Tyler Cowen on reading fast, reading well, and reading widely

This is a great riff on how reading works and on the network effects of reading. Links below. Tyler says: … I go through five or ten books a day. And which parts of them I’ve read you can debate – maybe it washes out to be two or three books a day. Some good nights you can get through…

The water we swim in: Robert Pondiscio on culture and school performance

This extract is from is a great Econtalk discussion of How the Other Half Learns. Recommend. Robert Pondiscio: They [Success Academy Charter Schools] require an extraordinary level of parent commitment both in time and responsiveness. And it just seems pointless to deny that for some number of parents, this is simply too much. I want to be clear here that…

Neil Gaiman on reading fiction, empathy and changing the world

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn…

Clifford Ashley on folk art and reading as rivals

This long extract from the (fascinating) Ashley Book of Knots (1944) is an excellent of example of the variety of influences and incentives (economic, technological, social) at play in the development (or loss) of particular skills or art-forms. Ashley’s describes changes in literacy and the culture of knot-making in response to shifts in the wider ecosystem. It’s a reminder of…

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…

Gordon Brown: All for one

An ideology of “everyone for himself” will not work when the health of each of us depends so unavoidably on the health of all of us. Gordon Brown in The Guardian: In the coronavirus crisis, our leaders are failing us Gordon Brown’s timely reminder about health applies equally to… General economic prosperity; The quality of our education systems; The civility…

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 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…

The assumption that underpins all of your work

The assumption that underpins all of your work

… is that people can change, and that things can get better. If you didn’t believe this already you probably wouldn’t be reading this. The question is, do you act as if it’s true? Which areas of your own life and skill set do you turn a blind eye to: “I can grow in these areas, but I’m just not…

Seth Godin on good teachers

Here’s the secret, I think: teaching is empathy.If you have a bad teacher, who is strict for no reason, who says “there will be a test,” who is strict for no reason, who glosses over things that the class doesn’t understand, or spends time on things the class does – that teacher is a bad teacher because they are selfish.…