Is Your City Education Reform-Friendly?

What does it take for a city to be ready for school system reform? These days, it's hard not to answer that question by simply saying, "Well, is the teachers' union still active?"

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with an assist from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tried to assess which cities are the country were best perched to revamp their educational apparatuses. The researchers looked at whether a city had access to a talent pipeline, had readily available sources of public and private funding, showed a commitment to charter schools, could properly assess the success of entrepreneurial ventures, and were open to reform and innovative practices at both the district and city level.

Cities were graded from A to F, though no municipalities earned the top grade. (Does that mean no one's really ready for reform?)

New Orleans, which is in the midst of a huge school choice experiment in the wake of rebuilding its education system after Katrina, snagged a B. (Recently, Reason posted a video praising the school choice efforts in New Orleans. It's embedded below.) Denver, which has instituted performance pay incentives for its teachers, did, too. New York; Washington, D.C.; and Houston also earned Bs—as did smaller cities like Jacksonville, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas.

Chicago, arguably the template for federal education efforts (since its former schools CEO, Arne Duncan, is now the secretary of education), only mustered a C, as did L.A. and Boston.

According to the new study, where are the places least prepared to reform their school systems? Detroit garnered an F, despite Michigan's prodigious efforts to revamp education laws in order to compete for Race to the Top funds.

In a press release announcing the study, Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Fordham Institute, said cities serious about reform need to create environments akin to Silicon Valley for innovation in technology.


via Jim Browing / YouTube

Jim Browning is a YouTuber from the UK who has an amazing ability to catch scammers in the act.

In this video, he responds to a scam email claiming he bought a laptop by breaking into the scammer's computer. In the process he uncovers where the scammers work, their banking information, and even their personal identities.

"I got an 'invoice' email telling me that I had paid for a $3800 laptop," Browning writes on his YouTube page. "No links... just a phone number. It's a real shame that these scammers emailed me because I was able to find out exactly who they were and where the were."

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HG B / YouTube

Danielle Reno of Missouri left her car running and it was stolen by thieves. But she wasn't going to let her car go so easily.

For 48 hours this owner of a pet rescue tracked the charges being made on her credit card. Ultimately, she found her car at a local Applebee's, and then went after the thieves.

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via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

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