, a group of them filed lawsuits, one in a federal court and one in a Massachusetts court. The university will respond next month.

Despite scandals involving sexual misbehaviour and drunkenness, America’s fraternities and sororities are flourishing. Plenty of universities welcome them on campus for the support they provide to students, says Dani Weatherford, executive director of the National Panhellenic Conference, the biggest umbrella organisation of sororities. Undergraduate membership of the npc’s sororities has increased by 60% over the past ten years. But a few universities have clamped down on fraternities. Amherst has banned them altogether; Harvard’s policy is nearly as stringent.

The motivation for Harvard’s action seems mixed. In her letter to Harvard College’s dean, the university’s then president, Drew Faust, cited “deeply rooted gender attitudes and the related issues of sexual misconduct”, for which the sororities were presumably not being held responsible, as well as “forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values” which she accused sororities, fraternities and final clubs (the most exclusive single-sex social clubs) of perpetuating.

The policy has plenty of support. But many oppose it, too. Students marched in protest, and a sizeable minority of faculty are against it, including Harry Lewis, a former dean of the college and a computerscience professor for 44 years who taught both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. He has a lot of sympathy for the women in his discipline who join sororities. “It’s a way of getting away from the guys, who are always looking at them. There’ll be two women in a class of 20 men.” He characterises the battle as the old, liberal left, libertarians and the right against the new, more authoritarian left and the university authorities.

The argument against the administration is in part one of principle. A former Harvard administrator who regards the clubs as “pretty obnoxious” (“If I had a kid at Harvard who belonged to one I’d tell him he could pay his own tuition” ) nevertheless argues that freedom of association is important. “If we’d happily write letters for people who were members of the Communist Party or the nra, it seems lunacy to say that we’d refuse that to somebody who wanted to join one of these clubs.”

Opponents also argue that abolishing the organisations is not going to fulfil the administration’s aims. If the problem is “gender attitudes”, which presumably means discrimination against women, then the policy is counter-productive. Women are losing out more than men: while the sororities have almost all closed, the men’s organisations have not. “The men’s groups are older and therefore have a larger alumni base,” explains Ellen Rothschild, a former president of Harvard’s Alpha Phi chapter. “They’re able to turn away from the scholarships because they can rely on these outside networks.”

If the aim is to reduce sexual harassment, there is little reason to believe that shutting down single-sex clubs would achieve that. A Harvard task force on combating sexual harassment, which urged Ms Faust to “address the distinctive problems presented by the final clubs”, based its concerns on a survey in which 47% of Harvard women who had taken part in final clubs’ events had experienced sexual harassment, compared with 31% of the female student body as a whole. Critics point out that correlation does not imply causation, and that the same survey showed that 87% of “non-consensual penetration involving physical force” at Harvard took place in dorms, which are run by the university.

If the problem the university wants to address is class exclusivity, rather than gender discrimination, then the university’s policy would not mitigate it. There is no reason to believe that mixed-sex clubs would be any less socially exclusive than single-sex ones. Ms Ramos says she and her sisters at Delta Gamma surveyed the sorority and found that it was more socioeconomically diverse than the university.

Whoever wins in the courts, one sort of freedom will be the loser. If the administrators win, the students’ right to belong to whatever organisations they like will be constrained. If Harvard loses, the right of a private organisation to run itself as it pleases will be limited.


Parental Choice in Education Is Vital
President Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring this week, Jan. 20-26, as National School Choice Week.

The proclamation expresses concern about performance of U.S. students in international surveys: 24th in reading; 25th in science; 40th in math.

And it ascribes the cause of these disappointing statistics to the “consequences of the limitations imposed by a largely one-size-fits-all approach to education.”

It makes all the sense in the world to appreciate the value of bringing the marketplace and competition to education. Free markets serve us extremely well in delivering goods and services. Why shouldn’t one of our nation’s most important institutions — education — also benefit from competition?

It is ironic that the political left extols the importance of diversity while also wanting government monopolies.

The conclusion should be the opposite. The more diverse a customer base, ethnically or any other way, the more diversity you need among suppliers to meet and serve the unique needs of different communities. This can only be achieved in free, private markets.

Statistics on the changing ethnic profile of the students in our public schools speak for themselves.

In 1997, 63.4 percent of the students in our public schools were white and 36.6 percent were minority — black, Hispanic, Asian and multiracial — students. By 2014, 49.5 percent were white and 50.5 percent were minority. The projection from the National Center for Education Statistics is that by 2026, 45 percent of public school students will be white and 55 percent will be minority.

Parents of these minority communities should have freedom to choose an educational framework for the diverse needs of their children.

Suppliers in a dynamic marketplace will listen to those parents, try to understand the unique needs of their children and serve them. This is exactly the opposite of what you get with a government-controlled monopoly and union bureaucrats.

However, the country is not just becoming increasingly ethnically diverse. It is also becoming increasingly diverse regarding values.

At the nation’s founding, it was almost universally accepted that education would include the Bible. “One great advantage of the Christian religion,” said John Adams, “is that … the duties and rights of the man and citizen are thus taught from early infancy to every creature.”

The Northwest Ordinance, passed in the America’s first Congress in 1789 said:

“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

This sentiment carried well into the 20th century, until court decisions began, step by step, purging any presence of the Bible in public education.

Did these decisions improve our public schools, making them more value neutral? Certainly not. They simply politicized education, replacing Judeo-Christian values with prevailing politically correct secular humanist values.

Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education in their public schools. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 72 percent of schools in large urban districts provide education regarding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

What exactly are the values, the worldview, through which issues such as marriage, sex and pregnancy are being taught in these schools?

Black communities have already been hurt by the secular humanism of the welfare state. Since the 1960s, the incidence of single-parent black households has tripled.

It make sense that black parents would want to send their children to Christian schools so that these values are transmitted as part of their education. Shouldn’t parents have this right?

In a country with widely growing diversity in religious identification and values, the only answer is parental choice in education. It brings the efficiencies of the marketplace and the principle of religious freedom to schools.

Parents must fight for the right to choose where to send their children to school.


The Covington Rorschach Test
Note about Nathan Phillips, the "Indian" who harassed the Covingtom kids:  At one time he talked about coming back to the United States and how he was treated, but it turns out Nathan Phillips never actually fought in Vietnam. An enterprising person obtained Phillips’ DD-214 and it appears Mr. Phillips never actually left the United States.  So he is a fraud from way back

Sometimes, a three-point celebration is just a three-point celebration. Sometimes, a pep rally is just a pep rally. Sometimes, a smile is just a smile. And sometimes, a hat is just a hat.

Only among the most deranged partisans could a universal sports ritual, a common high school activity, a typical teen face and patriotic headgear be construed as evil symbols of patriarchal oppression.

These, however, are the soul-sapping, lunacy-inducing times in which we live.

Nobody loses their marbles when black NBA stars make the universal “OK” gesture with one hand. Or two. Or when the elite athletes hold up the sign to the sky, turn two of them into triumphant eye goggles, stir the pot, sweep the floor or dramatically holster their finger-trios like weapons.

It’s all in good fun.

But when reputation-destroying agitators plundered the photo collection of the Covington Catholic High School basketball team in search of evidence to bolster their prefabricated narrative that the white Kentucky boys must, must, must be unrepentant bigots, the three-point celebration transmogrified into menacing proof of R-A-C-I-S-M.

Liberal pot-stirrers tweeted celebrities and journalists an image purporting to show that the Covington kids — still under siege after being slandered last week at the March for Life rally by Native American agitator Nathan Phillips — had flashed white supremacy signs. The teens were pictured on the sidelines of a basketball court in their uniforms, paying tribute to a teammate who had just scored.

No, they did not hail him with Hitler salutes, but with the innocuous three-point, A-OK sign.

Undeterred by basketball fans who futilely tried to explain the actual meaning of the hand gesture, monomaniacal left-wing detectives marked all the Covington athletes’ fingers with cuckoo red-font circles and disseminated their fevered forensic analysis across social media with enraged captions, including this one sent to the pope:

“This is the All White hand sign. This is Covington Catholic school. Is this what they teach at this Catholic school? Is this how Jesus wanted it?”

Comedienne-turned-decapitation fetishist Kathy Griffin gleefully attacked the boys, tweeting “Covington’s finest throwing up the new nazi sign.”

The New York Daily News and U.K. Daily Mail compounded the delusional smear with sensational headlines claiming Covington basketball players had taunted a black opponent while in “blackface.” Quelle horreur!

In truth, internet trolls had ripped a screenshot from the team’s video montage of pep rallies — where students had dressed up as nerds, businessmen and Hawaiians or painted themselves blue, white and (gasp!) black at various competitions.

It’s not racism. It’s athletic boosterism.

An alum, Ryan Toler, tried to correct the record, pointing out that he was pictured in the seven-year-old photo: “I’m shown in the background of this image. ITS CALLED A BLACKOUT THEME. WE HAD SCHOOL SPIRIT. WE DO THIS TO EVERY SCHOOL NO MATTER THE RACE OR ETHNICITY. Stop trying to force a fake story to drive your false narrative.”

But the media manufacturers of racism won’t stop because the ideological incentives to convict first and verify later are far too strong. Time after time, liberals see racism where it doesn’t exist, fabricate it when they can’t find it and ignore it within their own ranks.

They didn’t stop after falsely accusing Zina Gelman Bash, a Jewish Mexican-American lawyer, of flashing a white supremacy sign at a Senate confirmation hearing last fall for her friend Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

They didn’t stop after the liberal white zealots of the Southern Poverty Law Center falsely labeled famed neurosurgeon and Trump Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and anti-jihad activist Maajid Nawaz “extremists.”

They didn’t stop after hysterically spreading campus hate crime fakery cooked up at my alma mater Oberlin College, where excitable nitwits claimed a student walking around with a blanket wrapped around her was a lurking racist in a KKK hood; at Michigan State University, where a “noose” turned out to be a lost shoelace; or at Bowling Green State University, where a purported group of Klansmen turned out to be lab equipment covered with a white cloth.

They didn’t stop after attacking my Catholic high school alma mater, Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J., four years ago, when a decades-old tradition of basketball fans dressing up in goofy costumes was falsely portrayed by USA Today as racism because students wore monkey pajamas and a giant banana (others wore a green ballerina tutu, a bumblebee suit, a jack-o’-lantern outfit and “Wizard of Oz” get-ups).

The Covington hoax is more than just the epitome of fake news. It’s a cultural Rorschach test that measures the impact of Trump-hating confirmation bias on the viewer’s intellectual honesty and emotional stability. Those calling to protest, dox, stalk or kill the MAGA hat-wearing Covington kids and their families over a selectively edited video planted by a foreign instigator prove, once again, that political correctness is a pathological disorder.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What you are born with matters a lot more than your education

It's true and has long been known but is a bit surprising coming from UCSD.  They avoided mentioning that what they were studying was IQ, however


Youthful cognitive ability strongly predicts mental capacity later in life.

Early adult general cognitive ability [IQ] is a stronger predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities.

Early adult general cognitive ability (GCA) -- the diverse set of skills involved in thinking, such as reasoning, memory and perception -- is a stronger predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities, report researchers in a new study publishing January 21 in PNAS.

Higher education and late-life intellectual activities, such as doing puzzles, reading or socializing, have all been associated with reduced risk of dementia and sustained or improved cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is the brain's ability to improvise and find alternate ways of getting a job done and may help people compensate for other changes associated with aging.

An international team of scientists, led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, sought to address a "chicken or egg" conundrum posed by these associations. Does being in a more complex job help maintain cognitive abilities, for example, or do people with greater cognitive abilities tend to be in more complex occupations?

The researchers evaluated more than 1,000 men participating in the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging. Although all were veterans, nearly 80 percent of the participants reported no combat experience. All of the men, now in their mid-50s to mid-60s, took the Armed Forces Qualification Test at an average age of 20. The test is a measure GCA. As part of the study, researchers assessed participants' performance in late midlife, using the same GCA measure, plus assessments in seven cognitive domains, such as memory, abstract reasoning and verbal fluency.

They found that GCA at age 20 accounted for 40 percent of the variance in the same measure at age 62, and approximately 10 percent of the variance in each of the seven cognitive domains. After accounting for GCA at age 20, the authors concluded, other factors had little effect. For example, lifetime education, complexity of job and engagement in intellectual activities each accounted for less than 1 percent of variance at average age 62.

"The findings suggest that the impact of education, occupational complexity and engagement in cognitive activities on later life cognitive function likely reflects reverse causation," said first author William S. Kremen, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "In other words, they are largely downstream effects of young adult intellectual capacity."

In support of that idea, researchers found that age 20 GCA, but not education, correlated with the surface area of the cerebral cortex at age 62. The cerebral cortex is the thin, outer region of the brain (gray matter) responsible for thinking, perceiving, producing and understanding language.

The authors emphasized that education is clearly of great value and can enhance a person's overall cognitive ability and life outcomes. Comparing their findings with other research, they speculated that the role of education in increasing GCA takes place primarily during childhood and adolescence when there is still substantial brain development.

However, they said that by early adulthood, education's effect on GCA appears to level off, though it continues to produce other beneficial effects, such as broadening knowledge and expertise.

Kremen said remaining cognitively active in later life is beneficial, but "our findings suggest we should look at this from a lifespan perspective. Enhancing cognitive reserve and reducing later life cognitive decline may really need to begin with more access to quality childhood and adolescent education."

The researchers said additional investigations would be needed to fully confirm their inferences, such as a single study with cognitive testing at different times throughout childhood and adolescence.


Democrats seek more oversight of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Wielding control of the House and a new set of investigative powers, Democrats are preparing to bring Education Secretary Betsy DeVos under the sharpest scrutiny she has seen since taking office.

DeVos has emerged as a common target for Democrats as they take charge of the House and its committees, which carry the authority to issue subpoenas and call hearings. At least four panels are expected to challenge DeVos on her most polarizing policies, among them her overhaul of campus sexual assault rules and her rollback of for-profit college regulations.

“We are going to hold Secretary DeVos accountable for, in so many ways, failing to uphold federal protections for our students,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat leading an appropriations subcommittee that oversees the education budget. “It has to do with hurting student borrowers, protecting predatory for-profit schools and, above all, moving toward privatizing public education.”

House Democrats are increasing scrutiny of several top federal officials, but few have drawn as much attention as DeVos. Along with the appropriations committee, DeVos is likely to see pushback from panels that oversee education, veterans’ affairs and government oversight.

Without control of the Senate, Democrats will have a tough time forcing DeVos’ hand through legislation, but they can press her through subpoenas, hearings and the budgeting process. In contrast, DeVos was called before the House’s education committee just once over the last two years of Republican control.

Much of the new scrutiny will come from Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, the top Democrat on the education committee, who said he will call DeVos to testify “as often as necessary.”

“We have not been getting answers to most of our questions,” Scott said in an interview, recalling when Democrats were in a minority. “It’s kind of hard to do oversight when they’re not answering our questions.”

Scott is particularly interested in exploring whether the Education Department is allowing states to skirt federal rules requiring them to address achievement gaps between students of different races.

Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill countered that DeVos has been responsive to requests for information from Congress and will continue to be. “She’s ready to work with any member of Congress who wants to rethink education and do better for America’s students,” Hill said.

Part of the problem for Democrats will be picking their battles. They have opposed DeVos on nearly all of her major initiatives, including her proposed rules on the handling of campus sexual assaults, her support for arming school staff members and her revocation of federal guidance on school discipline.

But DeVos’ greatest opposition could stem from her rollback of rules targeting for-profit colleges. As Trump pursues a broader effort to scale back regulation, she has sought to undo policies that the previous administration crafted to rein in for-profit colleges accused of deceiving students. Among them are the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute chains.

A federal judge blocked DeVos from scrapping a policy that makes it easier for defrauded students to get loans erased. But her department has not enforced a separate rule meant to weed out shoddy for-profit colleges. Most recently, DeVos drew criticism in November when she reinstated an industry accrediting group that federal officials shut down in 2016 over lax oversight.

Scott has already vowed to dig into DeVos’ decision on the accreditor, and he’s joined by several other lawmakers concerned about for-profit college regulation.

Rep. Mark Takano, a California Democrat chairing the veterans’ affairs committee, plans to hold hearings on the impact of DeVos’ policies on military veterans. Takano said looser oversight has allowed predatory schools to recruit veterans and collect their GI Bill funding while ultimately leaving them with poor job prospects.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, said he, too, will conduct rigorous oversight of the Education Department and for-profit colleges, and explore whether DeVos “exposed student borrowers to predatory practices and jeopardized their educational goals.”

Beyond oversight, some House Democrats are optimistic they can reach a deal on the Higher Education Act, a sweeping federal law that governs student financial aid and could be revised to address topics like campus sexual assault and student debt forgiveness.

The law has remained unchanged for a decade, but there’s new interest in renewing the bill in the Senate before the chairman of the education committee, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, retires after 2020.

Democrats also aim to boost money for public schools that serve low-income students and those with disabilities. They’re bracing for a fight if DeVos renews her push to fund vouchers for private schools.

“Ninety percent of our students are in public schools, and they need more resources to succeed,” said Rep. DeLauro, the Connecticut Democrat on the appropriations committee. “We should not be siphoning off taxpayer dollars, which are in demand, to pay for vouchers.”


This state may require schools to teach kids about climate change

A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school.

Connecticut already has adopted science standards that call for teaching of climate change, but if the bill passes it is believed that it would be the country’s first to write such a requirement into law.

“A lot of schools make the study of climate change an elective and I don’t believe it should be an elective,” said state Rep. Christine Palm, a Democrat from Chester who proposed the bill. “I think it should be mandatory and I think it should be early so there’s no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what’s at stake.”

Some educators have questioned whether it’s necessary in light of Connecticut’s adoption in 2015 of the Next Generation Science Standards, which include climate change as a core aspect of science education beginning in middle school.

“I do believe if the state has adopted standards, you’re teaching those standards, you’re going to be assessed on those standards,” said Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. “If you’re a district in Connecticut, your curriculum is addressing it already.”

A similar proposal was introduced in the last legislative session but ultimately failed to win approval.

A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia so far have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, which indicate what a state hopes students will know. Typically, states leave the specific curriculum and instruction up to the districts.

The bill apparently would be country’s first to make climate change instruction a matter of statute, according to the National Center for Science Education. In several other states, legislation has been proposed in recent years to allow or require teachers to present alternatives to widely accepted viewpoints on topics such as climate change.

Palm, who represents towns along the Connecticut River in southeast Connecticut, said climate change deserves a more prominent place in children’s education because of the urgency of the threat posed by global warming.

“I’d love to see poetry be mandated. That’s never going to happen,” she said. “That’s not life or death.”


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UK: Education is NOT the great leveller

This is a fairly iconoclastic article.  That the author is of Hungarian origin may explain that. She is able to take an outside view.

But she is of course right -- though she doesn't really spell out why.  Social class continua are heavily correlated with IQ -- which is genetically inherited -- and education can do nothing to increase IQ.  Rich people are mostly smarter and have mostly smarter kids.  So their kids inherit their class position both socially and genetically. There are of course exceptions but most people end up in a social position matched to their IQ. Smart kids do at times emerge from poor backgrounds and provision to advance them is well warranted.  Grammar schools do that.

The push for more and more education for everyone, however,  is fundamentally misguided.  The years out of the workforce impoverish the country, if anything

Britain is unusual in having what could be seen as two status hierarchies -- a wealth hierarchy and a nobility hierarchy. Some members of the nobility (titled hereditary aristocracy) can even be poor.  But the two have a long history of melding into one another.  Poor aristocratic males -- and some not so poor -- have a historic habit of marrying rich American heiresses, for instance.  Winston Churchill was one of the results of such a union.  The American family buys prestige and the British family has its fortunes refreshed.  And as the progeny of often self-made men, the ladies concerned will be bright.

More broadly, noble titles are still much valued and respected in Britain so an aristocratic male will have a wide choice of potential partners.  He is able in fact to get a woman with it all -- brains and beauty.  And so it often happens.  So there has long been a steady influx of brains into the nobility -- so even in Britain, prestigious persons generally tend to be bright

For two decades, social mobility has been a central concern in British politics. Increasing equality of opportunity, in the context of rising inequalities between people’s lives, has been a shared goal across the party political spectrum. Politicians have also agreed that educational policy is crucial to achieving this goal. This has made the thrust of speeches on social mobility given over the years by politicians including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Theresa May interchangeable.

Yet, new research I’ve published with my colleague John Goldthorpe, which brings together results from extensive British birth cohort studies, points to a serious disconnect between the discussion of social mobility in political and policy circles and the findings of sociological research.

In our analysis, we treat social mobility in terms of social class, and make a clear distinction between absolute and relative mobility rates. Absolute rates simply refer to the proportions of individuals who have moved to different class positions to those of their parents, whether in an upward or downward direction. Relative rates compare the chances of individuals from different class origins ending up in a different class “destination”.

Contrary to what has become widely claimed in the media, mainly as a result of – often misunderstood – research by economists, social mobility in Britain is not in decline.

Absolute rates of class mobility between generations have been stable at least over the period since World War II. Men and women today are just as likely to be found in different class positions to those of their parents as they were in the 1950s.

The important change is, however, that rates of upward mobility are falling and rates of downward mobility are rising, as our research and the graph above shows. In this sense, young people now face less favourable mobility prospects than their parents or grandparents did. This is the result of the slowdown in the steady growth of managerial and professional employment that drove increasing upward mobility in the “golden age” from the 1950s up to the 1980s.

Relative rates of social mobility are also essentially stable: the inherent “stickiness” between the class positions of parents and children has altered little over at least the last half century. And in the case of “long-range” mobility – between, say, the lower stratum of the working class and those in managerial and professional jobs – quite extreme inequalities in relative chances exist.

Our findings show that the children of parents in higher managerial and professional positions are 20 times more likely to end up in such positions, rather than in working class positions, than children of working class parents are.

Not a low mobility society

Education plays an important role in determining whether a person is class mobile or immobile. But it does not follow that more education means more mobility at a societal level. For education to promote mobility at a societal level, the association between a person’s class origins and their educational attainment must weaken, while the association between their educational attainment and their class destinations must strengthen. But as our research shows, neither of these changes is in fact apparent. And that’s especially the case if education is considered in relative terms: for example if account is taken of the fact that a degree is worth far more in the labour market if only 10% of a birth cohort have one than if 40% do.

Again, contrary to what is widely claimed in the reports such as those by the Social Mobility Commission, Britain is not a distinctively low mobility society. Across European countries, rates of absolute class mobility are very similar. And as regards relative rates, Britain is one of a group of West-Nordic countries that show – comparatively – high fluidity within their class structures.

One reason for this is that, in Britain, education is not class destiny to the same extent as it is in a country such as Germany. In Germany, and several other Western-Central European countries, the educational system is highly stratified, with early selection for different types of school. Because there is then a tight link between formal educational qualifications and employment opportunities, educational inequalities are rather systematically translated into labour market inequalities. Where such “credentialism” prevails, education can in fact prove a barrier to, as much as a source of, social mobility.

No great leveller
Education is not “the great leveller” that can break the link between inequality in the conditions under which people live and inequality of opportunity. Parents with superior resources – economic, as well as social and cultural ones – will use their resources as necessary to give their children a competitive edge. Those wealthy enough can resort to the private sector, but for others the “commercialisation of opportunity” occurs by buying houses in the catchment areas of high-performing state schools, engaging private tutors for their children, and providing them with extensive out-of-school activities and experiences designed to improve their academic performance.

In addition, further education, or lifelong learning, turns out to promote immobility rather than mobility. As my research shows, it mainly gives “second chances” to those from more advantaged backgrounds whose performance in mainstream education gave them insufficient assurance that they would be able to maintain their parents’ position. It primarily serves to prevent downward mobility.

So far as absolute mobility is concerned, the most effective way of increasing upward mobility would be through economic and social policies that could renew the expansion of managerial and professional employment, so as to bring back the conditions of the golden age. One way of equalising relative rates of social mobility would be for employers to develop internal promotion and training policies to take full advantage of the educationally “wasted talent” that exists among their workforces and to remove requirements for formal qualifications of an irrelevant kind.

But in all societies with a capitalist market economy, a conjugal family system and liberal-democratic policies, a limit may exist on the extent that mobility chances can be equalised. As this limit is approached, policies aimed at further equalisation will become increasingly contested, and social mobility will cease to be a matter on which political consensus prevails.


Corruption Is Inherent in the Government Education System

Violent criminals have always been (former California governor) Jerry Brown’s favorite candidates for pardons, but on his way out the door, Brown saw fit to pardon Bill Honig, once the subject of a gushing profile in People magazine. The former state education boss was convicted on felony conflict-of-interest charges during the 1990s, but in 2011 Brown picked Honig for the state Board of Education. The convicted felon withdrew his name, but there’s more to the story.

Bill Honig knew government education was a bust, complaining that dumbed-down textbooks were “all horrors,” but he still defended the system. The alleged partisan of “quality education” would not allow parents in Compton and other inner-city areas to choose the schools their children attend. He said school choice would create “elite academies for the few and second-rate schools for the many” and authored “Why Privatizing Public Education Is a Bad Idea,” in The Brookings Review. Honig opposed 1993’s Proposition 174, the last school-choice measure to come before California voters. So did his successor Delaine Eastin, another close ally of the California Teachers Association.

On Eastin’s watch, the California Department of Education gave away more than $20 million to an interlocking directorate of ineligible “community-based organizations.” When auditors uncovered this massive fraud, Eastin fired the whistleblowers and kept the money flowing. Both whistleblowers sued to get their jobs back, and a jury awarded one $4.5 million and held Eastin liable for $1.4 million in non-economic damages and $150,000 in punitive damages because she had “acted with malice.” The rewards were subsequently reduced and punitive damages dropped, so Eastin did not need a pardon from the governor, the office she sought last year.

California taxpayers should also consider Eastin’s pal John Mockler, who wrote Proposition 98 as an “antidote” to Proposition 13. Mockler formed a lobbying firm to represent publishers and education bureaucrats. These connections came in handy when he served as state secretary of education and executive director of the State Board of Education under governor Gray Davis. Mockler became a rich man working both sides of the table, but his conflict of interest never drew charges.

As Mockler, Eastin and Honig confirm, corruption is inherent in the government monopoly education system. That is unlikely to change under new governor Gavin Newsom, who wants to expand the system with universal pre-school and spend $1.8 billion on a range of early education programs.


City targets Christian school
Christian school takes 8-year legal battle to the U.S. Supreme Court

Eight years ago, Tree of Life Christian Schools purchased a vacant building in Upper Arlington, Ohio.

Dedicated to educational excellence and nurturing young lives in Christ, the school had been growing. And it was pushing the limits of its four campuses with nearly 600 students. Naturally, the school went looking for a bigger facility.

Tree of Life planned to relocate its four growing campuses to one central location, which would allow the current student body to grow to approximately 1,200 students.

But the city had other plans.

Upper Arlington officials denied zoning approval for the school, even though the zoning code allows for daycare facilities and other nonprofit uses of the buildings in that area. Tree of Life was singled out because it was religious.

The city claims that it denied the school’s zoning requests because the school would not generate tax revenue for Upper Arlington. But if Tree of Life Christian Schools were to relocate, it would provide more than 150 new jobs as well as greater tax revenue for the city—tax revenue it hadn’t received from the vacant site in years.

The law is clear. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act prohibits local governments from treating religious organizations on unequal terms in land use and zoning matters.

And yet, for eight long years, the city has blocked this Christian school from using its own building!

It’s time for the discrimination to stop.

Today, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court on the school’s behalf. We’re asking the Court to take this case and put a stop to the city’s religious discrimination against Tree of Life.

It is no longer a question of if the government will discriminate against people of faith and religious organizations because of who they are and what they believe—the question is when and where such discrimination will occur.

Litigating these important cases is our chief line of defense for religious freedom in the next few years. But it is only through God’s provision and your prayers and support that we can even show up to the fight.

Via email

Monday, January 21, 2019

UK: Elite food? Oxford college bans octopus from menu in bid to make disadvantaged students feel more 'comfortable'

Royall is an old Labour party hack

The president of an Oxford college has asked for octopus to be taken off in a bid to prevent upset among disadvantaged students, it was claimed.

Baroness Royall, head of Somerville College, has reportedly said she wanted to make the college welcoming to all and change its culture.

The Telegraph reported how Baroness Royall had told catering staff to replace an octopus terrine dish with a less exotic alternative, following a complaint from a first-year student.

Lady Royall, the former Labour leader in the House of Lords, revealed the incident in a blog post titled ‘I am determined to move fast on widening access to Somerville’, published on the college’s website yesterday.

In the blog, she discussed the steps the college had taken to increase the intake of students from disadvantaged backgrounds including a ‘Demystifying Oxford Day’ for state school students.

The baroness wrote: ‘I feel sure that there is more we can do to … encourage more strong candidates to apply, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.

‘I also want to turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask how we should change the culture of Somerville and Oxford to ensure that we are welcoming to all.

‘One of our students told me of her bemusement at being served an octopus terrine at the Freshers’ Dinner.

‘I’m sure the cephalopod dish was delicious but it might not be quite right for every-one.’

Lady Royall reportedly made the decision to remove the dish following a complaint from a first-year student at Somerville College in Oxford (pictured)    +3
Lady Royall reportedly made the decision to remove the dish following a complaint from a first-year student at Somerville College in Oxford (pictured)

A Somerville student called the move ‘tokenistic’. ‘It also implies that octopus, and certain food dishes, are not for people from a particular background and should be reserved for the privileged few,’ they said.

However, Joe Inwood, president of Oxford University’s student union, praised the move. ‘It is great to see colleges listen to feedback,’ he said.

A spokesman for the college told the Telegraph: ‘The point of education is to widen horizons, including introducing students to new tastes. But we want to make sure that, at the Freshers’ Dinner at least, food is served that everyone is likely to be comfortable with.’


Pence: 'To See Major News Organizations Attacking Christian Education Is Deeply Offensive To Us'

Vice President Mike Pence, defending both his wife and his Christian faith, spoke Thursday about the liberal backlash resulting from Karen Pence's decision to return to a Christian school as a volunteer art teacher.

"To see the mainstream media...criticize my wife because she's choosing to return to the classroom of an elementary Christian school is wrong," Pence told "Washington Watch."

Pence told EWTN, a Catholic news network:

My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while. We're used to the criticism. But I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.

We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education, and frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it. The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office. We'll let the other critics roll off our back, but this criticism of religious education in America should stop.

Immanuel Christian school, located in Northern Virginia, says on its website: "We are, first of all, a Christian school and as such establish the biblical basis from which we will teach a Christian world and life view. While we recognize that not all parents will agree with every item in this statement, it is necessary that the parents agree to support the premise that their child will be taught from the perspective provided in our statement of belief."

What outraged some on the left is the school's policy against "moral misconduct," which includes "heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites.”

The Huffington Post reported on Thursday that an LGBTQ advocacy group "has sent Immanuel Christian 100 copies of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a children’s book about a boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny. Included with the books is 'a heartfelt note that encourages the school’s leaders to accept LGBTQ young people,' the group said."

In an essay on Thursday, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins said the fury directed at Karen Pence for simply volunteering at a Christian school should serve as a warning for all Christians:

Three years after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal, Perkins wrote, "all of the lies about 'love' and 'tolerance' have been eclipsed by the court cases, articles, and editorials demonizing people of faith. What Americans see now is the truth: the Left is coming for our freedom. And they have no intention of letting up," he continued:

Like Joe Biden's wife, Karen Pence spent years in the classroom. When Mike was in Congress, she taught art at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia -- and no one batted an eye. Of course, that was back in the early 2000s, when the Left's charm offensive on same-sex marriage was still in full swing. We'll be accommodating, they said. We just want to co-exist, they said. Our relationships won't affect you, they said. A handful of years later, "affected" doesn't begin to describe to what happens to conservatives who think differently than the totalitarian Left.

Of course, the Pences are not strangers to the other side's viciousness. Every time the media is reminded about the family's faith, they become hysterical all over again -- a scene that played out this week when Karen announced she'd be volunteering at Immanuel Christian this spring. "I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do," she said in a statement. "I have missed teaching art, and it's great to return to the school where I taught art for 12 years."

She can't go back there, LGBT activists raged! They reject homosexuality! Yes, well, that's what orthodox Christian schools do. (Not to mention Jewish and Muslim ones too.) Would it have been headline news if Jill Biden taught at a Roman Catholic school? Probably not. Yet, the Left and their media chums are hurling profanity at the Pences for something that, even five years ago, wouldn't have been controversial. Frankly, the only thing that would have been shocking is if Karen worked at a Christian school that didn't act like a Christian school.

Perkins said the left's "real problem" isn't that Karen Pence is working at a Christian school; the real problem is that evangelical schools exist at all.

"There used to be a consensus in this country that religious liberty was for everyone. When the Religious Freedom Restoration Act came before Congress, only three members voted against it. Over time, some liberals tried to isolate faith -- to churches, Christian schools, or family rooms. You've heard me say before that the Left's hope is to quarantine religion within the four walls of the church. Now, it's becoming clear -- even that won't satisfy them."


The subjects kids SHOULD be studying: One of Australia's smartest people reveals the skills teenagers need to get high-paying jobs - and why part-time work at McDonald's is crucial to their success

One of Australia's most intelligent men has shared some advice on which skills schoolchildren need in order to clinch a lucrative career later in life.

Dr Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist, said the key to kick-starting a first-rate career was by studying challenging subjects alongside a part-time job at McDonald's.

He said a solid academic background coupled with essential life skills was critical for ensuring a high-flying career path.  

The 65-year-old explained that English and maths were crucial subjects of study when it came to ensuring the employment 'door of opportunity' stays open.

'Mastery of language is crucial to succeeding in whatever you do — whether it's writing a report to advise the government on electricity markets or a job application,' Dr Finkel told Cosmos magazine.

'Your ability to 'win friends and influence people' will only be as good as your language skills. The best way to hone them is to read a lot, and read some more. Novels, histories, science-fiction — it doesn't matter, just read!'

He added that maths is the language of science and business based jobs, and emphasised the importance of having a solid understanding of the subject when it came to pursuing a career in the medicine, engineering or economic fields.

Reiterating the significance of a strong academic background, he told the publication: 'Every time you drop an enabling subject — bang! A door of opportunity slams shut.'

The former Chancellor of Monash University, in Melbourne, also added that life skills such as resilience, clear thinking and collaboration were of value, and can be achieved by working a part time job at a fast food chain such as McDonald's or volunteering.

However, he noted life skills weren't of much use unless accompanied by strong academic results. 'They are useless unless you study demanding subjects through which you can practise these skills,' Dr Finkel told the publication.

'There is no substitute for raw knowledge, even in the age of internet search. After all, there is no use learning to collaborate if you don't have anything distinctive to contribute,' he added.

But while he advised studying well-regarded subjects such as maths and sciences was highly advantageous, he acknowledged that which subjects students chose wouldn't dictate their career paths for the rest of their lives.

The neuroscientist, engineer and entrepreneur said it was 'critical' to ensure initial tertiary studies were done really well, but once established in the workforce, it was easy enough to switch from one job to another.  


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Most 'Oxbridge' students are privately educated. One state school bucks this trend in a big way

This is a lot less remarkable than it seems.  Admission to the school is highly selective. The students are bright to begin with.  It is not an elite school socially but it is an elite school intellectually.  It has no lessons for mainstream government schools

Elite UK universities Oxford and Cambridge are renowned for stringent admissions policies and student populations weighted in favor of private schools, but one state school has had remarkable success in bucking that trend.

Brampton Manor Academy has revealed that 41 of its students have received offers to study at Oxford or Cambridge, collectively known as Oxbridge, the highest number since its sixth-form college (teaching students in the final two years of high school) opened in 2012.

"We were delighted when last year we sent 20 students to Oxbridge, having seen the number increase gradually from just one offer in 2014," executive principal Dayo Olukoshi said in a press release. "For this to have more than doubled again is phenomenal."

The school is in the London borough of Newham, one of the most deprived in the British capital.

Almost all of the students in question are from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to the press release. Half of them receive free school meals as part of a government program designed to assist disadvantaged families, and two-thirds will become the first in their family to study at university.

State schools in the UK are funded by taxpayer money, and would be called public schools in the United States.

Just 7% of British schoolchildren are educated at independent (a.k.a. private) schools. Yet they still score about 40% of the places on Oxford and Cambridge undergrad programs. These children are generally from wealthy families -- private school fees run to tens of thousands of pounds per year -- and are primed for an Oxbridge education.

However Brampton Manor is making significant progress in opening Oxford and Cambridge up to students from different backgrounds. "We are passionate about instilling within our students the self-belief that they are good enough, that their talent and potential is far more important than any preconceived notion of the 'type' of student Oxbridge might be looking for," said Sam Dobin, Director of Sixth Form.

"These young people have often overcome so much to get to this point and now have such exciting futures ahead of them; we couldn't be prouder of them."

"This incredible achievement really helps challenge some of the myths about who Oxford and Cambridge is for, showing that we are open to everyone with the talent, passion and drive to study here," said Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Colleges at the University of Cambridge.


Experimental colleges once were the future. Now, what is their future?

When Hampshire College opened its doors in 1970, it was part of a wave of new schools founded as experiments in alternative education. Some let students set their own course of study and didn’t require letter grades. Some focused on the classics. Some drew students interested in farming or the environment.

But Hampshire’s current financial troubles raise questions about whether this style of education is a luxury that consumers today can no longer afford. Some of the problems facing alternative schools are the same as those facing more traditional small schools: a shrinking pool of college-age students, rising costs, and small endowments. But alternative schools also struggle with unique challenges, given their unorthodox offerings.

“It’s awfully hard for those institutions and their graduates to prove what they’ve learned in a job market that is oriented toward hit-the-ground-running and prove-you-can-do-something from day one,” said Dennis Jones, the past president of National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Hampshire officials announced this week that, amid economic pressures, they are looking to merge with another college and might not admit a freshman class this fall. Across the country, it’s a not-uncommon fate for alternative schools, many of which have shut down or reinvented themselves — or are facing pressure to do so.

Franconia College, which opened in New Hampshire in 1963 in an old inn in the White Mountains as an experiment in alternative education, shut down 15 years later after financial problems that began nearly from the start. It had also come under attack from political conservatives in the state who accused it of harboring draft dodgers and fostering a culture of drugs and sexual promiscuity.

In Plainfield, Vt., another atypical college faces an uncertain fate. Goddard College, known for its “low-residency” program where students come to campus for only one week per semester, is on academic probation with the regional accrediting agency. The agency has cited concerns over Goddard’s finances and leadership and has given the school two years to correct the problems. Goddard was established in 1938 on a former sheep farm as a communal setting for “plain living and hard thinking.”

Other nontraditional schools have morphed to stay afloat. New College, in Sarasota, Fla., was founded in 1960 as a private college to foster the arts and free students from traditional curricula. The school is located on the former estate of Edith and Charles Ringling, who helped found the famous circus. It uses a “contract system” where students negotiate an agreement with their adviser each semester about their courses and expectations for the term. In 2001 it became the honors college of the state system.

Many of the alternative colleges that appear to be more financially sound are those with big endowments, or those that are so small and narrowly focused that they can operate with very few students.

Darron Collins, president of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, said his school has a successful niche that helps it stay strong. The school offers only one major — human ecology — and students design their own program under that umbrella. The campus has two organic farms and two island research stations.

Collins said the school, which has just 350 students, has also been conscious of trying to keep overhead costs like administrative salaries low.

“I’m never going to say we are immune to things, because the demographics are tight,” he said, but applications are up, and about 25 percent of the school’s students are international.

Antioch College in Ohio, which focuses on practical work training for students and uses written evaluations in addition to grades, has a different type of survival story. The school was founded in the mid-1800s but closed in 2008. Three years later it was reopened by a group led by alumni who purchased the campus and offered the first four classes of students free tuition. The school is now transitioning to paid students and ended fiscal 2017 with a $1.7 million loss, the records show.

Mark Roosevelt, president of the Santa Fe campus of St. John’s College, said small schools struggle not because of their particular niche but because of practical concerns like managing their endowment and enrollment.

The St. John’s endowment is about $190 million, Roosevelt said. The school has focused more on fund-raising lately and is more than halfway toward its capital campaign goal of $300 million. Hampshire’s endowment is about $52 million, according to the school.

The curriculum at St. John’s College, which also has a campus in Annapolis, Md., is composed of a rigid curriculum where students read Homer, Plato, Nietzsche, and Einstein, and must learn to translate ancient texts.

Jones, the past president of the nonprofit higher education consulting organization, said that while students may appreciate alternative types of higher education, it is increasingly difficult to justify the cost. At Hampshire, for instance, the tuition is $50,000, plus $14,000 for room and board.

But the struggles of these schools does not mean innovation is dead, Jones said. These days, schools are forced to be creative economically, rather than simply academically. Many students pay for their own degrees and are worried about debt, so schools are trying different economic models to keep costs down, such as online education.

“Institutions that challenge the economic model are the new frontier of higher education innovation,” he said.

Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Wash., is an alternative school that has stayed healthy thanks to its public status. It has always been part of the Washington state system, a factor that its administrators say has helped keep tuition affordable. Tuition at Evergreen is about $7,000 per year for in-state students plus about $12,000 for room and board.

The school was founded in 1967 with a similar goal of giving students more control over their learning and curriculum. It now has about 3,000 students.

Still, Sandra Kaiser, vice president for college relations, said enrollment has been on a 10-year decline, driven, ironically, in part by the strong economy. About half of Evergreen’s students are community college transfer students. But fewer students typically attend community college when the economy is healthy, and jobs are plentiful. She said the school is constantly evaluating how to best serve students, who are increasingly nontraditional, including older adults and veterans.

“We have to really improve and renew in order to serve students,” she said.


Democrats Ready Universal Pre-K Pitch Ahead of 2020

Democrats appear ready to weave universal pre-kindergarten into their pitch for winning back working-class voters, with the 2020 campaign just underway.

The pitch was best exhibited most recently by former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro when he announced his presidential bid.

"To be the smartest nation requires an early investment in our children's education," Castro told a crowd gathered in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. "Today, we live in a world in which brainpower is the new currency of success.… As president, we'll make [universal pre-K] happen … for all children whose parents want it, so that all of our nation's students can get a strong start."

Before abandoning his own presidential ambitions earlier this month, Tom Steyer laid out a broad vision for what he called the "5 rights," including "the right to learn," which the California billionaire and political activist hoped would be enshrined in any future Democratic Party platform.

"If we don't provide free, quality public education for kids, pre-K through college or skills training, we are creating, legislating inequality," Steyer told a group in Iowa, just hours before he dropped out of the race.

Steyer and Castro's endorsement is only the most recent in a long political trend. Democrats at every level of government—municipal, state, and federal—have endorsed the policy, despite its overall effectiveness being mixed if not downright negative.

There is strong evidence that the overall benefits of pre-K are most notable shortly after the program ends but fade away over time. One study published in 2018 found students who didn't partake in pre-K programs on average tested better than those that did by the second and third grades.

Similarly, a 2014 report by the Heritage Foundation showed that in Oklahoma, which implemented universal pre-K in 1998, the results have been negligible. Fourth-grade reading scores, an initial measure of the impact of early childhood education, have remained nearly unchanged in the state between 1998 and 2014. Furthermore, even though Oklahoma spends almost $7,400 per student on early childhood education the state's standardized test scores are still below the national average.

Results at the federal level haven't been much better. In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services published a report on the effectiveness of Head Start, which provides early childhood education to families living at or below the poverty line. The report inadvertently showed that although Head Start spent more than $180 billion over 48 years, it had almost no effect on the "cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting outcomes" of its participants.

A widespread debate further exists as to whether universal pre-K programs are actually "universal." Critics have cited that most programs claiming to be such actually take a "targeted" approach that restricts eligibility to child and family characteristics. Of those, the most common requirement is family income. A 2015 report by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes found that nearly 58 percent of all publicly funded pre-K programs set family income thresholds at or below 185 percent of the poverty level.

Other pre-K programs claiming to be "open to all enrollees" also fall short of being universal because of funding issues that limit available space. The National Institute for Early Education Research found that only 10 states in the country had enrollment numbers above 50 percent. Only four states provided pre-K to more than 70 percent of eligible children.

Proponents have mostly ignored or written off such findings. The majority of the arguments in favor of universal pre-K are steeped in appeals to emotion. When pushed, champions have claimed that for every dollar spent on pre-K a seven-dollar savings occurs in programs to reduce teen pregnancies, boost graduation rates, and reduce incarceration, among others.

The 7-to-1 return on investment claim has become a staple of the universal pre-K conversation, even being cited by former President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. It's accuracy, however, has been widely discredited as it is the result of one study conducted more than 50 years ago of 58 "at risk" children. It has not yet been replicated in state pre-school programs.

While Democrats might be making a bet on universal pre-K, voters are unsold. At the ballot box, the feel-good measure has a mixed record. Some larger municipalities have voted to tax themselves for pre-K, but some of the failures are noteworthy. Although the vote was from 2006, deep blue California rejected new taxes for pre-K which "had drawn high levels of support in early public-opinion polls, but eventually succumbed to months of debate over the benefits of such a program," according to a report by Education Week.

In the 2018 elections, voters in Colorado and Pittsburgh voted down education packages that earmarked significant funds toward early childhood education and pre-K, while Seattle bolstered their program with new funds.

Corey DeAngelis, an education expert with the libertarian Cato Institute, says these kinds of campaign offerings make perfect sense from the politician's point of view.

"It's just easy for a politician who doesn't really understand the educational system to just say, ‘Okay, more might be better, let's just add another year on to the beginning of the K-12 system, and let's just do 14 years rather than 13 years,'" DeAngelis told the Washington Free Beacon. "But it takes a lot more work to ask what about the system is leading to bad educational outcomes? Improving the years of education they're already going to get takes a lot more thinking and work than just saying, ‘Well, let's just add another year.'"

If Cato analysts represent the right-of-center thinking on pre-K, the political left has notable critics as well.

The Brookings Institution wrote just last year that, "unabashed enthusiasts for increased investments in state pre-K need to confront the evidence that it does not enhance student achievement meaningfully, if at all."

"It may, of course, have positive impacts on other outcomes, although these have not yet been demonstrated. It is time for policymakers and advocates to consider and test potentially more powerful forms of investment in better futures for children."