Reading List

Links to off-site posts that are (maybe) worth a read (usually related to statistics or education).

Hacking Streaming Service Royalties

For those that are curious about how to hack royalty payments for streaming music services.123

And there’s a nice Statistics lesson on “average vs mean vs median”, to boot!

Medium: Streaming Music Is Ripping You Off

  1. I must have picked the wrong line of work!↩︎
  2. Incidentally, I would not shock me in the least if these “hacks” are broke by my next birthday…↩︎
  3. Actually I would be surprised if these “hacks” are still in play by the time September rolls around…↩︎

You Draw It: College Enrollment vs Family Income

draw-your-own-chart-about-income-and-college-enrollment-1432757557397-master675-v3

Here’s a cool one from the NY Times:

The Upshot [NY Times]: How Family Income Affects Children’s College Chances1

You get to draw a line/curve on a graph,2 and then see how well you did versus the rest of the general population.

  1. Although I’m not quite sure how I feel about the use of the word “affects”…↩︎
  2. and yes, this appears to work on mobile devices just fine!↩︎

Rainy Day

There seem to have been a number of pieces in the media1 in the past year regarding the drop of enrollment in teacher preparatory programs, but the following caught my attention for a couple of reasons — one in that it’s from Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight:2

FiveThirtyEight.com: Are There Too Few Teachers (Or Too Few Good Ones)?

As almost anyone will attest — myself certainly included — we need more good teachers in the field — not fewer. Which is why the following excerpts tugged a bit:

The drop could be a holdover from the recession . . . [E]ducation budget cuts nationwide, both during and after the recession, left a bad taste in many prospective teachers’ mouths.

Mmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm — but take it from me, that bad taste was not limited to the mouths of merely prospective teachers.3

“In Texas, around 2011, there was a lot of negative press around teaching,” said Michael Marder, the executive director of UTeach, a teacher preparation program that was founded at the University of Texas at Austin and has expanded to 44 universities in 21 states. “Students were going off on field visits and saying that their mentor teachers were upset, that pink slips were being handed out in anticipation of budget cuts. It left a strong impression.”

Yup. Spring of 2011. I don’t believe that we’ll ever be able to properly quantify the amount damage done to the teaching profession as a result of the political standoff that season. Personally, I’ll never be able to forget the incensed feeling I had when I realized that with 4 full years of experience,4 my job was still potentially on the chopping block.5 Ultimately, my job ended up being safe, but I remember telling myself that I otherwise would have said “peace out” and never looked back at the profession.6


There is one slippery hill that this article glances upon:

How do you even qualify/quantify one as a “good” teacher? That is again, a discussion for another day7

  1. Among others, from Education Week and NPR↩︎
  2. Another is that it features input from a former UTeach instructor, Dr. Michael Marder↩︎
  3. The title of this post is in reference to the “Rainy Day Fund”, which was of no small significance four years ago.↩︎
  4. and it was four-plus years of hard work.↩︎
  5. It was “last-in, first out” — the newest teachers would be the first to get cut. The only criteria for determining who to cut was years of experience. That’s it. It’s been a full four years now, and I can still taste the stink.↩︎
  6. Merely out of spite.↩︎
  7. perhaps the “end-of-all-days”.↩︎

FiveThirtyEight.com: How The Academy Chooses The Best Picture

FiveThirtyEight.com: How The Academy Chooses The Best Picture

Eye opening. Not necessarily an indicator of what actually happened this past weekend1 but eye opening, nonetheless.

If you’re too lazy to read, here’s the infographic for you TL;DR’ers:2

hickey-datalab-oscarvoting

  1. Although I did see “Birdman” and most people I talk to agree: it was “out there”… I suppose we’re not like most people on the Academy.↩︎
  2. It’s worth noting that the process described only applies to the award for “Best Picture” – not for the rest of the awards.↩︎