Unions flex muscle against Ohio Democratic legislative hopeful Ben Lindy over his student research for the Yale Law Journal, which found that teacher collective bargaining did not have uniformly favorable effects on student achievement [Max Kennerly, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jonathan Adler]
More of people’s reading is being done on Facebook these days, yet Overlawyered has only a few thousand followers there. So please go like us now if you haven’t and recommend us to friends. Our Facebook page tends to share several items a week, mostly about interesting cases, a mix of our own posts and stories published elsewhere (versions of which usually turn up in this space in roundups or otherwise, but why not see them first there?)
The best way to see more Overlawyered on Facebook, and to spread the word, is to directly share our blog posts yourself, whether or not our Facebook page has done so. If you “tag” Overlawyered when you post something, we’ll see that you’ve done this and maybe even send you some Facebook readers.
While we’re at it, I’ll urge you to like my personal Facebook author page, which will get more of my writings to show up on your timeline, most though not all of them on legal subjects. I also have an active personal FB page, mostly aimed at persons with whom I have in-person or professional connections (but all are welcome to “follow”).
Finally, if you’re on Twitter, follow Overlawyered there (as well as @walterolson) if you still haven’t. The Cato Institute, with which both I and Overlawyered am associated, has a gigantic Twitter and Facebook presence with multiple sub-accounts specializing in topics like educational freedom, trade, activities on campus, the journal Cato Unbound, and so forth.
- Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
- “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
- Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
- About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
- Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
- No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
- Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]
On Jan. 11, the Supreme Court hears what may well be the most important case of the term. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 10 teachers have challenged a state requirement that they support political causes with which they disagree and that hurt their students.
At issue is a kind of law that exists in 25 states which forces public-sector workers either to join a union or pay an amount that covers the cost of the union’s collective bargaining. For California teachers, that means annual dues of about $1,000 or “agency fees” of about two-thirds that amount.
— Ilya Shapiro and Jason Bedrick, Orange County Register. More: Shapiro and Jayme Weber, The Federalist; Richard Epstein, Robert Alt first, second (empirical evidence that unions can do well even when nonmembers not obliged to pay agency fees), third (stare decisis) posts, George Will. Earlier on Friedrichs and its predecessor cases Harris v. Quinn and Knox v. SEIU. A contrary view: New York Times editorial.
Bay Area progressives are fond of blaming new-arriving rich techies for the dizzying rise in San Francisco housing costs. Yet the trail just as plausibly leads back to the door of some of the same people doing the demonizing, who have resisted the building of serious new housing capacity in the city. [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic]
Like me, Friedersdorf was also struck by the story (told on public radio’s This American Life) of a San Francisco after-school program’s school musical, an anti-“gentrification” propaganda effort, which trained kids as young as six to go on stage in a production portraying their parents’ class as moral monsters. Shouldn’t that wait for college?
- “5th Circuit Court Rejects ‘Disingenuous’ DOJ Anti-School Choice Lawsuit” [Jason Bedrick at Jay Greene’s blog]
- HHS urged to exclude biography, oral history and some other ventures in humanities research from IRB (Institutional Review Board) review of human subjects experimentation [National Coalition for History comments, earlier]
- Revere, Mass. schools punish high school cheerleader for a tweet about immigration [Eugene Volokh]
- Education Law Center, which has pursued long-running Abbott litigation demanding higher New Jersey expenditures on urban schools, describes $18,208/pupil Newark as in “extreme chronic fiscal distress” [Jim Epstein, Reason]
- “NEA’s $131 Million Influence-Buying Spree” [RiShawn Biddle, Dropout Nation]
- Yale’s gender studies program seems well pleased with the protests, and why not given likely infusion of funds/staff? [compare Robert Tracinski linked earlier] Still time to un-burn things down? Yale investigation finds “no evidence” to back frat party racism charge [Washington Post]
- Scotland: “Propaganda being used in our schools to sell Named Person scheme” [Jenny Hjul/The Courier (Dundee), earlier]
“Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teenager who made national news after he was suspended for bringing a clock to school, is seeking $15 million in damages from the city of Irving and the Irving school district.” After the handcuffing incident in September, in which public opinion sided strongly with the youngster, he was widely praised for his interest in science, appeared on Good Morning America and was invited to the White House; his lawyers now say, however, that Mohamed’s “reputation in the global community is permanently scarred.” [Sacramento Bee via Sam Ro (“Now you know for sure he’s an American.”)]
- “A legal challenge at Scotland’s top civil court failed earlier this year, but the No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign group has secured a hearing at the Supreme Court in London in March.” [Scotsman, earlier on named person scheme]
- “The auditors found students in two schools who carried contraband salt shakers” [WSJ editorial on 4.5% drop in participation in school lunch program]
- Teachers’ union AFT spends tens of millions a year on politics, policy, influence [RiShawn Biddle]
- “A Short, Sad History of Zero-Tolerance School Policies” [Nick Gillespie, Reason]
- Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary is a new Richard Posner book forthcoming from Harvard University Press [Paul Caron, TaxProf] Shouldn’t the program offerings at the Association of American Law Schools include at least as much range of diversity of thought as, for example, the panels at the Federalist Society convention? [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law] Heterodox Academy is a new website and project with its goal to “increase viewpoint diversity in the academy, with a special focus on the social sciences.” [Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz] More: Jonathan Adler on a widely noted Arthur Brooks op-ed on ideological imbalance in the academy. And don’t forget my book;
- “Judge Tosses Concussions Lawsuit Against Illinois Prep Group” [Insurance Journal]
- In case you were wondering, yes, law school trade associations did support that “law school’s a bargain, there’s no real economic crisis for grads” research [Outside the Law School Scam]
- “Justice Department Sues Public School For Refusing to Manage Student’s Service Dog” [Minh Vu, Seyfarth Shaw]
- Feds finally propose exempting historians and some others (but not folklorists) from IRB/human subject research rules [Zachary Schrag, more]
- Could the University of California’s planned “principles against intolerance” someday restrict the scholarship of criminologists? [Heather Mac Donald/City Journal, earlier]
- “District officials say the staff did everything right..The inhaler doesn’t have Emma’s name on it” [Lenore Skenazy]
- “Remember Your Old Graphing Calculator? It Still Costs a Fortune — Here’s Why” [Jack Smith IV, Mic]
- At hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander criticizes Department of Education use of Dear Colleague letters to push regulation into new areas [The College Fix, CEI, Scott Greenfield]
- Roughhousing is important for kids. Stop trying to ban it [Virginia Postrel, New York Post]
- Bernie Sanders proposals on college finance would not only cost megabucks but homogenize/bureaucratize higher ed [David Fahrenthold, WaPo] While Sen. Sanders “understands that health care and education are the New Commanding Heights”, his colleague Sen. Warren knows how to inquisit-ize them [Arnold Kling]
- It’s often said that student loans are undischargeable in bankruptcy, truth seems to be a bit more complicated [George Leef]
- The zombie programs that just won’t die at the Department of Education [Danny Vinik, Politico]
- If you wonder why the construction costs of a new high school in my area clock $115 million, look to changes in state prevailing wage law [Charles Jenkins, Frederick News-Post]
- Modest ideas for federal-level education reform: repeal IDEA, English-language-learner mandates [Education Realist]
- How Title IX came to shape college procedures on sexual assault allegations [Scott Greenfield]
- British Columbia Supreme Court: not negligent to allow middle schoolers to play variety of tag called “grounders” [Erik Magraken]