Single sex education

My home county of Wake County voted just earlier this week to implement some single sex “academy” schools starting next school year.  I haven’t followed it that closely– apparently there’s been a couple of successful such schools in nearby Greensboro.  Of course, if that’s all there is to go on, I presume that this is policy by anecdote.  Alas, the evidence suggests that any success these schools have is not due to the single sex nature:

The push for more single-sex instruction in public schools is based on weak, “misconstrued” scientific claims rather than solid research and may do more harm than good, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

The authors, a group that includes psychologists, child development specialists and a neuroscientist who specializes in gender, argue that while excellent single-sex schools exist, there is “no empirical evidence that their success stems from their single-sex organization,” as opposed to the quality of students, the curriculum or short-lived motivation that comes from “novelty and belief in innovation.”

Evidence is more clear that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutionalized sexism, the authors write. They call on President Obama to rescind regulatory changes spurred by the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law that made way for more single-sex classes in public schools.

Hmmm, that sure doesn’t sound so good.  Though, it does not surprise me at all that our current school board would make policy lacking any empirical evidence.

Awesome infographic of the day

Via Ezra:

Presumably, medicine has improved a lot more than the quality of milk and oranges (i.e., MRI machines), but still a pretty amazing way to think about this.

A good cause

I often forget that the overlap between what I share via FB and this blog is actually pretty small.  So dear blog readers, for once in my life I’m going to ask you for money.  “What?!” you say.  Well, actually, there’s a fundraiser for Tuberous Sclerosis– the genetic disease that my son Alex has– and they are doing a fundraising walk right in my hometown of Cary, NC, so I’m doing my best to help raise money for this very worthy and very personal cause.  Here’s my fundraising page; and so you don’t have to click over if you want to learn more but don’t really want to contribute, here’s what it says:

So, much to my surprise, I discovered that they are actually having a fundraising walk for Alex’s rare genetic disease, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, right here in Cary, NC.  Many of you are lucky to know Alex and what an adorable and sweet boy he is.  Others, just get the benefit of his smile in facebook photos.  Regardless, we would love, love, love for you to join Alex and the rest of the Greene family for the TS Walk in Bond Park in Cary on November 12.

If you cannot come, we’d still love for you to donate to the very worthy cause of finding a cure for TSC (since TSC is characterized by a lack of tumor-supressing hormones, the research can ultimately be useful for understanding cancer as well).

I even created “Team Alex” for you to join if you participate.

Please come, or please give, or please both!

You can learn more about Alex and TSC at my webpage:

So, dear blog readers, if nothing else take a minute and learn more about TSC.  And if you’re so inclined a good cause (even just a few dollars) follow the link.

More on those job-killing regulations

Ahh, one can never say enough about those “job-killing regulations.”  TPM has a nice post that actually puts government regulations into proper perspective:

But is the claim that regulation kills jobs true?

We asked experts, and most told us that while there is relatively little scholarship on the issue, the evidence so far is that the overall effect on jobs is minimal. Regulations do destroy some jobs, but they also create others. Mostly, they just shift jobs within the economy.  [emphasis mine]

“The effects on jobs are negligible. They’re not job-creating or job-destroying on average,” said Richard Morgenstern, who served in the EPA from the Reagan to Clinton years and is now at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan think tank.

“Job-shifting regulations” just has a lot less bite, eh? Even more importantly, simply looking at net jobs is not the smartest way to assess the effect of regulations:

“It would be easy to think of a regulation that ‘created jobs’ that didn’t benefit society,” Dudley said via email, such as “requiring that all construction be done with a teaspoon.”

In other words, counting jobs gained or lost is too narrow a prism through which to evaluate whether a regulation is good or bad. The real question is whether it improves waterways or lengthens lives or protects the public as promised.

“The issue in regulation always should be whether it delivers benefits that justify the cost,” said Noll. “The effect of regulation on jobs has nothing to do with the mess we’re in. The current rhetoric about regulation killing jobs is nothing more than not letting a good crisis go to waste.”


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