Learning from the “failure” of polling

The tie between [Progressive-era] administrative authority and the discourse of special education lay in three connected features: the objects of study in the field, the evangelism of experts embedded in personal and professional networks, and the technical tools that experts and their public partners used in practice. We can call this set a triangle of […]

Veterans Day: remember the Double-V campaign

This Veterans Day, many of my fellow Americans are worried about their vulnerability after a hate-filled national campaign. Or, rather, not worried but justifiably anticipating attacks, if not having witnessed/experienced them directly. So today, I’m remembering the Double-V campaign in World War II, pushed by the Pittsburgh Courier, as Black soldiers, veterans, and their families committed […]

A few post-election notes

A few short notes: I have no sense for how much the racist, sexist discourse of the campaign and the Trump presidency will shape our culture over the next few years. I cannot pretend to know the extent to which reports of campaign-period bullying are valid, but with a few exceptions, this concerns me more than concrete […]

International Reason like a Pirate Day

My friend Tom Smith wrote the official Talk like a Pirate Day anthem: The closest attitudes I’ve seen in education research ARRRRRRRRRR from econometric specialists, such as those trained by MIT’s Joshua Angrist. If you have Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke’s Mostly Harmless Econometrics, like me, matey, you may have read a certain swashbuckling tone between the lines: Let’s grab that data, […]

California vs. Massachusetts education ballot question politics

Fifteen years ago, I am guessing, a ballot question in California to repeal the state’s ban on bilingual education would have been highly controversial, far more politically explosive than a ballot question in Massachusetts that would allow slow but consistent expansion of the state’s charter schools. At least in terms of spending on the ballot questions, […]