Clare Leaver and Lant Pritchett on Pay for Performance for teachers (and how to think about interventions in general)

Even if you’re not interested in pay for performance, this article is is fantastic in the way that it sets a clear foundation for discussion of an emotive topic by pointing out the often-overlooked but obvious common ground shared by readers on all sides of the debate: Here is the essence of our argument. High-performing education systems already use some…

Statistical dojo

This seems apt – and the book it comes from is available free (or “pay what you want”) at readthesequences.com. Recommended. Imagine reaching into an urn that contains seventy white balls and thirty red ones, and plucking out ten mystery balls. Perhaps three of the ten balls will be red, and you’ll correctly guess how many red balls total were…

Lant Pritchett on reducing learning poverty: targeted interventions vs systemic change

“… when the whole system is producing weak results for nearly every child, then “inclusion” is a false premise. In this situation, it is necessary to fix the whole system and increase performance across the board in order to reduce the number of children stranded in low performance. Lant Pritchett – Tackling Education poverty with system-wide improvements Lant Pritchett is…

Raj Chetty and Ezra Klein on culture, communities and representation

Ezra Klein: I think we’re very used to thinking about two levels of context that really matter here – what’s happening in your family, like “Is your dad or mum an inventor? Are your parents married?” and then what’s happening in government policy. And it seems to me that what you show is that this mediating space of your direct…

Raj Chetty on return on investment for social programs

Raj Chetty: This was an impressive study conducted by my colleagues Nathan Hendren and Ben Sprung-Keyser at Harvard… and the main punchline that they arrived at… is, programs that invest in kids – that is, programs targeted at developing human capital, at education, at improving development – tend to have very high rates of return, in fact sometimes infinite rates…

Better with time

Some things (and people) disappoint us after first acquaintance. Others seem to gain value as we get to know them better, giving greater satisfaction with time and use: Well-made shoes Good relationships Foundational knowledge in a given field Cast iron pans Empathy Good pillows Life experience Well designed spaces Good sleep Solidly made furniture Kindness, patience, and other virtues Imagination…

Three questions from economics

What are the tradeoffs in this situation? What gains can be made from trade and cooperation? How can we reframe this question to find new answers, or change the way we feel about the answers we already have? Largely drawn from Tyler Cowen’s interview with Tim Harford.

Resource: Introduction to Economics at Marginal Revolution University

Economics is a critical lens for understanding how change happens, key issues in the politics of justice and equality, and for building effective organisations. If you’re looking for an introduction, these videos from Tyler Cowan’s Marginal Revolution University are a good place to start. And here’s a fun start on globalisation…

Steven Pinker on passing on language

Language is created anew every generation by the minds of the children who construct it out of the data that they get from their parents and peers. Steven Pinker – with Tyler Cowan, in Conversations with Tyler, Ep 14 The same could be said of culture in general, and team or organisational culture in particular. What data are you receiving?…

Better tools

I’ve been trying to learn to solder – on and off – for something close to 24 years. It never worked for me: the solder didn’t melt, or just rolled off the tip of the soldering iron, which smoked wickedly and occasionally burnt things, but never heated a component and circuit board in such a way as to successfully make…