2012 in review

In October, I reached 100 posts, which is a lot for a slow writer, so I did a summary of my work thus far. I had 37,000 views in October; by year end, I had 67000. Calculated on a purely monthly basis, my blog has 5628 views per month. However, it’s clear that things took off in June, which is when I created a Twitter account. June through December accounts for 60,000 of my 67,000 page views, or 8627 views per month. I did not achieve this by writing more posts; as you can see by my calendar archive at the bottom I wrote 25 posts in January, 13 posts in February, and 10 or less every subsequent month, so I apparently grew my audience. So I thought I’d do a retrospective; maybe new readers would find something that interested them.

Page views by month:


Rather than list posts by viewership, I thought I’d look into the numbers by month, as it’s obvious I started off big, then faded back, then hit my stride over the summer, which I connect to Twitter but may be caused by something else.


  1. The Gap in the GRE, currently 8th in my overall list, has actually gotten more views over time than in its original posting. Steve Sailer discussed it in June, and it’s getting more interest over time. As a 99.999% verbal performer, I’m proud to have increased awareness of that gap.
  2. Teacher Quality Pseudofacts, Part II. This article was responsible for most of the atypically high activity in January and is third on my overall list. Google “teacher SAT scores” and the search returns my article on the first page. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been reading a blog on an entirely unrelated subject and seen commenter A sneer about crappy teacher SAT scores, and commenter B slam back with a link to this article. This is a high information value post that gets used a lot. Deeply satisfying. Eat that, Biggs and Richwine.
  3. Another post that gets a lot of attention, relative to what I expected, is Modeling Linear Equations. Google “linear equations modeling” and it comes up on the first page, and is 13th overall in page views. Teachers use this post as a direct homework assignment or as an example, and its usage has also increased over time.
  4. Oh, yeah, I explained the Voldemort View, a phrase I borrow from an anonymous teacher.


  1. Another sleeper post, Homework and Grades. Joanne Jacobs linked it in, giving it the first boost, but it’s been a big performer over time, and is the seventh most read post.
  2. I think my unit on Twelfth Night has some great ideas.
  3. I also introduced the lurker in the teacher quality debate—namely, race. I’ve returned to this several times with my Mumford posts.

March, April, and May

These were all very slow months, primarily because I didn’t take on hot topics and talked mostly about teaching. No big posts, but I’m very happy with the method outlined in Teaching Trig, and thought this post on induction and its crappiness was good. My History of Elizabethan Theater I, II, and III are worth a read, too. I only wrote 4 posts in May, because I was focusing on a piece I wrote under my own name, but this piece is a lot of fun: Teaching Algebra, or Banging Your Head With a Whiteboard.


  1. Why Chris Hayes Fails got a big immediate reaction, winning links from both Steve Sailer and Razib Khan, and is currently #5 on my overall. This post, too, gets a lot of repeat links because of its disconcerting evidence in two big areas: a) blacks and Hispanics are more likely to get test prep than whites, and b) wealthy blacks score lower than poor whites on the SAT, something I return to often.
  2. What’s the difference between the SAT and the ACT—The difference between these tests will, at some point or another, become relevant to your life, and I’m one of maybe fifty people in the country (and that’s being generous) who have spent a decade prepping wealthy, middle class, and poor kids of all races on both the SAT and the ACT. Please keep it in mind.
  3. Difference between tech and teacher hiring . I’m fifty. It’s frigging brutal, getting hired as a teacher. If you know anyone planning on becoming a second career teacher, send them this link to discourage them from spending a lot of money on the effort.
  4. The problem with fraudulent grades: For seven years, I’ve taught an ACT class to low income, black and Hispanic students, and seen the profound differences in GPA, course transcript and demonstrated ability based on whether or not they went to a charter school or comprehensive high school. My contempt for GPA and AP for all is close to boundless because of my experience.

July was my first huge month, nearly double June, and 60% of January through June combined. I found it intimidating, frankly.

  1. The myth of “they weren’t ever taught”–probably my single favorite post, an effort to explain to non-teachers what it is like to teach a demanding cognitive subject to low to mid-ability kids. Razib Khan and many others linked this in; thanks for the attention!
  2. Google Clarence Mumford and my original post is still on the first page as of today. In August, it was third. This story was completely ignored for four months, in my opinion because it points the way to what will certainly occur (and has occurred) if teacher content knowledge requirements are raised.
  3. The False God of Elementary Test Scores–another idea I return to frequently. Many believe that raising elementary test scores and achievement will lead to stronger high school achievement. No evidence of that, folks.


  1. #1 on the most read list: Algebra and the Pointlessness of the Whole Damn Thing, my “curating”, as it’s called today, of the argument set off by Andrew Hacker. I didn’t take a position but rather explained why everyone else was wrong.
  2. SAT Prep for the ultra-rich and everyone else—another very useful useful primer on test prep.
  3. Why Chris Christie picks on teachers—for that matter, why eduformers pick on teachers and leave cops and firefighters alone. Is it completely a coincidence that teachers are mostly white women and the other two are primarily white men?

A relatively light month, but with a number of pieces I’m happy with.

  1. The Fallacy at the Heart of All Reform—this piece has never gotten all that much attention. Basic idea: both progressives and “reformers” have been pushing legislation onto schools without any research supporting their objectives. Useful overview of education legislation over the past 40 years.
  2. On the CTU Strike—another piece I like a great deal, suggesting why reformers might be failing so spectacularly at winning the hearts and minds of the public.
  3. The Sinister Assumption Fueling KIPP Skeptics—Stuart Buck throws out what he assumes is a gotcha, and I amiably agree.


  1. Escaping Poverty—what advice do you give a 15 year old who wants to get out of poverty? In a little over a month, it achieved second place on my most read list.
  2. Boaler’s Bias—it was opinions like these that made my life at ed school difficult.
  3. Teaching Students with Utilitarian Spectacles—Every so often, I take a piece of academic writing and show what it means when working with a student at ground level. This is one of my favorites; thanks to Joanne Jacobs for discussing it.
  4. Best Movie About Teaching. Ever.–I like writing about movies.


  1. Parental Diversity Dilemma—jumped to six on my overall list. I’m pretty hard on Mike Petrilli, the parents pretending they want diversity, and charter advocates. All in all, a good day’s work. John Derbyshire included me on his dark enlightenment reading list, as did Steve Sailer
  2. More on Mumford—finally, the media noticed the Clarence Mumford story, and I slam down hard on the education pundits who scoff at the “stupid” people who can’t pass the Praxis without cheating.
  3. The End of Pi—Like Twelfth Night, a rare post when I talk about teaching literature.
  4. Algebra Terrors—in which I discuss the PTSD I suffer from teaching all algebra, all the time.


  1. Alternative College Admissions System–#9 on my most read list, an answer to Ron Unz’s controversial article about the myth of american meritocracy
  2. Fake Grades and Big Money–I use KIPP data to show why I think grades are useless, and why KIPP pledges are so problematic.
  3. Push the Right Buttons—another student anecdote that I’m very fond of.
  4. Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, wonk—useful if you want to know the teaching history of most major eduwonks. Answer: not very much.
  5. Diversity Dilemma in Action—Obligingly, the Rancho Elementary School in Novato comes forth to prove why I have such a low opinion of Mike Petrilli’s new book.

So there’s my year. Thanks for reading!

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