Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday morning roundup

David French at NRO looks at the ginned-up hysterical reaction to Betsy DeVos's announcement that the Department of Education was no longer going to operate under the Most Equal Comrade's "2011 'Dear Colleague' letter that unilaterally and lawlessly required universities to adjudicate sexual-assault claims under a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (the accused is responsible if there’s a 50.1 percent probability he committed the crime) but without protecting due process." French blows to bits the presumptions on which the letter was predicated: that one in five college students are sexually assaulted, that there's solid evidence that false claims of rape are virtually nonexistent, and the "tonic immobility" theory.

On another front on which the freedom-dignity-decency-common-sense-haters are attempting to pose a threat to DeVos - school choice - Joy Pullman at The Federalist looks at a spate of pieces that have come out lately and finds them ringing hollow:

Just about every week, one can find prominent outlets attacking DeVos and school choice. This week it’s at least The AtlanticThe New York Times, and NPR’s “This American Life.” The DeVos family has bankrolled charter-school initiatives and school-voucher advocacy organizations, so these articles invariably tie Mrs. DeVos to the outcomes of policies with those labels. That would sound reasonable except she’s never created a law or regulation, since she never held public office before this year. Holding DeVos responsible for “school choice” is like blaming a pizza fan for a pizza for which he has created neither the recipe nor the actual pie.
Here's her excellent take-down off the NYT article:

The NYT article poses as a deep dive into education in Michigan, DeVos’s home state, which it laughably calls an “unregulated” “Wild West” for charter schools—public schools run by universities, nonprofits, companies, and even traditional school districts. In Michigan’s “Wild West,” people who want to open a charter school must comply with thousands of pages of state, local, and federal regulations, largely the same as those for traditional public schools, concerning teacher credentials, building codes, special-needs students, curriculum, testing, transparency, budgeting and finance, and more, all with approximately a third less funding compared to the state’s traditional public schools. That may be crazy, but it ain’t for the reasons Mr. New York Times thinks.
The NYT article also cites a 2016 Education Trust-Midwest report that misinterprets another study it cites to claim that “70 percent of Michigan charters were in the bottom half of the state’s rankings.” Yes, if you don’t adjust the data to account for the fact that charter schools tend to serve poor and minority students. When researchers factored in socioeconomic data to compare apples and apples, as they say, “82 percent of Michigan charters created higher than average growth in reading, and 72 percent had higher growth in math” and “almost all charter schools in Michigan are doing about the same or better than their conventional school counterparts.” Unlike those cited in this article, the most reliable studies, those based on random assignment, do indeed find that comparable charter-school students learn more than their traditional-public counterparts, and typically at substantially less cost to taxpayers.
The article also misleads readers by citing dismal-sounding data about state public school performance. But only about one in ten of Michigan public schools are charter schools. Does it make sense to blame 10 percent of an ecosystem for 100 percent of its problems, especially when research shows the 10 percent is at least comparable to the other 90?

Not to mention the head-slapping insanity of simultaneously noting that Michigan children sit in classrooms with leaky roofs on streets bereft of streetlights because their public education system, particularly in the neediest school districts, is bankrupt due to decades of gross internal mismanagement. Taxes from decades past and decades in the future has been spent by a cabal of feckless politicians and greedy system profiteers. And we’re supposed to be inherently suspicious about charter management companies because government always good, business always bad? Teachers unions and corrupt officials looted Michigan’s public schools, and the answer is to write that failed system a bigger check?
This is where we get to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of self-styled “public education advocates.” 

NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg says the world is more dangerous than it has been in a generation.

There's one fewer in the number of drooling, bug-eyed slavish devotees of Squirrel-Hair at Fox News: Eric Bolling is permanently gone.

Speaking of slavish devotees of S-H, what do they think about the way his Treasury Secretary has gone about trying to get conservative legislators to see some kind of constructive point in raising the debt ceiling?

House Republicans bristled Friday at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s pitch for them to vote for a three-month debt and spending extension “for me,” exacerbating divisions between Capitol Hill and the White House.
“His performance was incredibly poor, and his last words, and I quote, were ‘vote for the debt ceiling for me,’ ” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group that opposed the bill.
“It was a very arrogant lecture that turned off more of the conference,” added another RSC member. “I’m less sold than when I walked into the meeting.”
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a Freedom Caucus member, called the comments "unhelpful" and "intellectually insulting."
Mnuchin's presentation was "about as well received as his wife's Instagram post," Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) quipped to The Hill, referring to a recent controversy about social media posts by the Treasury secretary's actress wife.
Some lawmakers responded to Mnuchin’s remark with a reminder that they work for their constituents and not for him. Things got worse when Mnuchin left the meeting early for other appointments, leaving behind at least a dozen lawmakers who had lined up to ask questions.
“They had a tough meeting. It was a rough crowd, but they’re our friends,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). 

Ever wonder why Squirrel-Hair endorsed Luther Strange rather than one of the more conservative candidates in Georgia's special Senate primary contest? According to Bannon, Jared Kushner put him up to it.

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