A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

Magical science demonstration of water not spilling from an upside down glass

This gravity defying water trick, watch til the end. from r/blackmagicfuckery

A science teacher uses a classic but eternally astonishing magic trick in a lesson on atmospheric pressure and surface tension. The real magic though is the infectious curiosity she sparks in her students.

(Here's the secret and the science.) Read the rest

I'm teaching on this year's Writing Excuses Cruise!

I'm one of the guest instructors on this year's Writing Excuses Cruise, a nine-day intensive writing program on land and at sea, departing from Galveston and putting into port at Cozumel, Georgetown, and Falmouth, with a roster of instructors including Brandon Sanderson, Piper Drake, Kathy Chung, K Tempest Bradford, DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. The program starts with a two-day workshop at a Houston hotel and then sets sail, running Sept 22-30 altogether. I've taught many other workshops, but this is my first Writing Excuses Cruise and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Most US eighth graders have taken apart a gadget to fix it or see how it works

From the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress: "In 2018, fifty-three percent of eighth-grade students reported that they believed they could perform a variety of technology- and engineering-related tasks such as taking something apart to fix it or see how it works." Read the rest

Lawyer for kid whose parents paid $1.2m bribe to get into Yale says the high price shows grifters' anti-Chinese bias

There are some mysteries in the court documents related to the college admissions scandal: a pair of mystery students whose parents paid $1.2m and $6.5m in bribes to get them into top US educational institutions. Read the rest

Lawyers and law students' signatures needed for Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of publishing the law

Attentive reader will note that rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) published the laws of Georgia -- including the paywalled annotations to the state laws -- in 2015, prompting the state to sue him and literally call him a terrorist; Malamud countersued in 2015 and won a huge victory in 2018, when the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the law could not be copyrighted. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

Zuck turned American classrooms into nonconsensual laboratories for his pet educational theories, and now they're rebelling

Summit Learning is a nonprofit, high-tech "customized learning" group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's family charity; under the program, students are equipped with high-surveillance Chromebooks and work on their own "at their own pace" and call on teachers to act as "mentors" when they get stuck. Read the rest

When Rivers Were Trails: an indigenous take on Oregon Trail

When Rivers Were Trails is a "Native-themed decision-based RPG" based on the classic Apple ][+ game "Oregon Trail," in which you play an 1890 Anishinaabeg person who has been forced off your land in Fond du Lac, Minnesota and must migrate through the northwest to California. Read the rest

Screening Surveillance: three short science fiction films about surveillance, with accompanying classroom materials

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada funded Screening Surveillance project: a trio of Creative Commons licensed short science fiction films about "everyday issues around big data and surveillance." The movies run about 10 minutes each, and come with classroom materials. Read the rest

Today, Michigan regulators vote on conservative education "reform" plan to purge the word "democracy" from curriculum

Former Michigan Republican State Senator Patrick Colbeck has put together an ambitious, far-ranging educational "reform" package that is being voted on today by the Michigan State Board of Education. Read the rest

The two hidden intellectual moves behind the "progressive" argument against free college

Pete Buttigieg is one of the prominent members of the progressive wing of the Democratic party who opposes free college tuition, on the ground that the "benefits" of college accrue to those who attain a degree and that it's unfair to ask the majority, who don't attend college, to subsidize the minority who do. Read the rest

Yale rescinds admission for student whose parents allegedly paid $1.2 million to get her in

Buzzfeed's Julia Reinstein reports that Yale “has rescinded admission for a student whose family allegedly paid $1.2 Million to get her into the school.” Read the rest

British schoolchildren receive chemical burns from "toxic ash" on Ash Wednesday

Between 73 and 100 students (as well as at least 17 teachers and administrators) from St Augustine’s Catholic High School in Redditch, England received chemical burns to their foreheads from "toxic ash" used to mark them as part of a Catholic ritual on Ash Wednesday. Read the rest

What's wrong with blaming "information" for political chaos

David Perell's 13,000 word essay, "What the Hell is Going On?" presents a reassuring -- and contrarian -- view on how our current dysfunction in politics, media, and business has come to pass, drawing on orthodox economic theories about "information asymmetry" in a way that makes the whole thing seem like a kind of adjustment period between a middling old world and a fine new one. Read the rest

McMansion Hell tours the homes of the "meritocratic" one-percenters who allegedly bought their thickwitted kids' way into top universities in the college admissions scandal

Yesterday, federal authorities announced 50 indictments of college personnel, wealthy parents, and fixers who ran a multi-million-dollar bribery ring that ensured that the slow, plodding, undeserving fruit of wealthy grifters' loins could be admitted to the top universities in America. Read the rest

A brilliant, simple exercise to teach privacy fundamentals

Kate Klonick, an assistant professor at St John's Law School, teaches an Information Privacy course for second- and third-year law students; she devised a wonderful and simply exercise to teach her students about "anonymous speech, reasonable expectation of privacy, third party doctrine, and privacy by obscurity" over the spring break. Read the rest

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