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Here’s the abstract of a new paper by Katharine Strunk, Bryant Hopkins, Tara Kilbride, Scott Imberman, and Dongming Yu:

Educators and policymakers have been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to substantial delays in learning due to disruptions, anxiety, and remote schooling. We study student achievement patterns over the pandemic using a combination of state summative and higher frequency benchmark assessments for middle school students in Michigan. Comparing pre-pandemic to post-pandemic cohorts we find that math and ELA achievement growth dropped by 0.22, and 0.03 standard deviations more than expected, respectively, between 2019 and 2022. These drops were larger for Black, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students, as well as students in districts that were at least partially remote in 2021-22. Benchmark assessment results are consistent with summative assessments and show sharp drops in 2020-21 followed by a partial recovery and potential stall-out in 2021-22.

Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn reports on Randi Weingarten’s “real but crumbling power.” Here’s his conclusion:

“In addition to becoming purveyors of every progressive cause, unions have become downright anti-learning,” says Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. “For many Americans, Randi Weingarten is the face of this.”

Johnny Friendly [in On the Waterfront] and his union cronies controlled the docks with the help of the mob—until the workers revolted and took his power away. Randi Weingarten and her union allies maintain power only because of a public monopoly. It would all make a terrific movie.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Evidence based medicine: randomized trials, control groups, cohort studies.

The Science(tm) based medicine: mannequins, “models”, Swiss cheese.

Reason‘s Robby Soave reports welcome news: “the last vestiges of the Biden administration’s pandemic mandates are disappearing on May 11.” A slice:

To the extent there was any justification for COVID-19 vaccine mandates, it rested on the assumption that the vaccines were not merely protective of severe disease and death, but actually prevented the spread of the virus. When public health officials made their case for vaccine requirements, they did so according to the theory that vaccinating Person A would substantially reduce the likelihood of Person B catching COVID-19. Biden wrongly declared that “you’re not going to get COVID-19 if you have these vaccinations.” (He later tested positive, despite being vaccinated.) Mandates were intended to “stem the flood of infections,” The New York Times reported in September of 2021.

But by then, it was already becoming clear that no societal level of vaccination would eliminate the virus. The vaccines have appreciably reduced the risk of severe infections, particularly among the elderly and other vulnerable groups, but do not substantially prevent infection itself. The overwhelming majority of Americans have had COVID-19 at least once, whether they were vaccinated or not. The vaccines may reduce the severity of symptoms, and a jab appears to offer temporary protection—much like so-called natural immunity after recovering from the disease. But COVID-19 has proven itself quite capable of evading protection, which is why many people have contracted it multiple times.

Princess Anne says that lockdowns stole her father’s social connections.

James Hanley urges political scientists to be less sanguine about the state.

My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein reminds us of David Hume’s warning against forever wars.

David Henderson really likes the movie Air.

George Will admires Gerald Ford. A slice:

His [Ford’s] welcoming of Vietnamese refugees contrasted with the crabbed spirit of some sunshine humanitarians, such as California’s Gov. Jerry Brown: “We have enough people in California and we don’t need any Vietnamese.” Soon California’s high school valedictorians included many named Nguyen, the most common Vietnamese surname.

Before Reagan continued Jimmy Carter’s deregulation of entire economic sectors (e.g., airfreight, interstate trucking), Ford initiated the process: “I don’t understand why we have an Interstate Commerce Commission.” We don’t anymore. New York City’s revival from its 1975 insolvency began because Ford insisted: Heal thyself.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, talks with John Batchelor about industrial policy.