1. Economist Timothy Taylor on the failure of Head Start:
The findings are summarized in this way: “In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.”
Taylor hints at the next step: Pre-Head Start. Education funding from the age of 2, 1, birth, conception.
2. Jared Diamond has a piece titled “The Daily Shower Can Be a Killer“. As per usual he draws on his experiences in New Guinea. When he was camping with tribesmen they refused to set camp near a dead tree on the off chance that it would tip over during the night. Being attached to nature, these New Guineans were attuned to small yet important risks:
Traditional New Guineans have to think clearly about dangers because they have no doctors, police officers or 911 dispatchers to bail them out. In contrast, Americans’ thinking about dangers is confused. We obsess about the wrong things, and we fail to watch for real dangers.
3. Interesting data on law school and the LSAT (h/t Instapundit). The percentage of high scorers (170+) declined the most year over year while the percentage of high scorers (>140) declined the least. The more intelligent see where the ship is headed before the less intelligent.
4. At American Enterprise Institute James Pethokoukis asks why Mexican assimilation is stagnating at the third, fourth, etc. generations. He believes – it’s hard to believe – that this is a failure of our education system. I’d love to look at the amounts of money spent on ESL. Compare that to how much money was spent to teach my grandfather and his three siblings – products of Serbian immigrants – how to speak, read, and write English. No, the problem is the massive homogenous immigrant wave that is the equivalent of stuffing an entire pizza instead of eating it slice by slice.
5. On the “Duchenne smile” – the “eye smile”. Perhaps subjective determinations of whether someone is an optimist or pessimist or whatever is wrong-headed. Instead, the incidence of objectively measurable real smiles provide better clues to our overall happiness.