July 22, 2009

Self-Help

What should be done about Advanced Placement Tests and Advanced Placement Classes?

My essential message is that "You have to read the fine print."

The kind of assimilated American Catholics and Protestants I grew up around tend to assume that the fine print on admissions to taxpayer-funded institutions such as the University of California is made up by experts with the public good always in mind, and if you need to be aware of its implications, you'll be duly informed by professionals.

The kind of people I talk to now about these questions tend to be Korean, Armenian, Jewish, and so forth. It would never occur to them to trust public institutions to treat their family members well. Nor do they trust the media to explain the rules of the game honestly to them, since everything about public education hinges on race, and everybody is supposed to lie in public about race.

Now, my traditional instinct in my writing is toward making disinterested public policy recommendations consistent with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. But, I intend, as a service to my readers, to increase the percentage of Self-Help advice in my writing, especially in regard to education.

Right now, there is a lot of information on getting the best education for your kids that you have to be plugged into an extended family and/or ethnic network to become aware of.

For example, consider the current proposals to streamline the University of California admissions process somewhat. Earlier in the decade, the UC had bludgeoned the College Board / ETS into making major changes to the SAT, including adding the Writing test and extending the range of math subjects tested on the SAT into higher math. This expansion of the SAT means that the UC's complicated requirement that students take both the SAT and three SAT Subject achievement tests (including Writing) seems obsolete. By getting rid of the requirement for three SAT Subject tests, the UC supposedly hopes to make admission less complex, less time-consuming, and less expensive.

Is this a good idea? I don't know. I'll look into it. What I can say in the abstract is that it will be good for some people and bad for other people.

One thing that is clear is that organized Asian pressure groups like application processes that are complex, time-consuming, and expensive. The Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus in Sacramento sent a detailed letter to the chairman of the UC Board of Regents complaining that in one "low end" scenario,
"the total percentage of African American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and Asian American students would decrease from 60 percent to 53 percent; ... whereas, the percentage of White students would increase from 34 to 41 percent. ... The Joint API Legislative Caucus has specific reservations about how the new admissions proposals would decrease the percentages of Asian Pacific Islanders from 32.6% to 25.2% of the entire eligibility pool ..."

In other words, in the low end projections, the changes probably wouldn't have much effect on NAMs, so lumping all minorities together is just a smoke screen to occlude what the Asian Caucus is really mad about: the changes might benefit whites at the expense of Asians. The letter is worth reading because the politicians who wrote it have thought very carefully about the effects of UC admissions requirements -- not from a Kantian perspective, but from a zero sum one.

Now, as you might guess, the California state legislature doesn't have a White Caucus, so it's hard to get the other side of the story. It is, however, easy to find insanely detailed analyses of the effects of suggested changes worked up by Asian pressure groups. For example, the website of the liberal organization APAP, Asian-Pacific Americans for Progress: A National Network of Progressive Asian Americans and Allies for Action and Change posted:
APAP's blog would like to welcome Spam Fried Rice to our blog team where she will be covering education issues. She starts off with a six-part series called, UC Admissions Scandal of 2009! … Yo, let’s not freak out… just yet.”

Asian-Pacific Americans for Progress read the fine print.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I thought folks might be interested in this recent research, "Children’s literacy: different teachers don’t make big differences."
http://blog.une.edu.au/news/2009/07/22/childrens-literacy-different-teachers-dont-make-big-differences/

Anonymous said...

It's hilarious that they label themselves Asian/Pacific Islanders. As if East Asians have anything in common with Samoans, or native Hawaiians.

It's a clever ploy to disguise what they really are - a swarm of yellow people taking advantage of our idealistic nonracialism.

Bob said...

The white caucus in CA politics is called the Republican Party.

While whites are now a permanent minority in CA, they did several things before this happened to hold onto power.

First, Prop 13 is essentially an annual tax cut on property owners by limiting increases to below the rate of inflation. White homeowners pay much lower property taxes than their younger neighbors.

Next, strong environmental and zoning laws prevent development around wealthy neighborhoods.

Next, the rule that tax increases require a 2/3 majority makes it nearly impossible to raise taxes.

Next, the initiative process allows the GOP to place ballot measures to a vote during random low-turnout elections where voters are much more white.

Toadal said...

While quite possibly influential, the APAP web site is seldom frequented. The traffic metrics web site 'www.alexa.com' lists www.apaforprogress.org Traffic Rank as 2,099,697.

Pringle said...

"It's hilarious that they label themselves Asian/Pacific Islanders. As if East Asians have anything in common with Samoans, or native Hawaiians.

It's a clever ploy to disguise what they really are - a swarm of yellow people taking advantage of our idealistic nonracialism."

That sounds about right. Don't forget that Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, et al are usually included in that group, despite how preposterous grouping together another such genetically, culturally distinct groups is.

Also don't forget that groups like "Asian/Pacific Islanders", which apparently includes everyone east of Tehran and north of Brisbane, would be nowhere without their mostly Jewish, along with some white gentile, enablers.

Anonymous said...

"It's hilarious that they label themselves Asian/Pacific Islanders. As if East Asians have anything in common with Samoans, or native Hawaiians."

If you exclude Japanese, Koreans and Han Chinese, people from the rest of Asia would basically be Mexicans. That's not including India/Pakistan/etc., who nobody considers Asian anyway (they're just Indian).

calvin said...

Steve,

I've heard that in California, if you had a solely "merit" based admissions criteria and relied exclusively on tests and grades, and ignored "life story" and Affirmative Action type things, then at places like Berkeley the numbers of Asians would be much higher than today and would dwarf all other groups including whites.

I'm not sure if complex, time-consuming, and expensive admissions procedures necessarily benefit Asians at the expense of whites, especially if in this case it means including the 3 SAT II tests, one of which is the Writing test.

I'd imagine that having the 3 SAT II tests would benefit whites since one of the required tests is the Writing test, which whites would at the least be competitive with Asians and very likely better. The two other SAT II tests are chosen from a larger pool of various subjects, and I would think this would benefit whites over Asians as well, as there is a fairly large group of subjects, and Asians tend to focus on a few rote skills.

Anonymous said...

I hope your son gets into an Ivy or somewhere else really good.

Otherwise I feel your writing is going to take on a hitherto unseen personal dimension.

Eve Zaylor said...

Modern America is one big white dispossession program.

Anonymous said...

Actually, just how terrible it is that institutions of learning - supposedly the custodians of the highest ideas of any society, have been reduced to being nothing more than a cockpit of competing ethnic genetic interests, in which the gamecocks literally tear each others' eyes out in order to gain their own selish ethnic genetic interest.Surely this must be one of the biggest arguments against mass immigration of competing, self-defined ethnies.
Where is the Athenian ideal?

Jack said...

Steve Sailer says:

The letter is worth reading because the politicians who wrote it have thought very carefully about the effects of UC admissions requirements -- not from a Kantian perspective, but from a zero sum one.

My Dad was Northern Italian. Big fan of Garribaldi, Mazzini and even Mussolini until he made a pact with Hitler. Being a Northerner he had an idealist Kantian civic national interest perspective on public policy.

OTOH, being Italian he also had a realist Machiavellian behind-the-scenes, smoky-corridors-of-power, back-room deals, read-the-fine-print, best-left-unsaid, you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours, Tammany-Hall-machine aspect of ethnic politics.

This is probably a good combination to take to the analysis of power. But the more the world becomes like California - a neurotic status-aspirational struggle for scarcer positional goods under conditions of increasing "density, debtquity and diversity" - the more we are all going to have to hang our Kantian slippers on their lofty peg and don some steel-capped Machiavellian boots for a down-and-dirty spoils fight.

Cable Guy said...

"I hope your son gets into an Ivy or somewhere else really good.

Otherwise I feel your writing is going to take on a hitherto unseen personal dimension."


Yeah. If his son doesn't, maybe Steve will finally go "Nationalist" if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Asian Americans living in the USA and in particular California must be an exceedingly rich community by now.
So what's stopping a major benefactor amongst them from endowing and founding a new, private university, a center of excellence in Caifornia, but with the proviso of facoring Asian Americans in admissions.
Surely, a beter way to go.

hcl said...

May we assume Sailer's second son will begin h.s. this fall?

(Just a speculation, because Sailer seems to have flipped into snarling, mother-defending-cubs mode. It's something more extreme than mere "Angry WHite Man" mode; he's clearly lost his usual objectivity where it concerns his son.)

The govt-inflicted ethnic mal-incentives aside, this AP testing business really is a non-issue. The state needs a neutral system where kids can just be kids and still enter appropriate university.

Otherwise, everyone ends up torturing their kid for stupid reasons.

Christopher said...

As an assimilated American Irish Catholic, let me partially correct your description of my assumptions, and anticipate and address at least one self-righteous BS argument that my Korean, Armenian, Jewish and so forth friends might make. No, I didn't skip the fine print because I'm too lazy or too dumb to figure it out. I skipped it for the same reason I haven't read Das Kapital: I have it on good authority that it's crap and I don't want to waste time dealing with it. I'd rather read Tolstoy, thank you very much. So the not dealing with this stuff is a kind of "here, take my coat too" attitude.

Maybe that's just a Roman Catholic distinction. Or Irish stubbornness and love of penance. Maybe the Protestants really do believe there's an all-to-the-good rationale somewhere in these wild-card poker rules.

Maybe it's even plain revolutionary; Chechen as Solzhenitsyn might say. Test case: which Americans will follow Rep. Michele Bachmann in not fully filling out their US census form next year?

Anonymous said...

Billionth time here - why castigate the Asians for acting sane?

Jun said...

OT (kinda) >> Here's a 2002 article on Reason about Escalante and his calculus program: Stand and Deliver Revisited

Anonymous said...

Maybe SWPL's should hire one of these:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/education/19counselor.html?_r=3&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig

for a mere $40,000. That way they can major in their SWPL majors and work for non-profits and NGO's for $25k/year.

Growing up on the east coast as an AM, my off of boat parents didn't have the connections nor the inclination to navigate the Ivy admissions systems, much less pay for it. I went to University of (insert your state) I worked construction in the summers and washed lab glassware during the AY. Went to a decent grad school in the sciences (all free as STEM fields pay stipends) and in my 50's recognized as one of the tops in my field.

All this gnashing and wailing of teeth over going to your favorite Ivy or UC is way overblown. Given all that -- college admissions should be a straight forward process. I don't what you whack-a-doodle Cali's have done, but out here in fly-over just get good grades in HS and score decent on the ACT you'll get into University of Red State.

An assimalted AM in a Red State. Love it out here.

Anonymous said...

I think the lesson here may not be so much that the system is unfair but that certain groups have an advantage. If that's so then whites should take advantage of their positive naivete/trustworthiness and enter into fields where that is highly valued. But, I guess they already do. See: commercial banking, law enforcement, insurance.

Anonymous said...

By getting rid of the requirement for three SAT Subject tests, the UC supposedly hopes to make admission less complex, less time-consuming, and less expensive.

Yeah, right. I'm sure Steve naively believes that's exactly what motivated the good-hearted diversicrat folks at UC admissions: a sense of objective fairness.

Why the sudden concern with complexity, cost by eliminating one of the few valuable objective and predictive metrics of IQ and motivation? Because there are too many damn overqualified Asians and even more are coming. The current slights of hand are not even enough to hold down Asian admission today much less deal with future demographics.

As for the dishonest NE Asian lobby lumping themselves in with truely underrepresented groups, who doesn't play this game? And what the hell is APAP, a test for cervical cancer? Looks like NE Asians are going to get even more screwed than they are today in terms of reverse discrimination.

Besides, what's the downside for the diversicrats? Asians are almost as big pussies as whites are when it comes to letting themselves get screwed over by the racial spoils system. No matter how much higher the objective standards are held for them, Asians usually feel a sense of individual failure and guilt if they don't meet them.

Like the successful whites, successful Asians don't feel much sympathy for their co-ethnic losers. Maybe base tribalism is inversely related to intelligence both within and across races.

PeterW said...

"Billionth time here - why castigate the Asians for acting sane?"

Exactly. If we want to remain credible we must focus on diversitoid hypocrisy, not criticize the very people who are showing the hollowness of American racial conduct. Sure, it's not "fair" that we whites can't just do racial advocacy the way minority groups can, but that's how it is, and if we're going to make any impact on public discourse we must be high-minded.

RobertHume said...

"Billionth time here - why castigate the Asians for acting sane?"

Because the equal AP test scores, and the history of science, demonstrate that whites are about equally capable on routine science and probably much more creative ... including non-Jews. There's lots of speculation on this "wild creativity" among the Japanese.

So the result of Asian overachieving is that some of the best whites will not get the best education and hence that our civilization will suffer.

Similarly, in Fairfax VA, the rate of application to Thomas Jefferson magnet school is 5-10 times as high among Asians, but the pass rate is about the same. As a result a lot of whites probably don't apply, and more creative, not-particularly grind-type whites don't get if those spaces were available.

Also whites probably begin to feel out of place and decide to stay with their friends; whereas Asians are motivated to go to the school because it will have more Asians than their own school.

The net result again ... the main purpose of the school, to give the creative students better science education, is strongly undermined.

king obama said...

"Billionth time here - why castigate the Asians for acting sane?"

The problem is that there is no Caucasian Education Rights group looking out for the best interests of Caucasians.

If every group except whites is going to have an advocacy group looking out for their group's best interests, then that is unfair.

Astro said...

Is there any good data or reference regarding the genetics of East Asians vs. South East Asians and Pacific Islanders?

How close or different are the groups genetically speaking?

Former East Coast SoCal Transplant said...

Just send your kid out of state already, Steve. It'll be good for him to learn that California *isn't* the center of the universe.

stari_momak said...

but with the proviso of facoring Asian Americans in admissions.

Well there is this strange place, Soka University, stuck in the South Orange County foothills. It is somehow connected with one branch of the Buddhists or another, and seems to be a sort of Chapman University -- i.e. pay of fee, get a degree -- place for marginal Asians, among others. I'm kind of slighting Chapman -- back when they were Chapman college they really were like that, now they have improved it seems to me.

stari_momak said...

The state needs a neutral system where kids can just be kids and still enter appropriate university.

We had that before the mass immigration wave put huge pressure on education resources. Now it seems to be a struggle just to get your kid into the right elementary, then the right charter/public 'academy' , then shelling out time and money for long test prep sessions. Hmmm, doesn't that sound like the system in a few Asian countries, the sort of educational arms race that has been going on. Could that have anything to do with the Asian population in the country increasing, what, 4 fold in 40 years.

Anonymous said...

"Because the equal AP test scores, and the history of science, demonstrate that whites are about equally capable on routine science and probably much more creative..."

Blah blah blah. Then do something! Meet your neighbors. Talk to your kin. Restudy history. See where it all went wrong. Figure it out. Fix it. But don't expect others to not try.

Trying to think of another term for yourself besides, "non-Jew" would be a start.

King Homer said...

"If every group except whites is going to have an advocacy group looking out for their group's best interests, then that is unfair."

Sorry King, but that's the way it is. That's what we've been dealt. We adapt or we die, and the whinging doesn't help. The Chinaman didn't moan when the Eurovolk were trying to keep him down and out here, he just plugged along. We must relearn everything.

Anonymous said...

In the future when there are no more whites to steal from, the competition between the other racial grouips will probably turn into all-out war.

Gaming the System said...

I was admitted to a fairly prestigious (but not ivy league) university even though I had mediocre grades and didn't take the SAT or any other tests.

But I did have one advantage: I lived in Detroit. I think the admissions officers just looked at my address and made a quick conclusion about my racial identity, and I was accepted without even needing to go in for an interview.

But the joke is on them: I am not a racial minority. And I didn't actually live in Detroit but in an adjacent suburb which doesn't have its own post office and therefore uses a Detroit mailing address.

Ha ha, suckers.

abenamer said...

Steve, I'm one of the people behind APA for Progress. I think your analysis of spamfriedrice's article regarding UC Admissions is all wrong. It's actually debunking some of the assertions being made by the Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus regarding the effect of admissions on Asian Americans. While I find most of the comments by your posters objectionable and bordering on racist ("a swarm of yellow people taking advantage of our idealistic nonracialism" -- seriously stupid), and I find your blog amusing because of it's badly done argumentation, you should at the very least bother to read the rest of the series. It's very detailed, and creates a pretty sophisticated analysis of the effects of the legislation. In other words, if you're going to go off on a rant, at the very least read (and understand) what it is you're ranting about. If you don't have the math skills (and I don't think you do - tsk tsk), let me give it to you in English. Not all Asian Americans agree with the Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, we think that they are giving short shrift to the more economically disadvantaged members of Asian America. In other words, we know that outside of Japanese, Korean, Chinese and to a lesser extent Filipino and Indian populations, there are a bunch of subaltern identities that could use a leg up in the admissions process. These would be people like Cambodians, Vietnamese and other Southeast and South Asian ethnicities that simply don't get a chance to participate in Asian America to the extent in which we'd like. So no, the article is more about opening up the UC campus to subaltern Asian identities than it is about some sort of oppressed white minority that you claim to represent.

As for Pringle's argument that East Asians and Pacific Islanders have nothing in common: In general, the argument about Asian identity has already been won. It's just as "silly" as white identity in the way whites have formulated a generic white identity out of ethnicities as disparate as Serbs, Frisians, and Sardinians. It's ironic that he uses the "swarm of yellow people" to discuss us all as in fact, it's been white racism that has forced us to forge a single Asian American identity. Keep on going Pringle, calling us all yellow just helps us form our generic Asian American identity that much easier.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

It understandable your stressed as the parent of a native-born white son trying to get into UC Berkeley.

At least count your lucky stars that your not the father of a native-born asian son. Those guys are totally screwed!!!

Anonymous said...

"swarm of yellow people"

That really got "abenamer" going! Of course the "we" was the giveaway. Too bad she/he(?) had to take a swipe at Steve to make her/his point. Kinda shows how desperate these people are. Why don't they apply to unis in Korea and Japan if their race is so superior? Why bother with diminutive white man's education?

Dale said...

"In other words, we know that outside of Japanese, Korean, Chinese and to a lesser extent Filipino and Indian populations, there are a bunch of subaltern identities that could use a leg up in the admissions process. These would be people like Cambodians, Vietnamese and other Southeast and South Asian ethnicities that simply don't get a chance to participate in Asian America to the extent in which we'd like. So no, the article is more about opening up the UC campus to subaltern Asian identities than it is about some sort of oppressed white minority that you claim to represent."

Right. The question is of course, increased enrollment of these "subaltern Asian identities" at the expense of whom? Giving them "a leg up in the admissions process" at the expense of whom?

Who, whom?

The (predominantly NE) Asians are already overrepresented, and the whites underrepresented at the U of Cal (at least at the best, major ones like Berkeley, UCLA; not sure about the entire system but it wouldn't be surprising if this holds).

The Asian American identity politics groups know that they have to throw a bone to the "subaltern" Asians that are part of their coalition and contribute to their numerical strength. But they realize that helping their "subaltern brothers" out and increasing the "subaltern" representation could reduce the mostly NE Asians that already get in, are overrepresented, and do fine in higher education.

Fairness, pragmatism, and reason would seem to suggest that if there is a serious desire to increase the enrollment of a group or groups, it should come at the expense of the most overrepresented group. In this case, namely Asians. But fairness, pragmatism, and reason aren't what it's all about of course.

Steve Sailer said...

Generally speaking, when somebody uses the term "subaltern identities" in a non-satirical way, that's a good sign that the poor taxpayers wasted their money educating him or her.

Pringle said...

abenamer,

"As for Pringle's argument that East Asians and Pacific Islanders have nothing in common: In general, the argument about Asian identity has already been won."

My point isn't that these various groups have absolutely nothing in common. Of course they do. They are all part of a larger coalition formed in part to take advantage of idealistic nonracialism, to compete in group identity politics, to fight in an increasingly zero-sum racial spoils system, etc. Insofar as they ally with other groups such as Hispanics, blacks, women, etc. on broader issues, they are ultimately joined not so much for their various commonalities and slight, superficial cultural similarities, but for being in opposition to the larger white (or perhaps white male) majority.

"It's ironic that he uses the "swarm of yellow people" to discuss us all as in fact, it's been white racism that has forced us to forge a single Asian American identity."

I never used that phrase. I was quoting someone else that did.

Is it also all that "white racism" that has caused Asians to be overrepresented at elite universities, professions, and become one of the highest income groups? Even other areas such as "Hollywood" or "the media" in which organized Asians complain they are underrepresented don't really have a good case. Remember, Asians don't even make up 5% of the overall US population. Aside from the aforementioned places/positions in which Asians are clearly vastly overrepresented, it's very likely that even in those other areas Asians are overrepresented.

Pringle said...

Coming from an initial ideological position of absolute neurological equality/uniformity between the various races of man, and considering the fact that blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in most/many areas (certainly relative to Asians), black and Hispanic groups/activists can make a semi-plausible case for organizing in order to "remedy" underrepresentation. Asians basically have no credibility in taking a similar line for themselves. Endlessly invoking Chinese railroad laborers, the Chinese exclusion act, Japanese internment doesn't support them in this either.

The bigger question here is what's the teleology, so to speak? What is the end state, the goal that organized Asians desire? Organized Asians decry the supposed "underrepresentation" of Asians in various areas of American society. But underrepresentation and overrepresentation only make sense in light of the actual Asian population, which is 5%. And common sense and fairness would imply that decrying supposed "underrepresentation" in certain areas would have to mean acknowledging Asian overrepresentation in others. But everyone knows this is a big joke. As if Asians are going to seriously acknowledge their overrepresentation in the Ivy League for example, and not mind having their own numbers reduced in order to make way for other underrepresented groups.

The answer is that there is no "fair" end state based on individualism or "citizenism" to use Steve's phrase.

It's ultimately about power. A kind of visceral, tribal sense or feeling of power.

A good glimpse into the kind of attitude we're looking at can be found here:

http://www.angryasianman.com/2009/07/koh-brothers-are-runnin-this.html

abenamer said...

Hey Steve, if your kid can't get into the UC system I'm pretty sure he or she won't be able to use the phrase "subaltern identities" in any mode, satirical or not. Suck it up.

And Pringle and Dale, you obviously haven't read the APA for Progress piece or you wouldn't have set up a straw man and proceeded to beat up on it. There are numerous progressive Asians willing to engage on the issue of overrepresentation but only if whites were willing to further discuss the issue of their historical overrepresentation as well. The problem is this, whites were historically overrepresented in the UC system up until fairly recently. Was there ever a rigorous mathematical examination that was done that could quantify the actual extent of that overrepresentation? If so, could we use those numbers as a basis to establish future admissions numbers that would result in racial equity for blacks and Latinos? Would whites be willing to abide by those new guidelines? Would whites also be willing to abide by guidelines that reinstated affirmative action as a means by which to reach the goal of eventual racial parity? Would whites be willing to raise taxes so as to address the current inequity in much of California's K-12 system in regards to poor performance of schools in black or Latino neighborhoods? This is where I believe the disingenuousness of your arguments lie. None of the "pro-white" supporters on this blog are willing to make serious arguments about Asian overrepresentation as well as address the issue of historical overrepresentation of whites. It's as if you want to deny the past and start only from a original point from several years back when whites were first underrepresented in the UC system. That simply is not going to work for anyone willing to address issues of overrepresentation regardless of what race we're talking about. But sure, let's put it on the table. Asians are overrepresented in the UC system. It was exacerbated by the end of affirmative action in the UC system. Whites, foolishly cuttting off their nose to spite their face, ended up with less representation in the UC system after the end of affirmative action. It's an irony that I find hilarious in the so-called zero-sum universe that Pringle lives in.

Dale's argument about power seems to be more of a justification of a white power analysis than anything I've seen in the Asian community that's ever been adopted as a policy stance by any reputable political group. If Dale would be so kind to point to an Machiavellian Asian power agenda, I'd love to see it.

As for Pringle's citation of the Angry Asian Man article, that's a pretty sad attempt to try to create a distorted picture of Asian Yellow Man Pride. If you would reread without "yellow peril" lenses on, it's just a discussion of the Koh family and how accomplished it is. It would be no different than say a biography of the Roosevelt or Kennedy family and their overachiever status. That was a swing and a miss, Pringle. Try again.