Wednesday Links

  • The best arguments for American intervention in Syria – as Ezra Klein understands them, which is broadly how I view the situation, too – and why they don’t hold much water. Though hopefully we won’t need to make the arguments: Syria may comply with allowing the international community take over its chemical weapons
  • A fantastic series on human longevity, by Laura Helmuth at Slate, gets even better with a historical look at maternal mortality. She covers the Western decrease in maternal mortality really well, and it’s very accessible (for a look at current-day maternal mortality globally, you can read my past articles here, here, and here)
  • Austin Frakt of The Incidental Economist fame highlights the ridiculous “false equivalency” of continuing to bring up “death panels” in the media. BREAKING: there’s no such thing as a death panel, and reporting lies and histrionics doesn’t create equivalency – it creates uninformed consumers of information
  • Add a new study to the ongoing Teach for America debates. It shows that, compared to other teachers (including veterans!), TFA math teachers lead to an improvement equivalent to 2.6 months of extra learning – a remarkable amount. Dylan Matthews discusses the study here, and  Dana Goldstein throws some cold water on the optimism, arguing (among other things) that 2.6 months improvement for a kid at the 27th percentile only brings him to the 30th percentile. I think she makes some good points (especially her final one, about race-similar role models in urban schools being displaced), but overall – at least from a test results-based perspective – TFA teachers do better at teaching math
  • Today I learned that Lisa Frank (of neon pink/purple unicorn notebook/folder fame) is a real person

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