Why do Bernie Sanders and some of his primary rivals think it’s good for government to fund community-based, nonprofit organizations to educate two-year-olds but suddenly an enormous problem when children turn five and start kindergarten?
I interviewed longtime D.C. hand Greg Schneiders about public opinion research:
You’ve had an eclectic career — before working at the White House for Jimmy Carter, you owned a bar. What did being a bar owner teach you about thinking about politics and public opinion?
Owning a bar teaches you about business. Tending bar teaches you about people — who they are, what they believe or feel, and why. To be a good bartender, you have to be a good listener, which involves the same skill set as being a good opinion researcher. Nearly everyone — in a bar or in a poll — wants to tell you what they think and how they feel. And they want you to listen and respect their opinions and their feelings.
Few people come to a bar to hear the bartender’s opinion. They come to share their opinions and feelings about politics, the economy, education, culture, political correctness, sex, family, sports, the weather. A bad bartender will decide that the loudmouth at the end of the bar doesn’t know what he’s talking about and will argue with or, more likely, ignore him. The good bartender will realize that it doesn’t matter if the loudmouth knows what he’s talking about — the point is that it is what he believes, whether it is true or not.
You can read the entire thing at The 74.
In The 74 I ask whether on reading instruction we’re conflating our problems of education craft with our larger problem of education politics:
Most conversations about literacy treat the problem of poor reading instruction as one of craft. The problem is that teachers don’t know how to teach reading, so how do we make sure they do? Solve the craft problem, the argument goes, and the politics take care of themselves. But what if this is exactly backward and, instead, it’s a political problem that allows the craft problem to persist? And maybe not just on reading but also on other issues like testing, accountability and teacher evaluation, where we’re constantly told that if things were just a little better from a technical standpoint everyone would actually be on board?
You can read it all here.
Yesterday in The 74, writer Mikhail Zinshteyn summarized key findings from our recent report, “Toward Equitable Access and Affordability: How Private Schools and Microschools Seek to Serve Middle- and Low-Income Students.” Here’s an excerpt of his piece:
A new report from Bellwether Education Partners, a research and consulting nonprofit, seeks to offer a fresh look at how private K-12 schools are keeping their costs down, even as the share of students from middle-income families attending private schools has dropped by nearly 50 percent since the 1960s.
“Private school choice is probably not a 100 percent solution for providing high-quality schools to middle- and low-income families,” Squire said. “But they can help, and I think it’s worth studying them for that reason.”