January 27, 2011

Flat Earthism, Ed School-Style

iSteve readers review books so I don't have to read them!

A reader writes about the latest book by Linda Darling-Hammond, who is probably the second biggest Education School name in the country, after Howard Garner. Her book is about why public schools in Finland, South Korea, and Singapore get so much better test scores than American public schools.
I've been reading a 2010 book on education policy by Linda Darling-Hammond, who holds a named chair in Stanford's education department. The book is The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.  

A few choice items, from just skipping around:

From page 4:
Meanwhile, knowledge is expanding at a breathtaking pace . . . [I]n the three years from 1999 to 2002, the amount of new information produced nearly equaled the amount produced in the entire history of the world previously.  The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years, and it is predicted to double every 72 hours by 2010.

Dig that last sentence!  72 hours .... She has a citation to a 2002 source for that.  Could she mean 720 hours?  
On page 11, there's a bar chart of PISA scores across the four subject areas, with -- just like Peter Brimelow has written -- the white scores represented by a black bar and the black scores (yes, "black," not "African-American") represented by a white bar.  (Hispanics are gray, and there are variously crosshatched patterns for Asians, multiracial, and OECD average.)

From page 25:
The failure of many states to invest adequately in the education of low-income children and new immigrants, to provide them with effective teachers and the necessary curriculum and learning materials, results in growing numbers leaving school without the skills needed to become a part of the economy.  While the highest-achieving nations are making steep, strategically smart investments in education, the United States is squandering much of its human capital.

Better that the last half of that last sentence said "the United States is importing poverty and loading itself down with students who first need to learn English before they can learn anything else."

From page 60:
Thus, tracking persists in the face of growing evidence that it does not substantially benefit high achievers and tends to put low achievers at a serious disadvantage, in part because of these long-standing beliefs about the role of schools in selection, and in part because good teaching is a scarce resource and thus must be allocated.

The first part of that sounds unbelievable to me (at least for the high achievers), and I note that nothing by Charles Murray or Heather Mac Donald appears in either the references or index (and immigration doesn't appear in the index).  But I noticed that among the long list of her own publications in the references is something that appeared in the Huffington Post during the 2008 campaign, a plug for Wonderboy (here).

Judging from her pictures, Professor Dr. Hammond-Darling looks like she might (or might not be) about 1/32nd black, which can't hurt in the Ed School business.

70 comments:

Freddy said...

I'd peg her around 1/4 to 1/8 black... 1/32 you wouldn't be able to readily see...

dearieme said...

My primary school was "tracked" into only two "streams". God progress was slow. I was bored silly.

In Secondary School there were (I think) seven streams. Much better. By the last year, the top maths class was down to just three pupils. Wheeee - what fun.

Big Bill said...

The utter innumeracy of teachers is gobsmacking. Forget 72 hours. Forget 720 hours. Hell, just look at doubling every two years.

If technical knowledge "doubled every two years" starting today, by January 2030 we will have 1024 times as much technical knowledge as we have today.

Think of that.

The population of the world will only go up by 50%, but we will increase our technical knowledge by over 1000 times! [2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024]

Whose perfervid little brains are we cramming this "knowledge" into, pray tell!

Now I don't doubt that in 20 years we could have 1000 times as much data space (RAM chips plus hard disk/bubble memory storage) filled with .... something. But "Knowledge"? More like hi-res porn, if anything.

This is the kind of stupid meme that Ed School types are prone to circulate.

It is intended to guarantee a gravy train of unending government money: "Knowledge is doubling every two years - America must DO something!!!"

If you want to f*ck with an Ed school type who spouts this kind of stuff, give them a simple bar bet: "According to Linda Darling, knowledge doubles every two years. If so, how much knowledge will we have twenty years from now: 5, 10, 15, or >1000 times as much."

Even better, try this one: If the entire world's technical knowledge doubles every two years, how long will it take to increase a thousandfold (if possible). Guess how many will say "19.8 years".

Big bill said...

Sorry, I misread. Linda Darling said "technical information" would double, not "technical knowledge".

Anonymous said...

We really need to focus on excellence and high standards rather than the bottom.
meet them then they have to pay the price. That is how it used to be. Once upon a time we flunked people. families used to know that if their children did not perform there were real coats. This caused them to take seriously their childrens' futures and their local school system. Often folks would work hard to better themselves so that they could move to a better district. Disturbing this natural and virtuous pattern with government intervention is just part of the problem and has harmed us all.

The real issue is, however, that the Left does not want to "fix" these problems with immigrants and minority communities. They want to use them as a foil to acquire money and power, and to push their PC and Marxist agendas.

Beyond that, no evidence is presented that by "investing" in these areas that US competitiveness will be enhanced. It may be that we have only poorly "invested". Moreover, it is hard to see that this is other than throwing good money after bad. There is no proof that by focusing here excellence will come elsewhere. You get more of what you subsidize.

The most galling is the notion that "good teachers are hard to find". It may be that the corrupt nature of the educational establishment and the Character of the NEA are the culprits here and not some sort "shortsightedness" on that part of the electorate. Once upon a time we had no problem with finding good teachers.

The solution is to get the feds out of it and have competition through the private sector.

George said...

Well, she is endorsed by the NEA Peace and Justice Caucus. She cares about the children. She really, really cares.

RandyB said...

I suspect by now, most iSteve readers have seen the results of the NEAP science proficiency test:

Example: 8th grade
White 161
Black 125
Hispanic 131
Asian/PI 159

But you may not have seen that the lowest white scores are in the South (white excludes Hispanic):
http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/g8_state.asp?subtab_id=Tab_4&tab_id=tab1#tabsContainer

This is, IMO, a fundamental problem with American politics and culture today -- we've allowed blacks and southern whites to define our political spectrum. The result is a debate environment in which two non-scientific thinking groups define issues in terms of their pet ideologies -- religious fundamentalism on one side, and the beleif that oppression is 100% responsible for outcome disparities -- to the detriment of centrist Americans who have to choose between two unappealing sides.

The Wobbly Guy said...

Reading thru the Wash Post article, I get the feeling she's real dumb. The comments were not much better.

You start with rigid regimentation first, to create a baseline discipline that even the lousiest student could follow. Then you slowly open up, via tracking, streaming, stratification, to direct students into avenues most appropriate for their talents (or lack thereof).

I bet in her book, this idiot failed to notice the serious effect of private tuition in Singapore and South Korea.

Polistra said...

There's a deeper argument that really needs to be handled before we even worry about the details of education. Fact is, American innovation was best when Americans had very little formal education. Edison and Ford didn't finish high school, and even today Bill Gates didn't finish college. If we want to restore the peculiarly American form of success, we need LESS mandatory schooling, no matter how good or bad. We need MORE opportunities for kids to make their mark in the world of work [and play!] as early as possible.

RR said...

1/32 black? I'll wager she is at least 1/8 black.

Thrasymachus said...

Whether you're for teaching the virtue of having two mommies, for charter schools or, horror of reactionary horror, school vouchers, you still believe in this. In other words, essentially *everybody* believes in this. Advocating school vouchers is pretty disreputably right-wing (I remind the readership that yes, the National Review is a right-wing publication as far as the national discourse is concerned) and yet it still premises that the child can somehow become above average, only with the right education.

Anonymous said...

variously crosshatched patterns for Asia

Singly-hatched patterns would look too much like slant-eyes.

beowulf said...

We should track by student and we will, once DARPA runs teacher unions out of business (we'll still need Phys Ed teachers I suppose).

The Education Dominance program will enable students to learn at their own pace, in their own style, with their own Digital Tutor. In this way, students will not simply memorize information, but they will learn and understand the concepts upon which this information is built.
http://www.darpa.mil/dso/thrusts/trainhu/ed/index.htm

In the meantime Zig Engelmann's Direct Instruction is neglected because (to use Steve's wonderful phrase) "It doesn't work in theory, even though it seems to work in practice".
http://www.jefflindsay.com/EducData.shtml

eh said...

JAY = Just Another Idiot.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"the United States is squandering much of its human capital."

This one I always love. Mexico isn't squandering its human capital. El Salvador isn't squandering its human capital. Guatemala isn't squandering its human capital. It's the United States, and only the United States, that is squandering the human capital of immigrants from all of these countries.

Who are we, in the greedy, pampered, undeservedly rich United States, to be stealing the best human capital from such poor, poor countries?

Look at the developing countries with the fastest growing economies - India, China, etc. - and what you see is that mostly they aren't doing it by exporting their populations. They're doing it by adopting policies that encourage economic growth.

"The failure of many states to invest adequately in the education of low-income children and new immigrants..."

In 2009, DC spent an astounding $28,170 per student. Graduation rates are below 50%. Notoriously, neither Bill Clinton, nor Al Gore, nor Barack Obama chose to avail themselves of this very well-funded school district, sending their children off to area private schools, instead.

No rational person would claim that D.C. is underspending on education. I do not presume Ms. Darling-Hammond to be rational, except as her theories and pronouncements affect her own pocketbook.

Chicago said...

You should have given some warning before inviting us to click on the link for her picture as it wasn't a pleasant experience. I don't know about being part black but she struck me as looking rather butch. Fifty years ago most of these notions were coming into vogue and people are still at it, making a living by simply repackaging the same old thing endlessly. The careerists in the field of education don't seem to learn very much themselves. I think that what she and others like her are selling is not actual education but rather she is offering belief and the smugness that comes with the feeling of moral superiority. This quasi-religion simply comes wrapped in a fancier package, that's all, and has the ear of the Emperor.

Garland said...

Wikipeda lists her among "African American academics."

She's written about ten books all with the title, more or less, "Preparing Good Teachers."

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I'm becoming convinced the fundamental problem with education is that too many educators are women.

Formerly.JP98 said...

"Commitment to Equity"

That says it all, doesn't it? How could anyone be against equity? It would be like being against truth, beauty, and common courtesy.

And since we all agree that equity is a good thing to be committed to, then we'll all also agree that the government needs to spend more on educating the left side of bell curve.

Geoff Matthews said...

1/32nd black? Nah, I'm guessing that she's just a moralizing crusader.

none of the above said...

I'm wondering about context w.r.t. tracking students. Can you imagine doing a calculus class in high school with no tracking? Most of the kids in high school will simply not get anything of value out of that class. A future plumber, auto mechanic, carpet installer, delivery driver, or for that matter english or elementary school teacher will probably find nothing of value to him. (Though if he does, he might want to reconsider his plans for the future.)

Now, maybe this isn't so true in lower grades--I really don't know. My intuition suggests that tracking will generally make sense, but I could be wrong. (The obvious example of this is reading level. The 3rd grader who's tearing through the Harry Potter books and the one who can barely make it through a Captain Underpants book aren't going to get much out of the same reading assignment.)

Anonymous said...

Tracking works. Those of us with kids in schools that didn't track, remove our kids so they can be taught at their level. The contemporary notion that smart kids should be teaching dumb kids, rather than stretching their own minds, is contrary to what our society need…

But I'm not blinkered by race or gender or whatever. I just want a true meritocracy in which my kids can compete ... and win. Did I just say the newest, naughtiest word? WIN. Yes, win -- the word that can’t be spoken in schools, today.

Oh hell, I say. The world has winners and losers, not a bland mediocrity in between. With every wee step, we either progress, regress or change direction so we can win, in however we define that term. I don't want my kids to be taught that winning doesn't matter. Of course it does. I just want them to be able to define what it means to be a winner, for themselves, and not pretend that winning/excelling doesn’t matter.

As an aside, as I’ve entered middle age, I’ve noticed that my own notions about excelling have changed. My inner aspirations have slowly clarified and solidified. But that’s another story.

Enjoy lurking here …

Anonymous said...

Its an insult to Asian students to suggest that Hispanics are just as smart as the Asians, and some sort of "malinvestment" is why they dont achieve the same test-scores.

I mean really, this is about like suggesting Asian students run 100 meter dashes just as fast as blacks, but some sort of shortcoming in our physical education programs continually shortchange them, keeping any of them from breaking the 10-second 100 meter barrier.

What is wrong with admitting that some are simply smarter than others? We admit some are more beautiful than others. We admit some can sing or dance better than others. We practically celebrate the fact some are more athletic than others. Its absolutely ridiculous.

none of the above said...

Captain Jack:

Poor countries overwhelmingly *are* squandering their human capital. Even if you're born with the raw material to be a doctor, you probably won't develop it if you grow up malnourished, parasite-infested, and without ever seeing the inside of a school.

I think a lot of the left's prescription for helping the left tail of the bell curve is absolutely right, and historically demonstrable. But it's appropriate for much poorer countries than us. I'm sure El Salvador or Haiti could get a lot more from their human capital, if they could get decent sanitation, vaccination, nutrition, and schools everywhere. But we and other rich countries have already gotten most of the benefits available from doing those things, from making the environmental changes that let kids grow to their full potential. (One exception is lead exposure. If we spent the next decade's Dept. of Education budget on taxpayer-financed free lead remediation for old buildings and water supplies, we'd do far more than any educational fad can to help the folks at the bottom.)

It's an example of fighting the last war--like looking at WW2 and declaring that what the US really needs, in 2011, is more aircraft carriers.

josh said...

Re her racial mixture:is she any relation to James Watson? How about her sexual preference,tho? Egads! She has who? whom? all over her face. What this all boils down to is the harvesting of more and more money from white people to "educate" black & brown people so employers dont have to hire the white peoples sons. Most whites look upon this "gap"crap as something benevolent;theyre-shockingly--condescending and "concerned"( "Oh dear me. Did you hear that black kids get beat up for getting good grades?Its called "acting white". Oh my! How so sad!") for the dear minorities. here in Chicago we have three candidates running for mayor:Rahm,Garry Chico(hispanic-tho 1/2 white) and -gulp!-Carol Mosely Braun,a complete psycho. All talk--as Chicago and Illinois are going broke-about more education and more programs and more this and that. Pay up,whitey.

jody said...

you would not be able to tell if she was 1/8 african, let alone 1/32. also you get into shaky territory trying to say that so and so person looks mixed race just because of a few features.

what i want to know is why don't these educators study african nations where the africans are having success in school, instead of the opposite. there are some places in the caribbean where they're turning out a respectable population of educated people.

Formerly.JP98 said...

@ dearieme -- your comment about seven streams reminded me of the SRA reading exercises from the 1960s. According to Wikipedia:

Founded in 1938, SRA or Science Research Associates Inc. is a Chicago-based publisher of educational materials and schoolroom reading comprehension products. Early on, it had a trade and occupational focus. In 1957, it moved into individualized classroom instruction with the iconic SRA Reading Laboratory Kit, a format that later translated to mathematics, science, and social studies. The labs were large boxes filled with color-coded cardboard sheets. Each sheet included a reading exercise for students. The student would then follow up with multiple choice questions. As the child moved ahead, he or she would advance in difficulty.

Sally Joy Gumkins said...

72 hrs or 720 hrs... remember when government says 72 billion, it really means 720 billion.

Florida resident said...

*******************
Anonymous wrote:
"The solution is to get the feds out of it and have competition through the private sector."
********************

FYI: there are problems, which do _not_ have a solution.
Examples:

1. Draw a triangle made of 3 pieces of straight line, with lengths 3 inch, 5 inch and 10 inch.

2. Accelerate electron to the speed 4*10^8 meters per second, i.e. (4/3) of the speed of light in vacuum.

3. Transform (via chemical process) tin and lead into silver and gold; example of Alchemistry borrowed from Sailer's article

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/080504_alchemists.htm

Conclusion: before looking for the solution, ask yourself, if solution exists at all.

See also Robert Weissberg's book "Bad students, not bad schools".

Respectfully, Florida resident.

Tom said...

American innovation ... Bill Gates didn't finish college

Bill Gates is not an innovator. He's a business shark. There are millions of East Asians and Indians who could and would have achieved the same things Gates achieved had they been in his position. On the other hand, there aren't so many Steve Jobs types coming from that continent.

Anonymous said...

A future plumber, auto mechanic, carpet installer, delivery driver, or for that matter english or elementary school teacher will probably find nothing of value to him.

Don't know about the plumber [depends on whether he has to deal with industrial-strength water pressures or steam lines], but the auto mechanic dadgum sure could use some concepts from Calculus in his day-to-day work.

Modern-day auto mechanics is getting to be some serious-assed white-collar-ish work - those guys train and train and train and train and then take a bazillion different certification exams to become qualified to work on these high-tech cars & trucks.

Whatever basic concepts from Calculus & Physics & Chemistry that they might be able to retain in their memories couldn't possibly hurt their careers, or their ability to do their jobs.

fbj said...

Malcolm Gladwell's twin sister? :-)

Anonymous said...

i'd say 1/8-1/4 black with heavy indian (as red indian) blood.

Florida resident said...

I remember reading old (1993) book
“Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire” by James Wallace and Jim Erickson.
Gates was not married yet at the time the book was printed.

Gates _was_ accepted to Harvard University’s undergraduate program, and had an intention to get major in Mathematics (in which he was very good.) One of his friends told him: “You will meet fellow students in Harvard, who will be stronger in Mathematics, than you.” Gates originally did not believe it, so confident he was about his abilities (really very high.). Gates started his first year in Harvard, and eventually he recognized the validity of the above statement --- that he met students stronger in Mathematics than himself. His decision to quit Harvard was at least partially due to this recognition.

Book describes also the main technical achievement by Gates in Programming. It was the creation of “GW Basic” package for IBM-PC _before_ IBM-PC became available on the market, so that when IBM-PC appeared, users could run “GW Basic” on it right away.
Gates used the openly published specifications of “8088” (?) processor to de-bug his future “GW Basic” package, using emulation of 8088 processor by PDP-11 (?) machines, which PDP-11s he rented (or borrowed time on them) from Harvard University. Now, the _emulator_program_, working on PDP-11, was created about a year before by his slightly senior friend Paul Allen.

A friend of mine told me a saying:
“If you are not smart, you should better get an education”.
Gates was and is VERY SMART (no comments on other qualities.)

Read the book yourself, and correct me if you want.
Respectfully, F. r.

Anonymous said...

"(The obvious example of this is reading level. The 3rd grader who's tearing through the Harry Potter books and the one who can barely make it through a Captain Underpants book aren't going to get much out of the same reading assignment.)"

Harry Potter is actually right on grade level for a third grader. Definitely not in the advanced category...I would peg that more at Little Women or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

SouthernAnonyia said...

"This is, IMO, a fundamental problem with American politics and culture today -- we've allowed blacks and southern whites to define our political spectrum. The result is a debate environment in which two non-scientific thinking groups define issues in terms of their pet ideologies -- religious fundamentalism on one side, and the beleif that oppression is 100% responsible for outcome disparities -- to the detriment of centrist Americans who have to choose between two unappealing sides."

Yeah, it's definitely all the southerners fault! We know that everyone takes us 100 percent evangelical creationist southerners so seriously...after all, we are an elite cabal pulling the puppet strings of the nation's education policies, much to the detriment of those poor Yankee centrists who only want their poor children to be left in peace. But we are relentless....and we cause more problems than all the minority groups put together!

Give me a break, RandyB. Just because there are some vocal religious people in the South doesn't mean they are shaping education policy in any significant way. And no, some blurb about intelligent design in a Kansas 8th grade science textbook doesn't count, and it sure as hell isn't responsible for lowering test scores or defining the "political spectrum" of this country.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's definitely all the southerners fault! We know that everyone takes us 100 percent evangelical creationist southerners so seriously...after all, we are an elite cabal pulling the puppet strings of the nation's education policies, much to the detriment of those poor Yankee centrists who only want their poor children to be left in peace. But we are relentless....and we cause more problems than all the minority groups put together!

A little off-topic, but this fall, Stargate Universe was developing a story line wherein it was discovered that Destiny was detecting a mathematical imprint in its [tens of thousands of years' worth of] collected data which supported the idea of an intelligent design of the universe.

[Not that the very existence of the universe doesn't just SCREAM OUT the idea of intelligent design, but still...]

Anyway, shortly thereafter it was announced that the series would be cancelled.

Typical - just when it was starting to get interesting.

Anonymous said...

"you would not be able to tell if she was 1/8 african, let alone 1/32."

We know that the poet Alexander Pushkin was 1/8th black and 7/8ths Russian. You can clearly see the 1/8th in his features.

Anonymous said...

This is a picture of Pushkin's daughter. That woman was 1/16th black. I see a clear hint of African ancestry in her face.

I'm guessing that a 1/16th Chinese, 15/16th white person would for all intents and purposes look white. 1/16th black - nope.

RandyB said...

Give me a break, RandyB. Just because there are some vocal religious people in the South doesn't mean they are shaping education policy in any significant way.

I didn't mean to imply that southern whites were shaping education policy, but that they represent the core of the current Republican party and conservatism, while African-Americans define the core of the Democratic party and liberalism.

Is it a problem that those two define the political spectrum? Possibly. John Derbyshire wrote for TakiMag that China may well surpass the USA on genetic research, because of our political values. Conservatives fear that genetic testing of fetuses could lead to abortions. Liberals fear it could prove a hereditary component to IQ and crime (e.g. HBD).

We already have some restrictions on science, based on the politics of those two groups (stem cell research restrictions and cultural aversion to IQ testing of minorities). Our science is being restricted by the shape of our politics between two non-scientific thinking groups.

Anonymous said...

Just because there are some vocal religious people in the South doesn't mean they are shaping education policy in any significant way.

What Texas selects for textbooks has a huge influence on what's available to the rest of the country.  That once came down to two not-very-bright ideologues, Mel and Norma Gabler.

Our science is being restricted by the shape of our politics between two non-scientific thinking groups.

Too true.  And like the suppression of Darwinian evolutionary theory in the Soviet Union, we can only come to grief because of it.

The Wobbly Guy said...

Instead of being offended at the treatment given to the stronger students, we should also argue that the setup this idiot espouses is severely detrimental to the weaker students too.

First off, teaching them stuff they can't handle is a waste of their time. It turns them off from learning completely. Second, they see themselves struggling like heck, while others seem to breeze through ther material. While I'm no great supporter of the self-esteem theory, I do recognise that it does have an effect. They will think, 'why work so hard for so little gain?'

The final point: even plumbers are important.

To the poster who stated that he wants his children to win, I would add that it does not mean the others should necessarily lose as well. Not if they get jobs appropriate to their intelligence, like plumbing, collecting the trash, being a janitor. Blue collar jobs that ensure a steady income and a comfortable life for themselves and their families, while providing value to those around them. Isn't that winning too?

We sometimes get so caught up in our definitions of 'worth' that we forget that our cushy elite lifestyles (well, for me at least) is just as dependent on these people as they are on us.

But of course, the unchecked immigration into the US threatens that. And that's the worry in my country too. And the blue collar unions are too infiltrated by white collar-types wearing blue collar clothing to ever fight against unchecked immigration and sane education policy.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking 1/8 black bere. Ava Gardner was probably 1/16 black and she isn't as black as this woman.

My first wife was 1/16 black, 1/8 Japanese and she was a dead ringer for the late Greer Garson. I didn't find that out until after we were divorced, not the fact she'd had an illegitimate baby and put it up for adoption at 15. She later married a Mormon and they had six kids.

Big Bill said...

Wobbly Guy:

Booker T. Washington, Atlanta, 1895 (on common black and white interests):

"To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race,'Cast down your bucket where you are.'

Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides.

Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South [ed: The Atlanta Exposition, 1895].

Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories.

[ed: OK. since 1964 the following is problematic] While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen.

As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one.

In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress."

Rev. Right said...

The problem with American education in a nutshell. We have PhD's in Finger Painting deciding how our schools will operate.

This woman is an idiot. A squishy one at that.

Cal said...

Do you mean Howard Gardiner, as in multiple intelligences? Gardiner isn't in education or ed schools at all. He's in psychology. Ask him about closing the achievement gap and he'll say, delicately, that we shouldn't spend time fussing about the gap. Clear implication is that he doesn't think it can be closed. Either way, he's not the biggest name. LDH is up there, but I dunno about second. Or is there a Garner I havn't heard of?

I was at STEP the year Obama was elected, and the day after the election was required to sit through a talk by LDH about his plans for the country's education. I took notes to stop myself from opening my mouth (this was before they tried to kick me out the second time).

Gene Berman said...

Anti-Gnostic:

Your comment jolted me--but you very well may be right. And, if you are, I'd hazard that it's got something to do with a difference between women teachers of today and those of many years ago.

Gotta mull that some.

Jihad Elimination Worker said...

Our science is being restricted by the shape of our politics between two non-scientific thinking groups.

Yeah, sure. Who fired Watson?

ben tillman said...

Blue collar jobs that ensure a steady income and a comfortable life for themselves and their families, while providing value to those around them. Isn't that winning too?


Yes, it is. I could not agree more.

RKU said...

Cal: Do you mean Howard Gardiner, as in multiple intelligences? Gardiner isn't in education or ed schools at all. He's in psychology. Ask him about closing the achievement gap and he'll say, delicately, that we shouldn't spend time fussing about the gap. Clear implication is that he doesn't think it can be closed. Either way, he's not the biggest name. LDH is up there, but I dunno about second. Or is there a Garner I havn't heard of?

Actually, Gardner's an astonishingly impressive fellow...

Looking at it dispassionately, his "multiple intelligences" theory sounds awfully similar to the ideas of Phil Rushton, whose own book came out at roughly the same time I think. But although Gardner was basically saying the same things as Rushton, he put a very different "ideological spin" on it. As a consequence, Gardner immediately became a gigantic academic hero to most of the liberal intelligentsia, was endlessly invited to speak at the leading racial diversity conferences, sold vast numbers of his books, and will maybe get the National Medal of Freedom from Obama or something. Meanwhile, poor Phil Rushton will probably have to wait until Obama leaves office to have any hope of getting his own NMF.

Perhaps Rushton should get in touch with Gardner and seek his advice on how to more effectively package his scientific ideas for popular appeal and career advancement...

The Wobbly Guy said...

Cal,

Read your account. LDH lied, or she was stupid - a lot of teachers in Singapore get a specialised degree in university (3 or 4 years), before going to our teacher institute for a diploma in education (1 year). This means that even a primary school teacher could be a hard science major. I should know, I was one. Hons in chem, eventually taught in a pre-college.

That is how you ensure quality in your recruits. Make sure they have the knowledge of their fields first, then make them learn the pedagogy. I have to admit though, the year I spent as a trainee teacher was f*$@king useless.

Heliogabalus said...

Randy: "This is, IMO, a fundamental problem with American politics and culture today -- we've allowed blacks and southern whites to define our political spectrum."

We should have let the South go back in 1860, when we had the chance. Think how advanced we'd be without it (and the South would probably be better off too, free of Yankee meddling). I recommend a reading of Mencken's essay "The Calamity of Appomattox."

Anonymous said...

"[Not that the very existence of the universe doesn't just SCREAM OUT the idea of intelligent design, but still...]"

What you call "the universe" screaming out "the idea of intelligent design" is the result of the human mind's ability to find patterns in everything - even when it is not there. Especially when it is not there.

For instance, the obvious example of our tendency to see human faces everywhere; to see human faces in clouds, or the face of Jesus on a piece of toast, or the face of the Virgin Mary on a driveway oil stain. Just because we think we "see" it doesn't mean it is actually there.

"Intelligent Design" is just a rebranding of Creationism, "Irreducible Complexity" is an argument from incredulity ("I can't see how it could have happened; therefore Goddidit") and/or an argument from ignorance ("I am unaware of any proof that it could have happened that way, therefore it could not have happened that way").

Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory; it proposes no tests that could falsify it and it produces no useful scientific research of any kind. It merely nay-says science and it is simply a publicity campaign for the anti-science crowd who happen to be of the literalist religious type (or sympathetic to some kind of religion/philosophy that is fundamentally opposed to science and methodological naturalism - not that most of these clowns have any clue what methodological naturalism is).

Cont.....

Anonymous said...

....Cont....

Both left and right have their anti-science and anti-rationality components who would like to turn back some parts of the Enlightenment for ideological reasons. There are crazies on both sides who would go all the way and abolish the Enlightenment legacy and rationality altogether - Post-Structuralists, Post-Modernists, and Deconstructionists on the Left and Traditionalists (ie, those who take Rene Guenon, Julius Evola, Frithjof Schuon, etc., far too seriously), as well as the more extreme wings of Christian Fundamentalism and/or Christian Restorationism, on the Right.

Contra what Traditionalists and religious fundamentalists and reactionaries will tell you, the Enlightenment is not inherently subversive or left-wing. In some contexts it is useful and positive; in the wrong contexts or twisted to bad purposes, it is negative. Consider that there are left-wing opponents of the Enlightenment; how is this possible if the Enlightenment is inherently subversive and left-wing?

The problem is that whites are divided against themselves and far too concerned over petty differences that don't matter in the larger scheme of things. Both sides are far too concerned with scoring points against the whites on the other side to consider the bigger picture and the long term trends. If this doesn't change somehow in the coming decades we're screwed.

Anonymous said...

"Our science is being restricted by the shape of our politics between two non-scientific thinking groups."

"Yeah, sure. Who fired Watson?"

You're missing the point. Both left and right distort our politics in different ways according to their differing anti-scientific bents and differing sources of influence.

The left occasionally gets people fired for making politically incorrect observations about HBD; more importantly they have a chilling effect on the entire field of inquiry. So your "point" is rather pointless. We would expect the left to get people like Watson fired. Duh.

The right does occasionally get people fired too; though they don't have the same power as the left in that regard. What they do have the power to do is retard scientific education (Texas textbooks have far too much influence) and hold back certain areas of scientific research (stem cells) and more importantly they simply waste our time fighting a scientific battle that they lost well over 100 years ago, to no good purpose, diverting our energies from much more urgent issues (immigration, broken borders, "affirmative action" and other forms of anti-white discrimination, useless and wasteful foreign wars, a completely lawless and irresponsible financial sector, out of control spending and debt, out-sourcing and off-shoring, etc.).

The Creationists also make everyone on the right look like retards due to guilt-by-association (which may be unfair but is a tactic that works), and give the left a completely undeserved reputation for being pro-science and pro-rationality and gives their Three-Card Monte political programs a veneer of respectability that should have been completely destroyed by hard earned real world experience decades ago.

Cal said...

a lot of teachers in Singapore get a specialised degree in university (3 or 4 years), before going to our teacher institute for a diploma in education (1 year).

Interesting, since that is also the overwhelming norm in California for high school for decades, and even for elementary school since NCLB. So if Singaporeans aren't training for three years (thank heavens) what's the difference?


RKU, that's an interesting comparison, but you're delusionally optimistic if you think Rushton has a few years to the NMF. Rushton has, if he's incredibly lucky, five or so years before he can even be mentioned in polite conversation.

tragic quinteroon educator said...

What does 1/32 black look like?
Non-black most likely. In the antebellum South, a person less than 1/8 black, was officially and legally white. How that played out socially, I don't know, but that was the law.

Bear with me about using "offensive" terms for mixed-race--I am using terms that were used by the people themselves, for many years. They are historic terms defining race by mathematical equations, and are on family documents and on the census.
Also, forgive me if I am insulting anyone's intelligence, as I know most people here understand the math. But you'd be amazed at how many people say "how can anybody be 18% of a race?" Easy, though 16% would get in more speculative waters.
My paternal grandfather was 1/8 black. You could not tell. He looked a lot like Joey Brown in Some Like it Hot.
My grandmother was probably about 22%. You could not tell. Light eyes, black hair when young. There was something a little quirky about her looks, and more so those of her sisters, but for years I put that down to French or some unknown Indian blood.
I remember someone asking how anyone could be 18% since generations always divided by halves, i.e. 100%, 50%, 25%, 12.5%,
about 6%, 3%, on down. Well, it goes like this: a mulatto and a quadroon (50% and 25%) produce an offspring that is about 35%. If that offspring marries an "octoroon" (12%), their child is about 22%. If the quadroon married an octoroon -- voila, 18%.
As far as looks, my paternal grandparents had 8 children. A few of them were "Italian" looking, but only one really made you think there was something distinctly non-European going on -- but even he was put in the white category when he enlisted during WWII. There's a funny story about when this one was a baby, he was left outside in his basinet for a while (you could do that in those days.) An insurance salesman came by and announced to my grandmother, "ma'am, you'd better take your baby in, he's turning black!"
And for the record, none of them identified as black in any way shape or form, even after they "found out."

JSM said...

"Your comment jolted me--but you very well may be right. And, if you are, I'd hazard that it's got something to do with a difference between women teachers of today and those of many years ago.

Gotta mull that some."

It's easy, Gene.

In the old days before women's liberation, women had a few choices: waitress or maid, secretary, nurse, teacher.

Most all the women ended up married, eventually, but prior to her nuptials, dull (highschool dropout) girls were maids/waitresses; middling-IQs (high school grads) were secretaries; smart women (college) were nurses or teachers.

Women's liberation opened up jobs as doctors, lawyers. So the smart women moved into those jobs. Which left a vacuum in the elem school teacher slot that now must be filled by lower-IQ women who are much more suited to being secretaries or store clerks.

Being less-smart, today's cohort of teachers are less-good than the old days.

Rohan Swee said...

Too true. And like the suppression of Darwinian evolutionary theory in the Soviet Union, we can only come to grief because of it.

Darwinian evolutionary theory is being suppressed at the university level, where it matters? Look, no student, unless he's bright and is interested enough to branch out on his own, gets out of high school with much, if any, real understanding of evolutionary theory, even if the school is decently rigorous and thoroughly secular.

As annoying as they are (and I applaud all efforts to keep them out of schools and their mitts off textbooks), creationists trying to insert their b.s. into 10th grade biology have just about zero effect on the quality of early science education in this country. Just how much harm, in terms of damaging their preparation for higher level work, does Miss Christian do by sneaking a mention of "intelligent design" into my kids' AP bio class do? None. Meanwhile, scrupulously secular enemies of literacy and numeracy have been inflicting "math in context" and "whole language", and, yes, dumbed-down science curricula on schools, doing real damage. Looked at modern high school textbooks lately? You really think the impoverished content, moronic political correctness, and ADHD graphics (ha, and that's just the math textbooks) is the fault of meddling anti-science creationists?

And a few restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research are the least of our worries, as far as factors contributing to the decline of our scientific and technical pre-eminence go. But I admit it would be very comforting to believe that these enormous problems could be solved by just shutting down the dumbass fundies.

Anonymous said...

Even if you're born with the raw material to be a doctor, you probably won't develop it if you grow up malnourished, parasite-infested, and without ever seeing the inside of a school."

"Poor countries," perhaps, but not all poor countries, and not necessarily Mexico. Mexican life expectancy (75.84 years) is only about 2 years behind US life expectancy (77.8 years), and that doesn't account for the probably lower life expectancy of US Hispanics.

If Mexicans were parasite-infested and malnourished, you'd expect those differences to manifest themselves in life expectancy figures. Early childhood malnourishment handicaps a person for life. An early 14th C. famine in Europe is thought to be one reason why the 1347-49 plague was especially deadly.

"also you get into shaky territory trying to say that so and so person looks mixed race just because of a few features."

She looks mixed-race. There, I said it. I'd day it about my great-grandfather, too, who looked mixed race, and was.

Here's a great picture of Hammond that really highlights her partial African-ness.

"On the other hand, there aren't so many Steve Jobs types coming from that continent."

Well Steve Jobs biological father was Syrian. So from "that continent" for sure, if not exactly Indian or Oriental.

"Our science is being restricted by the shape of our politics between two non-scientific thinking groups."

More than two - Yankee liberals, organic food-eating SWPLs, open borders businessmen, you name it. Plenty of non-scientific thinking in every single political demo.

"and the South would probably be better off too, free of Yankee meddling"

Speaking as a Southerner, I have to agree. The South often feels itself a colony of the North, and is frequently treated as such. It clings to certain adolescent fantasies in the same manner of college kids still sucking on the parental financial teet from afar. Free it from colonial status, and many of the fantasies will go, tested by reality and found wanting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Southern evangelicals hold up scientific progress or education in any particularly significant way. I attended high school in the bible belt South, and we were taught about evolution in biology class.

People often cite Kansas with regards to teaching evolution, but most people would not define the South as including Kansas. And remember, it was Iowa where Huckabee scored his first victory, not South Carolina or Alabama.

How the South does retard progress is by promoting pols like George W. Bush, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee over better qualified candidates. But given the choices Republicans in other regions would give us - Rudy Giuliani, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, etc. - I'm not so sure the South is any worse.

Reality Check said...

This is, IMO, a fundamental problem with American politics and culture today -- we've allowed blacks and southern whites to define our political spectrum.

Uh huh.

That's why blacks and southern whites just had a knock-down drag-out media frenzy about how outrageous it is for a non-jew to say "blood libel".

You know, because blacks and southern whites hashed it out and decided that only jews can generalize about and criticize groups - like blacks and southern whites.

steve burton said...

Rohan Swee is exactly right: the revisions that Christian conservatives are demanding to high-school textbooks may be silly, but they aren't setting back anybody's education in any serious way. The odd paragraph or sidebar insisting that the Darwinian account of speciation is "only a theory" is (with apologies to Blackadder) about as effective as a cat-flap in an elephant house. If you can't think of about a hundred and fifty much worse problems with what's going on in public high schools today, then you must have very little idea of what's really going on there.

steve burton said...

3-part Anonymous a bit above [why *can't* people be bothered to come up with recognizable handles?] writes: "Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory; it proposes no tests that could falsify it and it produces no useful scientific research of any kind."

Well, indeed. "Intelligent Design" is philosophy, not science. Guys like Dembski, to the extent I understand them, rely on a combination of various empirical observations with probabalistic mathematical reasoning. Research with a view to falsification just doesn't seem to be on their table. So if you accept Popper's view of what counts as "science," then their sort of "intelligent design" is not, and cannot be, science.

There are, of course, other versions of "creationism" - most notably, perhaps, the "cosmological argument" for the necessary existence of an "unmoved mover" which pops up in Aristotle and Aquinas. This, too, is not science. It is an attempt at strict metaphysical demonstration - which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

Anonymous said...

Rohan Swee:

it would be very comforting to believe that these enormous problems could be solved by just shutting down the dumbass fundies.

I never thought that.  I noted that fundies did have a substantial influence on education policy via textbooks (as does California with its nutty diversity requirements), and suggested that we'd come to grief due to political intrusions into science, regardless of where they came from.

I'm going to have to make another Blogger account to post here, I hate being anonymous but I can't use my regular account until the Overton window moves some more.

none of the above said...

Reality Check:

The "blood libel" freakout was, as best I could tell, an entirely scripted and empty howl of protest. Nobody believes Palin is an antisemite. Nobody really believes she's trying to "dogwhistle" her way into gaining the votes of antisemites, both because they're probably a very small chunk of the electorate, and because it's hard to do that when you go around wearing an Israeli flag pin. The loudest howls of protest were from people who simply weren't dumb enough to believe either.

It was just politics (when someone on the other side says something that can be used as a club, you bash them with it) and media (24 hour news talk shows need an outrage of the week to fill their time).

That's the kind of thing I find most disspiriting about watching mainstream US political coverage. *Everyone* is dealing in bullshit and hype. We've got honest-to-God hard problems facing us, we live in a complicated and potentially dangerous world, but it's like none of that boring crap about nuclear nonproliferation or greenhouse gasses or financial market regulation or domestic surveillance or unsustainable deficits can get any oxygen, because we've all got to talk about whether Mel Gibson or Don Imus is the bigger racist villain of the week, or whether George Allen calling some guy on the other side "macaca" was somehow a deeply sinister relelation about his secret racism, or whether the Muslims are going to impose Sharia law on us after they build the Ground Zero Mosque.

We are *so* utterly f-cked.

The Wobbly Guy said...

[i]Interesting, since that is also the overwhelming norm in California for high school for decades, and even for elementary school since NCLB. So if Singaporeans aren't training for three years (thank heavens) what's the difference?[/i]

You're asking this question on a human biodiversity website? :p

Here's a quick list of differentiating factors:
Genetics (majority chinese)
Culture
Private tuition
Tracking (we call it streaming)
Overworked teachers (I can personally attest to this)
Pragmatic organization (may lump this in with culture)
Government controlled teacher union

Hope this helps!

Have to say though, teacher quality ain't always the best either. I remember quite a few times when I had to end up helping my form class with their maths because they could not understand their maths teacher... and I'm supposed to specialise in chemistry and english! Sigh...

Cal said...


You're asking this question on a human biodiversity website


Oh, for heavens sake. Go teach Eggsucking for Grandmas 101.

I was asking LDH, rhetorically, why she was presenting Singapore's teacher training as different, when it is identical to ours.

I can't for the life of me see why you'd think I was asking about different results.

The Wobbly Guy said...

A bit more bite in your sarcasm would have made it clearer. ;)

Rohan Swee said...

I'm going to have to make another Blogger account to post here, I hate being anonymous but I can't use my regular account until the Overton window moves some more.

You don't have to sign in to post here. Just click Name/URL and type in a pseudonym. (You don't have to provide a URL.) Even if that weren't an option you could always sign your "anonymous" posts, ya know.

Perhaps this sheds some light on the otherwise baffling resistance to pseudonym creation here. It's not as if clicking "anonymous", or posting from your super-secret second blogger account, would prevent a sufficiently motivated jack-booted thug from tracking you down, anyway. Shield you from cursory nosy googling, yes.