Adios, Andrew Coulson

Neal McCluskey  and Jason Bedrick mark Andrew Coulson's passing, far too early. Andrew and I corresponded some years ago via email and he  he asked if I would send the statistics I had compiled on the relation between age (start) of compulsory attendance and NAEP test scores (positive. Later is better) and district size and NAEP test scores (negative. Smaller is better). He said that he would pass these to Caroline Hoxby, a far more statistically sophisticated analyst than I. Perhaps she needed a laugh. Coulson's  Market Education makes the historical case that the education industry thrives without State (government, generally) compulsory attendance, subsidy, regulation, or direct operation.      


Confirmation Bias?

Teacher credential requirements maintain the mystique of the education industry. Otherwise, why not let parents decide what, where, and how their children learn? I found one class (Statistics) in the College of Education useful. Professor Ayabe suggested a year-to-year recursive grading system. Based on my experience of the useless College of Education coursework and later analysis of State-level credential requirements and State-level NAEP performance, I oppose State-imposed restrictions on whom principals may hire (aside from excluding pedophiles and other dangerous criminals).

Anyway, I am quite prepared to believe this:
Take the evidence on GPA and SAT scores. Some research suggests that these screens can predict teacher effectiveness, but the differences are small, and there’s no clear tipping point guiding states on where to set their expectations. The evidence on coursework and certification requirements is even weaker.. 


Aloha, Marvin Minsky

Yahoo news reported the death of Marvin Minsky. I have quoted many times his comment on school. He was kind enough to begin a conversation via email.


School Choice Week

The State of Hawaii maintains the most highly centralized school system in the US. The Governor appoints the members of the Board of Education. The Board (with frequent interference from the Legislature) controls the single, State-wide school district. Hawaii's relaxed position on homeschooling  provides the only bright contrast in this dark picture.

Elsewhere in the USA, parents and politicians promote expansion of parent control (school choice). In the wider world, bureaucrats do what bureaucrats do.     


Chance Discovery

TV costs time and money, so I cancelled my cable. Now I get more reading done. My favorite type of TV was a C-Span presentation of an AEI or Brookings or Cato or Heritage panel of six or so 55-year-old white guys discussing tax policy or education policy or trade policy or America's options in the Mid East . The internet will supply that. Even the best news shows have to move along at a pace guaranteed not to bore the most distractible stoner  so even the most considerate anchors  interrupt their guests in a style  that would earn them a permanent dis-invite from my house. Bill O'Reilly appears to have no clue how oafish he acts. Anyway,  I chanced upon this, following links from Kathy Shaidle's site.  .