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Vol 14 - Jed and Andy Tackle the Hairiest Education Problems
Episode 1422nd January 2024 • WonkyFolk • CharterFolk
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Andy:

Hey Jed, how are you?

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Hey Andy, good to see you.

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It's good to see you.

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It's good to see you.

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Jed: It's been a while since

the holidays, but the first time

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I've seen you so happy new year.

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Andy: Thank you I appreciate I appreciate

that:

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a bumpy start here, but we're things

are things are looking up Um, um,

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we're looking forward Uh, it's great

to see you and we get the podcast.

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It's just the two of us today but

we've got some uh, we've got some

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cool guests coming up and What looks

like it'll be our first live episode.

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We'll have more details, but

we've been invited to, uh, be the

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plenary session in an education

conference and record live there.

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So I have no idea who came up

with that bad idea and they'll

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probably be jobless pretty soon.

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Um, we're gonna, we're gonna give it a go.

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Jed: Yeah.

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Both these guests and the live recording

could really like just pull back the mask

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and reveal us to be completely clueless

about what we're really doing here.

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But, um, it's fun that people are

inviting us and that the recording seems

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to be resonating with a lot of people.

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Andy: Well, our technician wanted me

to, I was like, I didn't want to have

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my mic in the picture when he said,

that's what you're supposed to do.

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So we even have like fancy podcaster mics.

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Jed: Well, um, we'll, uh, we'll see

what happens here when we get in

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front of a live audience and we can't

go back and re record it six times.

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Like we've actually been doing it,

just not disclosing to our audience.

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Exactly.

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Andy: They were actually, we're actually

reading from a script paid for by our

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billionaire or our bill, our billionaire

backers and people actually discovered.

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Live they're gonna be able

to see the teleprompters.

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Jed: Well, it's not like we bring

any um, attitude of I don't know.

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What's the word i'm looking for here.

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It's not like we don't bring um a

creative idea to all of the content that

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we're generating here like Your furriest

post here from just a couple days ago.

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Yeah,

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Andy: we can talk about that But I think

you're I think it is a safe bet There

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is no one watching this podcast who's

thinking like oh, yeah These guys have

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this all scripted out and and planned and

so forth ahead of time Uh, I think no one

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anyone is in more than a couple of minutes

is not gonna be laboring into that.

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Uh that illusion Yes, what would you do if

I told you And i'll actually tell you like

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when I first heard about this my thought

process If I told you there was a bill in

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an American state to have kids who come to

school dressed as furries, so we can talk

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about what a furry is in a sec, removed,

and if the parents didn't take them home,

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the animal control would pick them up.

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I mean, Would you think that

I, that that was just bullshit?

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I was just messing around with you

or would you think that was real?

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Jed: Unfortunately, my experience

working in legislatures now for more

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than 15 years, nothing surprises me.

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Not even that Andy.

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Andy: All right.

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You're even more cynical than I am.

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I'm pretty cynical.

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But when someone sent that to me, I

thought they were playing a joke and I

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thought it was actually sort of funny.

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And then I realized.

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This is actually real.

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We'll talk about the legislation.

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And then the second time when somebody

sent the bill sponsor talking about it,

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I again thought this had to be made up.

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But local journalists were retweeting,

obviously know this person is, you

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know, you know, could recognize them.

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And, uh, and so it turned

out that was real too.

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We could talk about all that.

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So the back story is there is a bill

in Oklahoma that's been introduced and

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there's been, it's not the first one.

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There's a little bit of a

legislative history or some

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different things there in Oklahoma.

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Yeah.

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Um, with everything going on with schools,

the thing that some people are most

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upset about is furries, which are people

who identify or dress up as animals.

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Um, some, some teens do this,

some adults, um, obviously most of

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us do it when we're little kids.

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Um, and there's been

some other legislation.

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This one is intended, uh, to ban

furries from school activities.

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So if a kid shows up.

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Dressed like that they are then

not allowed to participate and if

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their parents won't come get them

animal control will so like There's

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a lot to unpack here That's a lot of

words most of which are absolutely

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crazy and so there's a lot to unpack

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Jed: I just wonder What is the legislator

saying in in his or her district

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about the gravity of this issue?

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I mean, what do you think got

it going in the first place?

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Did some irate constituent bring

it to him or her or I mean, how

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do you think he even gets going?

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Andy: Oh, I don't know in his video

about it He does make a point which

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I I do think is honestly it's hard to

dispute I can't dispute which is that

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you can't teach cats to count and I mean

i'm not I'm, not an expert on cats, but

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that does like intuitively make sense

to me But we're not talking about cats.

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We're talking about potentially a

kid maybe dressed as a cat or with

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cat ears or something or a cat tail.

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Um, so, uh, so it doesn't really apply.

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But I mean, that's that's

like the one point you I do

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think it's kind of inarguable.

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You probably cannot teach

a cat to to actually count.

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Um, Uh, so I don't know what is driving it

actually have a theory of what's driving.

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We can talk about that a second.

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That's a little bit more serious.

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Um, the thing I found interesting

about it, though, it showed I'm

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not even sure it's well thought

through because this person obviously

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thinks and I do believe the same

legislature was caught up in this hole.

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You may remember a year or two

ago, there was a whole bullshit

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hoax that like, Schools were

providing litter boxes to kids.

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And of course it wasn't true, but it's

one of these things that was too good to

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check and it tied into some other culture

war stuff, which again, we'll talk some

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of the more serious stuff behind this.

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Um, and I think this guy

was, was part of that.

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Um, but the part I found interesting,

honestly, is if his whole thing

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is, this is made up, it's not real.

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These aren't real identities.

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You shouldn't respect them.

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Like if you're saying.

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We're going to get animal control.

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I mean, animal control.

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It's right there in the name.

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It's animal control.

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You're essentially validating

the identity by doing this.

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So I'm not even sure like that.

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He thought it through in terms of what

he was saying, because I would assume

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some segment of people who want to

identify as animals would be happy to

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be Recognized that way by the state

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Jed: and he must think that there are

political points to score by doing

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this There's something about some

deep human identity That is at risk

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within the current society that needs

protection and this is his way To signal

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that he's serious about these issues,

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Andy: I guess And I will

I guess I will share.

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I mean, there's two things One, this

is one of these people who you can

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just tell he is liberty loving and

freedom loving and all the rest.

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And I do think, um, an aspect missing

from our culture wars on a lot of this

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stuff is if you are for freedom, you

should be for letting people express

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themselves basically however they want.

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insofar as it doesn't affect others

and people dressing up as animals or

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identifying as animals like that has no,

I mean, that doesn't, has no, it's not

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what I'm into, but it has no resonance.

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Like it doesn't matter, um, to my life.

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Right.

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So go, if that makes you

happy, like go do it.

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Um, and I do think, uh, the political

left has, has, has failed to sort of put

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a freedom frame around a lot of this.

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And there is just an enormous

contradiction around a lot of this, which

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is people who are like, I'm for freedom,

and I'm for, you know, don't tread on me,

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yadda yadda, and then, uh, you know, get

up in arms and end up taking, like, very

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coercive positions, and I feel like that's

been, that's a place where mishandled

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these cultural issues, that is wrong.

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Jed: Well, I just find the

lawmaking related to public

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education policy right now.

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Off the mark, you know, is it

furrious or is it spurious?

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I I find that you know,

um, I wrote something

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Andy: That's not part of the podcast.

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We're gonna pause A lot of puns

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Jed: Yes.

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Well, I mean as far as it wasn't quite

a pun, but it was at least a rhyme.

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I I wrote something Um, where I said,

when cursive becomes discursive, a couple

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weeks ago and I talked about how in the

California legislature, the year, the six

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year mandate to teach cursive writing in

elementary schools passed unanimously.

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Unanimously.

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Nothing passes unanimously

in the California Assembly.

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I had to Google and look for some.

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There were two other bills I could find.

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One actually was a serious one.

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We'll leave that one aside.

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The other one, it's serious also, but

just reflects something so nonsensical.

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There was a bill that gave vets, I mean

veterinarians, the ability to serve their,

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their, their patients with, with telecare.

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So if you, if you've got a, a, a, you

know, a dog or whatever with a, with

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a, with a fur infection or whatever

it is, it's now legal in the state of

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California to show your pet's ailment.

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To your veterinarian via

telehealth the thing that just

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comes up is when did it ever pass?

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When did the law ever pass in

the past that it was not okay?

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For an owner to a pet owner to show

something to their veterinarian but

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these are the kinds of laws that need

to get taken off the books because

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they're just So ridiculous and

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Andy: there are too many laws

and I think we can like that.

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That's a like I think that's like a

general problem And like it affects

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it that that cuts across and obviously

anytime you have a law at some level

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It's going to have to be enforced

And so you should be like this law is

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important enough that I am comfortable

having it enforced And we've seen as

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we've seen sometimes that you know That

enforced me to get people interacting

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with police for trivial things and

that can go that can go badly Um,

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that's gonna be an issue with teachers

on one of all these rules in school.

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Teachers are gonna have to

enforce all those various rules.

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And so you should think about that.

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So I do think that's an issue and you

do just have like both just sort of

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archaic laws that are left and then

just like too many laws about too many.

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Things I don't think you have

to be like some like radical

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libertarian to to think that

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Jed: and we're in an era where people

Where policymakers just have no idea

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what to do in education that we've got

serious problems and no one can address

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them Substantively so they end up

Passing these other laws that I don't

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think make any sense whether whether or

not you teach cursive in an elementary

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school I think it's an important

decision Yes, and each school or and

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you can make some fairly compelling

arguments that the act of learning

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cursive Is good for brain development

and all those kinds of I hear it.

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I hear it but the idea that you're

going to Mandate that for six years

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when I told that to my my teenagers.

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They happen to be there When I first saw

the story, they thought it was a joke.

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They thought it was

something out of the onion.

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What?

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Six years of learning cursive?

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No guys, this is actually serious, right?

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But, you know, we have this need now to

be involved in education in some way.

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And in the past we were engaging

on serious reform issues.

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Some which turned out okay, some which

didn't, but mostly all the substantive

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real reform stuff is on the sidelines now.

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And we're doing these, these other things,

which I think are completely off topic.

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Andy: Well, you and I have

talked about that in the past.

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I think like politics abhors a

vacuum and we've created one.

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There's no arguments in

front of school boards.

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We're not talking, even in the wake

of the pandemic, we're not really

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talking about teaching and learning.

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And so all this other stuff.

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Comes rushing in which is all this

culture war, uh kinds of things front

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again And I know people as soon as I say

this people cringe but like from both

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sides both sides of the side We're not

talking about academics Let's bring all

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of our favored things in into schools

And you end up that becomes a place

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where people go to fight over this stuff

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Jed: Yeah, I mean in my first

post of the year at charter folk.

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I wrote about The DeSantis folks,

um, basically restricting the

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teaching of slavery in California.

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Meanwhile, the San Francisco School

Board, you know, they had a mural where

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there were slaves that were presented

and they want to cover the mural.

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Both sides want to cover history

or represent history or whatever

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it is, and it's this viewing of

public education as a landscape.

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Um, or a canvas upon which you

can paint your political pictures

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that creates so much dysfunction.

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Look at Macron just this week in France.

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He wants a political reset.

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He wants to put himself

further to the right.

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One of the first things that he's doing,

let's have school uniforms and let's

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have limitations on, on Muslim, uh, art.

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You know, we're in, in, in

schools and these kinds of things.

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And, uh, somehow or another, we

need to find a buffer between our

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schools and those legislative,

those political impulses.

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I don't know how we do it, but you know,

hopefully over time we figure out a way.

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Andy: I honestly think part of it

is having a resetting with an agenda

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that's around teaching and learning

and being serious about that.

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And part of it is, as the kids

say, they say on the Internet,

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people need to touch grass.

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I mean, some of this is just like,

who the hell has the time for this?

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Right?

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And if you're this spun up about

stuff like asking yourself,

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like, why do you actually care?

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And how much does this matter?

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And I would not say that.

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I think there are things in schools

that are worth like fighting about.

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There's been overreach on the

right and the left and all of that.

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But it does not mean everything is.

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And now people are a point

where everything becomes,

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um becomes a battleground.

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And I think that's and some of it is

like people need to if we cannot have

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politics and particularly education

politics be sort of the local sport,

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you have to have Other stuff that that

people are into or this just takes over

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and and the end result is you get this

sort of you get This sort of craziness.

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Jed: We also have this curse of short

term thinking if we look at like the

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fiscal cliff that we're now approaching

Anybody could have seen all the

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way back in 2020 when we were first

passing these things Do we need to pass

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some things to make sure that there

weren't going to be layoffs within?

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Uh, organizations and where there

are incremental things we could do

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maybe around learning loss, but the

just shit ton of money that fell on

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these bureaucracies and these highly

politicized environments, uh, and

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knowing that the money is going to go

away three years later, we could have

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foreseen what was going to happen.

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The, uh, additional staff that were,

uh, that were hired the additional.

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Um, uh, compensation that was offered

to those staff and how when the money

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went away, there was going to be a

trauma imposed upon all public education

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that will probably contribute to

another couple of years of these school

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districts and others being unable to

stay focused on, on learning loss and

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the most important needs of our kids.

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So I don't know what it is about, I don't

know if there's any way this is just.

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The politics of of of education or is

there a way for us to infuse into The

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discussion some longer term thinking

so that we avoid unnecessary mistakes.

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Andy: Yeah Well, it's an end up

in the whole the whole thing.

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It's fascinating just in the sense

that like both I mean, the Trump and

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Biden COVID policies until recently,

the administration just this week put

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out some, you know, some new stuff and

they're doubling down on some stuff

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they've been trying to do, but that was

basically put the money out there and

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let people do whatever they want with it.

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And when you're talking about like,

you know, 190 billion for K 12, I

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think a reasonable person would ask

like, Like, first of all, should

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some fraction of that actually be for

structural kinds of reform that we need?

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But more than that, if you're going to

put out 190, like, what is the reciprocal

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kinds of things you're going to ask

for, for that, if you're going to invest

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that, like, then what are the, what

are the asks going to be around policy?

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And both the, the Biden people at

the beginning of the administration

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and the Trump people seem sort of

similarly disinterested in those kinds

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of policy questions, and that's a

problem that's coming home to roost now.

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The debate, best I can tell, you

watched, I mean, to the extent, you

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know, there are some smart education

people on Twitter, and the debate

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seems to be whether all the money

was wasted or just some of the money.

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Um, uh, I'm in camp some, I don't

think it was all wasted, but surely

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Jed: I'm in camp almost.

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Andy: Is that the best we can do?

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Jed: I'm in camp almost all.

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Andy: It's a lot.

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I mean, I do think some of it hasn't

still hasn't been actually reported

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well, so we still don't know.

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Um, that's what's creating the sense.

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A lot of it's not, you

know, not even spent.

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A lot of the reporting is bad, but yeah,

a lot of it went to one time things.

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You saw there's school districts

that they didn't, they had more

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than they knew what to do with.

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So you were getting sort of

these random acts of bonusing

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teachers and stuff like that.

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Um, It wasn't plan for the administration.

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One of the things they did this week

is basically on certain activities.

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You can spend the money out longer and you

can see what they're trying to do, which

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is incentivize people to use it on good

stuff in exchange for some flexibility,

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which is great, but you know, it better,

better late than never, but it is.

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It is late.

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Jed: Yeah, I just think that there

are some things that we know are wrong

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with the way our schools are set up

financially, economically, and we should

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have those problems out in front of

everyone, such that if there are moments

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when new resources come available.

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We've got a general sense of

priorities about what are the

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things that we need to address.

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And then, of course, in the

near term moment, the political

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imperative will probably be to

not fund those longer term things.

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But at least they make a choice

to, to refuse to, you know, to

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address those other issues while

they address something else.

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Andy: Some of that is more

transparency too, right?

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Jed: Totally.

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Absolutely.

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Absolutely.

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Andy: People, it's a, it's a, it's,

you know, often when you pull on these

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various social phenomena that people

argue about, you find out people are

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like, you know, their estimates of

prevalence of things and so forth is

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wildly off and people's estimates of

education spending are wildly off.

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And then when you, I mean, there's

ample polling on this, and then when you

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actually give them accurate data, their

views on education spending actually.

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change.

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So there's just a huge problem with just

transparency and sort of shadow boxing.

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And it's, you know, it's always

an easy play to say schools

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are underfunded because it

intuitively makes sense to people.

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And in some cases they certainly

are, but it's usually, you know,

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more complicated, particularly as you

aggregate up to larger units, like within

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like a whole state, um, and so forth.

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And There's just tons of confusion

about this because there's no

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transparency and then the media echoes

it and or it is presents both sides

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with like very little empiricism.

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So, like, the debate goes on

without, like, anyone bothering.

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So there actually are, like, numbers

and facts here that we can look at.

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Jed: Then charter schools get presented

as non transparent, which is just so

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absurd in comparison to what we see

within the public education establishment.

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I, I often call for us to support policies

that would require school districts

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to approve budgets down to the school

level and get their audits down to the

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school level, not based upon FTEs, but

actual dollars spent because so many

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charter school laws are set up such that.

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Even if you won't operate multiple

sites, you still have to approve budgets

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and get audits down to the site level.

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And when you don't have those kinds of

things, that's what allows Washington, D.

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C.

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to suck money away from southeast and

subsidize the schools over in northwest.

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Or where I taught in south central Los

Angeles to suck the money away from

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our schools to subsidize the schools

in woodland hills in the west side.

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So, um, but we don't, we aren't crisp

on what are these foundational needs.

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And because of that, when moments

of opportunity arise, when a new

358

:

bill is going to get pushed through

quickly, we don't have the ideas

359

:

there and we make mistakes yet again.

360

:

Andy: Yeah, I think, and one thing you're

on to just There's a lot of slippage in

361

:

that, uh, from district to school level.

362

:

And some of that is sort of how roles

are coded and it leads to confusion

363

:

about like administrative costs, but

some of it also there's just slippage.

364

:

And that's where you see,

you're like, wait a minute,

365

:

um, this doesn't make sense.

366

:

And, and, and divisions are.

367

:

I think in school districts are

trying to do better in some cases

368

:

there, but it's really opaque.

369

:

And that's where, you know, there's a lot

of, there's a lot of, uh, confusion in

370

:

some cases, uh, mischief I should use.

371

:

Um, I don't use this podcast

much to plug the weather work.

372

:

I probably should.

373

:

We have a whole body of

work on school finance.

374

:

It's on our website.

375

:

I urge people to look at like, how

do you actually get to transparent,

376

:

equitable school finance systems?

377

:

And it's happening in some cool places.

378

:

We've done a lot of work in Tennessee.

379

:

And we've got some stuff up about

sort of how that all came together.

380

:

And, um, you know, which I think to

some people would seem like an unlikely

381

:

place to have a terrific school finance

overhaul, but they did a great job.

382

:

Uh, um, yeah.

383

:

And so I'd encourage people to check that.

384

:

I do think Finance is gonna be a

big issue, uh, in the next few years

385

:

because of these macro, uh, conditions.

386

:

Jed: And I think the transparency down

to the school level is so important

387

:

because I think school districts can

be so big and it's just impossible

388

:

to get an intuitive sense if you're a

parent or if you're a community member

389

:

about What how the district should be

operating but when you can see down to

390

:

your school level How much money they

have there and how much money is being

391

:

sucked away or something like that?

392

:

The other piece too is when it gets

down to unfunded liabilities when it

393

:

gets down to pensions You know the

thing that drives me crazy, you know in

394

:

in south los angeles We never had any

of the senior teachers in our school.

395

:

All the senior teachers

were in the west Right.

396

:

All the ones that were generating the

pensions and the unfunded liabilities,

397

:

they never worked in our school.

398

:

Right?

399

:

But our school now ends up being stuck

with the equitable share of paying for

400

:

something that we never benefited from.

401

:

Andy: Have you seen this thing

in New York on this, Jed?

402

:

Have you seen the class

size thing in New York?

403

:

Jed: I've seen the class

size requirement now.

404

:

What are you referring to?

405

:

Andy: Which is going to have a similar

effect to what you're talking about.

406

:

It is basically a massive wealth

transfer out of schools serving poor

407

:

kids, serving black kids, serving

hispanic kids into like, you know,

408

:

schools serving more up, more, uh,

economically upmarket New Yorkers.

409

:

It is crazy.

410

:

Jed: And

411

:

Andy: meanwhile, these people can't,

everybody's like, we're for equity.

412

:

It's like, this is like

a reverse equity play.

413

:

It's like, it is like Donald Trump's Tax

plan if it were an education plan and

414

:

suddenly everyone's like struck mute.

415

:

It's crazy

416

:

Jed: Well, this is really off topic but

I had a fascinating conversation with

417

:

people in Florida right now about the new

universal voucher program and How people

418

:

are topping off their vouchers with their

own private, you know tuition payment.

419

:

It's giving Many of the private schools

more money now To hire the best teachers

420

:

and so they're really sucking people

away from charter schools and from

421

:

traditional public schools because they've

got an ability to pay something that

422

:

nobody else can and so There are these

decisions that we make that have these

423

:

kinds of ramifications and we should

be thinking them through more carefully

424

:

Andy: Yeah, and I know this is

a topic for down the road I know

425

:

you're very bullish on charters

right now and their growth potential.

426

:

I I somewhat am but like You can also

see a squeeze play where charters

427

:

get like you've got these private

programs going very robustly and

428

:

growing in the very popular parents.

429

:

You've got the traditional

public schools in some cases.

430

:

Coming even like a provider of

last resort and then charters get

431

:

kind of get kind of squeezed there.

432

:

Jed: Yeah, I wrote this week about the

biggest news in iowa being that there

433

:

are eight new charter schools that are

set up But what that didn't uh report

434

:

on is that two years from now The

voucher program which is now restricted

435

:

to just low income families in iowa

will soon be universal And so where

436

:

is all the energy going to go toward

the 10th 12th and 15th charter school?

437

:

Are people going to say forget it's

too complicated to do a charter?

438

:

Let me open up a bunch of

private schools in Iowa.

439

:

So I think what you're talking

about is a very real phenomenon.

440

:

I still remain bullish on charter

schools, but uh, this is a

441

:

reality we have to contend with.

442

:

Andy: After Iowa this week, are

you still bullish on democracy?

443

:

Jed: I hear you want to

talk about higher ed.

444

:

Andy: We should talk about higher ed,

but um, it just beside one, one of the

445

:

thought on this, on this fiscal cliff

thing that I do think it's also it like,

446

:

and this is obviously not the biggest

problem because it's a, it's a rhetorical

447

:

one and a political one to some extent,

but I do think it also, it just distorts

448

:

the politics and the, and the finance

about finance and the conversation.

449

:

Because now you have this situation.

450

:

These are one time dollars.

451

:

But like this is so predictable.

452

:

As soon as they start to wear

down, suddenly you've got everyone

453

:

screaming about budget cuts.

454

:

And often the media just sort of

courageously repeats those claims.

455

:

It's like, no, these were

one time dollars, you know,

456

:

but you've now baked them in.

457

:

And so now you're claiming

your budget's being cut.

458

:

Um, and it just again, it confuses people.

459

:

It distorts our politics, makes it

that much harder to have a sensible

460

:

conversation around schools and is sort

of abetted by the lack of transparency.

461

:

Let's see.

462

:

And, and again, that's not like the

biggest, that's not a reason to not

463

:

do one time slugs of money sometimes

are necessary, but it does just,

464

:

it does just add to this sort of

pervasive, um, uh, pervasive confusion

465

:

here about like education finance.

466

:

Jed: Well, I think education finance

is going to come back as a central

467

:

discussion point because I don't think we

are very far away from the Republicans.

468

:

In congress starting to become much

more insistent That title one and other

469

:

dollars can flow to these universal

voucher programs that they have no way

470

:

of paying for at the state level and

the possible rending of Uh, national

471

:

policy makers over that issue seems, I

will be surprised if that isn't true.

472

:

Andy: I don't think they

have the votes for that.

473

:

I think what you'll see again is this

like phenomenon where you got a lot of

474

:

moderate Republicans who aren't really

on that on board with school choice.

475

:

And I just, I don't think

they have the votes.

476

:

And frankly, given how they run

the place, I don't think they have

477

:

a majority for very long either.

478

:

Um, I don't know.

479

:

I don't know, uh, that you, I,

I, I have a lot of trouble seeing

480

:

that get through the Senate too.

481

:

Jed: We'll see,

482

:

Andy: argue about a lot.

483

:

We argue about a lot.

484

:

And it could also get superseded by

other, you know, um, uh, various state

485

:

policies, you know, and, and so forth.

486

:

So it's, but I'm, I'm not,

I just think congress even.

487

:

Trump came in last time saying

he was going to do a big,

488

:

uh, education choice bill.

489

:

And we all saw, you

know, that went nowhere.

490

:

Jed: Well, I tend to

think that money speaks.

491

:

And we got already eight states that

are on their way to universal vouchers.

492

:

Uh, probably all said and done

will be between 12 and 15 that

493

:

we'll get there eventually.

494

:

And none of them have a way to

pay for these universal vouchers.

495

:

And I don't think that they're

going to want to raise taxes

496

:

in their states to pay for it.

497

:

Or they're going to minimize how much.

498

:

And so they're going

to turn to Washington.

499

:

It could very well be.

500

:

That the republicans from other

states are going to say tough crap

501

:

to you guys that did it and leave

them hanging my Personal assessment.

502

:

Well, whatever it could be it could go.

503

:

Andy: This is interesting You might be

I mean, I think like you could I want

504

:

to hear more about this because you may

You may be seeing a big sleeper issue

505

:

Jed: So we'll see, we'll see.

506

:

But I know you've got this, this higher

ed thing you've been texting me and

507

:

emailing me about and, uh, and I'm just

curious to hear what your thinking is.

508

:

I have some of my own ideas, but

I'm not nearly as deep in this area.

509

:

And we've talked about having a guest

on here in the next couple months too,

510

:

but what's been, what's been this,

what started your ruminating on this?

511

:

Andy: Just realizing just like there's

got to be a cheaper way to turn

512

:

your kids into Marxists than this.

513

:

That's what's got me, uh, that's

what's got me ruminating on it.

514

:

Um,

515

:

I mean, the last few months, I'm not

telling anyone anything they don't,

516

:

they don't obviously know have been

really rough on higher ed at a time

517

:

higher ed can, can, can afford it.

518

:

And it's like, it's like a perfect

storm, people questioning the

519

:

values of credentials and so forth.

520

:

And then all the stuff around the

political issues and so forth.

521

:

And, and And, and, you know, just

that, like, fairly obvious, but

522

:

well executed trap that the college

presidents walked into on Capitol Hill.

523

:

Jed: Yeah, I think the loss of, of

standing that our higher ed institutions

524

:

have seen in the last A few years, but

also there was an article in the wall

525

:

street journal this morning that really

ties this back to 30 year trends or

526

:

something there about Again, bringing it

back to dollars and cents what I think

527

:

starts it all off in a very You know scary

direction is just the unsustainability

528

:

of how how expensive it's become and when

you have A general recognition that the

529

:

amount of money that we're spending 300,

000 more or more per kid and send you get

530

:

an undergraduate degree from a private

school, at least a third of that, if it's

531

:

going to be even to a state school, right?

532

:

Is a underlying condition from which all

sorts of other confidence can be lost.

533

:

Then you feather in, so you got

something that just economically

534

:

doesn't make any sense.

535

:

Then you've got the politicization

of, you know, the academies.

536

:

And, and then you've got, you know, the

latest political challenges and it just

537

:

seemed like this moment when confidence in

higher ed is evaporating before our eyes.

538

:

Andy: Yeah.

539

:

I mean the one that I hear you, the,

I think it's so much in my experience

540

:

on higher ed is like holding multiple

ideas in your head at the same time.

541

:

Like college is like expensive.

542

:

You know, there's some problems.

543

:

It's also a pretty good idea to go.

544

:

Um, and I think with the, with the

cost, like it's really expensive.

545

:

If you're a low income kid with good

grades, it's actually going to be

546

:

extremely, um, affordable for you.

547

:

There's a, there's a range

of options and so forth.

548

:

And like, I worry the cost

conversation is dissuading kids.

549

:

You should go that we, and it's

almost like we've got this.

550

:

Like, and this goes to charters, you've

got this, like, infrastructure of schools

551

:

that are very serious about sending

kids to college, and in some cases are

552

:

very, very good at it, and then we're

also, like, talking down college at the

553

:

same time, and I feel like we should,

we, we need to get our story straight,

554

:

and our story, getting it straight does

mean sometimes holding multiple things.

555

:

In your head, um, uh, at the, at the same

time, it seemed contradictory, but are

556

:

all actually going on at the same time.

557

:

Jed: Yeah.

558

:

The contradictory things I, I think

about lead back to the late sixties,

559

:

which is when they first started

creating guaranteed student loans.

560

:

And then in the end of the Carter years

and early Reagan years, taking the caps

561

:

off the amount that people could borrow.

562

:

And in each of those areas, you just see

the inflation just spike up incredibly.

563

:

Although I saw, I once saw an

analysis of Yale's tuition from like

564

:

1806 to 1969, and it had not ever

surpassed the rate of inflation.

565

:

And then 69, when guaranteed

student loans first entered the

566

:

equation, it's exploded since then.

567

:

And part of this.

568

:

Is this the, the, you know, holding

multiple things in your mind at once.

569

:

One thing is, hey, it was expensive

and there were a lot of kids

570

:

that we wanted to get to college

who weren't able to get there.

571

:

We needed to figure out some way to do it.

572

:

Um, and then on the other side, it's

like, well, hey, if we do the wrong

573

:

thing, you know, we're going to undermine

the economics of the entire industry.

574

:

Isn't there some way to handle this?

575

:

I think that what we find is that

the most politically viable things,

576

:

as FDR and as LBJ taught us, are

programs where everyone can benefit.

577

:

And so when everybody gets a guaranteed

student loan, whether you need it or

578

:

not, now you have just undermined the

economics of the entire industry and

579

:

things just, you know, get out of hand.

580

:

Whereas if we've been

able to be more strategic.

581

:

Narrow the the eligibility of guaranteed

student loans to the lowest, uh income

582

:

kids or maybe just giving outright

grants Rather than than these than

583

:

these loans But the problem is that when

people don't see what they're going to

584

:

get out of it Now you have a program

that doesn't have enough constituents

585

:

and you can't sustain it over time.

586

:

So, um,

587

:

Andy: yeah well, I think like you're

like one of the things that I always

588

:

found peculiar about higher ed is

all these people who argued that even

589

:

though there was all this Federal money

and subsidies they would have no Uh,

590

:

effect on the behavior of the colleges.

591

:

how they behave, have no effect

on on prices and everything else.

592

:

And you're like that.

593

:

If that were true, that would be weird

because that would be like one of the

594

:

few places where you don't see that.

595

:

Um, and then you've got these people

like Art Hopman would be a good

596

:

example as an analyst who kind of would

what he would call bullshit on this.

597

:

And he kind of got drummed out of

polite higher ed company because of it.

598

:

And it was like, it just seems

obvious that that is to some extent

599

:

the case that we should think about.

600

:

How do you build in counter

incentives to, to, to address that?

601

:

Um, that's always,

that's always struck me.

602

:

Um, uh, that's always struck me as

peculiar and college costs have gone

603

:

up and we don't talk, honestly, in

some cases they've gone up because

604

:

there's a battle over amenities.

605

:

There's obviously a battle over prestige.

606

:

And during the pandemic, something I found

very interesting was people were less

607

:

concerned often at elite schools that.

608

:

They didn't care so much about like

disrupted classes online and quality.

609

:

It was just, do we still get the

degree if you put the time in?

610

:

And it was like, it made very transparent

what was, what was going on here.

611

:

And then.

612

:

Another thing, I think this will be the

episode where Andy plugs Bellwether work.

613

:

Um, one of our partners, Alex Cortez,

is leading a project we call Admissions,

614

:

part of our beta, and it's about,

like, essentially this issue that

615

:

what really matters is less schools

than programs, and we do a terrible

616

:

job communicating that to kids.

617

:

And so it matters what you study,

where, not just where you go.

618

:

And that like, you know, some of these

like really big name brand schools,

619

:

depending on your major, you may not

actually be setting yourself up for

620

:

success in at least in economic terms.

621

:

Um, there's there's intrinsic

reasons, obviously, that

622

:

people study things as well.

623

:

Um, but the kids don't even

have this information, right?

624

:

And so they're not making, you know,

good choices that, you know, the

625

:

example I hear a lot is like you're, you

know, you're better, you're better off

626

:

studying, like, from an economic return

standpoint, computer science at a school

627

:

like UMass Boston, then studying, um,

uh, you know, a whole bunch of humanities

628

:

majors, um, at really elite schools.

629

:

And What we're trying to do a bunch

of work on is how do you create better

630

:

information signaling systems so people

can just make much more informed choices

631

:

because you should go to college,

like, especially if you're poor.

632

:

The evidence is very clear.

633

:

It's like the best social mobility

strategy we have, but you shouldn't

634

:

just do it as a random draw.

635

:

You should do it an intentional.

636

:

Jed: Yeah, there are so many things

that we could just talk about it in

637

:

terms of, uh, higher ed and, um, this

article in the Wall Street Journal.

638

:

Andy: What did you think about

the whole Claudine Gay thing?

639

:

And, you know, Liz McGill, like,

I feel like it was like, It was,

640

:

it was, they obviously screwed up.

641

:

People don't want donors

calling the shots though.

642

:

Although like everybody knows donors

kind of do call the shots in some ways.

643

:

Like it just seemed like it actually

seemed like a very complicated situation.

644

:

It just happened to fit into

everybody's culture war priors.

645

:

Jed: Yeah.

646

:

I don't think I have anything.

647

:

You know, very unique or

of my own to say here.

648

:

It just seems as though it's the hypocrisy

of saying that they're not going to

649

:

deem something unacceptable in, in

that moment when they have had decades

650

:

of deeming other things unacceptable.

651

:

And Um, some people seem to think

that this is a watershed moment and it

652

:

will lead to more of the universities

adopting a University of Chicago

653

:

approach where they don't do that any

longer and they really try to create

654

:

a citadel wherein we can genuinely

share ideas that we find offensive.

655

:

And others think something

different than that.

656

:

I don't know enough to know whether or

not this is an actual watershed or not.

657

:

I think it did at least point

to the degree of the problem.

658

:

And I think it, it also reveals why

so many Republicans and others are

659

:

starting to say to their kids, they

don't even want their kids to go there.

660

:

Um, because the, the Citadel has

become, you know, what it has become.

661

:

Andy: Yeah, I do think that and

it's interesting watching it.

662

:

My understanding is early

decision applications at Harvard

663

:

were, for instance, were way

664

:

Jed: way down.

665

:

Andy: Yeah.

666

:

Yeah.

667

:

You know, I, I worry it could be

a big moment where we actually

668

:

start to have a conversation about

what free speech would look like.

669

:

on campus, which is not, you

know, I do think one aspect is not

670

:

totally campus is not public square.

671

:

This is not, you know, the

speaker's corner at Hyde Park.

672

:

You've got, it's a residential setting.

673

:

There's a lot.

674

:

And so it, it, it, you, you need

to be, you need to be careful here.

675

:

Um, but it could lead to, and obviously.

676

:

I totally agree with you.

677

:

I wrote a piece about it.

678

:

We can put in the show notes like it's

the hypocrisy is what did them in if

679

:

you're like, yeah, canceling speakers and

disciplining students for all this stuff.

680

:

And then you're like, well, genocide.

681

:

I don't know.

682

:

It depends.

683

:

Like, that's that's not tenable.

684

:

Um, but, um, it could also lead

to where they say, you know what,

685

:

this is the only way to do that.

686

:

We're going to restrict all this stuff.

687

:

And so I worry, like, 1 model

is people like, yeah, the

688

:

University of Chicago has a point.

689

:

Another model is we're going to like.

690

:

Actually like just double down on a bunch

of the stuff and just include more stuff

691

:

under it and you get a more stifling Uh

intellectual climate than than then what

692

:

we've had in that and that's no good

693

:

Jed: Yeah, that's so that's a big, you

know, that's an additional problem there

694

:

I think uh, I thought it was fascinating

in this wall street journal article to

695

:

see that And I don't know where they got

the data here, but they said that kids in

696

:

college spend way less time in class And

they spend way less time actually studying

697

:

and they have way higher grades than

in the past I I wrote one of my little

698

:

teaser charter photo I put a link but I

didn't put the screenshot like I often do

699

:

And I had a lot of people I had several

hundred click on that one to find out

700

:

what it was It was a snapshot of the grade

point average of harvard changing over

701

:

the last hundred years or something like

that And it's gone from like about a 2.

702

:

2 average In the 1940s

or something like that.

703

:

It was up to 3.

704

:

8, an average GPA of 3.

705

:

8 in 2022.

706

:

And I heard that in 2020 or that 221

in:

707

:

9.

708

:

Andy: This is an enormous problem.

709

:

You give a kid a B minus, it's an issue.

710

:

Um, uh, B plus is, it can be an issue.

711

:

Um, And I think it creates a problem.

712

:

It creates a problem.

713

:

It creates, there's no differentiation,

which reinforces this problem.

714

:

So then people just want to

go to brand name schools.

715

:

Um, if everyone, you know, and I forget

the exact statistic, it's online, but

716

:

like, like the overwhelming number of kids

at Harvard have like over a three, five.

717

:

And it means as an employer, you

have to use performance tasks.

718

:

Cause like where people go to

school tells you nothing about

719

:

what they're actually able to do.

720

:

And you get a lot of people who've

gone to fancy schools and literally

721

:

cannot write a five paragraph essay.

722

:

Right.

723

:

That makes any sense.

724

:

Um, and, uh, you know, because they

all along, they've been able to sort

725

:

of evade that in different ways.

726

:

Um, and so it furthers the problem,

because if there's no differentiation,

727

:

then these other sort of cruder.

728

:

mechanisms become the signals,

and they're often not.

729

:

They're often not good.

730

:

And so I do think that's, um,

uh, that's a real problem.

731

:

Uh, do we have to?

732

:

I mean, you can barely trust resumes.

733

:

You can't trust grades.

734

:

You have to actually

make potential employees.

735

:

Do tasks to see what they're actually

able to do in a real situation.

736

:

Jed: What do you think about you know,

737

:

Andy: I mean and i'll say just to

be just to be real Like you get

738

:

stuff where you got people who

like out of really elite schools.

739

:

They can't move decimals around

properly They can't convert decimals

740

:

to percents and vice versa Like I

mean, it's not like everybody needs to

741

:

be able to do calculus or something.

742

:

This is you know, like Fairly stuff that

you would expect somebody, you know,

743

:

with a degree like that to be able to do.

744

:

And it's clear that you've got this

choose your own adventure, uh, approach

745

:

to higher ed coupled with, um, uh, the

grade inflation you're talking about.

746

:

And, and so the, the, the, the

signaling effect is all distorted.

747

:

Jed: What do you think about

the SAT optional stuff?

748

:

Is that a policy that is long, that

will long last, or will we think

749

:

of that as defunding the police and

going back on it in a few years?

750

:

Andy: I thought it was interesting

as MIT walked it back pretty fast.

751

:

Yeah, I saw that.

752

:

Yep.

753

:

I thought that was interesting.

754

:

You know, I mean, I'm sympathetic.

755

:

I feel like this is the, like, the

problem is if you're getting 40, 000

756

:

applications, it becomes an issue.

757

:

I do think there's kids

who simply don't test well.

758

:

Um, and, and, and so you do

need to have alternate ways.

759

:

But that's at the individual level.

760

:

At the aggregate level, the SAT really

does tell you something, and it's a

761

:

really useful tool, contrary to all

the rhetoric, for social mobility,

762

:

because it helps you identify kids,

uh, who are really high promise.

763

:

If you dig into the data, if you want

to be depressed, dig into the data

764

:

on the SAT and score performance.

765

:

They publish all that.

766

:

I don't make a big deal of

it, but it's on their, it's on

767

:

the college board's website.

768

:

And what you see is like that,

you want to see structural

769

:

inequality, you see it in action.

770

:

Um, Uh, in terms of numbers of kids

who are performing at different levels.

771

:

And I think some people, if you're a

person who has sort of a, you know,

772

:

a set of beliefs about people that I

would consider pernicious, then you

773

:

look at that and you're like, see,

this shows what I've been saying.

774

:

But I think for most of us, you

look at this, you're like, yeah,

775

:

this is why I come to work, right?

776

:

This is, this is like, this is

a huge, this seems solvable.

777

:

But it's why we need to

provide much better education

778

:

opportunities, much more support.

779

:

And there's some evidence

of that, even with the SAT.

780

:

You know, Jeb Bush, when he, um,

in Florida made, uh, SAT prep

781

:

universal and you saw some benefits.

782

:

Um, there's things, there's, there's

things we can, there's things we can do.

783

:

So I, I have sort of

mixed feelings about it.

784

:

And as a practical matter, I worry

it makes an opaque system even more

785

:

opaque because you hear kids who

are like, Oh, I have a:

786

:

don't know if I should submit it.

787

:

And Like that's a problem if kids don't

even understand the signaling effect

788

:

because like a 1300 is a pretty good sat

score Um, but but and so it's creating

789

:

these weird But should you submit it

because it may be only kids with like

790

:

over 1400 and so it creates a distortion

effect there And you can confusion and

791

:

then you know also, I just think and

this is true of k12 test too if you

792

:

get rid of objective measures you are

essentially Coming out for some form

793

:

of aristocracy because all the other

stuff, the affluent people can game it.

794

:

Right.

795

:

Yeah.

796

:

Um, and one of the things, you

know, you see there's all this pay

797

:

to play stuff that people can do.

798

:

It makes it hard if your

kids are applying to college.

799

:

Cause like, say your kid had an

article published, like that's cool.

800

:

But now college is like, Oh,

I had an article published.

801

:

It's probably like, you

know, some pay to play thing.

802

:

Right.

803

:

And so it's almost like hard

to differentiate yourself.

804

:

And if we get rid of this stuff, you'll

just see more and more of that and rich

805

:

people will be able to like package

their kids up in very particular ways.

806

:

Um, for college.

807

:

So, I mean, in general, I think these

these measures actually help in terms

808

:

of equity and social mobility, even if

like, we need to at the individual level.

809

:

think about them in, in, in creative ways.

810

:

Jed: Yeah.

811

:

As far as selective admissions go,

I think I'm pretty far out on the

812

:

progressive wing here as far as K 12 goes.

813

:

I don't believe that a public

school should be able to screen out

814

:

kids using selective admissions.

815

:

We know screen out by race and are along

lines of race and low income status.

816

:

But when it comes to higher ed, I feel

like you've gotten to be an adult.

817

:

You've hit adult status.

818

:

And something different kicks in then, and

so I just feel like the loss of, of SAT is

819

:

a profound one, and, uh, I would hope that

we would find a way to, to get it back.

820

:

All that said, then you have the Supreme

Court come in and say that there shall

821

:

be no racial discrimination at, uh,

college, and you can imagine being the

822

:

college administrator saying, wait a

second, I'm not going to be able to

823

:

admit who I want to into this class and

make the mixed group of folks I want

824

:

to because, uh, people do different,

do well differently by race on SAT.

825

:

Oh, get rid of SAT so I can

at least admit who I want.

826

:

So, there are all sorts of, uh,

827

:

Andy: And the court said you can, but they

said you can't discriminate based on race.

828

:

But you can include race in your

essay, which like that was like one

829

:

line in a Supreme Court decision

that was just an incredible

830

:

boon to one particular industry.

831

:

Um, the college essay writing business.

832

:

Jed: And I'm not, I I'd like to go

back and look at it more deeply.

833

:

You probably know more about this.

834

:

I know that there's low income, high

income disparities in SAT performance,

835

:

but I also think that there are racial,

um, disparities that don't align perfectly

836

:

with income status and ones that align

with the unfairness that's been cooked

837

:

into the American experience going back

to the:

838

:

me, it it seems critically important that

we keep to your point that we keep the S.

839

:

A.

840

:

T.

841

:

out and other objective measures out

there so we can see whether or not we're

842

:

making progress on these historical

issues, um, while still giving the

843

:

administrators enough flexibility

that they can use the tool as they see

844

:

fit to, you know, admit, um, across

a range of demographic realities.

845

:

Andy: And I think the data,

you can't shy away from it.

846

:

You have to look at it and be like,

okay, and I look at, like, you know,

847

:

I look at the performance on that.

848

:

That doesn't none of that seems like

an immutable fact of life to me.

849

:

That seems like something we could change

if we gave more kids access to good

850

:

educational experiences and so forth.

851

:

Again, that's like for me,

that's why I come to work.

852

:

Um, I mentioned that your

K 12 point is interesting.

853

:

I'm probably in a different, I don't

have a big problem with selective.

854

:

I mean, obviously I don't think you can't

have schools that are selective admissions

855

:

on on race and things like that.

856

:

But like, I have no trouble with thematic

schools, stem schools, test admission,

857

:

public schools, as long as there's a range

of options, you don't want to go to them.

858

:

What you saw some cities go to a while

ago where you had like the general

859

:

ed high schools for everybody else.

860

:

And then the selective

schools that doesn't work.

861

:

But as long as I think like you

like our project, if you care about

862

:

public education, it has to be, and

this is why I like charter schools.

863

:

It has to be, how do you create the

most diverse array of options you can.

864

:

So people want to be part of the public

system and feel bound up in that.

865

:

That's why I feel like homeschool kids

should be able to come and play sports.

866

:

Like, I feel like you want to You want

to get as many people as you can involved

867

:

in this project, if you want it to be

politically, uh, sustainable over time.

868

:

And that's why I've been, the culture

war stuff is so dismaying to me,

869

:

because it's like, it's a 50 50 country.

870

:

And so why are you trying to do stuff

that's going to make your schools

871

:

unattractive to 50 percent of the people?

872

:

That's crazy.

873

:

Um, you should be trying to figure out

how do you make them attractive to as

874

:

many people as possible Because that's

what we need if we care about public debt

875

:

Jed: Well, this is one that would be good

to have just a debate on and let's get

876

:

some other people around the table on

this I think that the selective emissions

877

:

issue is is a uh is a complicated one.

878

:

I've I I think that From the reform

world, from the charter school

879

:

world, we should make it our enemy.

880

:

Uh, the, the, the red lines that

have been drawn across the public

881

:

education landscape, and those

red lines consist of many things.

882

:

Attendance boundaries, school

district boundaries, but yes,

883

:

selective admissions as well.

884

:

And we cannot erase attendance boundaries

and school district boundaries quickly.

885

:

If you do, it's going to

be total freaking chaos.

886

:

In the same way that you

can't get rid of selective

887

:

admissions, it'll be total chaos.

888

:

But what we need to do is grow

the supply of great schools.

889

:

And by the way, schools that are

incredibly academically rigorous and put

890

:

these selective admissions magnets to

test, we can actually do better than your

891

:

schools without having to screen kids out.

892

:

Andy: Absolutely.

893

:

I'm so with you on the supply side thing.

894

:

And then a lot of these schools,

some of them are great, but some of

895

:

them you're, you're a little curious

about what's actually going on.

896

:

Jed: It just kills me.

897

:

We have millions of

families across the country.

898

:

I think that's not an exaggeration

At least hundreds of thousands

899

:

who want their high school kids to

go to more academically rigorous

900

:

programs And they're being told no

that is that is is not pardonable.

901

:

That is

902

:

Andy: And that is, that move is, I

mean, when we talk about like, like

903

:

public education and the risks,

like so many of the calls are coming

904

:

from like, right inside the house.

905

:

And that's a problem.

906

:

We need to like, talk about, um,

these things that are just completely

907

:

counterproductive to making.

908

:

public ed broadly appealing.

909

:

I do want to, I'm with you on the

boundaries, by the way, the attendance

910

:

zones and school boundaries.

911

:

You have to do that carefully, uh, for

obvious political reasons and so forth.

912

:

We are, um, we've got a project on that.

913

:

We've been trying to get funded and

it is really difficult to get funders

914

:

who want to actually take that on.

915

:

And it's So interesting, given

everybody knows the pernicious history

916

:

of a lot of these things and, and,

and, and attendance zones and in many

917

:

cases, school district boundaries,

there are ways to do better on this.

918

:

Um, uh, particularly some long

term strategies and so forth,

919

:

and we've got a project to try to

really bring people together across

920

:

lines of difference to do that.

921

:

And it's a sad sort of

sign of the times just.

922

:

People are like, and I don't want to

be in a room with with those people.

923

:

That's coming from the left a lot.

924

:

Um, and it's like, you know,

there's a real opportunity, uh,

925

:

to do things differently there.

926

:

But it's like, one of these things is

just caught up to this, uh, caught up

927

:

in this sort of polarization and sort of

unwillingness to everybody talks about

928

:

working across lines of difference.

929

:

Nobody actually Few people seem

to actually really want to do it.

930

:

Jed: Well, we were talking earlier

about the specifics related to

931

:

public school finance, and I

throw this into the same category.

932

:

This is the public education DNA that

we have been handed, and we need to

933

:

do genetic engineering of our public

education system if we're really going to

934

:

come up with something that generates a

far larger number of fantastic schools.

935

:

That who's where educational

opportunity is allocated much

936

:

more fairly than it is today.

937

:

And the fact that people would shy

away from that, I find fascinating.

938

:

Um, and living in California, I think

the, uh, the, the affluent areas that

939

:

have basically walled themselves off with

their attendance boundaries and their

940

:

school district boundaries and their

local money and all that kind of stuff.

941

:

And then, and then, you know,

virtue projecting that they have

942

:

all these kinds of egalitarian

left leaning, uh, orientations.

943

:

Is fundamentally not reconcilable and

I don't think the way that we win this

944

:

argument as Chris Stewart, you know

has Coached me on many occasions is by

945

:

shaming people or being you know Yelling

at people or saying that you know,

946

:

whatever we've we've got it all figured

out and they don't but I also feel like

947

:

We've got to grind people down over a

longer period of time And we have to

948

:

also be able to get out of this idea

that public education is a zero sum game

949

:

There are ways for us to grow this pie

as we cut the pie more fairly But we

950

:

need to start having the conversations

and the fact that you couldn't get

951

:

funders on that critical issue Boy,

we got some more things to talk about.

952

:

Andy: Oh, we got, yeah, well we should

do, at some point we should do an episode

953

:

on philanthropy, maybe have, you know,

we could maybe get, like, a program

954

:

officer who's willing to, like, we could,

like, you know, distort their voice.

955

:

Um, a lot of them, it seems like they

feel like they're being held hostage.

956

:

Um, the I think there's also ways you,

you, you, you know, you can't do chaos,

957

:

but like, and you have to be careful.

958

:

You have to be sensitive to like, for

most people, the most valuable asset

959

:

they have is their, is their house.

960

:

But they're, to your

point, it's not zero sum.

961

:

And there are ways to

address this over time.

962

:

That don't, like, involve making, like,

you know, these, these, these head on runs

963

:

at, um, uh, you know, at, at boundaries

and residential patterns and so forth,

964

:

but change things over time so that it

looks different, there's more opportunity,

965

:

and nobody, you know, people don't

have to either take a reel or what they

966

:

will perceive would be, would be a hit.

967

:

There are ways through this, it's

just a question of sort of, you know,

968

:

getting people together and then

navigating, um, some complicated

969

:

education politics, because this one

doesn't graft cleanly left right.

970

:

But everything is through a

left right lens right now.

971

:

Jed: I think things like having an

expectation that all public schools

972

:

will reserve 5 percent of the spaces

in their school for those that reside

973

:

outside the attendance boundary.

974

:

And if there are more people

that apply, that there will be a

975

:

lottery to determine who gets in.

976

:

And we have some kind of weighting

so that low income kids would

977

:

have some statistical advantage.

978

:

Not a guarantee, but Some

minor advantage in that modern,

979

:

um, and then we just tried a

980

:

Andy: very little nudges.

981

:

You could do zoning rules, all sorts of

stuff that would be not super perceptible,

982

:

but starts to put us on a different path.

983

:

Jed: So, but it's and then you

increase it slowly from 5 percent to 5.

984

:

5 percent to 6 percent to 6.

985

:

But also, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not

naive about just how radioactive this is.

986

:

It was just sobering to

watch in Connecticut.

987

:

You know, Connecticut is

just a fascinating state.

988

:

I mean, it's smaller than L.

989

:

A.

990

:

U.

991

:

S.

992

:

D.

993

:

And it's 200 different school

districts and all of the all

994

:

of the attendance boundaries.

995

:

And that's just so segregated

by race and by income status.

996

:

And, you know, the state has tried

to create an inter district transfer

997

:

program where kids could get into some

of these other schools and Every time

998

:

some community presents to their local

folks, Hey, let's let some of these

999

:

outside kids in even when they are have

declining enrollment and they don't and

:

00:53:50,715 --> 00:53:52,125

they can't even fill their own schools.

:

00:53:52,225 --> 00:53:56,025

They still have large numbers of

parents that will show up and just,

:

00:53:56,455 --> 00:54:00,605

you know, grandstand about how what

a terrible idea it is to let these

:

00:54:00,605 --> 00:54:02,065

outside kids into their schools.

:

00:54:02,135 --> 00:54:04,685

Andy: And there's usually parents

that have that sign on their lawn

:

00:54:04,695 --> 00:54:06,405

about how they like love everyone.

:

00:54:06,615 --> 00:54:11,735

Water is water or whatever, you know,

um, yeah, that's totally, um, uh, but

:

00:54:11,735 --> 00:54:13,115

some of that I think is perception.

:

00:54:13,145 --> 00:54:16,725

And again, like to my, my sort of view

on this is, it's as if you're going

:

00:54:16,725 --> 00:54:18,395

to walk across the country, right?

:

00:54:18,584 --> 00:54:22,225

If your compass is a little off,

you're not going to notice it

:

00:54:22,265 --> 00:54:23,784

early in your journey, right?

:

00:54:24,210 --> 00:54:26,820

But when you get out the other side of the

country, and you don't end up where you

:

00:54:26,820 --> 00:54:30,310

thought, and you're like way off, you're

like, oh, okay, wow, you know, I meant to

:

00:54:30,310 --> 00:54:34,300

walk to San Francisco, and now I'm in, you

know, you know, I'm in, I'm in Northern

:

00:54:34,300 --> 00:54:37,410

California, you know, way Northern

California, or I'm in, you know, L.

:

00:54:37,410 --> 00:54:37,520

A.

:

00:54:37,520 --> 00:54:38,180

or whatever.

:

00:54:38,340 --> 00:54:42,110

Um, that's, you know, that's

what we have to do here.

:

00:54:42,440 --> 00:54:45,448

You're not, because people do have

these perceptions, we can have a big

:

00:54:45,448 --> 00:54:47,490

argument with them about whether or

not they're wrong, or we can just

:

00:54:47,490 --> 00:54:51,910

put in place stuff that gradually,

Um, uh, changes, changes that in ways

:

00:54:52,140 --> 00:54:53,740

that isn't immediately perceptible.

:

00:54:53,740 --> 00:54:57,080

But when you look back in:

you're like, wow, you believe it used

:

00:54:57,090 --> 00:54:59,070

to, it used to look like, absolutely.

:

00:54:59,679 --> 00:55:03,470

Um, structural, this is structural.

:

00:55:03,639 --> 00:55:07,000

And yet the people who are most up

in arms about structural issues.

:

00:55:07,435 --> 00:55:11,275

And our society seem least interested

in actually taking this one on

:

00:55:11,525 --> 00:55:14,845

that's a big question, you know

for ed politics about why that is

:

00:55:15,325 --> 00:55:16,105

Jed: I'd love to come back.

:

00:55:16,144 --> 00:55:19,674

I'd love to do a topic or a whole episode

on this one Hey, we're we're near the

:

00:55:19,675 --> 00:55:25,324

end of an hour here Um, and we've we've

meandered away from higher ed but can

:

00:55:25,324 --> 00:55:27,985

I ask you just one last question on

higher ed which is and maybe it's just

:

00:55:27,985 --> 00:55:33,290

a segue into our next conversation, but

Um, a lot of new rhetoric around trade

:

00:55:33,290 --> 00:55:38,410

schools and and and how trade schools

are now the better alternative to uh, to

:

00:55:38,420 --> 00:55:44,019

colleges uh, and I was wondering if you

had any, you know first reactions to Uh,

:

00:55:44,100 --> 00:55:47,869

I mean, I was working out for a long time,

but it's it's accelerating right now.

:

00:55:47,870 --> 00:55:49,049

So you have any thoughts?

:

00:55:49,080 --> 00:55:51,770

Andy: Yeah, my first reaction is

I was actually concerned about you

:

00:55:51,780 --> 00:55:54,950

because you sent me a text It's like

here's this thing I saw on tiktok.

:

00:55:54,990 --> 00:55:56,220

What do you think was about this?

:

00:55:56,825 --> 00:56:01,055

Oh, I was actually alarmed that you'd

been kidnapped by a gang of teenage girls.

:

00:56:01,175 --> 00:56:07,415

And so I, uh, uh, so I, I was concerned,

but once I realized that you had actually

:

00:56:07,425 --> 00:56:10,364

sent it to me, um, yeah, look, I think

it goes back to what we talked about.

:

00:56:10,514 --> 00:56:13,364

Programs matter, not necessarily degrees.

:

00:56:13,365 --> 00:56:18,125

And there are certainly some

degrees, uh, that aren't, from an

:

00:56:18,125 --> 00:56:20,705

economic standpoint, as useful.

:

00:56:22,045 --> 00:56:25,405

As as many trade opportunities,

there's also a whole bunch of

:

00:56:25,405 --> 00:56:28,165

credentialing programs in the

trades that aren't valuable.

:

00:56:28,365 --> 00:56:28,855

It's again.

:

00:56:28,855 --> 00:56:30,775

It's about information and signaling.

:

00:56:31,120 --> 00:56:34,280

You know, you've had this like rush

to have like industry recognized

:

00:56:34,280 --> 00:56:38,230

credentials, which in some cases

are great, but in some cases are not

:

00:56:38,310 --> 00:56:40,550

actually good opportunities for kids.

:

00:56:40,550 --> 00:56:41,630

They're not done well.

:

00:56:41,979 --> 00:56:44,029

Um, they're mismatched

with the labor market.

:

00:56:44,030 --> 00:56:45,159

They're low quality, whatever.

:

00:56:45,500 --> 00:56:48,430

Um, and I think it's, it's one of these

things where we keep talking about the

:

00:56:48,440 --> 00:56:50,709

labels rather than what's underneath it.

:

00:56:50,799 --> 00:56:52,879

And it's the specific programs.

:

00:56:52,989 --> 00:56:53,709

That's what matters.

:

00:56:53,709 --> 00:56:54,629

But yeah, it can be great.

:

00:56:54,879 --> 00:56:59,565

And then also exposing kids To

what do they want to do, right?

:

00:56:59,985 --> 00:57:03,865

I mean, you have to, people have

to understand, okay, like if you

:

00:57:03,885 --> 00:57:07,154

want to work in HVAC, that can,

you can make money doing that.

:

00:57:07,154 --> 00:57:09,534

It's a great career, but you

will be like on your hands and

:

00:57:09,534 --> 00:57:11,414

knees in small spaces a lot.

:

00:57:11,415 --> 00:57:12,064

You'll be moving.

:

00:57:12,085 --> 00:57:14,015

That is a physically demanding job.

:

00:57:14,054 --> 00:57:18,645

And, you know, Doing a work like that when

you're 18 doing work like that when you're

:

00:57:18,645 --> 00:57:23,635

50 or two different things, helping kids

understand like these different choices.

:

00:57:23,855 --> 00:57:27,295

We do a terrible job on helping them

understand the experience of different

:

00:57:27,295 --> 00:57:30,394

roles, and we do a terrible job and

helping them understand the trade offs.

:

00:57:31,095 --> 00:57:32,834

Both those seem very solvable.

:

00:57:33,075 --> 00:57:33,894

Um, yeah.

:

00:57:34,225 --> 00:57:38,425

You know, so, so I, yeah, so I

like I find that the whole sort

:

00:57:38,425 --> 00:57:41,495

of college versus career debate a

little odd because it's kind of both.

:

00:57:41,505 --> 00:57:46,895

It depends on the kid and it depends on

choice in making an informed choice and

:

00:57:46,954 --> 00:57:51,305

most importantly, I think it depends

on being able to make a second choice

:

00:57:51,334 --> 00:57:52,184

because that's where the power is.

:

00:57:52,424 --> 00:57:56,565

The thing that worries me is the

kid who gets put on a path and

:

00:57:56,565 --> 00:57:59,135

then when they're 19 or 20, it's

hard for them to get off of it.

:

00:57:59,155 --> 00:57:59,955

That's no good.

:

00:57:59,955 --> 00:57:59,969

Yeah.

:

00:58:00,240 --> 00:58:03,530

Because you're not good

at making decisions.

:

00:58:03,560 --> 00:58:05,660

Well, most some people are, but

most of us are not good at making

:

00:58:05,660 --> 00:58:06,680

decisions when they're that age.

:

00:58:06,690 --> 00:58:07,420

I certainly wasn't.

:

00:58:08,250 --> 00:58:09,130

Jed: Yeah, yeah.

:

00:58:09,130 --> 00:58:13,500

Well, that was certainly Larry

Rosenstock's mantra that, uh, premature

:

00:58:13,510 --> 00:58:17,710

specialization, encouraging premature

specialization in teenagers is just

:

00:58:17,710 --> 00:58:19,369

a really counterproductive thing.

:

00:58:19,769 --> 00:58:24,720

Um, and, uh, and yet you have

colleges that are originally set

:

00:58:24,720 --> 00:58:28,810

up to like lean against premature

specialization, liberal arts and whatever.

:

00:58:29,075 --> 00:58:30,655

That are losing credibility.

:

00:58:30,685 --> 00:58:34,625

And so as they lose credibility

for other reasons, the credibility

:

00:58:34,665 --> 00:58:39,884

of, of, um, avoiding premature

specialization is also lost and

:

00:58:39,885 --> 00:58:43,225

Andy: we're going to later this year

that I think you'll find interesting.

:

00:58:43,285 --> 00:58:45,704

Um, some work we're doing because

I'm, I'm extremely interested

:

00:58:45,704 --> 00:58:47,495

in it and this idea of like.

:

00:58:48,695 --> 00:58:50,515

That's like Larry, you know, and

you know, I'm a huge Larry fan.

:

00:58:50,515 --> 00:58:52,565

He and I have talked about,

I totally agree with him.

:

00:58:53,045 --> 00:58:57,245

Um, that, you know, the only, the only,

and the push right now is to make this

:

00:58:57,255 --> 00:59:00,904

younger and like the only people who

are worse about making decisions than

:

00:59:00,905 --> 00:59:02,585

18 year olds are like 16 year olds.

:

00:59:02,925 --> 00:59:08,415

And so you can expose people to stuff

and that's really important, but putting

:

00:59:08,415 --> 00:59:12,245

people on these paths, I just think you

want to, there comes a point when you're

:

00:59:12,245 --> 00:59:14,755

18, you have to make some serious choices.

:

00:59:15,040 --> 00:59:18,120

But we want to try to push that off

and push off the ability not to make

:

00:59:18,120 --> 00:59:24,279

another choice as as far as we can uh,

yeah the path Makes me uncomfortable

:

00:59:24,290 --> 00:59:26,200

for that reason because I don't want

I don't want you on a path I want

:

00:59:26,200 --> 00:59:29,079

you like on a trampoline where you

can bounce into some different stuff.

:

00:59:29,080 --> 00:59:31,129

Do you figure out you

know, what sticks for you?

:

00:59:31,729 --> 00:59:35,089

Jed: Yeah, well about to have

two kids in in college myself.

:

00:59:35,090 --> 00:59:43,780

I I perhaps naively or like a like a

uh, an old dog think that College should

:

00:59:43,780 --> 00:59:48,540

be a place where we grapple with the

difficulties of being a person and,

:

00:59:48,850 --> 00:59:53,270

and I used to believe, and I still

cling to this idea, that a university

:

00:59:53,280 --> 00:59:57,390

would be a great place, a better place

to learn those things than TikTok is.

:

00:59:58,870 --> 01:00:02,089

And, uh, we'll see whether

it turns out that way or not.

:

01:00:02,885 --> 01:00:05,435

Um as always and it has

been a phenomenal company.

:

01:00:05,445 --> 01:00:08,085

We've been all over the place I think

:

01:00:08,335 --> 01:00:09,175

Andy: I think we should do jet.

:

01:00:09,175 --> 01:00:11,835

We'll have a special episode later

this year We can do the empty nest

:

01:00:11,845 --> 01:00:15,905

issue, uh edition and it'll just be

like 45 minutes of you and me sobbing

:

01:00:19,115 --> 01:00:19,735

Jed: I like it.

:

01:00:19,845 --> 01:00:20,814

I like it.

:

01:00:20,815 --> 01:00:22,175

Any always fun to talk to you.

:

01:00:22,315 --> 01:00:22,625

Look forward.

:

01:00:23,475 --> 01:00:24,035

Andy: I'll see you soon.

:

01:00:24,035 --> 01:00:24,335

Jed.

:

01:00:24,745 --> 01:00:25,105

Okay.

:

01:00:25,215 --> 01:00:25,485

Bye.

:

01:00:25,915 --> 01:00:26,025

Bye

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