My new Vdare .com column:
Last week saw two events exemplifying the vast contradiction between how the American upper middle class speaks of IQ and schooling in public—and what it actually thinks in private.
The widely-reviled heretic Charles Murray published three essays in the Wall Street Journal on how we are kidding ourselves about schooling ("Half of all children are below average in intelligence, and teachers can do only so much for them"), college ("Too many Americans are going to college"), and the wisdom of the elite ("Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise"), and was … widely reviled for his heresy.
Meanwhile, the bourgeois parents of liberal Los Angeles were in a frenzy as last Friday's deadline for postmarking applications for magnet public schools bore down upon them.
Bob Sipchen wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
"Negligent Los Angeles parents take note: You have only until Friday to get a postmark on the magnet school application that your more responsible peers regard—rightly or wrongly—as their last desperate hope for getting their children a good education at taxpayer expense… It goes without saying that you're terrified of the local middle school, which you just assume has lousy test scores because of those tough-looking kids you see hanging out in front, presumably spreading graffiti, smack and STDs."[How to make it to a magnet By Bob Sipchen (Monday's Column, Jan. 15, 2007)]
For example, the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (SOCES) received 2939 applications last year for its 192 openings. That seven percent acceptance rate is lower than Harvard's.
The LA Times ran daily updates of the "Ask a Magnet Yenta" advice column by Sandra Tsing Loh on how to manipulate the magnet system to avoid having to send your kid to either a normal public school or a private school that can run up to $27,000. "Actually, now that there are so many Democrats in private school, the preferred term is 'independent" school,'" acidly notes Loh, who may be the only conservative performance artist in America, in her hilarious “Scandalously Informal Guide to Los Angeles Schools”.
Why does what Loh calls the "Prius-driving screenwriter" class find magnets so magnetically attractive? [More]