Sentences to Ponder

1. What makes people poor?

“Let’s imagine for a moment that there are no political pressures distorting our discussion of poverty and that we can look at it as a technical problem, not a moral one. Maybe we would find that most explanations – left, right and center – are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing.”

2. Superintendents, vital or irrelevant?

“Superintendents account for a very small fraction (0.3 percent) of student differences in achievement. This effect, while statistically significant, is orders of magnitude smaller than that associated with any other major component of the education system, including: measured and unmeasured student characteristics; teachers; schools; and districts.”

Note: Given that I think 99% of superintendents use the wrong strategy, this is not surprising to me. 

3. The good in standardized testing [HT Catharine Bellinger]

“Without standardized testing—and lacking any other basis for comparison in their own educational experience—the students’ families had no way of knowing what I had assumed was obvious: that eighth graders on the other side of town were well past working on multisyllabic words or improper fractions. They had no way of knowing that their hardworking, solid-GPA kids were already far behind.”

4. Whole Foods as a discount store? Only in Manhattan. 

“Alternatively, it could be proof that Manhattan is an economic bizarro world where a store that turned the purchase of kale into a major financial commitment seems like a bargain.”

5. Are economists biased to be pro-management? 

“Ultimately, the most important remedy, however, is awareness, an awareness most economists still do not have.”

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