* Top Colleges, Largely for the Elite, mostly overlook low-income students. File this under, “Seems obvious, nice to have proof.”
Efforts to reform California’s public employee pension system got a boost Wednesday from a Sacramento Bee investigation that unearthed some staggering numbers. “Almost 9,000 retirees in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System receive at least $100,000 in annual benefits,” the newspaper reported. The figure is being seized upon by critics of state worker compensation, who point out that the median taxpayer in the Golden State earns just $56,000 per year.
* Someone found us by searching for “grant writing cartoons.” I’m not aware of any grant writing cartoons (or comics), but this could be a good subject for a contest.
* Someone else found us by searching for “nutria horror movie,” which I would encourage any filmmakers among our readers to make.
* Walton Foundation gives $12 million to L.A. charter schools. Given the news and fears about jobs issues, don’t be surprised if basic education issues become a major grant wave.
* Why GM Couldn’t Be Apple, According to a Former GM Exec. This is actually about creativity and corporate culture.
* Penelope Trunk: “The Joys of Adult Sexting.”
The programs in question are typically “boutique” offerings: labor-intensive, expensive, narrowly targeted, and small. Some of them originated through grants, and others developed as local projects championed by someone who made it his baby. Typically, the folks who direct or otherwise lead these programs are convinced that they’re doing God’s work, and if you look only at their own program in isolation, they often are. They can produce passionate testimonials from program alums on a moment’s notice, and they can produce statistics showing some sort of positive outcomes. They work hard, mean well, and touch lives.
So what’s the problem?
They can’t scale up.
This comes from a college context, but the principle applies in grant writing too.
* Speaking of that very issue: Beware the Stunning Pilot Program, from Megan McArdle:
With pilot programs, you always have to be on the lookout for the Hawthorne effect: people being studied often change their behavior in response to the fact of being studied, not to any particular intervention. The effect gets its name from a factory where researchers were studying the effect of lighting on worker productivity. What they found was that both raising and lowering the light level caused productivity to increase–the workers were responding to the researchers, not the lights. It’s not hard to imagine that a parent who is informed that their child is part of a Very Important Childcare Study might change their parenting in response.
* Marriage, with Infidelities, an NYT discussion of Dan Savage.
* The Committee for Public Harrumphing will hold an open hearing this Friday. I will be speaking on the topic of RFPs.
* Most Illinois Specialists Won’t Take Medicaid Patients. We’ve worked for lots of CHCs / Section 330 providers who observe this problem.
* Don’t always trust what you read in the press, James Fallows edition.
* The bicycle dividend, which may occur in part because there’s lots of low-hanging fruit, so to speak, in creating bike lanes, while pretty much every area that could be efficiently paved for car traffic already has been.
* Health care stagnation, and an explanation of why expensive treatments often don’t do much on a macro scale.
* Attention to the person who searched for “sample proposals for pathway to responsible fatherhood grant:” the program is brand new. Unless there was a pilot program / RFP, no one has written one yet. We’ll probably have the first complete draft of a Responsible Fatherhood or Community-Centered Healthy Marriage and Relationship proposal, and we’re definitely not uploading it to the Internet.