September 25, 2009

Fantasy football with schoolkids

Charles Murray writes in The American:
A great idea has surfaced for blowing the claims for early childhood intervention out of the water. Congressman Jared Polis has proposed creating securities whereby people could invest in early childhood education and participate in the eventual returns. I think we all ought to get behind this idea, and thereby prompt some unsentimental hedge-fund guys to take a hard look at the claimed returns for early childhood intervention and the data that are being used to support those claims. I predict their technical conclusion will be “You can’t be serious.” Maybe someone will pay attention to them.

I think we should have a Fantasy Football league for schoolchildren. I'll play versus Bill Gates. He can pay for all the early intervention for his draft choices that he wants if he'll pick, say, the Hungarian Gypsy kids while I pick the Hungarian Jewish kids, he picks the Untouchables while I pick the Parsis, and so forth. A dozen years from now we'll compare test scores and settle our bets. C'mon, Bill, ante up!

The funny thing is that nurturism becomes ever more our ruling ideology all the while naturism becomes our hobbies. Fantasy football is pure selectionism. There is no coaching, no training, no nothing. Just pick the players who will come up with better statistics and you win. And it's huge these days.

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

41 comments:

rwf said...

"The funny thing is that nurturism becomes ever more our ruling ideology all the while naturism becomes our hobbies."

If your hobby involves walking around in public naked then that's your business but for most of us naturism is not a hobby.

Anonymous said...

all the while naturism becomes our hobbies

Speak for yourself, pervert!

Anonymous said...

This actually isn't a bad idea. It runs counter to the cultural grain--and maybe even the 13th amendment--but some system where parents got a cut of their kids' earnings would be good for demography and something like this would be good for education. You can't make a turnip into a Nobel prize winner, but you might be able to divert someone from crime to, say, being a respectable janitor. Unfortunately I expect that the answers are unpopular things like holy roller religion, strict and repressive communities of social mores, and cruel and unusual punishments.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail has serialised some of the juicier extracts from Anderson's book.

The paper has titled the piece:
Inside the Obama's rocky marriage: How lonely Michelle nearly walked out on ambitious (and hen-pecked) Barack


"Within four years (of marriage) Obama had become a state sentator. But his qualities as a husband left a lot to be desired for the fastidious, financially ambitious Michelle.

His four or five days away at the state senate only aggravated her feelings of being abandoned while she also felt that his political career was nothing more than a "costly waste of time."

'Michelle couldn't understand why he would want to do that when he could be earning £500,000 or more as a partner in a leading law firm' one friend explained.

For his part Obama felt aggreived "Whenever I could I pitched in' he said 'All I asked for in return was a little tenderness.'

Instead he got Post-It notes everywhere with messages such as @Please pick up after yourself. You left your underwear on the floor again."

...Every bit annoying was his incessant smoking. Their home, she felt, "stank" of smoke. The carpets had cigarette burns and the ashtrays were always full - of course her husband never emptied them.

On top of that she went to bed at 10pm aqnxious to keep her job as a highly paid lawyer working for a firm which helped the underprivileged while he would stay up until 2am.
Even when he got to bed he would snore and would suffer from early-morning halitosis.
Time after time the fashion-conscious Michelle would accuse her jeans-wearing husband of being a slob, while he retorted "Why are you bothering me with this while I am trying to change the world?".

The piece goes on to say that it was Michelle's "desperation" to have a baby that pushed the marriage to the edge.



(in the paper edition - not online apart from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1215322/Inside-Obamas-rocky-marriage-How-lonely-Michelle-nearly-walked-ambitious-Barack.html#ixzz0S8RbToRV)

albertosaurus said...

Murray is being naive - probably on purpose. There is no amount of evidence that will sink the dream of early chilhood intervention. Poltical discourse is not science where a beautiful theory can be slain by a single ugly fact.

Political notions are much tougher and more resilient.

I was a graduate student in the seventies when I was fascinated by the then new Progream Evaluation reform movement. The theory was that a government program's assumptions should be formally stated and then tested just as if they were scientific hypotheses. So if a program claimed that spending X amount of money on such and such a program you would get Y amount of benefit. If the benefit didn't amout to Y then the theory behind spening X would be refuted.

At the time this was heady stuff. A previous government reform movement had tried to get better program performance by employing hordes of accountants. Program Evaluation used statisticians and those with a background in research design instead.

The first great evaluation study just happened to be in early childhood intervention - specifically The Head Start Program. In 1969 the Westinghouse Evaluation clearly showed that Head Start didn't work. Any gains that the Head Start students had acheived had faded out by the time the kids were three.

Zilch, nada, nothing. It couldn't have been more clear and definitive. Murray certainly knows this history. He may very well have participated in it.

No matter what the science showed, Head Start was a politically popular concept. A few years later I saw a government video that explained the value of the Head Start Program. In the movie the Head Start students are screened by a Public Health nurse. She finds a kid who has a dietary deficiency (cretinism I seem to remember). The kid is slow and stunted. They give him some iodine and he gets better and does better in school.

All this is true of course but hardly the point. Head Start had some ancilliary benefits like hypothyroidism screening but fundamentally its theory was simply that little black kids needed some extra and early classroom schooling. If they got that, it was claimed, they would not be so behind in regular school.

That theory failed in that first big evaluation study done forty years ago. It has failed in all subsequent studies too. Murray knows all this but he is frustrated I guess.

After taking a lot of math and statistics courses in graduate school I worked as an evaluator for a while. I ran studies on a lot of social programs in the next few years and a fair number of those were defunded. But math and statistics were never a factor.

The public likes the notion of more schooling, as does the teacher's union. I evaluated a number of jobs programs. There the theory was - and still remains - that you find a group of people who failed in school and are marginally employable. You "fix" their problem by putting them back in school. Not surprisingly, giving more schooling to those who have shown a life long difficulty with school, doesn't work very well. In fact the published longitudinal studies of job training programs show that many trainees are harmed by more training. But that has never stopped any politician from calling for more and better job training programs.

Most government social programs don't work. All early childhood intervention programs don't work. No one who bothers to peruse the research literature can come to any other conclusion. But the world of science, math and research has almost no impact on practical politics.

Anonymous said...

How, exactly, would this work?

poolside said...

Last night on the news I heard Rick Smith, the black GM of the Houston Texans, talking about an injury to Chester Pitts, a black offensive lineman.

He said something to the effect that Pitts had "great genes, great DNA" that would enable him to return to action effectively.

Interesting that our society is quick to point out inherited athletic traits but refuses to believe that there is anything genetic about intelligence.

Usually Lurking said...

Something else very Politically Incorrect about Fantasy Football is to start players that are, this week, going to be playing against weak teams. So, regardless of whether you have Tom Brady on your team, you will start Kerry Collins if he is going to be playing the Detroit Lions.

In other words, gang up on the weak. Pick the low hanging fruit.

Anonymous said...

Sigh, another fine idea that will never be implemented because the reality (some kids are just born dumb) is too scary to contemplate.

Perhaps doing this with young children is just too emotional. It triggers too many deep neural circuits. NAM demagogues & SWPL enablers would wail, "You can't treat these precious children as an economic commodity!" An appealing and slightly more realistic education market might be:

"Here are my HS grades and references, and my college acceptances. Pay for me to go to college; in return, you'll get X% of my AGI for the next thirty years."

Shaggy eighteen-year olds don't trigger the same protective emotions as cute little moppets. And by that time, wheat/chaff have already undergone a partial separation process.

Benefits include: starving certain majors of new students.

-SWPH

MQ said...

What nonsense. The benefits of early childhood education pass hard headed market tests all the time -- every time a parent pays more for a good preschool.

Sideways said...

Totally off topic, but I was just going over US News rankings of high schools and I noticed something: their school data includes "Minority Enrollment (% of total)" and the definition of "minority" is NAM.

Anonymous said...

The congressman needs our support!

Per the pundit thread, Jason Malloy absolutely needs to start his own blog. Surely, he is amongst the top five most intelligent bloggers in the Steveosphere; If I were a betting woman, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that he was *the* most intelligent. I just discovered that he started pointing out the flaws in the Game/Roissy movement at least as far back as 2008 and has demolished their arguments and even the very premises of those arguments. Unfortunately, they have been written in the threads of multiple blogs over months. If I had to recommend any thread, it would be the one where he goes against Peter Frost
http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2009/08/where-are-women.html

Steve, put some pressure on that man! We need him, especially to undo the damage of the folklorists.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell me what NAM means.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

"Here are my HS grades and references, and my college acceptances. Pay for me to go to college; in return, you'll get X% of my AGI for the next thirty years."

Hmm... that sounds familiar... maybe you could call it a "student loan"!

You see, that's exactly how a student loan market would operate without massive government intervention.

Sounds like the administration is on board:

"The administration’s view, shared by a number of Democratic lawmakers, is that the private lenders should no longer be paid by taxpayers to operate a virtually risk-free business in which they essentially use taxpayer dollars to originate loans, with repayment guaranteed, and then resell those loans to the Treasury."

Great! Somebody finally figured out that government-subsidized loans were causing gross efficiencies in the market!

"Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who is chairman of the Education Committee, now plans to introduce legislation next week that would rely on direct government lending to replace the federally subsidized loans made by private banks."

D'oh.

Obama Plan to End Role of Private Banks in Student Loans Wins Support

Eric said...

I doubt anyone would ever take you up on that kind of bet, but still... there's usually some way to make money off being right.

Of course, even if you are right (and I think you are), that nature is dominant when it comes to academic success, you're still dealing with a bell curve. You should certainly be able to find a given Hungarian gypsies kid who is smarter than a given Hungarian Jew.

Edward said...

Steve : I heard the last couple of segments on the radio.

You are an insightful intelligent guy but why do phrase things in a way that makes it so easy for people to make the usual accusations ?

Classic Example : Why in god's name did you call your book "The Half Blood Prince" ?

Obviously you get to steal web searches from Harry Potter but it so obviously could be a slight on Obama's mixed race parentage that people like me can't recommend it to more politically correct friends.

Ok, no offence, I read you all the time, do you think maybe you are in love with a self image of the unfairly maligned truth teller ? is there some self sabotage going on ?

Anonymous said...

"government-subsidized loans were causing gross efficiencies in the market"

Double d'oh...

I meant to say "gross inefficiencies", obviously.

sj071 said...

MQ said: 'What nonsense'... +10

Albertosaurus: 'Murray knows all this but he is frustrated I guess.'

More like proud. Education for masses in Western world is working exactly as planned. Let's be honest , what can USA possibly do with, say, extra 50- 100000 engineering graduates per year? Most of the factory floors and assembly lines are based in China or some other netherland, clean, orderly and of world-class standards.

Hard to be innovative if you have no idea how things look like in real life. Thanks for the debt btw.

Anonymous said...

"Time after time the fashion-conscious Michelle"

Because of the this I question the veracity of the entire book. Michelle was never fashion conscious. She became this way after BHO was on his way to the White House probably due to pressure from his handlers. I am a nerd/bookworm similar to Michelle so I can relate to the way she is. Trust me, she struggles with fashion, this whole fashionista persona they keep presenting is false.

Svigor said...

Interesting that our society is quick to point out inherited athletic traits but refuses to believe that there is anything genetic about intelligence.

Who? Whom?

silly girl said...

"What nonsense. The benefits of early childhood education pass hard headed market tests all the time -- every time a parent pays more for a good preschool."

The NASA engineers who put the men on the moon and engineered the space programs didn't even go to school till they were seven years old. Early childhood education was running around the house with your brother and playing thump the hump and learning to obey your parents.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad that I've never met a Parsi.

dearieme said...

".. [he] would suffer from early-morning halitosis": oh, does he drink?

Anonymous said...

Murray and Steve's faith in "unsentimental" hedge fund managers seems somewhat misplaced. I've seen a couple of studies that that indicate the vast majority of fund managers perform no better than chance (S&P index funds). How about you and Murray present this idea to them - they guarantee to refund 100% of the commissions and salaries they earn in a year if there funds perform no better than a yearly average of market indexed funds.
Lets see how they handle that risk!!!

rast said...

NAM: non-Asian minority AKA black people and hispanics.
WAA: whites and Asians.

Steve you need some kind of FAQ/wiki with all this info...

David Davenport said...

Unfortunately I expect that the answers are unpopular things like holy roller religion, strict and repressive communities of social mores, and cruel and unusual punishments.

That agenda sounds good to me. What's your unfortunate problem?

Anonymous said...

Most government social programs don't work. All early childhood intervention programs don't work.

You're overstating the case. All early childhood intervention programs that are academic and social in nature and directed at normal children don't work. Early childhood intervention for the developmentally delayed works very well, however, and nutritional and medical intervention for all children also works very well. You gave an example right in your comment, about the nurse discovering the iodine deficiency.

Now should these be government funded or should private charity pick up the ball, I don't know, but it doesn't help the case against universal preschool to make false claims.

What would help is a firm distinction created in the mind of the public between medical and nutritional screening and support, which is almost certainly worth the money, and academic and social programs, which are jobs programs and no more.

Anonymous said...

The benefits of early childhood education pass hard headed market tests all the time -- every time a parent pays more for a good preschool.

Parents who pay for expensive preschool aren't paying for the same benefits that are claimed for early childhood intervention programs like Head Start.

Expensive preschools are usually play-based programs, have a very weak focus on school readiness, and their graduates generally go on to expensive private schools. No one is under any kind of illusion that the preschool is going to make the child smarter, better, or different in any way; on the contrary, the *parents* are displaying their smarts by parking their kid someplace with a 10k/year price tag.

Head Start exists to make children do better in public school. Head Start boosters believe that enrollment in Head Start changes the child. A mother who places her child in Head Start believes she is being a good parent - a *better* parent than her neighbor who keeps her children home, whereas in their hearts, the parents who send their child to the expensive preschool know that the better mother is the one who stays home.

Dennis Dale said...

It will need its own name; "fantasy scholarship"? No, that too readily describes certain social theory. "Fantasy schooling"? Same problem. "Fantasy Education Policy" describes it nicely, but is a little long; "fantasy education"? Brings to mind my abbreviated high school years, I must say.

Come to think of it, there's no need to limit ourselves to education; why not extend the idea to any policy that might be made amenable?
Recall the idea of a speculative market on the probability of terrorist attacks someone put forth after 9/11, shot down because people were appalled by the idea of betting on bloodshed (Forget that--what about the prospect for and manner in which one might manipulate this market? destroying a company to short it is one thing; how long would it take for someone to stage an attack to clean up? post-meltdown, I've become more cynical).

But there should be a whole panoply of "fantasy policy" markets, particulary in the "social engineering" fields.

Eric said...

"Thump the hump"?

Anonymous said...

Why in god's name did you call your book "The Half Blood Prince" ?

Obviously you get to steal web searches from Harry Potter but it so obviously could be a slight on Obama's mixed race parentage that people like me can't recommend it to more politically correct friends
.

If they are that wet and insipid I really wouldnt worry about telling them anything, they will never 'get it' anyway.

Anonymous said...

the answers are unpopular things like holy roller religion, strict and repressive communities of social mores, and cruel and unusual punishments

In other words, WASP society for about 600 years, between about 1382 AD and 1970 AD.

Anonymous said...

Immigrant Family Values
Mark Krikorian
Friday, September 25, 2009; Posted at 5:01 PM
corner.nationalreview.com

Linda Chavez's new column regurgitates the conventional wisdom circa 1973 about how immigrants and their children are doing just fine, upward mobility, just like your bubbe from Bucharest, etc. In fact, scholars are now focusing on what they're calling the "immigrant paradox," wherein the descendants of immigrants, especially Hispanic immigrants, are not following the path of earlier newcomers. In fact, a new longitudinal study of Mexican immigrants and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren finds that, compared to the second generation (the children of the immigrant), the fourth generation (the great-grandchildren) have higher dropout rates, lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher poverty rates, lower home-ownership rates, and lower net worth. My colleague David North chews over some of the possible reasons for this, but the idea that everything's hunky-dory and we should take another 10–15 million immigrants over the next decade is delusional.

Anonymous said...

SANITIZED VERSION:

Teen stabbed as 200 youths brawl in car park
September 26, 2009 11:11am
news.com.au

RAW VERSION, PUBLISHED 11 HOURS EARLIER:

200 youths brawl in car park
Anthony Dowsley and Aaron Langmaid
Herald Sun September 26, 2009 12:00AM
heraldsun.com.au

It's believed most of the youths were of Islander and Asian descent, but the cause of the affray is unknown.


The "Asians" are obviously Muslim; from what I can tell, the "Islanders" are probably aboriginal peoples from the Torres Strait Islands.

And here's another version of the story which mentions a previous brawl:


Brawl involving 200 youths erupts at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne
Anthony Dowsley
September 25, 2009 6:57PM
heraldsun.com.au

A similar-sized brawl at Highpoint in October 2007 involved African youths from the Flemington high-rise flats.

rec1man said...

Anon wrote
--
I'm sad that I've never met a Parsi.

--

Ratan Tata, the owner of Jaguar and the Tata Nano $2000 car is a Parsi

--

-


However, they are going extinct
by refusing to reproduce adequately

--

Ratan Tata has no kids

--

The Parsis are the pre-islamic iranians who fled to India in 700 AD to escape the 'religion of peace'

Josh said...

'The "Asians" are obviously Muslim; from what I can tell, the "Islanders" are probably aboriginal peoples from the Torres Strait Islands."

More likely Samoa, Fiji or Tonga.

David said...

> All early childhood intervention programs don't work. No one who bothers to peruse the research literature can come to any other conclusion. But the world of science, math and research has almost no impact on practical politics. <

Those programs feed people's rationalizing racial integration. ~ We can do it! It will, it DOES work! ~

Anonymous said...

"Murray and Steve's faith in "unsentimental" hedge fund managers seems somewhat misplaced. I've seen a couple of studies that that indicate the vast majority of fund managers perform no better than chance (S&P index funds). "

You are confusing hedge funds with a normal managed fund. Hedge funds look for and exploit market inefficiencies using things like arbitrage to generate above market returns. Markets are reasonably efficient, but they aren't perfect. It's also about maximizing upside risk and minimizing downside risk. Hedge funds are so named because they were originally defined on the basis of 'hedging' their bets using shorts and the like to play an each-way. Try and beat the market in the bad times even more than the good.

"How about you and Murray present this idea to them - they guarantee to refund 100% of the commissions and salaries they earn in a year if there funds perform no better than a yearly average of market indexed funds. "

Hedge funds use a different renumeration system (2/20 is the market standard) to the one you have in mind. The whole industry is pretty much based on the aim of beating the market in both good and bad times. If you can't do it then you won't attract clients. Of course extracting above market returns without exposing yourself to above market risks is the trick. You don't want to go the way that (not so) Long Term Capital Management went back in the late nineties.

Anonymous said...

Why in god's name did you call your book "The Half Blood Prince" ?

How about The Half-Baked Prince?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I expect that the answers are unpopular things like holy roller religion,

How will that help? Historically all that Holy Roller Religion has managed is to create and persecute unbelievers, infidels, heretics, and blasphemers - while not improving real morality one bit.

strict and repressive communities of social mores,

Like Islamic ones?

and cruel and unusual punishments.

I have no problem with that, as the solution to cruel and unusual crimes. Though history shows that it is easier to persecute scapegoats than real criminals.

David said...

> Why in god's name did you call your book "The Half Blood Prince" ? <

It seems to be a takeoff on a Harry Potter novel title. It fits because Obama is half-black and half-white, a celebrated fact about him and a significant factor in attracting the base that got him the Presidency of the United States.