Podcast 46 – Education Reform in Indiana


Podcast 44 – Post-9/11 Policy Windows

Podcast 43 – Congressional Rules

After a long summer hiatus, the Dark Horse Dispatch is back in action.  We’re excited to take it to the next level.  This week we look at the role of rules in the policy-making system with a special focus on the “supercommittee” tasked with negotiating a debt-ceiling deal by November.



Podcast 36 – State of the Union

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Martin Luther King: Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Often in activism, what is needed is not so much to change minds the minds of those who oppose you, but to get those who already say they agree with you to get off their asses and help. That seems to me to be what Dr. King was trying to do with this letter – to get white clergymen who said they supported equal rights to say “Why yes. As a  matter of fact it is time!”

After laying out what he is trying to do and how he could use their real support, he begins his close:

Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

Ooh snap!


If you needed any proof that the folks at Crooked Timber are more urbane and cultured than me, then here it is.

Henry Farrell compares the current Wikileaks saga to a short story by Saki.

But, it reminds me of an episode of Gilligan’s Island.


Ripped from the Headlines: Education Reform & Teacher Quality

Once again, the Dark Horse is ahead of the curve.

And a shout-out to Brandon, who scooped the rest of the media in our most recent podcast by raising the following issue:

Should American Universities require education majors to take more classes in the substantive fields that they will teach?

Several days after his comments, the New York Times reports a study that compares the math skills of education students in the US who plan on teaching in elementary and middle schools to the math skills of their counterparts in 15 other countries. The test probed students’ understanding of calculus and other fields of advanced mathematics — see “US Falls Short in Measure of Future Math Teachers”, by Sam Dillon, 2/15/10.

The findings?

American students fall pretty much in the middle. For instance, future elementary teachers in Singapore, Switzerland & Taiwan outperformed them, those from Germany, Norway, Russia & Thailand matched them, while those from Botswana, Chile, Georgie, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland & Spain didn’t do as well.

What can we conclude from this study (other than that the Dark Horse has a keen instinct for what’s hot)?

Some already cite the study in their effort to require American education students to take more discipline-related classes. Others point to the study’s limits — it examines a small number of countries, and, since calculus isn’t taught in either elementary or middle schools it’s not clear how relevant a deep mastery of those fields is to being a successful teacher in those schools.

Only one thing seems clear — coming to the Dark Horse gives you the chance to hear today what everyone else will be talking about tomorrow.