Send your kids to private school?

A recent study has found that, for the most part, private schools do no better at educating children than do public schools.  So much for vouchers solving all of our problems.  Matt Yglesias writes:

“The bad news is that this once again highlights what seems to me to be
the depressing truth about education: Once you control for demographic
factors, nothing seems to make a dramatic difference. The
trouble here, obviously, is that it would be really fantastic to
implement some education reforms of some sort that would dramatically
improve poor and minority students' performance. But there don't seem
to be any really great solutions in the offing.”

Apparently, even before this study was officially released, a national teacher's organization predicted it would be released on a Friday afternoon.  And alas it was this past Friday.  Generally speaking, when the government wants some information to get as little coverage as possible, it releases it on a Friday afternoon.  In this case, this news was clearly seen as damning to proponents of vouchers (i.e., the administration), thus the Friday afternoon release.  The lesson: always check Saturday's papers for what the government would rather you did not know.

They know what you’ve been thinking

Dahlia Lithwick does a tremendous job covering legal issues for  Her articles tend to be entertaining, informative, and have a way of getting to the core legal issues involved.  This week she had a very thought-provoking column about how the government is coming dangerously close to prosecuting people for thoughts, not actions.  The final summary:

“Gonzales and his colleagues seem to be falling into a familiar trap
here: They think that since 9/11 happened due to government inaction,
any and all government action should be welcome?including widespread
arrests of genuine plotters along with hapless paint-ballers. The law
works best when it's used as a scalpel, not an ax. So please, let's not
start arresting citizens for the badness of their thoughts. Because
whoops, I just had another one.”

I also like this dig at the Attorney General:

3. Should we even worry about all these details? In one of the
strangest legal statements of all time, Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez on Friday said, “I think it's dangerous for us to try to make
an evaluation, case by case, as we look at potential terrorist plots
and making a decision, well, this is a really dangerous group, this is
not a really dangerous group.” Really? Because I thought that's what
government lawyers were supposed to do.”

It is well worth your time to take just a few minutes and read the whole thing.

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