David Safier 
Member since Apr 11, 2011


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Re: “Business Leaders Say, Raise Taxes to Fund Schools

Michael S. Ellegood, I agree completely. I've written about Arizona's position as one of the eight worst states in terms of the burden of taxation carried by people with the lowest incomes. I wish to hell Democrats would have the courage to make "Tax the rich!" a catch phrase they haul out every time people say we don't have enough money for a good program and all you liberals want to do is raise taxes. In Arizona, the rule that it takes a 2/3 majority in the legislature to pass new taxes could be changed by referendum or initiative. Without a change, any tax aimed at the highest income Arizonans will never happen.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by David Safier on 09/18/2017 at 9:07 AM

Re: “To Understand Pima County Test Scores, Follow the [Parents'] Money

Nathan K, here's the ADE page to link to its incredibly detailed breakdown of AzMERIT scores. http://www.azed.gov/assessment/azmerit/

The book I got the IQ information from is "Intelligence and How to Get It" by Richard E. Nisbett. His first two chapters cover the topic. I'm far from an expert in this field, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of his conclusions, but this is a well written, thoughtful book with lots of references. Much has been written on the topic of IQ testing, including the way the original tests were written to conform to the idea that students at toney prep schools must be more intelligent than students elsewhere, so if lots of the prep school students get certain answers right, those must be good questions, and if they get them wrong, they must be bad questions. It's hard to get rid of cultural bias in questions on an IQ test or other standardized tests, which is among the many reasons they should have a secondary role in the assessment of student achievement.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/11/2017 at 7:28 PM

Re: “To Understand Pima County Test Scores, Follow the [Parents'] Money

Nathan K, a comment on your comments. First about Flowing Wells. When I wrote the post, I was curious about the same thing you mentioned, the different percentage of Hispanics and whites in the districts. What I found in the Dept of Ed data on the test scores is that Flowing Wells Hispanic students got a higher average score than TUSD Hispanic students. Other factors may come into play, but a crude conclusion is that Flowing Wells is more successful with its Hispanic students. Interestingly, Flowing Wells' average white student score is lower than white students at TUSD. That's probably because TUSD has more higher income white students than Flowing Wells. My conclusion is, Flowing Wells students score higher than similar students in TUSD. Of course, there may be other factors I'm not considering.

On the earlier comment about IQ, an interesting analysis of IQ concludes that the same child could have a 14 point higher IQ score if she/he were raised in a home with educated, higher income parents than less educated, lower income parents. The author concluded that if there can be that much variation based on nurture, the "natural," genetics-base IQ concept is highly overrated as in indication of intelligence. So while you're right that children of higher IQ parents tend to have higher IQ, it could have as much or more to do with environment as with innate intelligence.

21 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 09/11/2017 at 3:49 PM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

John, I'm surprised you can't find a 4 year old email. I've got relevant emails going back a decade or more, and they're easily searchable by subject line, name of sender and content. Clearly, your remarks on the study are based on your memory of what it said 4 years ago, and memory tends to be selective. So even if the study is as good as you say, your analysis of the study is only as good as your memory and your ability to view the study objectively. And as I've said before, a study of kindergarten effects has little bearing on the effects of adding quality preschool for 3 and 4 year olds.

As for my citation, a good, nuanced study of studies and various types of preschools is Impacts of
Early Childhood Programs from the Brookings Institute. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploa…

If you want to cherry-pick it, you can find quotes to make it sound like the effects of preschool are minimal. If you read the whole thing, you'll find that the research is mainly positive. Because the author is careful, she acknowledges the gaps in and problems with the research. She would rather draw cautious conclusions than overstate what the research indicates. I've looked at countless pieces of educational research, and the honest authors tend to state their conclusions without a high degree of certainty. That's the nature of research into education. Conclusions are never conclusive.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 08/10/2017 at 11:33 AM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

John, I'm going to stop this back-and-forth with this comment. I just want to say that you continue to cite a study without linking to the source on the web, or even a web page citing the study. You say you have it in an email, yet you haven't forwarded the email or quoted from it. Repeating what you said over and over doesn't make your argument stronger. It leaves the impression with me that you have nothing.

22 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 08/09/2017 at 7:41 AM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

John, I still don't understand how you can use a study of full day vs. half day K as a proxy for an additional two years of education starting when the children are 3, but I'll set that aside.

I still haven't seen the study you're referring to. You say it's the "Hubbell telescope of education studies," but all I know about it is what I've heard from the Falcon 9 of commenters.

Here's an idea. Forward that IES email to me at tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com, and it will be forwarded to me. I'll take a look at it. Maybe it's a terrific study, I don't know, but whenever someone says "Trust me," I'm hesitant to take them at their word without some confirmation.

21 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 08/08/2017 at 11:53 AM

Re: “Is the Strong Start Tucson Initiative a Good Idea?

John, you gave me a Rand study about full day and half day K that goes through the fifth grade, not the eighth grade. And you know about the 8th grade results through an email which doesn't include a link to the actual research. You'll have to pardon me if I don't take that as a reasonable comment on my post about preschool's effects on people's lives beginning with high school graduation and going into early adulthood.

21 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 08/07/2017 at 4:24 PM

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