Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, perhaps hoping to instill confidence, said in his press conference last month, “Of course we’re always data dependent.” But which data? There are countless indicators economists can seek out to track growth, employment and inflation. Picking the right ones is half the battle in making sound predictions.
Nearly half of millennials say they prefer socialism to capitalism, but what do they mean? “My policies most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes.” Yet Sweden’s experiment with socialist policies was disastrous, and its economic success in recent decades is a result of market-based reforms.
Late December brought not one but two excellent disquisitions on moral education, both the importance of rekindling an emphasis on it in American schools and some thoughtful advice as to how to go about it. Each does a nice job of explaining why such rekindling is needed at this time—though unless you’re completely off the grid you already know why: not so much because of troubles with private morality (teenage pregnancy rates are down, etc.) but because of manifest failures in the public and semi-public squares: with honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness, both on the part of elected officials and in the small venues where we observe an excess of selfishness, cheating, laziness, and willingness to be a burden on others.
In 2014, in response to findings that African American students were three times as likely to be suspended as white students, the Obama Administration sent a lengthy “Dear Colleague” letter to school districts nationwide, spelling out a new policy on school discipline, motivated by disparate impact theory. It warned administrators that they could be subject to a federal civil rights investigation if their data showed significant racial disparities in the use of suspensions or expulsions, and could be found guilty of discrimination even if they had race-neutral discipline policies that were being applied even-handedly.
Before the holiday break, I wrote a series of posts discussing how we might turn the “End of Education Policy” (as I see it) into a Golden Age of Educational Practice. It’s time to pick up where I left off. To be honest, much of what I published in late 2018 amounted to throat-clearing, a warm-up before the main event.
As we enter the new year, we can already see that, as in 2018, China and Russia will continue to dominate the international news cycle. This is thus a good time to pause, reflect, and understand the nature of the genuine threats to our national security.
The super-majority Democrat California State Legislature brought us New Year’s greetings with a raft of legislation that doubtless it believes helps to alleviate or reduce injustice among our nearly 40 million inhabitants, but it fails once again. By seeking to shape a future free of discomfort despite the high price that questionable goal requires, our legislators actually do great injustice.