ArchiveApril 2015

Good news for NC charters

A bill passed by the state Senate on Wednesday would force school districts to share more of their tax funding with charter schools, but critics say it may open the coffers unfairly.

The cult of the Ph.D.

The primary, overarching purpose of doctoral programs is to produce professors. Graduate school has a cult-like effect on what you think you should want as a graduate student. I have seen it turn people who thought they wanted to go work for the Defense Department turn into quivering blobs of jelly because they failed, five years later, to get a visiting position at Oklahoma State. It doesn’t...

The key to Napoleon’s success

Napoleon excelled at mathematics. ‘To be a good general you must know mathematics,’ he later observed, ‘it serves to direct your thinking in a thousand circumstances.’ He was helped by his prodigious memory. ‘A singular thing about me is my memory,’ he once boasted. ‘As a boy I knew the logarithms of thirty or forty numbers.’ Napoleon was given...

Fascinating data on racism across the U.S.

Based on Google searches for the word “nigger,” aggregated by regions. Why is this a good measure of something traditionally very difficult to measure? “Google data, evidence suggests, are unlikely to suffer from major social censoring,” Stephens-Davidowitz wrote in a previous paper. “Google searchers are online and likely alone, both of which make it easier to...

IES funding to piggyback on NPSAS:16 data collection

Requirements for Applications Using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study Applicants must meet the requirements listed under the Postsecondary and Adult Education topic as set out in Part II.A.8 of the Education Research Grants Request for applications (available athttp://ies.ed.gov/funding/. Under this topic, applicants may design studies to explore the relationship of malleable factors...

Social justice logic, campus poster edition

These posters are obviously good: Left-leaning student activists at Oberlin College hung posters at the Christina Hoff Sommers event earlier this week that identified the students involved in bringing the individualist-feminist and AEI scholar to campus. Each poster gave the name of a specific student-member of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and accused that person of...

Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan

Interesting paper, especially the results. We study the economic effects of religious practices in the context of the observance of Ramadan fasting, one of the central tenets of Islam. To establish causality, we exploit variation in the length of daily fasting due to the interaction between the rotating Islamic calendar and a country’s latitude. We report two key, quantitatively meaningful...

Student loan problem is worse than we think

Nearly one in three Americans who are now having to pay down their student debt–or a staggering 31.5%–are at least a month behind on their payments, new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis suggests. That figure is far higher than official delinquency measures reported by the Education Department and the New York Fed. And it’s also likely the most...

The null hypothesis in education

Depressing and probably true. In education, the null hypothesis is that nothing makes a long-term, scalable, replicable difference. That is: 1. Take any pedagogical innovation or educational intervention.  2. Subject it to a controlled experiment. 3. Evaluate the experiment’s outcome several years later. 4. If the experiment works, attempt to replicate the experiment in more situations. By...

About me

Stephen

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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