scharrison's blog

Private school vouchers lead to lower math scores, even four years later

Not the kind of "choice" parents were hoping for:

In math, the results, which focus on grades five through eight, are consistently negative. Even four years into the program, students who use a voucher had lower test scores than public school students. In English, there were no clear effects. Here, there was some evidence that voucher students improved over time, though there were no statistically significant positive effects after four years.

The results, published this week in the peer-reviewed Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, are largely in line with an earlier version of the same study — with a key exception. The first paper suggested that declines in math disappeared for students who used a voucher for multiple years. The latest version finds that the negative effects seem to persist for at least four years.

No doubt Civitas and/or John Hood will quickly dredge up some study they can cherry-pick to refute these findings, but it's becoming more clear every day that both parents and lawmakers have been hoodwinked. We've gone from better than to just as good as to considerably worse than public schools, but the private school cheerleaders in Raleigh still want to shift more public education dollars into the gaping maw of this black hole. And the only possible explanations left for that continued support are 1) Racial segregation revival and 2) Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars. And as for "why" parents would continue to pursue this apparently substandard education for their kids, don't discount the power of bigotry:

Looking a gift McCrory in the mouth

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"Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see McCrory adding his voice to the opposition of these amendments. But never forget (because I won't), after he lost his election, McCrory dutifully signed bills stripping power from the Governor-Elect, bills he would never have signed had he himself won. McCrory threw both our election process and our education system into turmoil on his way out the door, and they are *still* a big, stinking mess, going on two years later. So you'll have to excuse me if I don't get all dreamy-eyed over his new-found integrity."

Trump blames California wildfires on government regulations, not Climate Change

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The sheer ignorance of this man is mind-boggling:

Sunday night, Trump, in his first comments on the wildfires that have raged for weeks, said the fires had been “made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount[s] of readily available water to be properly utilized.” A second tweet, on Monday, complained that water needed for fighting the fires was being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” In neither tweet was there mention of lives lost, the nearly 600,000 acres of woodland so far consumed and the 1,100 and counting homes destroyed.

Dumbfounded state officials dismissed the president’s remarks as nonsense. Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, said “we have plenty of water to fight these wildfires.”

Rivers eventually flow into the ocean. That's what they do, and that's what they have done for probably a couple billion years. Even elementary schoolchildren know this, but apparently Trump missed that somewhere between kindergarten naps and academy bone spurs. And in fact, California already has some 1,400 dams forming lakes, and would be hard-pressed to construct many more. But again, well over our President's head. It's no wonder he simply can't grasp the concept of Climate Change:

David Wheeler pays visit to Word of Faith cult

After being invited to tour the (cult) church, Ralph Hise's Democratic opponent for NC Senate received a less than warm reception, probably due to multiple cameras. As has now been reported by the Washington Post, the next day trespassing charges were filed:

Above the law: Tiger Swan mercenaries get free pass from North Dakota judge

Blurring the lines between public and private law enforcement:

A North Dakota judge has refused to reopen a lawsuit that state regulators filed against a North Carolina-based private security firm accused of using heavy-handed tactics against people protesting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. Judge John Grinsteiner's decision Monday ends the yearlong dispute in state district court, but doesn't resolve a disagreement over whether TigerSwan was conducting work that required a license in North Dakota.

North Dakota's Private Investigative and Security Board plans to appeal the case's dismissal to the state Supreme Court, attorney Monte Rogneby said. Should that fail, the board can still pursue tens of thousands of dollars in fines against TigerSwan through an administrative process.

Before we proceed, just a side-note: This North Dakota government regulatory board is exactly the kind of organization groups like Civitas want to abolish, because they exert control over private businesses by requiring licenses and permits and such. But in the case of Tiger Swan, they not only ignore such boards, they infiltrate and influence the operations of legitimate law enforcement agencies:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Words of wisdom:

And of course the right to choose your own legal representation is also critical in our legal system. But that won't stop the right-wing nutters from acting like little children.

Durham makes the wrong list on affordable housing

The free market of real estate sales takes no prisoners:

Ten years after the housing collapse during the Great Recession, a new and different housing crisis has emerged. Back then, people were losing their homes as home values crashed and homeowners went underwater. Today, home values have rebounded, but people who want to buy a new home are often priced out of the market. There are too few homes and too many potential buyers.

This isn't just a problem in San Francisco or New York, where home prices and rents have gone sky-high. It is also a problem in midsized, fast-growing cities farther inland, like Des Moines, Iowa; Durham, N.C.; and Boise, Idaho. In Boise, an analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed there is a demand for more than 10 times the number of homes being built right now.

Quick NIMBY anecdote: My town government is having a tense struggle (with me right in the middle) with some neighborhoods over new construction projects, and one big takeaway is: They definitely don't want anything resembling "affordable housing." No apartment buildings, no modest townhomes (less than $200,000). Of course, many of these folks would prefer to see nothing at all built there, but if it's happening, they want to make sure no poor people, or even lower middle class, move in next door. Here's more about the problem, and the conundrum of not having nearly enough homes for the people who need them:

Roy Cooper files lawsuit to preserve Separation of Powers

“The General Assembly has proposed two amendments to the North Carolina Constitution that would take a wrecking ball to the separation of powers. These proposed amendments would rewrite bedrock constitutional provisions— including the Separation of Powers Clause itself. They would overrule recent decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court. They would strip the Governor of his authority to appoint thousands of officials to hundreds of boards and commissions that execute the laws of our State. They would confer exclusive authority on the General Assembly to choose those whom the Governor can consider to fill judicial vacancies. And they ultimately threaten to consolidate control over all three branches of government in the General Assembly.”

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