A couple of months ago I was running some errands with my older son, who is a junior in high school and possessed of a biting wit. I was telling him that University of Minnesota professor Myron Orfield had submitted a lengthy rebuttal to a story of mine that accused Orfield of launching a cloaked attack on school choice.
The rebuttal was vintage Orfield: Hundreds of words of circular legal arguments and phrases like “regression analysis.” It went on and on and on until your eyes rolled back in your head and you probably failed to notice that he basically mostly accused me of interviewing people he disagrees with.
Which I did. A whole pack of them, in fact.
“Oh, that’s one of the fallacies,” my boy said. “Argumentum verbosium.” Also known, apparently, as proof by intimidation.
On Monday Minnesota’s Chief Administrative Law Judge signed off on a 93-page opinion authored by one of her colleagues that shreds those proof points, one by one. Given the extent of the verbosity they had to untangle, we should take up a collection and send the jurists for a spa weekend. Continue reading
When Fidel Jonapa heard his team declared the winner of a design competition late last month, he was momentarily baffled. It had to be a mistake.
The event was a weekend-long contest in which Minnesota’s adult technology entrepreneurs raced for 54 hours to bring startup concepts to life. Jonapa and his classmates were seventh- and eighth-graders at a Minneapolis middle school.
“I was like–what?” Jonapa says. “Why us?”
Teammate Aria Denisen was having a similar reaction. “They announced third place and second place as we were like, ‘Oh well, we did a good job this weekend,” she says. “And then they announced us.”
Adds Jack Sarenpa: “I thought he pulled a Steve-Harvey-at-Miss-Universe moment.”
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This weekend my family will find a moment amid the turkey and the pie, the football and the Minecraft, to acknowledge things we are grateful for. This year, my heart is full to bursting. My younger son, who has Asperger’s, is in a new school. For the first time he is an academic and social rockstar. He’s surrounded by teachers and other adults who see and talk about him as gifted.
All of that adult faith has made him a different kid, and me a different parent. Continue reading