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« This Is The Kind of Art We Really Like | Main | Madison's Second Aldermanic District: Maniaci Surprises, So Does Walsh »

February 19, 2009


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"it will provide researchers the opportunity to determine if government investment in infrastructure accelerates private sector investment and consequently grows the economy."


Rich Preston

So lemme get this straight. I assume any such study would be paid for by the Federal Government, similar to studying cow farts; right? Such studies are often called "Pork" since they are pet projects and often benefit just a few people.

So in effect you are suggesting that pork be spent to justify the existence of pork. Pure genius. I never would have thought of that.


Actually there are some stimulus funds that should be turned down from the Education. Arne Duncan, the man who couldn't run the Chicago school system, has been given a big chunk of money to hand out on a pop behaviorist psychology basis.
Duncan, who was recently smacked down by intellectual lightweight Campbell Brown about standardized testing on CNN, wants to give out large rewards for schools that adopt the discredited reward/punish approach used by Teach for America and KIPP.

If you listen to what Duncan has been saying lately, it's pretty clear that we are about to get the Bush education plan, again, except this time on steroids. And this from a president who said he didn't want education to be all about filling in bubbles on standardized tests.

Duncan, who was endorsed by both Bush and outgoing Ed. sec., Margaret Spellings before he took over, is now bent on making the focus of education centered on job training using whatever it takes to get kids to raise their test scores and grades. Is there no room for the better accountability tools, portfolios and performances? What happened to civic engagement as a goal? After all, aren't these public schools? I mean, I just thought I'd ask.

Two proposals he's got lined up are paying kids for grades and merit pay for teachers. Now, both ideas have been discredited based on careful studies that are decades old but that doesn't stop him.
He keeps presenting these ideas as if they're new and that they need to be tested. Duncan's basic take on education is that it is a behaviorist endeavor where the teacher parcels out facts and the child gets rewarded for the total amount still retained at test time. What do you call it when someone with this amount of power is so ignorant of basic educational theory and research?

No wonder Greg Palast called Duncan Obama's Michael Brown appointment.


This is some sort of Swiftian satire, right? Because I'm not about to let the people of South Carolina and Louisiana (especially) suffer for the sake of some study. I seem to remember another famous experiment in the South where a widely-known remedy was denied a disadvantaged population so that we could study how bad things got without it.


Yes, I kind of agree, but it's not really right to just agree and say OK, fair enough.
I vacationed in Southern Louisiana in March 2003.
Much of what I saw is esoteric today.

I know what the roads, bridges, and homes of Deep Southern Louisiana were then.
In one case, a ferry is required.

Unrelated and off topic, but I can't help but ask of the tax credit for new home buyers.
I'd prefer to buy some and land and build a cabin as my first home as I have accumulated several thousand in extra cash.
Is it to my benefit to buy land with an existing cabin given the new tax credit, or will the tax credit inflate prices ?


"At the end of a few years, economists and social scientists should be able to measure the differences and have one more piece of evidence to document that public investment in infrastructure and in human capacity improves an economy."

Problem is, the reason they are considering saying "no thank you" is the long-term harm of mandated outlays. This means an honest study requires a long time horizon, but the longer the horizon the more time for extraneous factors to contaminate the study. An example why the dismal science isn't science. It's just dismal.


The more I contemplate this, the more I am aware of your dishonesty in this post (I say dishonesty, because I believe you are smart enough to know what you are doing). The Governors' objections are to that part of the stimulus package which is not stimulus, but is social spending (increased unemployment compensation, Medicaid, and the like). a) this is not stimulus, and b) they fear this will be a permanent hike in obligations for which they will be left holding the bag in a couple of years. To be honest, you need to separate the stimulus portion (e.g. infrastructure spending) from non-stimulus, but Congress offers it as a take it or leave it package.

You're better than this, Mr. Mayor. You don't have to stoop to dishonesty to hold up your end of the argument.

Charlie UnSykes

Brian, maybe you should get your own blog. This is at least the fourth time you've used Soglin's blog to post a rant against Arne Duncan. You could at least identify yourself; you're obviously some kind of education professional. I'm not pro- or anti-Duncan; I just wish you'd be more upfront about who you are and what your stake is.

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