TEACH THE JOURNALISTS WELL: Black kids are doing much better in school!

TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014

Part 2—Why won’t the New York Times tell you: In Friday’s New York Times, Motoko Rich described a large batch of information about America’s public schools.

The data came from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Headline included, this was Rich’s summary:
RICH (3/21/14): School Data Finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines

Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

In the first analysis in nearly 15 years of information from all of the country’s 97,000 public schools, the Education Department found a pattern of inequality on a number of fronts, with race as the dividing factor.
In her opening paragraph, Rich provided a link to this page. As of this morning, the page provides a choice among links to three sprawling data sets.

On their face, none of the choices seems to represent “the first analysis in nearly 15 years of information from all of the country’s 97,000 public schools.” None of the choices includes a study or a report. The searcher is simply directed to various boatloads of data.

We can’t find the particular data to which Rich devoted the most attention in her report—the respective suspension rates from preschool for black and white kids. (That’s right—suspension from preschool!)

A lot of data are available if you advance to this page, then click again on “National total.” That said, we couldn’t find the data behind this passage, although we assume it exists:
RICH: One of the striking statistics to emerge from the data, based on information collected during the 2011-12 academic year, was that even as early as preschool, black students face harsher discipline than other students.

While black children make up 18 percent of preschool enrollment, close to half of all preschool children who are suspended more than once are African-American.

“To see that young African-American students—or babies, as I call them—are being suspended from pre-K programs at such horrendous rates is deeply troubling,” said Leticia Smith-Evans, interim director of education practice at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

“It’s incredible to think about or fathom what pre-K students could be doing to get suspended from schools,” she added.
As we skillfully noted last Friday, it’s fairly obvious how a reader is supposed to respond to that passage.

The reader is supposed to be shocked at the idea that young African-American students—“or babies,” as Smith-Evans calls them—are being suspended from pre-K programs “at such horrendous rates.”

We had a different reaction to that passage. We weren’t shocked by what we read, but we did consider being disgusted with Smith-Evans—with her unhelpful, unknowledgeable, scripted reaction to a statistic which is poorly explained by Rich, a statistic Smith-Evans doesn’t seem to understand.

In fairness, Smith-Evans may be the finest person on earth. We only meet her through a couple of quoted statements about a matter she seems to say she doesn’t know diddly about.

But for ourselves, as we read that report, that combination constituted the problem. In our view, the problem was Smith-Evans’ reflexive turn to script concerning a matter she doesn’t seem to know jack squat about.

As we read last Friday’s report, we felt sorry for black kids who have defenders like that. And as we’ve sometimes done in the past, we felt sorry for a nation where Rich (and her unnamed editor) function as major journalists.

Can we talk for a moment? (Warning! Good news follows!)

According to our most reliable data, black kids are doing much better in school over the past decade or so. According to our most reliable data, the score gains in reading are impressive. In math, the gains are even larger.

According to our most reliable data, black kids are doing much better in school! But you will never learn that fact by reading the New York Times.

Instead, you keep reading tired old script—scripted drivel of the type on display in the passage we’ve posted. For the rest of this week, we’ll feel sorry for black kids, based on various manifestations of this impulse to run to such script.

Black kids seem to be doing much better in school. You’d think that would be encouraging news.

But you never read that in the New York Times! Why won’t this newspaper tell you?

Tomorrow: A tale of two percentages

36 comments:

  1. Perhaps Ms. Rich should have simply provided a hyperlink then written "Click here, from there you are on your own." This is the way TDH often refers readers to education statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.

    I have often found myself unable to find data to verify TDH reports in posts, particularly regarding DC schools. I did find the data referred to by Rich, quite easily I might add.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-discipline-snapshot.pdf

      Delete
  2. OMB (KZ Presents Rachel Somerby at Work)
    Part 1 (Redux)

    As a public service for new readers, we repeat the first in this series
    based on BOB's inital report on this topic last week. Part 2 will follow.

    "How do you get suspended from preschool?

    We don’t know the answer to that....

    That said, someone else doesn’t seem to know, and it seems to us that maybe she should.

    We’ll be honest—we didn’t know that kids get suspended from preschool at all. That said, should the director of education practice at such an important organization know more about this than we do?

    We’re not sure what the answer is.....


    How do you get suspended from preschool? Should Smith-Evans know?" The Words of the OTB


    BOB has a question. BOB has no answer. Maybe someone should. BOB knows who she is. It seems to BOB she doesn't know. BOB doesn't know the answer to his question. Shouldn't that someone know more than BOB? He isn't sure. BOB has a question. Should Smith-Evans know?

    BOB of course never says Evans-Smith doesn't know. He presents no evidence she doesn't. Just that she seems not to. Based on the New York Times article she displays "what looks to us like a possible bit of cluelessness."

    She gave one response to a question we have not seen to a reporter. We can of course, trust the New York Times in this instance. Because BOB did.

    We find "ourselves upset with the slacker approach and the scripted outrage sometimes found among the watchdogs who are supposed to be" saving our intellectual culture from collapse at the hands of the media.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
  3. the Education Department found a pattern of inequality on a number of fronts, with race as the dividing factor.

    The implicit assumption is that different races would be equal in all respects if there were no racism. This assumption is bunk. Do superior results by Asians prove widespread pro-Asian bigotry? Does bigotry explain why recent black immigrants out-perform long-standing blacks? Why Cuban immigrants are more successful than most other Hispanic groups? Why blacks outperform whites and Asians in basketball? Why Jews are so successful in the theatre?

    Get real! When you subdivide the population in any way, different segments will always have different results. If you automatically assume that these differences are due to racism, you will never run out of racism instances to fight against. This sort of error is good for an Office Of Civil Rights, because it justifies their existence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The implicit assumption is that different races would be equal in all respects if there were no racism."

      Assumptions are mind of the maker.

      Delete
    2. Y'know, there will always be racism instances to fight against, and there will always be people bitching about the people fighting against the racism. Do you have something against civil rights in general, or just standing up for them, or having the government help in the effort?

      Delete
    3. Assumptions fed by the mind of David in Cal

      "The implicit assumption is that different races would be equal in all respects if there were no racism." Today

      "Roving black mobs too many to ignore" (Link from WND)
      Yesterday

      "Now suppose a black student was disruptive. Would you say it was racist to suspend him? Or, is it racist to let him keep coming to class, and thus impair the education of the other black students in the class?" Saturday

      Delete
    4. Do you have something against civil rights in general, or just standing up for them, or having the government help in the effort [to fight racism]?


      IMHO many of today's governmental efforts to supposedly right racism are not needed and may be doing more harm than good. Because I'm strongly committed to equal opportunity and to advancement of underdogs, I disapprove of much of what the government is doing in this area.

      Delete
  4. OMB (KZ Presents Rachel Somerby at Work)
    Part 2

    After knocking Leticia Smith-Evans of the NAACP in Part 1 for displaying "cluelessness" about something he admitted he does not know, and suggesting she should know more about it than he does, the OTB doubles down in this post.

    "In fairness, Smith-Evans may be the finest person on earth. We only meet her through a couple of quoted statements about a matter she seems to say she doesn’t know diddly about."

    In this one paragraph we see the hypocrisy for which BOB is becoming legend among his tiny circle of observers and even smaller circle of denial laden admirers. Like Rachel Maddow, he wants to assure you he is "fair" (she might be nice) "could be wrong" (it's only one quote) but as a propagandist witch hunter, he repeats the insult with added rhetorical insult ( girl don't no diddly).

    BUT WAIT! There's more (as always with the OTB). Let's triple down!

    "But for ourselves, as we read that report, that combination constituted the problem. In our view, the problem was Smith-Evans’ reflexive turn to script concerning a matter she doesn’t seem to know jack squat about."

    Here BOB is reporting to have read a report he says is not a report! Here BOB is reporting someone turning to script when that is in fact all both of these TDH posts represent; BOB returning to multiple scripts. Then, like the perspiring pimp of piddly propaganda, he repeats the insult to the intelligence of Smith-Evans: "she doesn’t seem to know jack squat about."

    "Can we talk?" BOB repeatedly asks, unable to think up a new phrase.

    No BOB. We can...We should...We shall laugh. At you.

    There is no evidence, RachelBOB, beyond a quote from a reporter whose work you have repeatedly belittled, to indicate what Smith-Evans knows or does not know about the topic at hand. She "seems" to know squat? RachelBOB admitted not knowing squat, stated there was no report that he then states he read, and then want us to accept anything that to him "seems" to be?

    In the interest of informing readers, in Part 3 we may compare and contrast the education and experience of The One True BOBaddow to that of Ms. Smith-Evans. Or maybe not. We don't know.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Harsher discipline" now means racially disproportionate discipline, regardless of whether the suspensions for each child result from identical behavior. To just what lengths of stupid will progressives strive? Stay tuned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who are you defining as "progressive?" I'll stay tuned for your reply.

      Delete
    2. Anyone who asserts that these study results can be said to represent "harsher discipline" for the overrepresented group, and anyone who is inclined to interpret them as evidence of racial discrimination and feel any degree of outrage or concern about racial discrimination before the cause of the discrepancy has been established.

      If one insists on leaping to a conclusion about causes, there is a much less stupid one to leap to than the one Holder and others have settled on.

      Delete
    3. So if a progressive disagrees that the figures represent harsher disipline but agrees that there is evidence meriting investigation because of the patterns of disparity does that make them not progressive?

      Delete
    4. He is only progressive if he is willing to openly condemn those responsible should they turn out to be the suspended preschoolers' negligent parents. That sort of progressive will not fit in among self identified "progressives" and will find that group hostile to the open discussion of such realities.

      Delete
    5. Interesting response. You get to define progressives. Then you say people self identify as progressive. Then you say one type of progressive will not fit in with other types. You seem to interact with many types of progressives to understand their inner workings and comfort levels among each other.

      If it takes "openly condemning" others for "negligent" actions causing their preschooler to be disciplined, then there will be very few people who fit your definition. I will
      be happy to tell you you fit my definition of nitwittery. It encompasses many on a broad range of the ideological spectrum.

      Delete
    6. Very few people who will openly condemn negligent parents for their children ending up in the "school to prison pipeline"? There are many. (The left calls them, and anyone else who ignores all causes besides racial discrimination as possibilities, "racists".)

      Delete
    7. So now we have jumped from suspended pre-schoolers with negligent parents to children in the "school to prison pipeline" with negligent parents.

      I don't openly condemn your parents for your ending up at the discharge point of the "school to nitwittery pipeline."
      They may be responsible due to negligence. Or genetetics.
      It may have been an accidental fall. We don't know.

      Delete
  6. Blacks as a group have huge problems in this country and the "compassion" of the left is at least as significant a contributor as a history of black slavery, and becoming an ever more significant one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When do you think compassion will finally overtake slavery at the current ever more significant pace?

      Delete
    2. Not compassion. ""Compassion""

      Delete
  7. It's the school-to-prison pipeline…that so many negligent parents condemn their kids to with the tacit support of the brainless progressive left.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I feel it is the continued resistance of the right that is in fact reversing decades of progress.

    But at least we agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The right is to blame for unruly preschoolers?

      Delete
    2. Sorry. The comment was meant as a response to Anonymous @ 6:23.

      The right is responsible for the problems of blacks to a greater degree than the history of black slavery.

      Unruly children are the problem of negligent parents in some cases according to another commenter. I don't know why. He or she did not say. But if they are I hope you openly condemn them so you can be called progressive.

      Delete
  9. They are in my nightly prayers. And it is good they are doing better if not fully well yet. Peace be unto you and your many fine readers, Bob.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the promise of more positive news. Black children aren't the only ones making bold steps in education.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/#/health/health-news/transgender-teacher-returns-school-woman-n60076

    ReplyDelete
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