March 29, 2010

Obama's Race to Nowhere

My new VDARE.com column is a far-ranging review of Diane Ravitch's book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. It's particularly timely in light of today's Washington Post story:
Delaware and Tennessee won bragging rights Monday as the nation's top education innovators, besting D.C. and 13 other finalists to claim a share of the $4 billion in President Obama's unprecedented school reform fund.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan picked the winners after a team of judges in the Race to the Top competition unexpectedly gave tiny Delaware the highest ranking, with Tennessee close behind. Delaware won as much as $107 million and Tennessee could be awarded $502 million.

Leaders in both states pledged to establish national models for data-driven reform, tying teacher evaluation to student performance in an all-out effort to close achievement gaps....

In my review, I explain why this obsession with closing racial gaps that has been central to the Bush-Kennedy-Gates-Obama-Duncan mainstream consensus on education is fundamentally wrong-headed, and I conclude by offering a new, more practical, and more just alternative goal. The WaPo story continues:
The competition has generated enormous buzz in education circles and a flurry of action in statehouses to ease limits on autonomous public charter schools, revamp teacher pay and evaluation, expand the collection of student achievement data and take other steps in line with Obama's agenda. ...

Delaware's bid, backed by teachers unions statewide, indicates that the state will send a corps of "data coaches" into schools to help teachers track student performance and target lessons where needed. The state will begin new tests in the coming school year, generating achievement data to help evaluate teachers and principals.

Under the plan, student growth must be considered satisfactory for educators to be rated effective. Those rated ineffective could be denied tenure or face other consequences. The state will also offer bonuses to highly effective teachers to work in struggling schools and take other steps to link performance ratings to compensation.

I've been thinking about education statistics a lot longer than Arne Duncan has. My new VDARE.com column offers a longer perspective on these issues. Here's an excerpt pointing out that the purported research behind Duncan's trendy idea that developing data systems to find the best teachers in white schools and then assign them to Non-Asian Minority schools would, finally, Close The Gap is wholly conjectural.

According to Diane Ravitch:
"So, depending on which economist or statistician one preferred, the achievement gap between races, ethnic groups, and income groups could be closed in three years (Sanders), four years (Gordon, Kane, and Staiger), or five years (Hanushek and Rivkin). "

Ravitch marvels:
"Over a short period of time, this assertion became an urban myth among journalists and policy wonks in Washington, something that that ‘everyone knew.’ This particular urban myth fed a fantasy that schools serving poor children might be able to construct a teaching corps made up exclusively of superstar teachers, the ones who produced large gains year after year."

The hot new idea embraced by the Obama Administration and the Gates Foundation is to develop statistical techniques to find effective teachers, so that they can be taken out of white schools and sent to black and Hispanic schools.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that these influential papers are not studies of actual success stories of school districts that closed the racial gaps. Nobody has done that. Instead, they are merely mathematical projections of what might happen if all else remained equal. The authors are just assuming that the effect seen in one year of a good teacher over a bad teacher can be multiplied by any number of years.

For example, Gordon, Kaine, and Staiger write:
"Therefore, if the effects were to accumulate, having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row would be enough to close the black-white test score gap."

But that turns out to be a big "if." Ravitch notes:
"The fact was that the theory had never been demonstrated anywhere. No school or school district or state anywhere in the nation had ever proved the theory correct. Nowhere was there a real-life demonstration in which a district had identified the top quintile of teachers, assigned low-performing students to their classes, and improved the test scores of low-performing students so dramatically in three, four or five years that the black-white test score gap closed."

Ending the black-white disparity has been the Holy Grail of education reform since LBJ. Considering all the rewards that would befall any educator who could achieve it, you might assume that absence of evidence after all these decades is evidence of absence.

And, theory alone suggests we should be skeptical that the effects of star teachers would "accumulate" for three, four, or five years in a row. That’s due to one of the most famous concepts in economics: diminishing marginal returns.

Consider a hypothetical example from a different kind of teaching: golf instruction.

These days, I have the money and time to only play golf about twice a year. I now average about 40 strokes per round worse than the superstars of the game.

But imagine that I somehow convinced the swing coaches of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Pádraig Harrington, and Jim Furyk to drop their most famous clients and instead each work with me intensively for one year in succession.

Assume that during the first of these four years, Tiger’s new ex-coach Hank Haney helps me cut 10 strokes off my average score, from 108 to 98. Does that mean I would therefore be on track over four years to cut 40 strokes, all the way down to 68, and thus challenge my teachers’ former pupils for the green coat at the 2014 Masters?

Of course not.

That’s almost as mindless as saying that if I then got a fifth year of world-class golf instruction, I’d be averaging 58 strokes per round and winning every pro tournament by 20 strokes.

Read the whole thing here.

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

61 comments:

fdfrtthhkio said...

How come no one talks about closing the gap between Jews and whites? Jews are 2% of the population but outperform whites by a huge margin. Isn't that troubling, especially concerning 'white trash' in small towns?

And, if 'white racism' and 'christian bigotry' are at fault for all our social problems, how come Jews do better than Christian blacks and how come Asians do as well or somewhat better than whites?

Btw, how much money did China pour into producing top-notch track stars for the Olympics? The result? How many finalists for the 100 m and 200 m sprint were Chinese?

Indeed, how about trying to close the athletic gap between blacks and Mexicans/Asians. Have the coach of the LA Lakers coach Chinese-American or Mexican-American students in California schools, and of course, NCAA and NBA will be filled with yellow and brown athletes. Wow!!!

And maybe more Mexicans and Asians will make it to the finals of American Idol if they only had better singing coaches.

dearieme said...

If the reward for becoming identified as a Good Teacher is to be sent to the worst schools, what will that do for incentives? I predict a flow of Good Teachers to private schools.

OneSTDV said...

"That’s almost as mindless as saying that if I then got a fifth year of world-class golf instruction, I’d be averaging 58 strokes per round and winning every pro tournament by 20 strokes.
"

According to David Shenk, that's exactly what would happen.

Anonymous said...

That’s almost as mindless as saying that if I then got a fifth year of world-class golf instruction, I’d be averaging 58 strokes per round and winning every pro tournament by 20 strokes.

Is that why you won't let me point out that if a certain group's average IQ declined, from 83.7 in 1979, to 80.2 in 1997, then, 13 years later, in 2010, the same group's average IQ might be down around 77.5?

Anonymous said...

I think that the real problem for Obama is that he has two offspring with more African genes in them than he has ... so he has to keep the notion that their possible lower performance is because of pervasive racism.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Have you written anything that explains your skepticism about education reform in depth?

You obviously believe HBD explains the persistent racial gaps, but it's fully possible to believe both that those gaps will remain forever and that dramatic improvements are possible.

You don't need to be a libertarian extremist to believe that a system that provides no carrots for excellence or innovation and no sticks for incompetence will never product optimum results.

Most studies suggest that districts that allow charters and/or vouchers see benefits -- not the Earth shattering benefits that supporters expect, but measurable benefits. They also suggest those benefits grow with time.

Miraculous? No, but real and worth supporting if you think that better education leads to more functional adults.

Dalrock said...

The average middle class American will likely never understand the reality expressed in this article, but the average parent will sense the resulting decline of schools for their children. My wife teaches at a local private school, and my prediction is the next 5 years (maybe longer) will be boom years for the private school industry.

From my own informal survey of parents over the years, my observation is that almost everyone agrees that public schools in general are awful. But at the same time, nearly all parents are convinced that their own local school is excellent. I'm guessing this is a combination of sampling bias on my part (only asking upper middle class parents) and a reflection of psychological investment in past real estate decisions. In addition, there is the fact that acknowledging a problem requires potential action (at no small expense), which creates a bias against seeing potential problems. So they probably have above average schools in their neighborhood, and they are willing to overlook the problems which make them much worse than they should be.

Key to Obama's plan is to remove the buffers which allow middle class parents to overlook the faults of their local schools. NAM student discipline will have to become all but non existent, and the best teachers and even more funding will have to be moved out of the suburbs. Middle class parents don't have an infinite ability to rationalize away problematic schools. Obama has a tin ear for exactly this kind of thing, and I have every confidence that he will create flight from public schools not seen since forced busing.

Anonymous said...

So what will happen to the "bad" teachers who are not able to wave a magic wand and make a class of NAM's get good grades? Will they be fired? Get pay cuts?

Surely some of the teachers must understand about HBD, even if they never speak aloud about it. How could they not know?

Anonymous said...

I used to be a truly great statistics teacher - for about two years. Unfortunately I taught statistics for six years. I wasn't too good for the first two years because I just wasn't too good. I wasn't very good either for my last two years but at my peak I was exceptional.

Using a sports analogy, Sandy Koufax was exceptional too. But only for a couple years. Before he developed a curve he was pretty ordinary. After his arm gave out he was again quite ordinary.

All this talk about "gifted teachers" assumes that this kind of above the norm performance starts on day one and lasts until retirement. I don't think so. I doubt is a so called gifted teacher can really perform well for much more that five years or so. It takes a couple years to get up to speed and after a while at the top, enthusiasm wanes.

You are very unfair to Wilt. The Celtics were the most talented and best coached team in the NBA before Russell. Their only problem was that they couldn't win the big games. With the arrival of Russell the team gelled. Russel was a role player. On an Auerbach team that meant something. Unlike today those teams ran plays. They couldn't start those plays before Russell came because they didn't have a rebounder. His defensive skills also allowed Auerbach to use the other players in ways that capitalized on their individual strengths.

Russel made a huge impact on the Celtics. On another team of the day he wouldn't have been anywhere near as significant.

Chamberlain came out of the Globetrotters. He was very famous and very expensive. The Philadelphia Warriors didn't have a great supporting cast of players and they didn't have great coaching. The management decided to boost attendance by focusing on the famous Chamberlain. That is to say that they took as their goal getting a lots of points from Chamberlain first - if they also won the game that was OK too.

I watched a lot of those Chamberlain versus Russell games on TV. Russell couldn't do anything with Chamberlain, anymore than could any other center in the league. Chamberlain won all of those matchups although as I remember the Celtics won most of the games.

Red Auerbach wasn't confused about who was the better player. He called Chamberlain The greatest machine God ever made to play basketball.

Anonymous said...

The biggest immediate problem for schools is massive funding cuts. This is entirely due to a plunge in state and local revenue from recession that followed the housing bubble's collapse.

The best thing Obama could do is help stabilize education budgets. Teachers and students are more deserving of a bailout than the Wall Street bankers who caused the recession in the first place.

For him to make schools jump through stupid hoops and dance for Arne Duncan at this time is just cruel, and he must be losing a lot of good will from teachers and their unions.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your "What Obama doesn't know: better teachers are w----- teachers" line of thinking.

If you look at his Race to the Top guidelines, worse teachers (i.e., b------ teachers) aren't individually punished. Instead, entire schools are punished, as in Central Falls, Rhode Island.

When such designated failing schools undergo forced transformations, and only 50% of teachers are allowed to be rehired, who do think will get the axe? The worst performing teachers? I can't find anything in Obama's guidelines. Bet on AA at this stage.

Local politicians might even want failing school designations, as a way to implement the racial spoils that Albert Shanker fought so hard against.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are obsessed with turning blacks into Oreos. Of all the things for a society to concentrate on, this seems the wackiest. It's not even at the level of building the Pyramids. It leaves me alienated from the society.

Anonymous said...

My sense is that the Liberals wouldn't mind if the academic scores of White children went down as long as it helped close the gap achievement gap between blacks and whites. Therefore, they will continue to try to take funding away from white school districts (as Corzine did in New Jersey) and send it to Black school districts.

headache said...

ha ha, sending good white teachers into the hood ist the best way to turn them into realtors. Or alcoholics. Black kids will never reap the benfits coz the teachers are simply going to stop teaching.

Veracitor said...

Steve, I think you made some great points in that essay. Thank you very much. FWIW, I urge you to try to make those points again in new writings at various lengths:

(a) That new teachers (or teaching methods) can only "close the gap" if they work on NAM's and not on Whites/Asians. Man, that's a good point. If we keep integrated classrooms, then, like the "Flynn Effect," any tide of great teaching would lift the achievements of all students without really closing the dreaded "gap."

(b) That diminishing returns doom naïve schemes to greatly boost NAM achievements by subjecting NAM's to successive treatments from "great teachers."

(c) That honestly sorting teachers by ability would reveal another "racial gap" which many people would not wish to contemplate.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis and full of original thought as usual, but I am even more pessimistic than Steve. I don't think the obstacle is really quixotic blindness to IQ reality on the part of the elites, but rather they understand full well the underlying differences, are angry and jealous, and are using the system to shunt resources away from whites. It's precisely the same attitudes that are driving the health care debate, only in a less sensational, more insidious way.

ricpic said...

In your article you state that charter schools are (somewhat) like marine boot camps and that they work because their student bodies consist of self-selected hard workers. You then go on to say that charter schools wouldn't work if there were enough of them to cover the general public school population. Why? They might not work as well, but to assume that they would not affect any improvement in the performance of the general run of students is just that, an assumption. Looking back on my basic training experience I can say without hesitation that it improved me. For one thing it knocked a lot of self-pity out of me. It also toughened me up. Have I backslid since? Of course. But once you do what you thought was impossible a well of self-confidence has been established which makes achievement more likely in future. How do we know that demanding more of the general run of students won't have some positive effect on their prospects? We don't. It's well worth the try.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the obstacle is really quixotic blindness to IQ reality on the part of the elites, but rather they understand full well the underlying differences, are angry and jealous, and are using the system to shunt resources away from whites. It's precisely the same attitudes that are driving the health care debate, only in a less sensational, more insidious way.

Remember, too, that there is a TON of money to be made in the burning of Rome.

Not the sacking of Rome - the burning of Rome.

[Especially in a system where short trading is legal...]

.

David said...

Interesting Tennessee and Delaware are the top targets...er, "winners."

What is the white population of those sites again? They aren't very diverse, are they? Making them good targ- er, "winners."

jjkkop, said...

"If the reward for becoming identified as a Good Teacher is to be sent to the worst schools, what will that do for incentives? I predict a flow of Good Teachers to private schools."

Put them in military gear first.

We already implement the above-mentioned policy in our foreign affairs. We've placed the BEST MILITARY and LOTS OF MONEY in some of the worst hellholes around the world--Afghanistan and Iraq. Boy, aren't we producing miracles in that part of the world?

Anonymous said...

My sense is that the Liberals wouldn't mind if the academic scores of White children went down as long as it helped close the gap achievement gap between blacks and whites.

In some ways the march toward that particular shining city on a hill is well underway.

Both formally, as you describe, and more informally through the workings of popular culture.

What else could be the purpose of much low grade TV and music? They are designed to try and encourage black behavior amongst whites. The disparities are still there of course - single parents, unemployment, academic pereformance, random violence - but better disguised than in the bad old days.

Richard Hoste said...

If you proclaim enthusiastically that sending the best teachers into the slums would close the Diversity Disparity, it serves as a sign that you aren’t one of those horrible heretics who thinks that genetics might play a role. It’s a way of saying: "Don’t do to me what you did to James Watson. I believe, I believe!"

Enough with James Watson!

Just because he's a smart and famous guy who agrees with us doesn't mean we have to mention his name in every article we write!

rffghhjkkjk said...

Only a Cuban or East German-style Police State system will work in most black areas. Though the gap may not be closed, students will learn more,and most important of all, they will learn some basic values of discipline and respect, which are necessary for even low-skill jobs.

The real problem among many blacks is not that they can't keep up with calculus but they are not even fit for burger flipping or other simple jobs because too many blacks have poor work ethic, steal on the job, tend to be lazy and loud at work, rebellious in obnoxious and tyrannical ways, and troublesome. And too many have criminal records a mile long.

Even if one doesn't absorb fancy learning in school, it is in schools that children develop what are called work ethic and qualities such as punctuality, responsibility, cooperation, taking orders, and leadership--though giving speeches and running student affairs.
Education isn't just about WHAT you learn but HOW you learn. Even a dumb kid who's limited in WHAT he learns can still gain valuable lessons on HOW--how to get along, how to work with others, how to handle authority, how to etc.

I've known not-so-smart kids in schools who grew up to do pretty well. They were shit for brains but they learned to be diligent, serious, dedicated, and cooperative, and NICE. They found useful positions in life.

This is why public education should focus less on racial gaps than on personal character of the students.
If liberals are so interested in gaps, they should take notice of gaps in character between white/Asian students and NAM students.
Also, there is a divide in character between brown and black students. Generally, even brown students who do badly in school are easier to handle and work with than black students. This could be because blacks are naturally more aggressive and difficult... in which case, it'll be much more difficult. This is why we need a Cuban or East German Police State system in black communities.

Whiskey said...

The military has achieved a miracle in Iraq -- a relatively stable, place that does not threaten the Gulf and will produce a LOT of oil as long as provide protection. That's a miracle, considering I don't want Gas at $10 a gallon. Afghanistan a mess, but at least for now we can use it to whack AQ and the Taliban and keep their heads down. Which has its own uses.

Just getting NAMs into better literacy, basic English, and so on could if illegals were deported cut Welfare costs and prison costs by moving folks into decent jobs instead of welfare transfer payments. This does not require miracles but cultural change.

As a practical matter, taking the best teachers from White schools and putting them into NAM schools is a basic spoils fight. Sure to create a massive political battle.

Dalrock said...

@anon
You obviously believe HBD explains the persistent racial gaps, but it's fully possible to believe both that those gaps will remain forever and that dramatic improvements are possible.

If you read the full article on vdare and not just the excerpts, you will see that he closes with:

My goal, instead, would be to raise the average performance of all racial groups by half a standard deviation.

Henry Canaday said...

This is weirdly fascinating. The proposition that individuals can differ by innate mental ability and that races can differ by the average of such abilities:

1)conflicts with no major Western religious tradition;

2)conflicts with no major Western philosophical tradition;

3)is consistent with everyday experience;

4)is probably believed by the majority of ordinary people of all races;

5)is consistent with the weight of evidence from the most exhaustive and sophisticated empirical studies;

6)is consistent with, indeed is an almost inevitable implication of, the most basic version of evolutionary theory, which theory all educated people are supposed to accept.

And yet the operative assumption of government policy and the protocols of almost all public journals are that this proposition cannot be true.

Here is another, perhaps related paradox. The overwhelming majority of black people I see who work in the private sector, whether in prestigious or decidedly un-prestigious occupations, are efficient and friendly and seem reasonably happy. Disgruntled and dissatisfied blacks are common, on the other hand, in 1) government, 2) education and 3) on street corners, begging.

In other words, we have actually constructed a society in which it is possible for almost everyone who practices a modicum of self-discipline, whatever their innate mental gifts, to earn a reasonably decent living doing not terribly onerous work.

So the question becomes, when will American government, media and educators stop hitting America over the head with a hammer about a problem that is not really a problem anymore?

TGGP said...

Stuart Buck has been doing a lot of blogging about Ravitch recently and seems fairly well informed. I recommend checking it out.

Wow Whiskey, to steal a line Weird Al, it's almost as bad as when Saddam was still here.

Anonymous said...

"Enough with James Watson!

Just because he's a smart and famous guy who agrees with us doesn't mean we have to mention his name in every article we write!"

Or switch in Francis Galton or Karl Pearson.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you worry about this stuff Steve. If, as you assume, nothing is going to bring these kids up to HBD par, what's the loss? We spend more on the Iraq war and servicing the deficit thereof, with less effect.

The dumber the better anyway. The elites want more cannon fodder. You dont' seem to offer any better suggestions. I certainly dont get the impression you care about what happens to the unwashed masses.

Maybe try working on that movie critic career homie. 2010 is a great year to get into that.

Tom Merle said...

Since the gap won't be closed in those states embracing all the measures laid out by the feds, perhaps we can finally accept in a few years the reality of differing raw material, and set standards appropriate for these difference. Yea, right.

Anonymous said...

Why not rather push for culturally differentiated testing? That will by default eliminate the gap and might be a more accurate way to distinguish smarter blacks from the dumber ones.

-Willem

PK said...

***Leaders in both states pledged to establish national models for data-driven reform, tying teacher evaluation to student performance in an all-out effort to close achievement gaps....***

This paragraph seems to have now been removed from the Washington Post article?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you worry about this stuff Steve. If, as you assume, nothing is going to bring these kids up to HBD par, what's the loss? We spend more on the Iraq war and servicing the deficit thereof, with less effect.

The dumber the better anyway. The elites want more cannon fodder. You dont' seem to offer any better suggestions. I certainly dont get the impression you care about what happens to the unwashed masses.


Wow! Must be the first time you've seen this blog?

ben tillman said...

The biggest immediate problem for schools is massive funding cuts.

Hardly. Schools are already spending three to four times as much as they should be, given the typical student-teacher ratio. Most of the money is wasted on pointless administrators. Funding cuts wouldn't matter if the school districts reacted by reducing the bloated bureaucracy.

Max said...


Most studies suggest that districts that allow charters and/or vouchers see benefits -- not the Earth shattering benefits that supporters expect, but measurable benefits. They also suggest those benefits grow with time.


Miraculous? No, but real and worth supporting if you think that better education leads to more functional adults.


Better education is segregating the schools and assigning pupils to tracks based on their inherent abilities. With each track focusing on realizing the genetic potential as fully as possible

Better education is not cramping everyone together and catering to lowest common denominator. Bright kids are bored to death , and for dumb kids it still too difficult

Singapore has a great education system.

Anonymous said...

Geez Steve- you average about a 109 every time you play golf? How can that even be fun? I would hate to be playing behind you. Give it up ftlog!!!

Just think those two rounds you play a year could be spent writing up an extensive analysis about Trenton's public school system.

You know what game would probably cause you less pain? Mumbly Peg.

You're still the man though....

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

"6)is consistent with, indeed is an almost inevitable implication of, the most basic version of evolutionary theory, which theory all educated people are supposed to accept."


Most educated folks accept evolution.

They do not understand evolution.

Most creationists accept recent evolution and natural selection because those can be demonstrated. So, they can understand how it works.

Creationists fall away at the notion of spontaneous generation of DNA by just random happenstance.

Anonymous said...

"As a practical matter, taking the best teachers from White schools and putting them into NAM schools is a basic spoils fight. Sure to create a massive political battle."


Good teachers will not go teach NAMs even if there is significant remuneration. Most teachers are women and working conditions are more important to them than $$$. This is why private schools get good teachers. Thirteen bright, polite kids in a class instead of 30 idiots.

Le Mur said...

...to find the best teachers...

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the differences between the "best" teachers and other teachers, in measurable results, are miniscule:

http://www.halfsigma.com/2010/01/what-makes-a-great-teacher.html

--> http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/teach.pdf

JW Ogden said...

Do these people (Arny Duncan) really believe what they say or do they just know that they must say it?

Perhaps if I had trained harder I could have jumped like Michael Jordan. Not!

JW Ogden said...

BTW I for one think that they do not believe what they say and that goes all the way up to Obama.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is time to get the Federal Govt to put up or shut up. If now there is talk of conscripting the best white teachers to teach NAM classes, why not conscript NAM students, too. Set up a 5 year pilot program with random NAMs -- go ahead and spend 50 billion dollars on it. It would be worth it if we could settle the question once and for all: can the gap be closed? If it doesn't close even though there is $500K per student being spent, then it proves practically speaking that it never will since it would require all the money in the economy. (Remember the California State Board of education estimating that it might cost a trillion dollars to close the education gap between whites and Latino's?).

The results of the study could then be used as evidence in court to fight back any new ethnocentric push to make states go bankrupt spending more money on students of color. At last, we would come to the realization that we need factories in the US to keep these people employed. Seems to me life for those on the left hand of the bell curve was pretty good back in the days of the Detroit assembly lines and the Kaiser ship yards. In fact, the whole underclass black population living in the Oakland and Richmond flatlands are the descendants of Kaiser workers who once upon a time made a decent wage and had some self respect. Forcing their grand children and great grand children into AP courses and advanced algebra just stamps failure on their heads at an early age.

Anonymous said...

90 years of IQ testing shows a consistant 15 point gap between blacks and whites. This gap resists all efforts by liberals to close or narrow. It's obvious that is's caused by genetic differences that liberals can't wish away. Therefore what's the point of throwing more money at the quixotic goal to turning sows ears into silk?

Anonymous said...

"I don't know why you worry about this stuff Steve. If, as you assume, nothing is going to bring these kids up to HBD par, what's the loss? We spend more on the Iraq war and servicing the deficit thereof, with less effect."

Let me get this straight, instead of wasting our blood and treasure on one hopeless cause (which Steve has also written numerous articles criticizing - his schtick is, after all, that our mistake is to invade the world, invite the world, and be in hock to the world), we should instead waste it on another hopeless cause? Why not just not waste it on either?

"The dumber the better anyway. The elites want more cannon fodder. You dont' seem to offer any better suggestions. I certainly dont get the impression you care about what happens to the unwashed masses."

Actually, combat soldiers with IQs below the low 90s are ineffective (as numerous military studies have shown). All the elites want NAMs for is their votes (paid for by expropiating the middle class). They need working and middle class white boys for their cannon fodder. And, if you read Steve regularly, he seems to have a lot of sympathy for this demographic, the "Hank Hills" of the world.

Anonymous said...

All ethno-lefties and their SWPL camp followers believe White Privilege is at the root of the achievement gap.

But White Privilege is a consequence of higher intelligence. Therefore, the only way to eradicate White Privilege is to inflict brain damage on white children (or as Steve jokes, hit them on the head with a ball peen hammer). Perhaps somewhere in the 2700 pages of the new Health Care Redistribution Bill aka ObamaCare is a requirement that white children be vaccinated with lead and mercury.

tommy said...

The link to the url on the text "approaching the size of toasters" is busted.

It should be

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_(golf)

and not

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_(golf%2529

The Anti-Gnostic said...

As a practical matter, taking the best teachers from White schools and putting them into NAM schools is a basic spoils fight.

Arne Duncan is around my age, so he's old enough to remember busing, a social engineering disaster that even the delusional Left finally gave up. But lo and behold, the Left returns like a dog to its vomit, only this time they're going to bus the teachers.

And, just like before, the end result will be white teachers fleeing to the most remote, lily-white districts they can find, or leaving public education.

The Left is just completely f***ing insane.

Anonymous said...

'Actually, combat soldiers with IQs below the low 90s are ineffective (as numerous military studies have shown). All the elites want NAMs for is their votes (paid for by expropiating the middle class). They need working and middle class white boys for their cannon fodder. And, if you read Steve regularly, he seems to have a lot of sympathy for this demographic, the "Hank Hills" of the world.'

If I'm not mistaken, one of Steve's theories is that pro-NAM policies hurt non-elite whites and therefore serve to reduce the competition facing elite whites. As a result, support for pro-NAM policies becomes a signal of elite status, a signal that is respected to some extent by various socio-economic sorting mechanisms.

Anonymous said...

"why not conscript NAM students, too. Set up a 5 year pilot program with random NAMs -- go ahead and spend 50 billion dollars on it."


It has been done.


It failed.


http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298.html


Money And School Performance:
Lessons from the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment

by Paul Ciotti

"Executive Summary

For decades critics of the public schools have been saying, "You can't solve educational problems by throwing money at them." The education establishment and its supporters have replied, "No one's ever tried." In Kansas City they did try. To improve the education of black students and encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas City, Missouri, School District to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it.

Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil--more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money bought higher teachers' salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.

The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration.

The Kansas City experiment suggests that, indeed, educational problems can't be solved by throwing money at them, that the structural problems of our current educational system are far more important than a lack of material resources, and that the focus on desegregation diverted attention from the real problem, low achievement."

RandyB said...

Geez Steve- you average about a 109 every time you play golf? How can that even be fun? I would hate to be playing behind you. Give it up ftlog!!!

I always felt that the worse I played golf, the more I got to play

R.P. McCosker said...

On the heels of Steve's commentary, news has arrived that educator Jaime Escalante has died. This AP article about his death suggests that Escalante's life demonstrates that all races can rise to the same heights, given a sufficiently inspiring teacher:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBIT_JAIME_ESCALANTE?SITE=MOJOP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Question for Steve and others reading here: Do Escalante's accomplishment really show that Mexican-Americans can, on average, perform just as well as whites at advanced math, so long as the teaching is top-flight?

I'm skeptical myself but don't know how to answer this claim.

AmericanGoy said...

Well, lets try another tack.

Two assumptions, about blacks and whites.



Lets assume that the races really are different.

Lets not assume that blacks are NOT less intelligent than whites.


If both assumptions are true, that leads to a following conclusion:

Perhaps the key is to teach different people DIFFERENTLY.

I personally believe that blacks (and latinos) with a developed macho culture require much more discipline and structure in their classrooms.

Techniques that will work on affluent suburban white students have no chance in hell in an urban, all minority school.


The first step is to give teachers more power (yes, you read that right, Steve-o's readers!) and give them more bite.

Feel free to dismiss a student from their class with NO CONSEQUENCE to their career one way or the other, other than filling a short paperwork.

Principals should feel free DISMISS a trouble student from a school - forever (at the least for a semester).

And the bitch of a mother who takes no time to spend time with her child yet finds the time to come in and bad mouth the school, and sue the institution to defend her "little angel"?

Fuck her.

Granted, in our sue happy and victimless society that scenario is the most thorny one as the loud mouths usually get their way just by virtue of being a) idiots and b) annoying enough



Here's the solution though:

A dismissed student's family for a whole year PAY LESS TAXES.

After all, they don't have their kid at school - and as a reward, they get a tax break.

Steve-o, since you approve these and perhaps even read them (whoa! full time job there!), what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Did this Arne Duncan VIP list story from last week come as a surprise to you? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/education/24chicago.html?src=me

Truth said...

"Perhaps if I had trained harder I could have jumped like Michael Jordan. Not!"

You're right! Michael Jordan had a 38 inch vertical leap, and if you had trained harder you could have Exceeded him.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't; you're right.
-Henry Ford

ben tillman said...

Question for Steve and others reading here: Do Escalante's accomplishment really show that Mexican-Americans can, on average, perform just as well as whites at advanced math, so long as the teaching is top-flight?

We don't -- and can't -- know what he accomplished.

Rashomon said...

March 31-- the Los Angeles Times' obituary for teacher Jaime Escalante, by staff writers Woo and Lopez, contains this short paragraph near the end:

Unpopular with fellow teachers, he won few major teaching awards in the United States. He liked to be judged by his results, a concept still resisted by the majority of his profession.

I was surprised to read that; it's not politically-correct.

R.P. McCosker said...

ben tillman wrote:

"We don't -- and can't -- know what he [Escalante] accomplished."

Uh, I'm slow at the switch. Could you flesh that out for me a little?

Escalante, according to this Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Escalante , supposedly motivated many "barrio" high schoolers to take and succeed in advanced mathematics classes they otherwise wouldn't have considered. It seems to me that there are real numbers there: e.g. dozens of such students passing the Advanced Placement Calculus exam when heretofore none had done so at that school -- in numbers that would be the envy of most upper middle class high schools of the time.

Yes, I know that his colleagues and administrators sought to undermine him, but that's not my point.

Again: Can ambitious, inspired teaching raise learning levels to unexpected highs, perhaps even equalizing the performances of different races? Steve's recent VDARE essay says no, but how should he answer the apparent facts surrounding Escalante?

rast said...

A dismissed student's family for a whole year PAY LESS TAXES.

After all, they don't have their kid at school - and as a reward, they get a tax break.


AG, how clueless are you? How much taxes do you think these people pay?

Anonymous said...

Koufax went out on top. In his last season (1966) he was 27-9 with a 1.73 era. (This was the 5th successive year that he led the NL in era.)And he became dominant because he learned to through strikes, cutting his BB from 4 to 6/game to 2 or less/game.

You can look these things up!

David said...

> You're right! Michael Jordan had a 38 inch vertical leap, and if you had trained harder you could have Exceeded him. <

Maybe the commenter is four feet tall.

Anonymous said...

The military has achieved a miracle in Iraq -- a relatively stable, place that does not threaten the Gulf and will produce a LOT of oil as long as provide protection. That's a miracle, considering I don't want Gas at $10 a gallon.

In other words, no a discernible difference between pre and post Sadaam and all that for the bargain basement price of three trillion dollars.