What is a Qualified Teacher?

by Harry on October 12, 2004

I’m a fan of rules and regulations. But they should be designed so that, if there is a strong case for doing that they are basically designed to prevent, someone who pushes hard enough will succeed in doing it. Here are two stunning stories of people being prevented from working in the state (i.e. public) schools in the UK, because, although one of them has run a well-regarded private school, and the other has pursued a successful career as a professor of physics (a shortage subject), they are not properly qualified. I can see reasons for the regulation, and I do think it unfortunate that the Telegraph gave evidence in favour of Mr Jones-Parry that told us a great deal about the kinds of children whose parents can pay £15,204 a year on their schooling, and nothing at all about his abilities as a school leader. But this is hilarious:

bq. “The silly thing is that I have people from industry who are training to be teachers at Westminster. I have to sign them off to say that they are suitable. I suppose I could sign myself off.”

(Hat Tip: Michael Otsuka)

Intellectual Echo Chambers

by Henry on October 12, 2004

“Ross Silverman”:http://publichealthpress.blogspot.com/ informs me that a NYT “story”:http://bernie.house.gov/documents/articles/20030602123259.asp from last year details a multinational multi-million dollar effort by PhRMA to attack price controls on drugs. According to the NYT, the drug industry “is worried that price controls and other regulations will tie the drug makers’ hands as state, federal and foreign governments try to expand access to affordable drugs.” In order to combat this:

bq. The drug trade group plans to spend $1 million for an “intellectual echo chamber of economists — a standing network of economists and thought leaders to speak against federal price control regulations through articles and testimony, and to serve as a rapid response team.”

It seems highly probable that this – or a related effort – is behind the TCS ‘essay competition’ that I “talked about”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002652.html on the weekend., which is pretty small stuff in the grander scheme, I suppose. We already know that Flack Central Station is “in part funded by PhRMA”:http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=88757&printmode=1, and that it publishes “articles attacking drug price controls”:http://www.google.com/cobrand?q=drug+prices&sa.x=0&sa.y=0&sa=Google+Search&cof=AWPID%3A199a028c5792299b%3B&domains=techcentralstation.com&sitesearch=techcentralstation.com remarkably frequently. More generally, I don’t understand how anybody who wants to preserve their intellectual credibility could voluntarily sign up to participate in the echo chamber, or indeed to be a “useful idiot”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/000853.html providing it with cover. Some self-proclaimed libertarians clearly disagree (as, in fairness, do some sincere ones, such as Arnold Kling).

Bribery and the US Supreme Court

by Chris Bertram on October 12, 2004

I’ve been teaching Hobbes, and couldn’t help my thoughts turning to the last US Presidential election when I got to the seventeenth and eighteenth laws of nature:

bq. And seeing every man is presumed to do all things in order to his own benefit, no man is a fit arbitrator in his own cause: and if he were never so fit, yet equity allowing to each party equal benefit, if one be admitted to be judge, the other is to be admitted also; and so the controversy, that is, the cause of war, remains, against the law of nature.

bq. For the same reason no man in any cause ought to be received for arbitrator to whom greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth out of the victory of one party than of the other: for he hath taken, though an unavoidable bribe, yet a bribe; and no man can be obliged to trust him. And thus also the controversy and the condition of war remaineth, contrary to the law of nature.

(Leviathan, ch. 15).

Too Depressing

by Jon Mandle on October 12, 2004

This is just too depressing. It’s really amazing – and doubly depressing – that this kind of thing isn’t even surprising anymore. Can anybody plausibly say, “No, it’s just not credible that the US would do that“?

IR scholars unite

by Henry on October 12, 2004

Two months ago, I “noted”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002399.html the paucity of international relations scholars who were prepared to defend the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. Now comes a group letter organized by “Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy”:http://www.sensibleforeignpolicy.net/index.html, which has gotten over 650 foreign policy specialists to sign up to the proposition that “current American policy centered around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period.” Nor can this be dismissed as an emanation of the anti-Bush left – some of the most senior and important IR scholars on the right have signed up to the letter – including Kenneth Waltz, the father of neo-realist theory (and perhaps the most influential IR scholar writing today), John Mearsheimer (who has already written an “academic paper”:http://www.learnedhand.com/mearsheimer_lying.htm aimed foursquare at the lies of the Bush administration) and Christopher Layne. Stephen Walt (no wishy washy liberal he) includes a “personal statement”:http://www.sensibleforeignpolicy.net/statements.html saying that:

bq. The United States stands on the threshold of a major foreign policy disaster. The Bush administration’s incompetence led us into an unnecessary war, and we are now losing that war as a result of their blindness and blunders. We can–and must–do better. Foreign policy experts from across the political spectrum must come together to chart a new course, and our letter is a call to action for anyone who is concerned about the U.S. national interest.

It’s worth noting that some of those on the right who have signed onto this letter might well pay a cost – they could reasonably have hoped for positions in a future Republican administration if they’d kept their mouths shut. Brad De Long has been calling for a long while for the grown-ups in the Republican party to speak up – now, a few of them of them are doing just that. In Jack Snyder’s words,

bq. The vast majority of American experts on foreign policy have been saying all along that the Bush policy in Iraq is based on myths cut from whole cloth. It’s time for the media to let the American public in on this news.

Well how about it?

Predictable Instapundit

by John Quiggin on October 12, 2004

I didn’t do much for my reputation (never a great one) as an election tipster with my assessment of the Australian election. I thought Labor had a good chance (a week or so before the election, I thought a very good chance). In fact, the Howard government won easily[1]

But I was just about spot-on in my pre-election prediction that,

Whatever the outcome, I expect it will be treated in the international press as something of a referendum on the Iraq war

whereas, in reality, the issue barely came up.

On cue, here’s Glenn Reynolds complaining of inadequate coverage of

an Australian election that was run in no small part as a referendum on the war

Can I sue for copyright violation here?

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