Also, those NFL arrest rates: Catherine Rampell has a remarkable column in the Washington Post.
We don’t mean that as a compliment.
Rampell’s column concerns the way we the people view our public schools. We’ll grant you, she does say this:
RAMPELL (9/19/14): Few consistent tools are available to measure the quality of U.S. education over time; the best we have is probably the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, first administered in 1971. And believe it or not, NAEP scores have been steadily improving, with most national measures now at or around all-time highs. The biggest gains have generally gone to nonwhite students, helping narrow—though not eliminate—the achievement gap.It’s unusual to read something like that, especially in the Post.
That said, that is just one brief part of Rampell’s column. In the bulk of her column, she tries to determine why we the people think our schools are worse than they used to be—especially since, objectively speaking, that doesn’t seem to be true.
We think her attempt to explain is just sad. For Princeton grads at the Washington Post, some things can’t be said.
We’ll discuss that column at some point next week. We also thought we’d recommend a report from FiveThirtyEight about NFL arrest rates.
Benjamin Morris did the report, all the way back in July. We’d call this his nugget:
MORRIS (7/31/14): Although there seems to be an endless stream of stories about NFL player arrests and misconduct, this is largely because there are a lot of NFL players (and they’re famous). At the league’s peak (during training camps), there are about 2,560 players attached to NFL teams (limit 80 each). As I’ll show, arrest rates among NFL players are quite low compared to national averages for men in their age range—but there are some types of crimes that trail the pack significantly.“Arrest rates among NFL players are quite low compared to national averages for men in their age range?” We find that claim quite surprising.
Let’s be clear. Nothing in this report changes the way the NFL has handled cases of domestic violence this year, or in the past. If you don’t like the way the league has performed, this report presumably won’t change your judgment.
That said, we think Morris’ findings are quite surprising—and his report appeared in late July! Given all the thunder about the NFL in recent weeks, we think it’s surprising, and quite revealing, to see that this report has been almost completely ignored.
Did Morris get his information right? We can’t tell you that. Here’s an academic report on this subject from two of them perfesser fellers through an address at Duke.
Personally, we don’t think of the NFL as a judicial body. We want the police and the courts to handle criminal acts. If we’re going to talk about domestic violence, we’d like to see a wider discussion of the way the courts, and other institutions, are handling such matters across the board.
Katie McDonough actually did that this Wednesday, in this lengthy, thoughtful piece at Salon. By the next day, she had returned to more familiar soil—to the rampage against witch Goodell.
Dare we suspect it? Domestic violence is hard, very hard. The NFL can be fun.