Tag Archives: public policy

Students debating

Balancing perspectives in civics education

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I just listened to this podcast from the New Books in Public Policy podcast, which was an interview of Diana Hess about her new book The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education. There is a lot to the interview and I recommend a listen (as well as subscribing to the podcast on iTunes if you have an interest in Public Policy issues). But I just want to highlight one point today.

She describes a high school in a very progressive district where a large majority of the student population (and their families) have strongly liberal political views. The teacher was perhaps even more liberal than the students. He was teaching about abortion rights and he realized that all of his students were pro-choice and he was intensely so. To be a good teacher, he made it a point to find an outside speaker who could come in and give the pro-life side of the debate.

riot police standing in a line

Natural Field Experiments to Inform Public Policy

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I am sure that many of you are following the news from Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Michael Brown is a tragedy. But the news coverage is also a tragedy, in part because of the sweeping generalizations that many media organizations are making about the police response. Here is the one that drew out my statistical ire the most. The local police confronted the demonstrators wearing body armor and with armored vehicles. There was a violent clash with demonstrators that led to many injuries. Days later, the state police confronted demonstrators without body armor or armored vehicles. There was no clash. So many of the news media concluded that police using body armor and armored vehicles arouse violence…