Friday, September 29, 2017

On teachers

This Atlantic story does a nice job of illustrating why education is such a mess. The authors prefer their personal study, with a sample size of two and causal effects inferred from introspection and a loose before-after test score comparison, to actual research with sound identification of causal effects.

More broadly, there is a large literature showing that professionals of many sorts systematically overestimate their own knowledge. Scripted lessons can embody the universe of research findings about how to teach particular topics to particular types of students, which will almost always trump (on average) the idiosyncratic views of individual teachers. That does not mean that enthusiasm should play no role but justifying departures from scripted curricula based on teacher morale is very different than justifying them based on direct rather than indirect effects on educational outcomes.

The Atlantic should be embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Assorted links

1. Some thoughts on the recent resurgence in independent bookstores. What the article describes is almost exactly what Literati in Ann Arbor has been doing with great success.

2. I enjoyed this little mini-memoir by Howard Bloom at MDRC. It even includes a story about the National JTPA Study that was new to me.

3. The BBC on a London fatberg.

4. I really like the name of this journal - almost as much as the name of this other journal.

Monday, September 25, 2017

On spelling

A fine, and remarkably "fair and balanced" rumination on the meaning of poor spelling in the age of twitter from the NYT.

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Some wisdom from Stata

On the sheet "Announcing STATA release 15" that lists its many wonders, it says:
Nonparametric regression
When you know something matters.
But you have no idea how.
To which I say: indeed, but when is that not the case?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Assorted links

1,. A most excellent New Yorker cartoon about conferences.

2. Lord of the Flies: philosophy edition

3. "Iron Maidens" is a clever pun.

4. P.J. O'Rourke on Gaudi

Hat tip on #1 to David Evans, on #2 to Scott Wood and on #3 to some French guy in Oz.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Active labor market program humor

The symbol in the back is the symbol of the agency that provides active labor market programs to the unemployed in Germany. The text translates roughly to "It is no longer enough just to lay eggs."

Hat tip: Bernd Fitzenberger

Saturday, September 9, 2017

John DiNardo, R.I.P.

John is someone I respected both intellectually and personally. He will be sorely missed.