Education

"Libertarian Bob Luddy’s Contribution to Education Reform"

Bob Luddy is the founder of the Thales Academy schools here in Wake County and he sounds like an amazing man. Here's one tidbit:

In 2013, the town of Rolesville, North Carolina got a new public high school that cost $76 million. A year later, Thales opened a $9 million high school two-and-a-half miles away. Though much smaller, when divided by the number of students each building can accommodate, the Thales school cost half as much.

In addition to the video in the piece linked above, here's another worthwhile look at Thales (7.5 minute video).


"Raw Numbers: Charter Students Are Graduating From College at Three to Five Times the National Average"

There are some measurement problems, but the KIPP system, probably the largest charter system reporting, and the only network that tracks students from the 9th grade instead of just from the 12th grade, has a rate about 2.5 times the national average. And while such a number doesn't reflect the selection of students into charters--put another way, we'd like to have a comparable control sample--it could well be a quite encouraging sign.

Link via my older daughter.

Related: "Charter Schools Help District Schools".


"Is the AER Replicable? And is it Robust? Evidence from a Class Project"

I think having graduate students try to replicate published papers is a simply excellent idea. I tried it with my students a few times with some success.

The profession, as is widely recognized, needs more replications. The graduate students may well get started on research topics that interest them. And the students will probably learn more about the limitations of the much-vaunted "peer review" than most journalists seem to know.


"Why I’m leaving UK academia (and no, it’s not just Brexit)"

It's unclear if this gentleman realizes just how privileged (tenured) academic life is--compare his 55 hours/week of work to the work of a coal miner or an ER doctor or an I-banker or just about anybody else--but this complaint certainly rings true:

Then there’s the administration. Leaving aside the widely pilloried and Sisyphean administrative exercises known as the Research Excellence Framework and now the Teaching Excellence Framework, to put it simply we have in recent times witnessed an administrative coup in UK academia. In an article focussing on Oxford University but painting a picture that will be familiar to most academics, The Spectator wrote that the “university’s central administrative staff is now almost three times what it was 15 years ago. There was no similar increase in full-time academic staff, the people who teach students or do research…”. I won’t speculate here on the many reasons why this might be, rather I’ll merely point out that an increase in administrators—lovely and well-meaning as most of them are as individuals—naturally does not do what you might naively expect, i.e., take care of the administration so that academics can focus on academic work. No, instead it breeds ever more complex administrative mazes that are not just difficult to navigate but are de facto becoming the main part of the job. Kafkaesque would not be pushing it too far by any means.