John Hood has another nice article in the Carolina Journal. It begins describing one of my earliest memories. I was maybe 5 or 6 and watching Detroit teachers on the news picketing and saying, “No contract, no work.” It absolutely disgusted me that people could be so mindlessly lockstep. There was something frightening about the absence of intellectual assertion in that exercise. That was before I learned one wasn’t supposed to swear, so I swore then I never wanted to belong to a teacher’s union. Here’s what Hood has to say about something similar in North Carolina:

I enjoy discussing substantive differences [of opinion on how to improve the state’s education system]. But I no longer waste my time with those who chant or shout at me. Instead, I now point them to the rhetorical equivalent of the little-kids table, where they can throw food or make armpit noises to their hearts content — or at least until their babysitter loses patience and banishes them out of the room completely. I’m not interested in that job.

Hood concludes the piece with data I had not yet heard. If you’re into counting colors, you will find that the performance of pink and yellow kids on standardized tests has been more or less steady in recent years; tan and brown students have improved their scores. Overall performance has dipped somewhat only because the number of students on the low yet rising side of the pigment-based achievement gap, everybody knowing pigmentation has no causative influence on test-taking, is increasing.