The Locker Room

November 7, 2008

Hood's election post-mortem

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 2:38 PM

You'll have a chance to hear John Hood's in-depth analysis of Tuesday's election during some upcoming editions of Carolina Journal Radio.

Below you'll find a couple of snippets from his conversation with Donna Martinez. 

First, John addresses the significance of North Carolinians voting for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama:

Next, John offers his assessment of Gov.-elect Bev Perdue:

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Life imitates Mystery Science Theater 3000 — Christmas edition

Posted by Jon Sanders at 1:59 PM


"I'll probably be spending less – less on my children, less on myself," said Carol Hook, who was [Christmas] shopping Friday at Crabtree Valley Mall. "(The children will) think Santa Claus is having a rough time."

Mystery Science Theater 3000:

Listen starting at the 0:16 mark. It's quick.

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Infiltrating the enemy camp

Posted by George Leef at 1:43 PM

Ashley Thorne of the National Asociation of Scholars writes here about her experience in taking an online course entitled "Facilitating Diversity Education Experiences: A Guide for New Professionals." It took $130 out of the NAS budget to find out what really goes on in such courses.

What goes on is simply a lot of airy blather. It's evident that this "course" is just a way for the diversity industry to suck up some money while slapping an inane credential on kids who aspire to becoming "diversity facilitators."

Keep it up, NAS! Work like this is exceedingly valuable in an "emperor is wearing no clothes" way.

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Our "yes we can!" president

Posted by George Leef at 12:51 AM

With his usual sagacity, Sheldon Richman evaluates Obama's high-flying rhetoric in his column today. The main problem, he observes, is that no matter how glorious the speeches, words are trumped by reality. There are limits imposed by scarcity. There are consequences to tampering with economic laws.

I'm reminded of Thomas Sowell's distinction between people who have the "constrained vision" and those who have the "unconstrained vision." The former recognizes that trade-offs are inevitable while the latter ignores that fact.

Richman observes that there are many good things government cannot do directly, but if it permits the market and civil society to work, it can help to occur indirectly. Lately, we have seen some good examples of the shambles that result when the government tries to bring about good results through direct action. One is the "affordable housing" disaster. Had the government tried to indirectly help poorer people improve their housing, it could have eased licensing laws, cut red tape, gotten rid of numerous impediments to inner-city capitalism. That would have allowed residents to earn more and then they would have spent their increasing wealth on better housing (not necessarily owned homes, though) or whatever else they regarded as most important. BUT NO. The foolish politicians thought they could directly accomplish what they thought was a politically cool objective with coercion and cheap money. OOPS! But of course they never admit any mistakes.

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Graduating after 10th grade

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:17 AM

An interesting article courtesy of Yahoo:

High school sophomores should be ready for college by age 16. That's the message from New Hampshire education officials, who announced plans Oct. 30 for a new rigorous state board of exams to be given to 10th graders. Students who pass will be prepared to move on to the state's community or technical colleges, skipping the last two years of high school.
I like the idea. There is no doubt that many gifted students use the final year or two of high school to advance a social, rather than educational, agenda.

Of course, most college courses are designed and taught with a 16 year old in mind, so there would be little concern on the academic end. My only concern would be that mixing "adults" and "children" on college campuses will lead to, let's call it statutory, problems.

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NC DPI addresses questions on school lunch cheating

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:27 AM

After several weeks of attempts by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to clarify the audit guidelines on free and reduced-lunch, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction has provided a written directive on the matter. (For background on the controversy, go here, here, and here).

In the letter dated Nov. 3, Lynn Hoggard, section chief of Child Nutrition Services at NCDPI, says that audits of the F&R lunch program are statutorily limited to 3 percent. She explains the penalty for conducting a more extensive audit:

According to the regulations, program payments shall be withheld until the LEA [local education agency] takes corrective action satisfactory to the State Agency, or gives evidence that such corrective action will be taken, or until the State Agency terminates the grant … The State Agency would also conduct additional administrative reviews of the district’s Child Nutrition Program to determine if the program is operating in compliance with other statutory requirements.

Hoggard also addressed the issue of “scaring away” applicants by conducting a rigorous verification:

Any action taken by a LEA to reduce errors must not compromise access to school meals for students who qualify for them. The statutorily mandated verification sample size [3 percent] was derived in an attempt to balance the need to gradually reduce errors in the Child Nutrition Program while ensuring children receive the benefit of school meals to which they are entitled.

You can download the full version of the letter here.

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The peace candidate wants more draft registration

Posted by George Leef at 09:57 AM

The Pope Center's Jenna Robinson writes here about the ideas Barack Obama has for requiring women to register for the draft and allowing them to serve in combat.

Egalitarianism and authoritarianism marching together.

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Research breakthrough

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:45 AM

According to an evaluation of the North Carolina 1:1 Learning Initiative, if a school gives students their own laptop, they are more likely to use computers for schoolwork, compared to students who do not have a school-issued laptop.

Nine researchers (including four with Ph.D.s) worked on the evaluation, which was conducted by the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University.

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N.C. Justice Center is right

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:13 AM

Responding to the dismal state test results, Angella Dunston, director of the N.C. Education and Law Project with the N.C. Justice Center, hit the nail on the head. She said that the "state needs to do more to get qualified teachers into every classroom and effective leaders at every school."

She's absolutely right.

I have a three step program to get qualified teachers into every classroom and effective leaders at every school.

1. Eliminate certification barriers that keep qualified but uncertified professionals out of the profession.

2. Pay professionals in high demand fields like math, science, and special education more money. Moreover, offer incentive and performance bonuses to deserving teachers and administrators.

3. Significantly reduce the bureaucratic burden on teachers. Let them focus on improving instruction, not filling out paperwork and attending meetings.

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Bill Anderson dares to disagree with Al Gore

Posted by George Leef at 07:46 AM

Al Gore recently had a piece in the WSJ elaborating on his ideas for "sustainable capitalism," which is to say, heavy state control.

Econ professor Bill Anderson takes on his fantasy world here.

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Have charter schools turned the corner?

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:23 AM

According to my preliminary analysis of state testing data, charter schools performed better than district schools on all but one measure.

Performance Composite*
(Definition: The percentage of the test scores in the school at or above proficient or Achievement Level III)

District Regular (2,232 schools)
63.8 percent (average)
65.2 percent (median)

Charter Regular (89 schools)
64.3 percent (average)
69.2 percent (median)

District Alternative (77 schools)
26.0 percent (average)
25.5 percent (median)

Charter Alternative (6 schools)
28.0 percent (average)
27.8 percent (median)

Schools Meeting AYP**
(Definition: The percentage of schools that met proficiency goals for all student subgroups under No Child Left Behind)

District Regular (2,256 schools): 30.9 percent
Charter Regular (92 schools): 42.4 percent

District Alternative (52 schools): 13.5 percent
Charter Alternative (6 schools): 0 percent

*Only includes schools with a performance composite
**Only includes schools with an AYP status

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This weekend on Carolina Journal Radio

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:01 AM

Don Carrington has been digging up the truth in recent weeks about a secretive flying arrangement involving Gov. Mike Easley and a family of well-connected backers. Don discusses his findings in the next edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

We’ll also hear an update on the work of the Jesse Helms Center from President John Dodd, and we’ll learn why some state officials are pushing for a new full-time Environmental Management Commission.

Jenna Ashley Robinson will explain how N.C. State students can help their peers find good courses, and Chad Adams will join Donna for Locker Room Talk, a discussion of the best recent blogs from this forum.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM

This week's Carolina Journal Online Friday interview features a conversation with meteorologist Roy Spencer, author of the book Climate Confusion.

Melissa Mitchell's guest Daily Journal tries to make sense of a local property tax bill.

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