Tag Archives: education

Holy shit, Governor Christie

This is perhaps the most impressive gubernatorial performance I have seen this year. New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie slams teachers unions for gutting education reforms in the state legislature and state legislators for capitulating to a public sector union that is more interested in enriching themselves than educating children. It is an impressively angry performance, and is a must-watch. The video of his speech is here. Here is the NYT covering Gov. Christie in April, and I excerpt:

It’s fair to say that no governor in memory in any state has pushed back as hard at public employee unions — mostly teachers but police officers, too — as Mr. Christie. That’s made him an instant Republican hero, hailed by the conservative columnist George Will as “the nation’s most interesting governor.”

So the question is whether this is about Mr. Christie and New Jersey, or about the rest of us as well. And the answer is yes.

It’s a New Jersey story, of course, because that’s where government bloat and dysfunction have become an art form. And it has a particular New Jersey cast because the governor’s office is so powerful that the governor can assert himself statewide while others can only posture and threaten.

HT: Jack “Attack” Soltysik.

Addendum: the link to the video appears to be broken, but the google cached video is here.

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Forgotten history: early 20th century black intellectual challenges to hereditarians

From Dismantling Contemporary Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice, by Richard Valencia (2010):

Another example of heterodoxy from the genetic pathology epoch was the work of a small cadre of African American scholars in the 1920s who confronted the hereditarian assertion that Blacks were intellectually inferior to Whites (see Thomas, 1982; Valencia 1997d). The mainstream journals were frequently controlled by editors and editorial boards who were hereditarians (for example, Lewis Terman’s editorial control over the Journal of Education Psychology and the Journal of Applied Psychology). As a result, many of these 1920s Black scholars were forced to publish their research in other outlets, such as Crisis and Opportunity, periodicals of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League, respectively. These Black intellectuals’ scholarly assault on the 1920s mental testing falls into three categories (Thomas, 1982). First, some researchers focus on an environmental critique, for example, differences in educational opportunity between Whites and Blacks best account for racial differences in intellectual performance (e.g., Bond, 1924). Second, some of these scholars focus on methodological flaws or instrumentation problems. For example, Howard H. Long (1925)–who earned his doctorate in experimental psychology from Clark University–presents a technical criticism of IQ tests, contending that they contained numerous measurement problems, such as the inadequacy of using mental age scores for comparing IQ scores across races. Long notes that the procedure is flawed because it does not account for the correlation of mental age raw scores with chronological age. Third, some of the Black researchers conducted their own original research and generated their own data, thus providing alternative explanations to hereditarian-based conclusions drawn by White scholars. For example, Herman G. Canady (1928) in his master’s thesis was one of the first scholars to investigate examiner effects on intelligence testing with white and black children (also, see Canady, 1936).

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Grade Inflation in University Education Departments

From University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Cory Koedel:

This paper formally documents a startling difference in the grading standards between education departments and other academic departments at universities – undergraduate students in education classes receive significantly higher grades than students in all other classes. This phenomenon cannot be explained by differences in student quality or structural differences across departments (i.e., differences in class sizes). Drawing on evidence from the economics literature, the differences in grading standards between education and non-education departments imply that undergraduate education majors, the majority of whom become teachers, supply substantially less effort in college than non-education majors. If the grading standards in education departments were brought in line with those found in other major academic departments, student effort would be expected to increase by at least 10-16 percent.

The graphs at the end of the paper are worth looking at even if you don’t read another line.

Hat Tip: Abhi Sivasailam.

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