The Millennials

no_difference Here’s a graph from the latest Pew polling of the Millennials. It seems that they’re liberals who identify mainly as independents and don’t think a whole hell of a lot of the Democratic party. Yet, when they vote, they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. The trick, as with any Democrat (including those who call themselves “Independent”), is getting them to the polls.

Perhaps when Obamacare really takes hold, and if we can connect voting for Democrats with keeping affordable insurance, we might get a few more to the polls, but other than that I can see why this group looks at Democrats and says “meh”. The economy sucks (especially for them), nothing is happening in DC despite the election of Obama (not his fault but that’s still a fact), and Democrats don’t have a message that explains how they can get us from where we are today to an environment that’s better for twenty-somethings.

In other words, one side losing a generation is not the same thing as another side winning it.






171 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Or maybe they’re meh about Democrats because they are young and it’s cool to be aloof. It took me a while to actually register as a Democrat.

  2. 2
    Cervantes says:

    other than that I can see why this group looks at Democrats and says “meh”

    Do you think “they” see “getting involved with the Democratic Party” and “changing the Democratic Party” as separate things, and the latter impossible?

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    Do these slackers pay attention to stuff like FOX News and CPAC, or is it that they just can’t be bothered?

  4. 4
    Derelict says:

    Maybe if Democrats actually had a coherent message instead of the incomprehensible mélange that they spout, millenials and other voters would be more inclined to back them.

  5. 5
    Marc says:

    “Hardly any” is pretty much independent of age. This looks more like “young voters are not engaged in politics much”, which has been true for about forever.

  6. 6
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Do these slackers pay attention to stuff like FOX News and CPAC, or is it that they just can’t be bothered?

    Probably not. They’re likely to be a bit more focused on finding a job, or paying off their student loans, or both. Even if they did pay attention to those things their dislike for the cons wouldn’t do as much to get them to the polls as would the Democrats convincing them that they have a concrete plan that would enable more of the Millennials to have a shot at the Middle Class.

    ETA: See that Derelict beat me to it – and much more succinctly, too.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    I don’t think this is measuring anything other than the fact that younger voters are low info voters and so from that distance don’t have facts that would allow them to distinguish the parties.

    Add to that a kind of youthful equanimity and you have that large spread. Note that the hardly any is almost the same and probably within the margin of error.

    The kids are all right, and mostly left.

  8. 8
    Matt says:

    As a millennial, I became very supportive of Democrats because of George W. Bush’s disaster of a presidency. I consider myself an independent socialist by the way, not a Democrat. Looking to why we’re meh about the Democrats, number one, the Democrats do not seem to be able to be proud of their accomplishments, they always backpedal and it’s hard to support someone who doesn’t support their own ideas. Number two, we’re the most educated generation of all, so we see through political bullshit easily, and expect real results, so we get mad at how corrupt the system is, (though we know the Republicans are worse). A lot of us have been disenchanted because there seem to be plenty of Democratic Senators/congressman who care more about themselves and reelection then good policy and legislation. Also the jobs issue is a killer one too, a lot of young people are forced into unpaid internships or really low-paying, low-skill jobs because there is nothing available. Though I’m speaking only for microcosm here in Virginia. My generation has at least helped turn this state purple/blue.

  9. 9
    Joel says:

    Looks like the biggest difference is that there are a lot more non-white young people than there are old people. Key chart is 4/5ths the way down the page.

  10. 10
    boss bitch says:

    People keep talking about Dems don’t have a message. Right now, it’s income inequality. They’ve made their platform pretty clear. It’s not a “melange”. It’s not confusing or complicated.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @boss bitch:

    Until every Democrat is perfect, the Dems are in disarray.

  12. 12
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Meh is right.

    Most people don’t pay attention to politics 8 months before an election. Especially when immediate worries about jobs and heat and getting to work and so forth are much more pressing.

    Millennials have also been keeping their distance from another core institution of society—marriage. Just 26% of this generation is married. When they were the age that Millennials are now, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of the members of the Silent Generation were married. (See box on page 10 for demographic portraits of America’s four adult generations). Most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with lower levels of income and education, lack what they deem to be a necessary prerequisite—a solid economic foundation.2

    […]

    Yet Millennials continue to view the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party. And Millennials today are still the only generation in which liberals are not significantly outnumbered by conservatives.

    “It’s the economy, stupid.” – James Carville.

    When people aren’t worried about their immediate circumstances, they can think more clearly about societal issues and the importance of voting for the future.

    Let’s see the survey results in late September when most people are starting to pay attention.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  13. 13
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Marc:

    This looks more like “young voters are not engaged in politics much”, which has been true for about forever.

    This is not a good state of affairs, either. I could make that work for me, if I were the GOP.

    t doesn’t matter if they’re lost for the Republican Party, if they’ve bailed on politics altogether. A non-voter, while not as good as a Republican voter, is better than someone who votes the other way.

    I’d try and find three or four more Jon-Stewart types, pay them to be absolutely mute on any positive (by which I mean negative) policy agenda, and really push hard just the notion that all politics is a shuck, and that the truly discerning have seen through the charade and refuse to play.

    Those discerning people people won’t vote, and will feel valorized for not voting.

    Yet the true believers in God, guns and Mammon will still come to the polls. And the congresscritters they elect will still make the laws.

    Give them the right incentives, and people will volunteer to depress turnout for you.

    Look at it from the GOP’s perspective — the faster they can turn the entire business of governing ourselves into a farce, the better for them at the polls.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I could make that work for me, if I were the GOP.

    But the reason you can’t is that if you were the GOP you’d be this guy:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....ng-to-hell

  15. 15
    Cervantes says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    They’re likely to be a bit more focused on finding a job, or paying off their student loans, or both.

    Speaking of policy, both topics have been in the news lately.

  16. 16
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @Mistermix:

    Millennials.

  17. 17
    muricafukyea says:

    Oh look, glorified reddit poster muckymux is pretending to be a political demographics expert now. The same guy who claimed Sarah Palin is going to run in 2012 and yelled “the sky is falling” more than a few times during the 2012 election.

    Of course there is a simple explanation for all this. Muckymux is just a kid, he doesn’t have the slightest clue what he is talking about.

  18. 18
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    This.

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @BGinCHI: Looked this jackass up.

    He’s actually a professor, at Simon Fraser Univ (in British Columbia).

    Department? Wait for it.

    Economics.

  20. 20
    p.a. says:

    @boss bitch: as long as ‘The Village’ hang on as gatekeepers of info, Dems won’t get their frames out.

  21. 21
    different-church-lady says:

    What I see in that chart is about 70% of millennials think there’s at least a fair amount of difference between the parties.

    It’s a really neat trick, ain’t it? Actually show the data, and then layer the shiny clear-coat of conventional narrative right over it.

  22. 22
    Poopyman says:

    @Matt: Although I’m looking at it from the other end of the career arc, that’s pretty much the way I figured it. Having a worst-case political scenario play out in your lifetime might just make a difference in which way you vote. Still, young voters have been detached since just about forever. You being here on BJ is something of an outlier, I’d guess.

    In other non-news, I love the newsmax headline:

    Dinesh D’Souza Unveils New Trailer

    Is it too much to ask that it’s parked down by the river?

  23. 23
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @BGinCHI: I don’t like the future of the Republic to depend on an endless stream of derp coming from the other party.

    This reduces me to rooting for the derp.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Those discerning people people won’t vote, and will feel valorized for not voting.

    Yet the true believers in God, guns and Mammon will still come to the polls. And the congresscritters they elect will still make the laws.

    If our side is waiting for the Messiah, maybe the Republicans should be placed in charge of government.

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:

    If you’re a millenial who browses major newspaper sites, you’d be badly misinformed if you go by the headline and the one paragraph summary.

    Obama is weak. His foreign policy is FANTASY.

    The Senate is FAILING to pass legislation. (Fine print: although the bill passed by majority, sometimes a pretty healthy one.)

    DEMOCRATS in the Senate didn’t support the President’s DOJ Civil Rights nominee.
    Although: 47 of them did; 7 did not. No Republicans voted for the nominee. They get a pass in the headlines, although the long, long article might call them out.

    People don’t like Obamacare. They like what’s in the Affordable Care Act, though.

    I don’t know what the millenials do when they’re up against a press that supports the status quo and worships hierarchy, which you more likely find in the GOP.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Cervantes says:

    @p.a.: Well, I’m not sure. Just looking at the one chart posted above, one sees that 70% of this group sees either a great deal of, or a fair amount of, difference in what the two major parties stand for. That’s not bad (especially if they really have as little information and interest as commenters above seem to think they do).

  28. 28
    different-church-lady says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Give them the right incentives, and people will volunteer to depress turnout for you.

    You mean, like, a political blog?

  29. 29
    Talentless Hack says:

    I think what they don’t like is the equivocating that goes on in the Democratic Party. The knee-jerk apologies whenever some conservative’s fee-fees get hurt, bending over for the Blue Dogs, that sort of thing. The late, great Bartcop was way ahead of his time.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Those servers don’t pay for themselves.

  31. 31
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @different-church-lady: Just the comment section…

  32. 32
    vtr says:

    I graduated from college in the late 60s. There was a draft and a war. We paid a lot of attention to politics.

  33. 33
    Joel says:

    WTF is with my comments being eaten.

    Here’s the chart that I was talking about earlier. I think it says just about everything you need to know.

  34. 34
    cleek says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Obama is weak. His foreign policy is FANTASY.

    The Senate is FAILING to pass legislation. (Fine print: although the bill passed by majority, sometimes a pretty healthy one.)

    in times like these, i often find solace in the immortal words of Stereolab:

    I hate to see your broken face
    A lazy life of fatal waste
    Of fashionable cynicism
    The poison, they want you to drink

    Oh no man, that’s so easy
    Oh no man, that’s too easy

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @boss bitch:

    People keep talking about Dems don’t have a message. Right now, it’s income inequality. They’ve made their platform pretty clear. It’s not a “melange”. It’s not confusing or complicated.

    I’m a pretty loyal Democrat, boss bitch, I’m active in the county Party and to a lesser extent in the state Party and I disagree. It’s not income inequality. They’ve backed off that. It’s “opportunity” and it’s muddled.

    Part of the problem is the “opportunity” theme relies so much on education, and Obama’s (and many other Democrats’) public ed policies may be popular with Tom Friedman, but they are not “popular” with active Democrats here. Apparently he’s doubling down on them, so there’s not much I can do about that, but it’s a problem. Public education is key for Democrats. It’s one of the things that makes them different than Republicans. Blurring the line between Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan until I cannot make a rational, good faith distinction to people here other than “vouchers” is not good.

    This is also a problem with younger voters because a lot of them are deeply in debt with student loans and not making much money. That’s just a fact. Focusing on the miraculous magic of a bachelor’s degree right now? I think that’s out of touch.

    I don’t think they’re reaching people with this message. I have a white collar job and even I get cranky listening to this “ladders of opportunity” stuff. It sounds like they are beating up the very working people who were driven to their godammned KNEES in the financial crash, telling them they’re poorly trained and not making enough money. It sounds like a demand, like they’re blaming them. I’d like to hear some demands made on the top tier, the “job creators”.

    I’m not happy about this, but that’s what I’m seeing.

    In some ways, I think the absolute bankruptcy of the GOP has allowed Democrats to ride along without a coherent, vital response to the financial crisis and income inequality. That’s not good for Democrats. This message is all head and no heart, boss bitch. It isn’t reaching people.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    When you have only been a sentient adult for a decade or so, it is difficult to get perspective. Things look like they always have; it seems immutable like a mountain or river.

    It takes an interest in history and/or the development of a long view, to understand the levers at work on the economy, social issues, and ethics.

    This is part of why younger people are usually less politically adept; it takes some effort and some good sources to figure it all out. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to get information; the problem is figuring out whether you can trust it or not.

    But then, as a voracious reader, I can say that’s always been the problem. And the Gatekeepers have never been more helpless… or less worthy of trust, than now.

  37. 37
    BGinCHI says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I agree. It’s depressing.

    Though with a side benefit of entertaining.

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kay:

    It sounds like they are beating up the very working people who were driven to their godammned KNEES in the financial crash, telling them they’re poorly trained and not making enough money

    This, in spades, repeated ad libitum..We’re making progress, but it’s snail-like. Ten years ago we were happy because someone ‘fessed up loud and proud to the existence of a Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

    We could stand the same for a small-l labor wing of the Democratic party…

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @BGinCHI: I’ll take the derp, and give the points. But I don’t like to gamble at all.

  40. 40
    Ned says:

    I have three millenials in the house, two undergrads, one in high school. The high schooler isn’t of voting age, but when he is, he’ll probably vote as a Democrat. The past presidential election was the first for the college age girls. One is very engaged, voter suppression was a huge turn-off for her in the last election. The other is pretty much disconnected, won’t say who she voted for and keeps her political opinions mostly private. None watch TV news, or read political blogs that I know of, except the more engaged one loves Colbert.
    They’re all different people and independent thinkers. But, I think the kids will be alright.

  41. 41
    seabe says:

    @Baud: I’m 25 and I’m not meh because I’m aloof. I’m meh because I see neoliberals trying to continue their destruction of the party. People like Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton for that matter. I’ll vote for Clinton in 2016 if I must, but that’s te extent of my support.

  42. 42
    seabe says:

    @Baud: I’m 25 and I’m not meh because I’m aloof. I’m meh because I see neoliberals trying to continue their destruction of the party. People like Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton for that matter. I’ll vote for Clinton in 2016 if I must, but that’s te extent of my support.

    Also referring to us as slackers is a sure fire way to extend solidarity…

  43. 43
    Kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I cringe when I hear it. Who came up with the brilliant idea for Democrats to channel Scott Walker? This is his schtick. “Welders! We’d love to hire welders but they’re dumb and they can’t read!”

    It’s bullshit. Scott Walker can’t find welders because wants to pay them 9 dollars an hour.

    Democrats need to go into a week long conference with the labor people behind fight for 15 and the Moral Monday people. I know Democrats won’t BE those people, I get that there’s a Left wing, but they could surely use some of that heart. I mean, for goodness sakes. Don’t go into manufacturing states and deliver a lecture on “skill sets”. They know all about skill sets.

    Be ON THEIR SIDE. Why is this so hard for DC people? Why can’t they crack this mysterious code? They don’t want advice. They want someone to be ON THEIR SIDE.

  44. 44
    seabe says:

    @Kay: YES! I just paid off my loans of $61,000 and make a very good living. Yet I don’t think everyone should go to college. The inevitable question then goes to “but college is the only way to the middle class!!!” Rather than respon like that, we should be asking “why am I making so much more just because I went to college?”

  45. 45
    Ned says:

    I read about this Pew Survey on some other blogs today, and I wonder how this poll would result split into state responses. Big differences I would think.

  46. 46
    seabe says:

    @Kay: YES! I just paid off my loans of $61,000 and make a very good living. Yet I don’t think everyone should go to college. The inevitable question then goes to “but college is the only way to the middle class!!!” Rather than respon like that, we should be asking “why am I making so much more just because I went to college?”

  47. 47
    cleek says:

    @Kay:

    Why is this so hard for DC people?

    because nobody in DC is blue-collar working-class. different worlds.

  48. 48
    Hawes says:

    This is why college debt has to be a premier issue for Democrats. First it halls create that amorphous “opportunity”. Second, it addresses income inequality. Third, it moves millennials away from simply being disgusted with the panty sniffers in the GOP and actively engaged with the Democrats.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    Being young and calling oneself independent is just as much window dressing as having the right artists on your iPhone. It’s identity more than philosophy because they’re so much smarter than their predecessors and don’t have to conform and….blah, blah, blah. Same song, different generation. I’d honestly prefer people to just shut the fuck up and vote and don’t try to explain to me why you deserve a cookie for doing so.

  50. 50
    Baud says:

    @seabe:

    Interesting. I didn’t call them slackers. In fact, I said I was the same way when I was younger. And I have no need for solidarity with people who are looking for excuses not to fight. I think Democrats should focus on people who are interested in a government that will improve their lives and the nation. You do what you think is best for yourself. If the existence of Clinton or Cuomo are your biggest concerns, act accordingly.

  51. 51
    seabe says:

    @Baud: the slacker comment was directed at Mike, which is why it was in a separate paragraph. On my phone and difficult to put multiple replies at once.

  52. 52
    Hawes says:

    The Millenials are actually in line with everyone else in acknowledging that there are differences between the parties. They are just less likely to say that difference is huge.

    Which may be low information. Or it may be an embrace of nuance. Or a reluctance in how they answer multiple choice questions.

  53. 53
    Baud says:

    @seabe:

    Ok. Thanks for clarifying.

  54. 54
    seabe says:

    An unlike Cuomo, I’m not trying to elect Repulicans. And unlike Clinton and her PAC, I GOTV in 2014.

  55. 55
    Firebert says:

    Maybe we should stop blaming the kids for not being involved, and get Democrats to stop being apologetic about liberal policy. There’s still a lot of energy wasted chasing the mythical “moderate,” and it’s making the Democratic Party look more and more like Republicans.

    Texas isn’t red because everybody’s conservative. It just has a turnout problem.

  56. 56
    Dalunay says:

    It really hurts Democrats that many of them are not tech-savvy, and that the party doesn’t have a clear stance on important tech issues (or are on the wrong – Hollywood – side of them). The ‘Millenials’ are really the first internet generation, and they see the world through that lens. The complaints above about how the press misrepresents things? Irrelevant as far as they are concerned, for the most part the traditional press doesn’t exist for them, except as something their parents yell at.

    If the Democrats come to grip with the new reality before the Repubs (and a third party doesn’t push the Repubs the way of the Whigs, which is more likely imo), then the Dems will do fine. And it looks like Obama’s people and other Dems are catching on more quickly. But it’s easy to fall behind — Facebook, as one of my kids told me, is where your grandmother hangs out now. Twitter may be next, but isn’t there yet. The internet generation is still up for grabs, I think.

  57. 57
    Sloegin says:

    20+ years of Dems enabling Republican messaging (or making it their own).

    Unions are greedy. Higher Ed is for elites. Taxes are bad. Tax rates should be flattened. Social Security will kill us all. Health Care will bankrupt us. Sending jobs overseas will help us someday. The blahs and the unemployed are lazy. Helping homeowners is a moral hazard. Banks must thrive. Govt is incompetent. Minimum wage jobs aren’t real jobs.

    The kids aren’t dumb. If their choice is a Republican and another Republican, they’ll vote for the Republican (or won’t vote at all).

  58. 58
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    To be fair, I follow this closely, and that is not the whole thing. They actually have a huge push for vocational ed which is long overdue and a great idea. It’s the single thing I agree with in the Obama ed policy. I was at a meeting last Tuesday with the Democrats and then with The Labor Council (which sounds more impressive than it is, it’s about 15 people) and we back the vocational ed push. That’s popular here, but a lot will depend on how the present it. If it’s presented as “the job creators will be training your 7th graders in career skills” people will take offense at that.

    Stop the focus on what “we” can do for the job creators. Either talk about what we can do for ourselves or talk about how government can help us do these things for ourselves. No one wants to hear about what the job creators need. They have plenty of clout. They’ll get what they need. They don’t need a huge advocacy corps. We do.

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Sloegin: And yet 70% of millenials see at least a fair amount of difference between the parties.

    There are a lot of glass half empty people around.

  60. 60
    seabe says:

    @Kay: can’t disagree with any of that. I actually think Obama’s higher ed policy and policy beyond k-12 isn’t that bad. Still too timid, but not functionally backwards like his k-12 “reforms”.

  61. 61
    ruemara says:

    Since 70% say a great deal & a fair amount, what am I supposed to piss my pants in fear over? Jesus.

  62. 62
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    This is sort of a hot topic (not to me, to me it’s obvious) but the vocational education piece is a great policy for Democrats.

    The truth is, it’s a class issue, which is why liberals struggle with it, but they shouldn’t struggle with it. The fact is these are great and worthwhile jobs. We should celebrate working people, instead of wringing our hands over whether everyone has to college. That’s settled. The answer is “no”.

    Everyone should have the choice, but everyone should ALSO have a choice to do something else, and make a living at it. There’s some trust involved, right? We can’t track certain kids and push them into vocational ed, we can’t be assholes about it, but it is not by itself bad policy. Like I said, the skittishness around it is related to class, but it shouldn’t be. Union electricians here make more than I do. That’s great. Bravo for that. We can have colleges and we can vocational ed. We can have both. We NEED both.

  63. 63
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    I think K-12 public ed is going to be a divisive issue for Democrats in 2016. The public ed rebellion gets bigger every year. I may be biased (because I’m with them!) but I don’t think so.

    If it isn’t a big issue, they’re going to make it a big issue. I think it’s time. We should have this debate.

  64. 64
    seabe says:

    @Kay: preach. This is where “liberal elitist” is fitting. They need to get over it.

  65. 65
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Firebert:

    Maybe we should stop blaming the kids for not being involved, and get Democrats to stop being apologetic about liberal policy. There’s still a lot of energy wasted chasing the mythical “moderate,” and it’s making the Democratic Party look more and more like Republicans.

    Damn’ straight. These days the Dems strike me as being way too afraid of the class warfare card. Guess what, leaders of the Democratic party, there is fucking class warfare and many people know who’s losing even if you don’t want to acknowledge it.

  66. 66
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    If they don’t, Republicans are going to seize it. Kasich’s state of the state was all vocational ed. His will be horrible; for profit rip-off trainings, anti-labor indoctrination, huge giveaways to “job creators”

    We can do this better than Republicans. We almost have to, because if we don’t, Scott Walker will be designing job training for 7th graders.

    My actual fear is Republicans grab it and completely discredit it, and it’s a good idea! That would be a shame.

  67. 67
    seabe says:

    @Kay: not sure if you’re following NY at all (I live in Northern Virginia, inside the beltway), but Cuomo and de Blasio are battling it out over different issues, especially where the fundin for pre-k will come from. Cuomo wanting it to be paid for by the state, de Blasio not taking the bait and demanding the rich of NYC pay for it. But the other stake de Blasio is pounding into the ground is “enough of the charter schools!”

    I think Sherrod Brown would be a great presidential candidate to talk about these issues, but I don’t think he’s interested. You’re lucky to have him.

  68. 68
    gian says:

    @seabe:
    His k-12 education policy seems to rely on union busting con artists like Michelle Rhee.
    Not only is it bad policy but cooperation with union busting cuts funding for Democrats. Period

  69. 69
    Dolly Llama says:

    @cleek: In another world, it’d be funny.

  70. 70
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Kay:

    Good thoughts, as usual. I earned a Bachelor’s and, because of the major I chose (Lit.), I never worked in the field. Instead I went on on to serve a hitch in the Navy and then spent some decades as a machinist. Why? Because my only options in Lit. were to get a teaching credential and become a K-12 teacher or slog on through post-grad and then fight for tenure at a college or university. Back then, machine shops paid a hell of a lot more than school districts and the latter was a crap shoot (Adjunct for life, anyone?).

  71. 71
    cleek says:

    26% of millennials… hmm… 26% is close to what other % … hmmm

  72. 72
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    I follow the whole thing closely, so I watched the unfold. What’s disturbing is how much lying they’re getting away with. You know he approved the vast majority of her schools right?

    His argument is that since 95% of NYC kids go to public schools (not charters) he’s turning the focus to public schools. I can’t even believe this is controversial. This is a completely reasonable public policy position.

    What’s gross about it to me is how much the “usual suspects” in the Democratic Party are part of “ed reform”. It’s like the whole 1990’s gang moved to education, immediately after they deregulated the financial sector and invaded Iraq. It’s all the same people from the Clinton era. Ugh. They’re back, and they’re coming for public schools! It looks SO MUCH like the pitch they made for the finance sector. All that’s missing at this point is NAFTA :)

    That’s why I think if Clinton is the nominee, this explodes. It’s inevitable. It will happen. The public school people are basically amassing ground troops at this point :)

    I went to their meet-up in Austin, Texas last weekend, just to listen, and they are fighting mad. Democrats abandoning public schools to “markets” might not be such a great idea, and taking advice from the finance sector on education is insane. They’ll monetize it. That’s what they do for a living.

  73. 73
    Cervantes says:

    @Marc:

    This looks more like “young voters are not engaged in politics much”, which has been true for about forever.

    So when you look at young people’s political involvement over the ages (1950 through today, say) which of the following do you see? (1) It’s never high; (2) it’s sometimes relatively high and sometimes relatively low; (3) other.

  74. 74
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @BGinCHI: I must have missed the Economics of Damnation classes when I was getting my degree. Wow!

  75. 75
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @BGinCHI: I must have missed the Economics of Damnation classes when I was getting my degree. Wow!

  76. 76
    Kay says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I think it’s a touchy subject, because I don’t want to trash liberal arts or college. We have to somehow not do that. We can do this without being anti-intellectual or dumb. Not that you are, but I don’t want to go Sarah Palin. There’s nuance.

    I have an associates degree from a community college from a (basically) trades program and then later I went on did other things, got a bachelors degree, went to law school. I don’t value any of those things over the over. I think I can value all of them. Two of my grown kids went to college right after high school and one of my grown kids is taking skilled trades training (and working). These are all worthwhile things. It’s actually been a lot of fun for me to follow my 20 year old son’s experiences, the vocation ed guy, because his track so far is a lot like mine, where the two older kids experiences are a lot like my husband’s. I did what he’s doing. I didn’t like high school either.

    What did that NYC mayor say? It’s a gorgeous mosaic :)

    We can have lots of nice things! We can have machinists and also art history.

  77. 77
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay:

    It’s not income inequality. They’ve backed off that. It’s “opportunity” and it’s muddled.

    On the one hand, it’s a good thing if people noticed the “inequality” theme at all.

    On the other hand, the party did switch themes, and (to me) without any sensible transition or explanation. It was poorly handled.

    Most recent explanation I was given when I asked is that the President’s 2015 budget is the blueprint for the campaign. I hope they know better than to say that for public consumption.

  78. 78
    Sly says:

    Perhaps when Obamacare really takes hold, and if we can connect voting for Democrats with keeping affordable insurance, we might get a few more to the polls, but other than that I can see why this group looks at Democrats and says “meh”. The economy sucks (especially for them), nothing is happening in DC despite the election of Obama (not his fault but that’s still a fact), and Democrats don’t have a message that explains how they can get us from where we are today to an environment that’s better for twenty-somethings.

    That’s not generally how people think when they’re young. For someone who is 18-25, politics is mostly an expression of personal values – a kind of shibboleth used to identify themselves to others – and not a means by which one stakes out and defends claims relating to their own material interests. You don’t examine candidates based on their policy preferences, and whether those preferences ought to be achieved and how they can be achieved; you examine candidates based on what supporting them says about you.

    Based on the first set of criteria – material interest – you’d be hard pressed to find a time where the political party in power has enacted more policies that helped this age group and fewer policies that hurt them, either purposefully or incidentally, than the Democratic Party of the past five years. Based on the second set, it is easy to see how “there’s no difference between the parties” becomes more pervasive with this age group; most of the core cultural identifiers of partisanship predate the young by decades, and don’t provide a handy frame of reference for them to make useful judgement about how they best fit in to the current partisan culture.

  79. 79
    mdblanche says:

    @cleek: Some things change over time but others are universal constants, give or take measuring error.

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dalunay:

    The ‘Millenials’ are really the first internet generation, and they see the world through that lens. The complaints above about how the press misrepresents things? Irrelevant as far as they are concerned,

    Correct — what we need to worry about with them is how the internet misrepresents things.

  81. 81
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Exactly. Let’s lead with the budget. People love budgets!

    This is not working for me, quite frankly, especially in a midterm. They have to face the fact that people hate DC right now. Whether that’s “fair” or not doesn’t really matter. I’ll give them that it’s not “fair”. What does that matter?

    The only saving grace is rank and file Republicans hate DC too. They’re all disgruntled and hopeless here. I was watching CPAC and thinking “you people are delusional”. They’re celebrating that Democrats won’t take the House, but pundits moved the goalposts. No one thought Democrats would take the House. Republicans in DC are now convinced that’s a “win”. It’s unskewed polls all over again. They re-set the bar really low, and they’re high-fiving one another.

    BUT that doesn’t excuse Democrats being delusional. It’s actually frightening. We can’t have everyone delusional :)

    I think they should focus on MI, OH, FL and PA governor’s races, win those, but no one listens to me, although I am right.

  82. 82
    Dalunay says:

    TL;DR The tech will/is radically changing how teaching is done. Public education has to radically adapt or it will die.

    @Kay:

    At the same time, education looks overdue for an overhaul. The system still teaches kids life skills necessary for the factory/industrial age (obedience, being on time, following along) and suppresses skills necessary for information work (being able to focus and shut the world out, learning efficiently, evaluating sources, finding information efficiently). At the same time, internet technology will change the way we’re learning.

    The internet gives us access to the best presentation of any topic, for whichever kind of audience. The technological leverage is immense, and the teacher unions are going to have to adapt. A recent online college course had 180,000 students (that’s not a typo). Our current model for teaching is utterly obsolete – our kids can already find much better (understandable, engaging) presentations of course material online, and it’s mostly amateur work at the moment. Kahn Academy is a more effective way to learn math, if you are motivated, than most math classes in a good school, public or private. Many of us send our children to public schools and colleges because there have not been decent alternatives. The internet is serving them up at a rapid pace, but we are only seeing the beginning.

    I don’t expect the public school to survive more than another 5-10 years, unless the teacher unions and public schools radically adapt. And if they do, the schools will not be much like what they are today. If the unions get out ahead of industry — if the teachers unions are the ones making the videos, designing the internet courses, getting teachers to adapt to the new technology — then public schools have a future. If they fight the tech, we’ll get a regime of commercial, for-profit education, and the Repubs have won the issue.

  83. 83
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    I read that they went away from inequality because it’s basically negative. So they poll constantly and maybe that’s valid. I DON’T, actually, believe that most people want to “stick it to the rich” or whatever. I think most people just want to be somewhat secure and happy.

    But there’s no “security” part of this “ladders of opportunity” message. It’s all about risk. People are (understandably) risk averse. That’s rational. A lot of them lost. Capacity for risk is itself a class issue. They can’t engage people who are scared by telling them to take on more risk. It just won’t work. They’re all risked-out. That’s not a middle class message. It’s a rich person message. Offer them some security. Be on their side. They’re risk averse for a damn good set of reasons.

  84. 84
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Sloegin:

    Absolutely. I’m generation X, and I’m sure as hell not a Democrat because the Democrats are a generally conservative party now. I often do vote for a Democratic candidate if they are fighting for liberal values, but if they are supporting things that are destroying our country–like making trade agreements to ship US jobs overseas (NAFTA, TPP, etc.), or demonizing unions (thanks Rahm, you awesome Democrat!), or pursuing unneeded environmental disasters (Keystone pipeline, fracking), or bending over for the banks (let’s repeal Glass-Steagal!) thereby helping to cause economic crises, and supporting violations of our Constitution (spying on folks without a for-cause warrant)–then there’s no way in hell I’ll vote for them, even if they have a (D) next to their name. I’ll usually vote Green or some other party that supports what I’m looking for instead.

    The problem is, if you only focus on the Party and not the actual issues, you’re essentially dooming our country, and possibly at this point our planet. The cadre of folks who are on the side of gaining just a little each election are also dooming us. We need a real sea change to the left right now.

    It’s not that the candidate (for president, congress, governor, mayor, whatever) has to be perfect. That’s a lame quip used to make liberals who focus on issues look bad. It’s that candidates have to support at least SOME of the things we need right now. For example:

    –We need to stop international trade agreements (written by corporations) that will ship jobs overseas and create more income disparity within the US. Otherwise, we’re creating our own 3rd world country and revolution will be the eventual result (think Soviet Union, France, etc.). Who wants to live through that?

    –We need to empower the middle class. Unions is one way that has done extremely well for us in the past. But Dems are much more corporate friendly right now. If we don’t, see the point above for the eventual result.

    –We need to stop global warming. You like food and water? You like not having to pollute our groundwater to gather the little bits of non-renewable energy left in our country? We should have a huge focus right now on revamping our grid to allow for lots of distributed renewable energy, invest in researching storage systems for renewables, and get ourselves off of having to rely on the Middle East and Russia for our (and Europe’s) energy needs.

    –We need to support our rights under the Constitution. Period. Otherwise, we’re just serfs.

    –Make intelligent education reforms. Helps develop the middle class.

    –We need to reduce our prison population and legalize pot (which should help with that). Stop militarizing police forces.

    If a candidate supported and focused on just TWO of those bullet points above, I’d support them. Most of the Dems we have now essentially support NONE of those (at least not in action).

    Address the real problems we have and people might just vote for you!

  85. 85
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    I;m really wary of this. The way that is being used is not how it’s being sold. It’s being used as a cheap way to educate kids. I read all the hype and I trust that they’re well-intentioned, but they should not replace third grade teachers with computer programs, and that’s how states will put it in. I read the grand aspirational goals and then I look at how it’s being used in schools.

    I think it’s reckless and poorly considered. I am grateful to the people who are questioning it, so you and I couldn’t be further apart.

    I don’t want my fifth grader in a Rocketship charter chain. If you try to turn my local school INTO a Rocketship charter chain, you will meet resistance. I think children deserve real caution and thought. They’re not adults. I think it’s great that there are all these “innovators” but you need a check, and public school teachers who are questioning this are that check. I’m grateful to them.

    I couldn’t disagree more that we need more people to rush onto this train. We need more people looking at it really critically, people who aren’t selling something. There’s a profit motive here. That needs careful looking at.

  86. 86
    Dalunay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    The social reality of the Internet is just as true as the social reality we live in. The internet doesn’t misrepresent things, it just portrays the world from a different angle. Or if you prefer, the misrepresenting isn’t any better or worse there than in ‘RL’, it’s just done differently.

  87. 87
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    Kahn Academy is a more effective way to learn math, if you are motivated, than most math classes in a good school, public or private. Many of us send our children to public schools and colleges because there have not been decent alternatives. The internet is serving them up at a rapid pace, but we are only seeing the beginning.

    My fifth grader uses Kahn Academy as a supplement to his math class. I think it’s baloney that it’s a replacement for Mrs. Bosco, his math teacher, to be brutally honest with you. The fact is she keeps him motivated and she does all the hard work. Incidentally, he also really likes her.

    If that’s the argument, and that’s why public school teachers should jump on the train along with politicians and tech titans, then I’m not persuaded. I’m not a Luddite. My eldest son works for a big tech company. He thinks it’s over-sold and over-hyped, and he’s glad he had a real live fifth grade teacher. He went to the same schools as my youngest did, and having a childhood didn’t harm his “college and career” trajectory. He makes more than I do.

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dalunay:

    The internet doesn’t misrepresent things…

    Oh you poor dear…

  89. 89
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    Public school teachers have a huge advantage when they advocate for publicly-run, non profit education. They’re not making any money off privatizing it. It’s always presented as “unions” versus “innovators” but the fact is if “unions” are self-interested then so are the people salivating at getting a piece of this market. I’m not buying that my local public school teachers who make 45k a year are standing in the way of innovation to protect that 45k a year. If money is a motivating factor, then that applies to “reformers” too, and they’re making a shit-ton more money off this than 45k.

    As far as I’m concerned, the onus is on those who would make money off it to make their case, rather than demanding public school people jump onboard and somehow wrestle this back into the public sector. They are the public sector. These other folks are the private sector. The idea that there shouldn’t be any debate, that they should bend to the private sector because it’s “inevitable” is not acceptable to me. Like I said, I’m grateful to them. Teachers unions are the only organized check on this, and this needs a check, it needs dissenters and critics, because it’s full of cheerleaders and pom pom wavers who are self-interested. I value the public school teachers who are restisting. They’re creating a real debate, and boy, do we need one.

  90. 90
    Dalunay says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Not any more than any other social reality. There’s really no such thing as property or money — it’s all just a mental/social construct. Doesn’t exist outside the understanding of our minds. What and how we think shapes how the world is, and the internet shapes it differently. I don’t see that as a misrepresentation – I’m not so arrogant as to assume that my point of view is the right one. It’s a different take on reality, not a wrong one.

  91. 91
    Dalunay says:

    @Kay:
    I think you are misunderstanding me. I’m not arguing that we should go commercial — I think that’s a severe mistake. However, the tech allows a big change in how education gets done, and for a substantial increase in efficiency per highly-educated instructor/per pupil. If the unions just fight this change instead of helping to shape it for the public good, then the commercial looters will win. Yes, we need a good debate, but not over whether or not to change. We need the debate over how to best change, and we’re not having that debate.

  92. 92
    Joel says:

    @Sly: I’d amend that statement to apply to all voters. Or at least a majority of all voters. Addressing material concerns only have a delayed effect, and probably only in the margins. People throw down their markers early and stick with ’em.

  93. 93
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kay:

    Appreciate your keeping us posted on “ed reform”. Agree with your trepidations on this.

  94. 94
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dalunay: If, for the reasons you are stating, the internet cannot misrepresent things, then the traditional press also cannot misrepresent things, for very the same reasons.

    I don’t care what kind of conceptual pretzels you tie it in: every single moment of every single day there are dozens of people who are willing to lie, distort, and spin you on the internet. They’re on the other team, and they’re on your own team too. The only functional difference is that the misinformation on the internet is not nearly as institutionalized as the misinformation in the traditional press. That, in case it’s not obvious, isn’t a better thing.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dalunay: I don’t buy that a class of 180,000 is a good thing. Yes, the internet give access to lectures by the very best people and this is great. Teaching is far more than lecturing an presenting material. Ultimately, it is a hands on process; the internet is not going to change that.

  96. 96
    Dalunay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    the misinformation on the internet is not nearly as institutionalized as the misinformation in the traditional press. That, in case it’s not obvious, isn’t a better thing.

    Sorry, I beg to differ. Institutionalized misinformation is much more believable to most people. We’re much more mistrustful of what we read on the internet. And that is a better thing; we’ve been badly betrayed by our institutions.

    every single moment of every single day there are dozens of people who are willing to lie, distort, and spin you on the internet

    And this is different from the non-internet world exactly how?

    The internet makes me hopeful for the future, even though it’s a future that requires people to think more about what they read.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @different-church-lady: The internet does not misrepresent. People misrepresent and sometimes they use the ‘net to do it.

    Dalunay’s statement is rather like the NRA’s “guns don’t kill people” argument. Perhaps true in its own limited way, but ultimately meaningless.

  98. 98
    Dalunay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    A class of 180,000 is a good thing when those 180,000 cannot afford to pay for the college class. While it might not be as effective or good as a traditional college class, it is much, much less expensive per student. So much so that it can be offered for no cost to the students. And that is a very good thing.

  99. 99
    Dalunay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    On the contrary, guns are used to kill things. The internet is used to transmit information. A more appropriate metaphor would be a crowbar. Sure, you can use a crowbar to kill people, but most of us use it to pry things apart, just as most of us use the internet for informing people, not lying.

  100. 100
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    I think you need to come down to earth, and look at the reality of state legislatures. They’re not very bright and they don’t want to fund education.

    I represent delinquents in court. It’s about 25% of my practice. Last week, I went to see one of them at his “credit recovery” class. “Credit recovery” means “remedial high school classes so we can claim high school graduation rates are up”

    He’s in an online program. It’s public. It’s run out of a community college. He sits in the Junior Achievement building, in my town, and watches a video instructor, alone. I got tears in my eyes when I saw him from behind as I walked in the door. He is the LAST person in the world who should be sitting alone in that room. They’re using this to rip him off. They’re stealing from him. You know what he needs? He needs an adult in the room who cares whether he lives or dies. But he’ll pass! And you’ll be telling me how wonderful Khan Academy is, and he’ll be a “high school graduate”.

    This pie in the sky world, where children are tapping away on tablets as their parents hover over them is bullshit. That isn’t how it’s being used and that isn’t how it will be used.

    I’m asking you to be careful. Look at WHERE they’re using this. Look at HOW they’re using it. WHICH kids.

    The first place I saw online high school was in a juvenile detention facility. The difference was, none of us were pretending it was anything other than a way to cut costs on kids no one gives a shit about. They were too fucking cheap to bring teachers in there. Everyone in the court system knew it. We were ashamed. I read this stuff and to me it is ASPIRATIONAL. It is the best case. You know better than that.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dalunay: Who grades the papers? Who oversees the labs? Who corrects the misapprehensions and misinterpretations? Who does the actual grunt work?

  102. 102
    Baud says:

    @Kay:

    And you’ll be telling me how wonderful Khan Academy is, and he’ll be a “high school graduate”.

    I like Khan Academy a lot (as an adult), but I wouldn’t use it as a substitute for in-person teaching.

  103. 103
    Pen says:

    @Dalunay: A class of 180,000 is a good thing when those 180,000 cannot afford to pay for the college class. While it might not be as effective or good as a traditional college class, it is much, much less expensive per student. So much so that it can be offered for no cost to the students. And that is a very good thing.

    College isn’t about learning the information. In the age of libraries and the internet anyone can, with enough effort, teach themselves whatever they desire. The problem? Without testing they can’t PROVE IT. That is what college is for, the vetting. No matter which way you spin it a “class” of 180k people is worthless for all the things that actually matter to anyone not going to college on Mommy and daddy’s credit card.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Pen: I would argue that college, and education in general, is about learning how to learn, learning how to approach problems, and learning how to communicate knowledge rather than being about simply acquiring knowledge. Feedback and interaction are necessary for this to work. A class of 180,000 is a very large public lecture, not a real class.

  105. 105
    Dalunay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Who grades the papers?

    Computerized quizzes. (not a writing class)

    Who oversees the labs?

    I’m not sure how lab courses work. Something like Chemistry would be tricky, but there are some online chemistry courses with virtual labs.

    Who corrects the misapprehensions and misinterpretations?

    Other students, in class forums (like we do here in Balloon Juice, only more politely). And TAs who supervise the forums (several of them, iirc).

    Who does the actual grunt work?

    Computerized and automated, as much as possible.

    Worth noting that there is a high dropout rate.

    @Pen:

    The problem? Without testing they can’t PROVE IT. That is what college is for, the vetting.

    That’s a recognized issue. It’s being worked on, and someone will come up with some kind of solution. IMO, the days of traditional education are numbered.

  106. 106
    seabe says:

    @Kay: Before my present job I substituted at my local area schools (did this for about 7 months, took me 9 months after graduation to find a “real” job (as if subbing isn’t a real job)). I did every grade from kindergarten to 12th, including the remedial school where kids get sent if they’re expelled from their home school, and a school for kids with autism or disabilities (they just can’t function in a regular school environment). I was constantly invited back to the remedial school and the “special school” because I had no qualms with being there; most subs never wanted to come back. What I saw in the remedial school was worse than at the regular schools. Busy work doesn’t even begin to describe it. They’re given laptops to do course work on their own. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not saying they’re too stupid, lazy, or what have you. Imo most of the kids don’t even belong there (usually had pot on them, maybe got into fights at their home schools, or probably had abusive administration that has no patience or know-how to deal with them); when you treat them like people and talk to them as human-beings, you see this. Anyway, that’s a tangent. Laptops: they can’t even deal with a course instructor who tries to make learning exciting. And you think they’re going to have the motivation to give two fucks about memorizing dates and events on their own? It’s lunacy. But that’s what we do. They’re obviously “too stupid” to teach, so ship them off out of sight and mind and hand them a laptop. Most of them just have a fucked up home-life (one girl was obviously repeatedly raped by a relative, but didn’t even recognize it as such); but they’re certainly not stupid, or even impossible to educate. They just aren’t geared for college, and should be put on a different track.

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt:
    I’m on the other side of life’s journey from you and tend to agree. We seem to be too willing to go along to get along. At least our politicians seem to be that way.
    I don’t have any idea how to fix that other than a whole new class of democratic politicians.

  108. 108
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    So, this is why the onus is on them to prove it rather than me to buy it. We’ve been doing this for a decade. It isn’t “new”.

    This is the actual track record of Ohio’s cybercharters. I can show you the same stats in PA. Ohio has a full decade of numbers on this. They do much, much worse than public schools.

    So what’s the problem? Is Khan Academy so special that if these cybercharters simply became non-profits and adopted that math program, we’d be golden?

    I would suggest that the reform train slow down, and adopt a certain amount of humility and start questioning some of this stuff. I don’t even think you have the numbers, the proof, to back the lowest level claims, let alone the “transformational” aspects. I don’t doubt your good intentions, but you’re supposed to be “data driven”. You have reams of data on online learning. Does any of it inform the decisions? I get that “motivated” people can make wondrous use of the internet, but public schools aren’t limited to “motivated” people. They have to serve everyone. That’s one of the reasons they go slow. They can’t leave anyone out. I mean, thank God they’re not “nimble”. We’re talking about third graders here. They need to be careful, thoughtful adults.

    The role of the private sector is to push, and I’m perfectly comfortable with the public sector pushing back. They’re SUPPOSED to be a moderating influence. We know this already. Why would public education be any different?

  109. 109
    different-church-lady says:

    At this point I’m just going to look at this as akin to arguing with a Bitcoin advocate, and decide that neither the pig nor myself needs the annoyance.

  110. 110
    Kay says:

    @Baud:

    You don’t have to be anti-Khan Academy to question this :)

    My son thinks it’s fine. He’s much less impressed with it than adults are. “It’s FINE”. To him, it’s just one more thing he does for school. I don’t know that he even prefers it over the other things he does.

  111. 111
    Kay says:

    @Baud:

    My 5th grader has another online program the district got ripped off buying. It’s supposed to be “adaptive” so the kids answer a question and it gives them a harder question. He and his friend are fooling with it, and they start entering strings of zeroes on one machine and real answers on another and it doesn’t “adapt”. It’s just spitting out test prep. They were laughing maniacally, until I told them their teacher would be using that “data” to judge their “mastery of concepts”.

    It just isn’t miraculous to them. In my view, they have a much clearer picture of this than adults. They see it for what it is. He’s okay with Khan Academy, but he’s not swooning in love like the adults are. It’s math problems.

  112. 112
    gian says:

    @Kay:
    I don’t trust good intentions from anyone advocating what boils down to break unions and privitaze.
    We have 30 years of post Reagan experience with it and it gives you worse results but gets money to the politically connected with the contract

  113. 113
    Sly says:

    @Joel:
    For hardened partisan identities, yes, who a party represents can be more important that what it represents. And this doesn’t just apply to actual partisans in the technical sense (i.e. registered members of a party), but people who strongly identify with a party but aren’t technically members, which covers more people than most would care to admit.

    The difference is levels of engagement between age groups; I’d argue that younger people are more engaged with political identities than older people, they just don’t engage particularly well with them. Not their fault, no one shows them how. The conversations I hear between 20 year olds now are the same conversations I had when I was younger, with the differences only being one of the present context; it’s generally politics as a means of self-expression. Which is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, but two problems arise from it, the first for those who focus on self-expression and the second for everyone else.

    1) You’re not going to get anything of substance out of political engagement. When politics is reduced to self-expression, success or failure hinges on willpower. If Politician A wants Policy Outcome B, the only thing preventing it is that they don’t want it bad enough. 99% of the time this is not how politics actually works, so people who engage in this kind of thinking are invariably disappointed no matter the practical outcome. Politics as self-expression becomes politics as masochism. Some will give give up, while others will simply embrace masochism into their political identity.

    2) Arguments relating to substance won’t be particularly appealing. In other words, you’re not going to convince someone who believes that politics is about who they are and how other people see them with technocratic policy arguments or empirical realism, as in “Young people should vote for Democrats because the Democratic Party just made it a hell of a lot easier for them to get health insurance and pay off college debt.” This makes it harder to form and maintain necessary coalitions of mutual self-interest, which is where the rubber meets the road,

  114. 114
    Kay says:

    @seabe:

    It’s hard, because what public school principals will tell you (or tell me) is that they also have a responsibility to the kids who are not disruptive and want order and such.

    That’s true, too. They do have a duty to the majority of students who are not disruptive. Public schools are like every other public entity. Everyone can’t have everything they want and they make tradeoffs. I would argue that’s part of the value. It’s a community. It’s not all about one kid or group of kids.

    Everyone can’t have everything. They can’t have a strong public system and strong charter system and strong private system with vouchers. Some of these goals will inevitably conflict. The answer to “can I have a public school system that’s uniquely suited to my child?” is probably “no, you can’t, because it’s public and that’s part of the deal. You compromise”. Or you homeschool or go to a private school.

  115. 115
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kay: This is America! You pick the one that will make you rich, go on the professional-development-conference-keynote circuit, and clean up. Join the panacea-of-the-month club, and start coining the stuff.

    You do need a snappy content-freen acronym, or alliterative phrase, with which you label your edu-breakthrough, though… that part can be hard. Like “Relevance and Rigor” — that’s alliterative. Or TELL: — Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning. That’s a snappy acronym.

  116. 116
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    The thing I hear in your stories is respect for what people want to do with their lives. We need to give people the tools to do with their lives what they want. Some will want to climb mountains, some be doctors, well whatever. But in america we as a country only look positively on those who reach for the top rung, the gold ring on the merry go round of life. An engineer? Pft, what a waste. A machinist/welder, how low can you get? I, like Higgs, have been that worker bee my whole life. I’ve employed and trained others because it is a very necessary part of society. I’m OK with it, I enjoy the creativity and not being a mindless drone in a cube. But to each their own, I also don’t begrudge those that want to work insane hrs to make a lot of money in finance, I just wish they would have some respect for the things I do which in some cases allows their lives.

  117. 117
    Kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Oh, it’s so hard for me, because there’s a lot of well-intentioned people in it but boy, the marketing bullshit loses me. If they wanted to turn me off they couldn’t have done a better job.

    I can’t stand the blandness of it, how slick it is. It’s like an individual can’t get PURCHASE because they’re so scripted and positive and neutral.

    We have nothing in common :)

    I’ve thrown my lot in with the teachers, so you-all better be up to this monumental task.

    I was impressed with the public ed advocates in Austin last weekend. For one thing, it was well-organized and for Lefties, that’s an accomplishment all by itself.

  118. 118
    Kay says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I don’t know how much of this stuff you read, but this is John Kuhn and Karen Lewis in Austin last weekend. I could only attend one day, but I did attend this.

    I would come down as a composite of these two people and their opinions. My daughter came with me to Austin, just for the trip, she only attended this one speech. She did other things while I was conferencing- she has zero interest in politics- and even she was riveted. I thought Lewis’ riff on how she’s labor and he’s management but they share the same VALUES was brilliant. Bravo. Good job.

  119. 119
    gorram says:

    @Derelict: THIS. We voted in droves for Obama in 2008 because he actually was making noises about economic inequality. In the latest SOTU, people my age were calling for his blood because of how much he caved on economic issues (his speech was mostly an appeal to private industry action: which is infuriating to be blunt).

    To the extent that you can identify a singular millennial voting bloc, it is the most class conscious generational one, and that’s what’s driving our disinterest if not hostility towards Republicans, but also our ambiguousness towards the Democrats.

  120. 120
    gorram says:

    @Matt: Right, the two major drivers for millennials as a group I would say are active opposition to Bush era international/military policy and interest in economic inequality reduction. We’re obviously a Democratic-tending voting bloc as a result, because we’re basically categorically opposed to GOP policy. That said, a minority of Democrats have been instrumental in not bringing Bush era crimes to light, in failing to close Guantánamo, and in maintaining the economic status quo. It’s not that Democrats offer millennials the policies we want, but that they aren’t the Republicans who create the conditions we were initially mobilized against.

    Give us more people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and fewer people like Bloomberg and even the Clintons sometimes (for a lot of us they’re respected cultural icons but not actually supported politically). Gillibrand is actually fascinating on this in how you can see her balancing more liberal criticisms and more centrist concerns, which makes sense considering how New York has such a large base of both older residents and younger migrants from elsewhere in the country if not world.

    The speed with which people in this thread have leaped onto “low information voters” as the answer to this should give people pause. If you cannot hear why a group is dissatisfied with the Democratic party’s policies (or rather, inconsistency in terms of delivered policy), then you’re not going to be able to effectively mobilize that group the way you have in the past.

  121. 121
    gorram says:

    @Elizabelle: Oh my god, millennials largely don’t view those news sites and are in my admittedly anecdotal experience far more interested in alternative media than older generations.

    What is the point of this thread? For everyone else in the Dem coalition to come out and talk about how they don’t trust us?

  122. 122
    Kay says:

    @gorram:

    (his speech was mostly an appeal to private industry action: which is infuriating to be blunt).

    I’m not your age and the “public-private partnership” theme there was really not timely or appealing, IMO, so I hear you.

    I don’t think it’s wise for Democrats to join with CEO’s to offer advice to the masses right now. We’re full-up on advice. Less advice, more “on your side”.

  123. 123
    gorram says:

    @seabe: And millennials, as a group, have gone to college in larger percentages than all of those previous generations, and it has actively not helped us. The Dem establishment line about education and training being the solution to economic disparities reads for most of us like a total crock of shit, and the insistence that that’s simply because we’re “low information” is not going to convince us that we’re wrong about what’s happened to us and most of our friends.

  124. 124
    Kay says:

    @gorram:

    It’s not just you. Democrats have relied on “job training!” since Clinton, and it’s generally met with something less than complete enthusiasm. It predates Obama. In the 2006 midterms, we used to joke about when the Dem would say “green jobs!” :)

    The truth is I think both Parties are really struggling with their respective economic “first principles”, making those relevant. Democrats have not had to make a clear case because Republicans went so hard Right, but they won’t be able to ride on that forever.

  125. 125
    Dalunay says:

    @gorram:
    Thank you. I may not be millennial, but I feel the same way about the Dems. I won’t vote Republican, but many Dems are too willing to throw us to the corporate wolves just as quickly.

  126. 126
    gorram says:

    @Hawes:

    The Millenials are actually in line with everyone else in acknowledging that there are differences between the parties. They are just less likely to say that difference is huge.

    Which may be low information. Or it may be an embrace of nuance. Or a reluctance in how they answer multiple choice questions.

    Interesting point! One thing I’ve noticed in conversations with older people politically, is that many more of them are willing to accept the Democrats and the Republicans as the only feasible political options. Half the kids at my high school either identified as libertarians (who, in that context, weren’t just Republicans who wanted to smoke pot, but were kids who also thought Bush was a war criminal), anarchists, socialists, or communists. Most of us millennials are too young to remember much of the Cold War, if any of it at all, so the notion of democratic, liberal state capitalism as ascendant doesn’t really exist for many of us. To a lot of us, that’s just the dominant political system, not the one that clearly prevailed in a global contest.

    I’m sorry I’ve been talking too much in this thread, but I think that’s basically the undercurrent that I see a lot of people missing here: millennials are often to the left of the Democratic Party (not always, obviously, there’s variation in both). I think a lot of fellow millennials think of the Democratic Party as too ideologically similar to the Republican Party, and inadequately interested in alternatives, especially on international and economic policy. We might agree comparably with older generations that the parties are different, but seem not to view the gap between the two as being as large as older people. Basically, what the data say.

  127. 127
    gorram says:

    @Kay: Ooof, I’m feeling mighty foolish now about how complacent I was myself about that in the aftermath of 2008. I was one of the people who was rather “whatever” about the prospect of the Republicans becoming a less threatening party. I didn’t really heed the warnings that without clear challengers, the Democrats wouldn’t feel the need to deliver policy. Well, consider me warned now.

    One thing I’ve heard is that the cycles of conservative third parties forming, undercutting the GOP, and then collapsing under GOP movement right is basically what’s led to the GOP’s radicalization. It’s enough to make me want to go volunteer at the Green party if it’ll mean nudging the Dems a bit to the left.

  128. 128
    Dalunay says:

    @Kay:

    Public schools are like every other public entity. Everyone can’t have everything they want and they make tradeoffs.

    That’s the problem, people in education repeat this like it’s true. Info tech lets us tailor things a lot more, so we don’t have to serve all the kids the same education any more.

    The current model (the factory model you describe) forces us to compromise on some ‘average’ education for everyone who can’t buy out; some of the the kids are bored because it’s too easy, some give up in despair because it’s too difficult, some just aren’t interested because the teacher can’t get them to see why it should matter to them. What’s left is the small number of students in the sweet spot, the target of the ‘average’. But it no longer has to be that way.

    Again, I’m not advocating privatization. But serious and radical restructuring is bearing down on us, because information age tech makes it possible. If the teachers and unions don’t lead, the corporate grifters will (and are, right now, and not to a good place). We’re not going to save public education by saying “stop!” to the tide, but by channeling it, offering a better solution than the grifters do.

  129. 129
    Kay says:

    @gorram:

    I think Democrats can stand a debate and I don’t know why your generation would have any less of a right to one than the generations prior. The truth is we have huge divisions, and always have, in my adult life anyway. Why would you not get your own debate? You HAVE had a rough go of it. You came up as the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression hit. That will change how you think and it SHOULD. I would hope it would.

    I hope you DO change it, demand a response, put your mark on it. I don’t own it anymore than the generation prior did.

  130. 130
    Cervantes says:

    @Dalunay:

    But serious and radical restructuring is bearing down on us, because information age tech makes it possible.

    In your experience, picking any school district you know, what does the annual (and five-year, or ten-year, or N-year) budget look like?

  131. 131
    tam1MI says:

    I think they should focus on MI, OH, FL and PA governor’s races, win those

    I would add WI to that list. Scott Walker needs to be stopped.

  132. 132
    Dalunay says:

    @Cervantes:
    Like people fighting a rear-guard action. Funding is getting harder, and change isn’t getting embraced. Yes, the schools have web pages. But at least in the local system, there aren’t online forums for the kids to ask questions in, the web pages aren’t structured especially well for supplying info (they’re more like fluff marketing docs), and a painful number of teachers are still tech-phobic.

  133. 133
    Cervantes says:

    @Dalunay: Without necessarily getting too specific, can you say which school districts you’ve looked at?

    (Thank you.)

  134. 134
    Dalunay says:

    @Cervantes:
    North SF Bay (although my sister reports similar stuff in Alaska). So we should be one of the more innovative school systems, at least as far as tech goes. But the California school funding problems (and institutional rigidity) weigh pretty heavily on the districts. It’s pretty clear that the people running things aren’t fluent or comfortable with the tech world, don’t understand continual innovation, and would rather things didn’t have to change.

  135. 135
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    I reject “factory model” because one of the differences between ed reformers and me is, I think schools serve a community role that they either fundamentally don’t understand or are discounting.

    When I watched the people in Chicago mourning those schools, I get that. Schools aren’t just a place where you drop in information and get “college and career ready”. In a lot of places, they’re the public center of the community. They value those schools for something other than test scores. People don’t cry and mourn and fill the streets for something that can be just pitched in the trash.

    That has great value to me, and I think some of the resistance you’re seeing is because of that fundamental difference in how public schools are viewed. There are so few truly public, non commercial places left. To me, reducing that to “factory” is a basic, nearly unbridgeable divide.

    The truth is, online, “free” schools have been available in my state for a decade. The vast majority of people don’t opt for that. People send their kids to local schools not because they are “stuck” in a “factory” school but because the public school is central to their kids’ community and sense of place. These things are important to people. They need context and a broader community within which to raise their kids. Can they put together a unique online program for their child? Sure. They could do it free, right now, some of them. But they’re not. Honestly, I think ed reformers would do well to look at this both ways, to look at what public schools do WELL instead of the constant exhortations that public schools must learn from ed reformers. They could start with that, community. Are they willing to throw that idea out? Because people need it.

  136. 136
    Dalunay says:

    @Kay:

    Honestly, I think ed reformers would do well to look at this both ways, to look at what public schools do WELL instead of the constant exhortations that public schools must learn from ed reformers. They could start with that, community. Are they willing to throw that idea out? Because people need it.

    Absolutely! But we’re now being faced with the choice between getting a better (or less expensive) education and having community. That’s a choice we shouldn’t have to make, but between the ed ‘reformers’ and the education establishment, that’s all we’re offered. I don’t blame the ed ‘reformers’ any more than the ed establishment, though. Both sides could do a lot better, and I’d rather it was the ed establishment that innovated. The ‘reformer’ drive to privatize schools, or at least corporatize them, will harm us a great deal if it’s moderately successful, and it will be if they’re leading the wave of innovation.

    Also, the ‘factory model’ is the current public school method of teaching and grades, not the ‘reformer’ methodology (although it, too is a factory model of a different sort). Both are lousy.

  137. 137
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    Why not let the private sector drive it? I don’t have any problem with that. The private sector sells and the public sector looks after the common good, and often protects the common good from the ravages of the private sector :)

    Do we really need everyone pushing this forward? One of the things I object to is the administration cheerleading on it. It’s just unnecessary. Joel Klein is perfectly capable of peddling his own tablets. I don’t need Arne Duncan joining in. I need Arne Duncan to serve his role, which is “slow down and tread carefully, or you’ll run this bus over third graders”.

    I don’t want to “stop” anything. I wouldn’t be able to stop this huge market if I tried. Instead I want vocal and critical public sector advocates to worry about and protect the public good. That to me is their role.

  138. 138
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    One of the reasons I’m wary of your argument is I’ve watched this for the last 20 years (ed reform) and IMO liberals got played. The argument was “we have to adopt “choice”, but we’ll make it liberal!” and honestly, they got nothing out of this deal.

    They got Milton Friedman. They got played.

    The latest trend is selective charters in high dollar areas. All the bullshit about “zip codes” and “equity” went right out the window. They’re going to end up with a privatized system that is no more “equitable” than the dreaded “zip code” system. It’s sort of shocking to me how reckless they were, honestly. No one even considered the downside. It was all sunshine and rainbows and “choice”.

  139. 139
    rikyrah says:

    Kay,

    I just read all your responses in this thread, and I thank everyday that you’re a FPer at BJ. You are always on point, and telling the truth.

    You said that your son lives in Chicago, and the thing that got him to notice what a fucking fraud Rahm is was the turning over of the public transit pay system to a private entity – well, if that’s what it took to wake him up, good for him.

    I could give you a dissertation on this disaster that is Rahm Emmanuel as Mayor of Chicago.

  140. 140
    Dalunay says:

    @Kay: If we leave innovation to the Joel Kleins and the Michelle Rhees, we’re not going to get good public-sphere solutions. I’d much rather see the innovation come out of communities and public schools, with the corporate sector relatively uninvolved. The corporate sector will only drive it if there’s a profit to be made. Profit isn’t really appropriate for a public good like education (look at the sorry state of our school textbooks!).

  141. 141
    Dalunay says:

    @Kay:

    They got played.

    And it looks like they’re getting played again with the ‘Common Core’ BS. It happens because the unions and their allies aren’t coming up with alternatives that are clearly better, so they just look like they’re saying “no, everything’s ok, really”

  142. 142
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    He;s hilarious about it, that son, because he’s oblivious. He’s great, but he’s the definition of a distracted smart person. When he was in high school I used to have to order him to buy new shoes. He walked everywhere and he’d be wondering why his feet were wet. The soles were all broken.

    So he’s telling me the mayor is FINE and public schools could use “reform” and then his transit system pass stopped working because the mayor sold him out. I got like 50 emails an hour about “privatization” and “corporate capture”. The old system was FINE, he said and now his pass won’t work and he has to travel all over the city. That’s what he does for a living, he does digital payment systems, he knows how they work. so he was furious that they got such a bad one.

    He just told me yesterday he’s voting in what I guess is the IL governor’s primary (?) but he’s NOT HAPPY ABOUT HIS CHOICES.

    I feel we are much closer, mother and son, given this shared rage :)

  143. 143
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    I actually don’t have any problem with the Common Core, as standards for public schools. I’m in the minority there, among the public ed Lefties, but that’s not a bad idea, the CC, it’s just going to be co-opted by grifters. Inevitably. Unless someone intervenes.

    That IS an area where public ed advocates could change the focus and make it great. I think the CC is such an ambitious undertaking that the administration should have dropped the rest and just focused on making that one thing really great. It’s huge. That alone is a big change and a big job.

    I’ll think about what you wrote. I’m not married to anything other than “public”. That’s all I’m trying to protect. I’m open as long as the community function is recognized and there’s no compromise on “public”.

    The basic problem that will be difficult to overcome is trust. They don’t trust Obama and (especially) Duncan on public K-12. There’s so many burned bridges. I don’t know how to overcome that, or even if it’s fixable at this point. They really loathe Duncan, and there’s a lot to loathe there.

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    Yes public may not be great but it is better. So many things in life should not be profit making enterprises. Schools, prisons, public safety to name a few. And it’s not like big profitable companies are so good at what they attempt without regulation either. Fast food, retail, finance, fuels…..
    Back to schools. A computer is a tool and so is anyone who thinks they can replace humans interacting/teaching with other humans with computers.
    My major complaint with public schools is not teaching the lowest common denominator, it is in teaching to only the lowest common denominator. Like you I found school boring. They never tried to teach me to think, they taught me to attend and sit quietly and belong. I needed more and had to find it on my own.

  145. 145
    Kay says:

    @Dalunay:

    They don’t get enough credit when they do innovate, though. I was arguing with this young ed reformer, and he was telling me about his charter had “partnered” with a community college (he’s in Minnesota). He said this like it was this huge innovation, but our rural middle class public high school has offered community college classes since at least 2006. My eldest took one. They have a whole “two plus two” track, where they can get two years of college. Charter schools didn’t invent this.

    It’s hard for me, because there’s this stern, lecturing quality ed reformers adopt when they’re supposedly “partnering” with public school people and it enrages me. I’m a lawyer. If a group of people who don’t do this work “on the ground” arrived and said they were going to “reform” law and bust up the “status quo” lawyers would object to that, loudly. It’s disrespectful. I’m sympathetic to the people who have been earnestly working in public schools for decades. They deserve to be heard and taken seriously. Honestly, I think “reform” fails without them, ultimately. They really do know this work. That has value.

  146. 146
    gian says:

    @Kay:
    In the 1970s my older siblings had classes provided in partnership with U Conn at the public high school called u conn English and math if my memory is correct. New idea? Probably new in the 50s…

  147. 147
    Kay says:

    @gian:

    It’s a great idea, but boy, you have to be a very ambitious 16 year old to complete high school requirements and knock out two years of college. I love that they have to borrow less money when they graduate and go to college and complete the bachelor’s degree but I’m not sure it’s widely applicable. I wasn’t that frugal and self-directed at 16. Not by a mile.

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: An I.B. Diploma can frequently give one a year of college credit. Self-direction and frugality aren’t necessarily what cause one to enter the program though. Usually it is competitiveness and the desire not to be bored – or it was in my case.

  149. 149
    Cervantes says:

    @Dalunay:

    It really hurts Democrats that many of them are not tech-savvy, and that the party doesn’t have a clear stance on important tech issues (or are on the wrong – Hollywood – side of them). The ‘[Millennials]’ are really the first internet generation, and they see the world through that lens.

    So you’re not arguing that Republicans are more “tech-savvy” or that they have “a clear stance on important tech issues”? You’re arguing instead that Democrats could attract unaffiliated Millennials by appealing to their needs and preferences re technology?

    And when you say “[I]nternet generation” are you really referring to the use of “social media”?

    The complaints above about how the press misrepresents things? Irrelevant as far as they are concerned, for the most part the traditional press doesn’t exist for them, except as something their parents yell at.

    I imagine you’re right about this.

  150. 150
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    We get a couple every year. This town does a nice thing where they do a whole newspaper edition on the Graduating Seniors.

    It’s just infuriating to me, how public schools don’t get any credit. Duncan was out last week promoting this charter school that “celebrates” college acceptances. “Public schools should do that”. We do that! I mean, really. These are not new and especially innovative ideas. What does he think was going on before he came along? We do want them to succeed, despite being union thugs ‘n bosses who are stuck in the Status Quo.

    I can’t talk about this subject without wanting to storm the barricades, but this to me is an indication Democrats should check their course on public ed, and I know you’re a sympathizer:

    Not Arne Duncan ‏@notarne 7h
    Tenure must go. How can entrepreneurs take advantage of education as profit sector if they have to hire costly staff?

    There is TONS of this stuff out there. They’re like an underground resistance movement at this point. It’s sort of siloed off from “politics” because it’s so specific and policy-oriented, but it isn’t going away.

    Democrats have to show they value public schools AS public schools. It’s really important to recognize the unique nature of that. It’s the only universal public system we have. Are they committed to it as a public system?

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: Is there anyone in the upper reaches of the educ. side of the administration who came up through K-12 public schools?

  152. 152
    Corner Stone says:

    I don’t get angry about much, but it is hard to express how completely in disagreement I am with every statement made in this thread by Daluny, re: public education.
    The idea that info tech is going to radically change public education in the next 5-10 years is so far out of bounds with reality that I don’t know what else to say about this individual’s comments.
    Who’s going to fund the radical transformation of the physical plants that are public school campuses? Who will walk children from the front lobby to the cafeteria in the morning for breakfast?
    How would one suppose equipping “inner city” schools with the same level of internet access and technological equipment as other “suburban” schools?
    This, collectively, may be one of the most glibertarian sets of comments on education I have unfortunately read in some time.
    You want communities to innovate? Come to my community. In the last 5 years they have killed the IB program as well as the G&T programs. They have termed the school nurse, the art teacher and the librarian. They now get to go to PE with 2 aides, roughly 60 kids per.
    The whole thing smacks of someone who has never actually taken the time to consider what public education is, or what the physical property and it’s employees do on a day to day basis.

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I don’t get angry about much,

    Bad start, but then you hit your stride. Basically, I agree with you.

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m passionate about equality for all.

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    “Hey! I have an idea! Let’s give tablets to all these kids with ADHD and a bunch of unmonitored free time to complete sterile assignments disassociated from their existence!”
    /said no parent, ever

  156. 156
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: But there will be lectures by the best lecturers ever.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I remember back in the times of anachronism, when students could answer questions in a classroom in front of a real live human being.
    And hell, some of them even knew me by name!
    “Johnny Outlaw”, they’d say, “Could you please define for us the difference between anachronistic and outmoded?”

  158. 158
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t know of any. I think that’s part of the problem. To be clear, I don’t have any problem with private schools. But I do think that people who go to a private school don’t have the same experience of a public school’s relationship to place and broader community. I cannot imagine this place without public schools. I don’t know what it would look like. I don’t know what would be the public center. Nothing. It can’t be replaced with a “portfolio” of “choice” schools.

    It’s astonishing to me that they could miss what is real emotion around this. It’s much deeper than union thugs protecting their turf. That depth of emotion to me is an indication that they should pay attention and maybe learn something from people who understand it.

    There was a Texas superintendent at the Austin meeting I went to last weekend, John Kuhn. He gets this on a gut level. I listened to his speech on public schools as a public trust and he would get elected in this town just on that issue. They should listen to him, because we’re not all “shopping” for schools like we shop for consumer products. We built these systems, over decades. They’re ours, good, bad and mediocre. This idea they have that people are just ready to throw in the towel and turn it all over to the private sector is DEEPLY misguided, IMO.

    Charles Pierce is the only famous pundit who gets it. This is his piece on Austin, which is all about Ravitch, but it was much more than Ravitch. It was 400 people from all over the country, and most of them were paying their own way. This is a real commitment for them.

  159. 159
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What I love about is how blase the kids are, and how excited the adults are. My son is not all that impressed with Khan Academy. He likes it, but he also likes Mrs. Bosco. Given a choice, he’s picking her over the Khan lecture with the colored markers on the whiteboard. He’s fascinated that she’s having a baby, for one thing. He has to follow that, see how that comes out.

    They know the internet is a given to these kids, right? It’s not miracle tubes to them? It’s as if they had said to us “you can do MATH with this TV show!” I would have been unimpressed and very skeptical.

  160. 160
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: The admin isn’t “missing it”. It’s another vector of the Big Grift.

  161. 161
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: I am a very lucky parent in that every night I spend some amount of time with my son going over homework and upcoming tests. I tell him, “Listen, just give this three minutes of no BS focus and then you have free time until shower time.”
    And even then it’s a struggle sometimes to just get him to go over 22 vocabulary words.
    The idea that kids across a huge variety of spectrums could possibly benefit from info tech revolutions makes me very angry.

  162. 162
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It scares the hell out of me. I’ve started telling people “you know if you lose it, you’re never getting it back, right?”

    Texas is interesting. The opposition to testing started there and they were the most fired up and most combative at the Austin meeting I went to, although Chicago was also there in force. There’s a populist strain in Texas that runs really deep, I think. I have heard. I hope so, because we need something powerful.

  163. 163
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It’s more complicated than they’re letting on. The idea is they will collect data in real time and that will enable “individualized learning”. I agree with you. I think parents will resist.

    It’s a disaster where they’re demoing it. They used it in the Detroit school takeover, 15 schools, and the kids actually lost ground, which is saying something since they came from the bottom 5% of Detroit schools. They used a program called Buzz that was developed by the woman who runs the “reform” district, so there’s the usual grifter angle that we all know and love.

    I volunteered to get on my districts tech committee. I haven’t been accepted yet, I think being a “public” Democrat here in winger land will hurt my bid, but I want to see this up close. If nothing else, I can stop blatant rip-offs and convince them to skip a fad or two. We’ll be “late adopters”. I’ll go along after pricey private schools all buy into it. I don’t see them doing this. I’ll wait.

  164. 164
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kay: I am scared to death of expectations that Texas will lead any kind of public education. In every suburb of Texas, they hate, fucking hate, public education. All of the whiteys would kill it today, if they could.
    I live in a very middle middle class area and ISD, overall. And I can not begin to describe the battles I have had on the neighborhood message board, the ISD meetings, the elections for School Board, etc and etc.

  165. 165
    Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Well, you could look at that the other way, too. They’re engaged and they’re accustomed to the democratic process for public schools. We have huge fights too, but that’s a function of the centrality of the issue and the fact that it isn’t just current parents. We all own a piece of this, so we all weigh in.
    Milton Friedman’s theory of schools is “choice” would replace “voice”, that’s the tradeoff. The biggest problem ed privatizers have right now is “voice”. They keep clamping down and screaming “choice!” but there’s a long history of public schools in this country and people expect a voice. I think it’s the best defense, having a raucous, engaged public.
    Bill Gates said he wants public education to be a top tier issue in a national election. He may get his wish, but it may not go how he wants. I don’t think he values the “public” in public education, and a lot of us do. They’re already harassing Clinton on it. They want an assurance she’ll support public schools. She’s as hooked into the foundations and think tanks as Obama is, so I see it as a real problem for her, in that she won’t be able to finesse it. The picture is much clearer now than it was in 2008. It’s a real fight.

  166. 166
    gorram says:

    @Dalunay: This is a rather confusing comment. I don’t disagree, but I think you’re saying that the Dems are at a disadvantage when it comes to tech, when everything I can think of about that issue suggests that the GOP is far, far worse. I’m not just talking about ORCA and that sort of stuff, but as early as 2008, Obama was pioneering social media campaigning and I think that’s one of the reasons why he ultimately came out on top (I don’t want to reduce that to marketing though – there were important policy differences I mentioned upthread that mattered to).

    That sort of difference is pretty much standard currency among more political millennials – bqhatevwr isn’t quite legendary, but it’s a known example of a general trend. I won’t say that millennials think of the Democratic party as necessarily tech-competent, but the narratives about tech incompetence are almost always about Republicans, especially the older ones (McCain is a favorite to poke fun at for this in younger circles).

    The issue isn’t that millennials are disengaged from the Democratic Party because of marketing, and thinking that way actually parallels the GOPs insistence that people of color just aren’t hearing their message correctly. Is it really that impossible to understand that significant numbers of millennials could be to the left of the Democratic Party (or rather, it’s delivered policy) on a number of key issues?

  167. 167
    gorram says:

    @Pen:

    In the age of libraries and the internet anyone can, with enough effort, teach themselves whatever they desire.

    Translation: I don’t understand class issues, disability, or other major issues in education that make this argument totally hollow for vast numbers of people.

  168. 168
    Corner Stone says:

    @gorram: While Pen’s conclusion may or may not be a curious summation, IMO, you misread the larger context of what Pen said there.
    I see Pen as saying that generalized instruction is as good as one makes it (given specific access and abilities), and is not the answer moving forward.

  169. 169
    Corner Stone says:

    And, to be clear, I am very disturbed by the state of public education. the older model that’s still in place where kids sit in a room and listen to passive content delivered in segments and then tested on it – is garbage.
    But some radical “info tech” revolution is not the answer either.
    My child’s school has forced more and more responsibility onto the parent, and home education. Way more than was seen just a few years ago.
    And while it is my ultimate responsibility to make sure work is accurate and turned in on time, I’m not sure why it’s my job to come home from work and then instruct my child on how to construct a research paper. An assignment his teachers have never breached or given instruction on. Not how to do research, how to do an outline, a rough draft – nothing.
    How do you assign a 3rd grader a 5 paragraph research paper when you haven’t yet ever taught them how to write a proper introduction sentence to a paragraph? Or how to write a bibliography?
    Public education has suffered mightily due to the sustained assault by wingnuts. I don’t intend to see it finally crater under misapplied glibertarian edicts.

  170. 170
    gorram says:

    @Corner Stone: Access and accessibility are complicated things though, and I see that sort of thinking (that higher education is simply accreditation for what people could and often do achieve on their own) as relying on a simple notion of those that often results in policies that undercut people with certain disabilities and lower class people, among others with similar difficulties “doing it on their own”. That line of thinking shapes how classes are taught, not just how many students are put in them (which, I also agree with the implied conclusion – that lower student-faculty ratios are generally better).

    I see that sort of thinking as making elite education in this country far more difficult for kids outside of the upper middle class (if not the upper class) and without the benefits of neurotypicality. The former in particularly have attracted a lot of press attention in the past few years because many people from especially working class backgrounds who do well in high school (for a variety of reasons) do very poorly in college or other higher education contexts. This is an aspect to it – thinking of those educational contexts as building on previous exposure to related, but simpler material that many students, particularly those from not quite top caliber schools, are potentially missing parts of.

    The assumption that certain “basics” should have either already been covered is a problem. Likewise, the common solution to simply acknowledging this issue is to proclaim that students (who, funnily enough, are also typically the students who have to juggle a job and school at the same time) can and should simultaneously broaden their understanding of the basics outside of class while also studying upper division ramifications of those aspects. The class-related issues of free time, prior educational experience, and other related factors aren’t considered in those ways of tackling this issue, which are encouraged by thinking of education as accreditation rather than a process of learning.

    This entire discussion from start to finish has been defined by those ways of thinking that are unable to confront class issues or meaningfully incorporate them into consideration. Regardless of whether we’re talking about millennials or educational policy, there’s been a consistent theme there of class not being taken seriously within contexts were it needs to be.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @gorram:

    This entire discussion from start to finish has been defined by those ways of thinking that are unable to confront class issues or meaningfully incorporate them into consideration. Regardless of whether we’re talking about millennials or educational policy, there’s been a consistent theme there of class not being taken seriously within contexts were it needs to be.

    I’m not sure what consistent theme or discussion you are referring to in this paragraph.

Comments are closed.