Liam Julian

Mike and I can disagree all day, during normal business hours, about the level of transparency we should demand from voucher schools. But in the NOLA case, the issue is "contentious" and might stall the $10 million proposal (although the city's Catholic schools will accept standardized testing--they're desperate).

It's entirely appropriate that the Louisiana Senate would require schools participating in a possible New Orleans voucher program to "administer state tests to voucher students." That's hardly out of line for other voucher programs. Milwaukee's requires schools to test all students (not just those in the program); D.C.'s requires all voucher recipients to participate in an annual evaluation--i.e., testing. (Though, regrettably, the D.C. results aren't broken out by school.)

These are public dollars. The more transparency, the better.

Liam Julian

Worth keeping an eye on this, especially because "the Senate plan would require schools to administer state tests to voucher students."

Liam Julian

The problem here elicited is a problem--at??least because it engenders a lot of boring writing--and I'm convinced that it's getting worse. (No, I don't have data to support that.) Today's k-12 system generally ignores writing and today's colleges demand lousy writing, so there you go.

Liam Julian

John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, writes in National Review a solid, sweeping article about higher education. It's currently available only to subscribers (they, and hackers, may read it here). Some good parts:

No one disputes that a four-year degree is a ticket to lucrative professions requiring advanced academic training, such as medicine, law, or academia itself. But most undergraduates are not training for these professions, and, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, more and more college graduates go into jobs that do not require diplomas. George Leef, vice president for research of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, notes that a quarter of travel agents and retail-sales supervisors, a third of flight attendants, and nearly half of aerobics instructors have bachelor's degrees. That's fine - if they wanted to study Goethe or geology for personal edification, and were willing to spend four years and a lot of money doing so. But it's pointless if the idea was to boost their careers.

Using 2000 data on test scores and coursework, education researchers Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas and Greg Forster of the Friedman Foundation estimated that the number of high-school students prepared to study college-level material was about 40,000 lower than the number of students enrolling in college. The predictable result of this trend is that only a minority of American colleges and universities are truly selective anymore, with gut courses and grade inflation rampant on many campuses.

In a normal market, prices

Liam Julian

Boys are being left behind, the Economist tells us.

Or at least compassionate conservatism, of which NCLB is a cornerstone. So implieth Michael Gerson in this morning's Washington Post.

Gadfly Studios

Mike and Liam discuss Mike's controversial Gadfly article on the burdensome health care costs associated with teacher obesity.


The pressure high school students face to get into top colleges has intensified to the point that it's susceptible to some hilarious satirizing.

Did you know the Flypaper bloggers do other stuff during the day, in addition to blogging? We do. Ed policy research, charter sponsorship in Ohio, the weekly Education Gadfly newsletter, and more. You can see it all at the Fordham Institute website,, which has just received a handsome makeover.